Cover Stories, Interviews

UNILAG Best Graduating student, Ayodele Dada on his struggles and victories

29 year old Ayodele Dada has made history by graduating from the University of Lagos (UNILAG) with an amazing 5.0 CGPA, Psychology Department. The closest to the feat was 30 something years ago at University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolwo University, Ile-Ife.

ENCOMIUM Weekly on Monday, March 14, 2016, had a chat with him and he revealed the secret behind the remarkable result, his background and more…


How does it feel being the student with the highest CGPA in UNILAG?

It is a good thing, it is something I am still getting used to but it also adds a lot of responsibility because there is that level of expectation. There is this feeling of an ambassador.

So it is a good feeling and I know it comes with a great deal of responsibility as well.

How were you able to sustain your CGPA considering how hard it could be schooling in UNLAG?

Apart from the fact that I have to attribute most of this to the grace of God, I also know that God wouldn’t have helped me if I didn’t do my own part. What I was able to contribute was in the form of focus, determination and a readiness to learn from everything around me and everyone around me. I knew there were distractions in UNILAG but because of the extent to which I was focused on my goals, I was able to avoid them.

What gave you an edge over other students?

I won’t say I had so much of an edge. It was just that I really love discipline and I showed it in every aspect of my life. So, it is something I am really interested in. Studying was not such a difficult thing for me because I really wanted to learn and to know more. So, that served me a great deal. Though there were times when it got difficult, if you really love what you are doing that difficult times will not weigh you down. For me, I think that helped me and the fact that I really loved what I was doing.

Did you ever envisage you would finish with the highest GP?

I was not sure that will be the case but I began to believe it was possible in 300 level. At that time, I was still on 5.0. At that time, I began to believe that it could be done and it was possible.

Why did you study Psychology?

For me, Psychology is a part of my life because it has always been something I cared about, something I was interested in. I have always said if I walk into a book store the first book I will notice or want to pick up are psychology books, how people think, how people can be classified or how their behaviour can be explained and their thoughts on how they can be modified to improve the quality of their lives. Psychology is something that naturally appeals to me. I just felt it was an area I could readily make a mark and that’s what Psychology means to me.

What was your relationship with your lecturers in school, did they help you boost your grades?

I had a very good relationship with my lecturers. My rapport with them was very good. When they saw that I really cared about discipline and was trying to make extra effort. I even tried to develop a strong connection with them. I sought advice about several things. They offered a good deal of support. Most times they look at students and they know that most students just want to pass exams.

For me, I really wanted to learn or do something unique with the discipline so they supported me. I will also attribute it to the effort of my Head of Department (HOD). She was a very strong pillar of support.

How will you describe your study habit?

I was not always reading, I had friends who studied for eight hours at a stretch. I believe a lot in reading a little and having a break. If you read for two hours, then go on a one hour break. Then come back, read for another two hours and go on a two hour break. I was really flexible when it comes to studying.

I tried not to study for long hours except when it was close to exams.

I wasn’t the kind who will study for so long at a stretch. I try to break it into short periods.

What can you say on your level of performance in extra-curricular activities?

Extra-curricular activities for me, was something I tried to participate in. Although not so much, I was involved. At least I went to the cinemas and birthday parties. I tried to be involved in a few social events. I was part of committees for final year dinners and symposia. I also participated in conferences outside Lagos. So, I was involved in a bit of extra-curricular activities.

I socialized. I was not the type you will just find with books in the library all day studying. I mingled and discussed with people as much as I can.

How true is it, you almost got evicted from your house?

Yes, we are trying to relocate. We are seeking a different accommodation but it is not a case of eviction. It is a matter of seeking an alternative accommodation because where we are now, the owners have plans for the place. So, we have to move out so the owners can make use of the place. So, yes, we are actually looking for alternative accommodation.

Has the issue been resolved?

No, we are still resolving it. It is like a work in progress. Certain things are already in motion to resolve it.

How did you feel when Whitenecious expert, Dencia came to your rescue?

I recalled that she reached out and we communicated, even though I did not really know who she was. It was later I learnt she was the person I was communicating with on Instagram. As it stands, I wouldn’t want to say much about whether she fulfilled her promise or not but I think we have an understanding and I have no concern or worries about her promises.

The fact is just that we came to an understanding when we communicated on Instagram. There is no case of her not fulfilling her promise or not.

We heard Sijimoto got you an apartment?

That is still work in progress. There are additional details that I cannot disclose at the moment, but it is still in progress.

Why did it take you so long to go to school?

When a person wants to do a course that too many people are not familiar with and your family and friends do not also believe that is the right course to study, it takes a long time to convince people. That is what I did to get to a point where I was the one paying for most of my daily needs and taking care of myself. Those were the conditions under which I was able to really do what I wanted to do. That is one of the reasons why it took a bit of time for me.

How much have you gotten from being the highest CGPA?

I will say that these goodies don’t come all at once. It is a work in progress. But so far what I will say I have gotten are quite a number of offers but the goodies aspect, it is still in transit. It is not something that will just happen immediately. The only one that I know I got is a gift from MTN and they gave me the gift almost immediately. But most of the other things I was promised and was supposed to get are still work in progress.

Some professional awards and money were given to you, have they been redeemed?

Yes, I received these awards and I am already familiar with the way these things work. I have been in the system for some years so when one receives the award, there is a process before they could be handed over to you, especially the money. The process has already began and in due cause these things will be forwarded to me.

How will you describe your parents, is it that they were not able to train you in school?

My parents are not rich and I did not want to bother them, especially when this is something I have always wanted to do. This is what I love and I try to achieve all my life so I thought it was the right thing to provide most of my needs on my own and reduce the worry on them as much as possible.

My dad is a retired accountant and my mom is a teacher. So there wasn’t so much to do but I felt I had to take some responsibility for myself. I was really doing enough to support myself entirely and once in a while I gave my mom small money from what I was getting. It was basically me deciding that I would take my future in my hands God helping me.

How were you able to combine school and work. Was it not too stressful and tasking for you?

Yes, it was very stressful because the ability to balance the demands of both was a major task for me every day. I will say it was stressful because I even had to work during weekends sometimes and I did private tutoring and sold accessories like flash drives, memory cards. It was stressful no doubt but I just had this belief that if I could survive it, I will definitely get used to it.

So, I have never really shyed away from things that look extremely difficult, especially when I have a goal that I want to achieve. So, it was difficult but I was focused enough but God helped me.

Can you tell us about your background?

I have never been rich. My parents are simple working class people and growing up, my dad always encouraged me to be better. So, I had a rich background academically. I was exposed to so many books. If there was anything that was on a book and I had access to it, even though it is an encyclopedia I always tried to read it. I really read as wide as I could. I think that really helped me. My primary and secondary were private schools but located in areas where I interacted with real core Nigerians. For example, my secondary school was closer to Ajegunle. It made me interact with people from all walks of life.

I knew rich kids and I knew kids from the slums as well. It was a very broad spectrum of interaction that I enjoyed. It gave me insight into how people think and behave.


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