• ‘Poverty made me the best’ – BellsTech University Best Graduate

    When he was seven years old, Gideon Oluwaseun Afolayan lost his father, Pa James Afolayan, at a ripe age of 93. His mother was the youngest of many wives, and he, the last of the six children from his mother.

    The 27-year-old was raised by his eldest sister and her daughter, who provided him with the best education affordable.  His background inspired him to graduate with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.90 from the Bells University of Technology, Ota, Ogun State last Saturday, beating 325 others to win the overall best graduating student prize.

    Sharing his story, the graduate of Physics and Electronics, underscored his hatred for poverty, saying it made him to graduate as the best.

    “When I say poverty made me to graduate as the best, I don’t mean I was poor as a student, but I hate poverty with a passion and wouldn’t want it close to me.  So, wherever I find myself I strive for excellence.  That was why all through my primary, polytechnic and university education, I always aspired to be at the top,” he said.

    Given his father’s death when he was still very young, Afolayan’s future would have been different if his elder sister and her daughter had not stepped in.

    “I lived with her in Zaria, and then her daughter also took me away from her due to God’s favour and good character. They asked if I would come and live with them and I agreed. God has raised me from one level of grace to the other since then. From Abuja we came down to Lagos and God planted me in BellsTech,” he said.

    After his O Levels in 2007 at Jefab International School, Suleja, Niger State, Afolayan wrote the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) twice with the intention of studying medicine, but did not obtain the cut-off mark. He proceeded to Allover Polytechnic, Ota, Ogun State, where he studied Electrical/Electronic Engineering and graduated with a distinction.

    “I used my certificate to get admission into BellTech after my one year industrial training,” he added.

    On how he studied, Afolayan who hails from Irepi Town in Boluwaduro Local Government of Osun State, said he has a schedule for everything he does including reading.

    Afolayan said he does not settle for less and that he had already made up his mind to graduate as the best student before he resumed at Bells.

    He said: “Before I got admission into Bells, I asked God what he has for me because I believe in living my life based on specific target, so as I entered the school, God kept unveiling opportunities for me. I first had the passion to top my department. So, in the first semester God helped me with that and I had a 4.85. In the second semester David Abejide, who is my very good friend came to me one evening and told me there was a scholarship available, but the condition is to top my college. So, I continued with my hardworking life style and I topped my college with a 4.95 and got the scholarship. Sixty per cent of my fee was paid by the school for the year.

    “After that I asked myself what other height I could scale and at the last convocation I told myself I would be the next. I told my friend David that I would be the one there next. I also received an SMS almost immediately the last valedictorian was called from another of my friend Atoyosi Olubusola.  She said: ‘My friend, you are meant to be there’; and to the glory of Go,d I am here today,” he said.

    Afolayan, who said he had not seen his mother for over five years, was full of praises for his guardians, Mr Lawrence Oresanya and his wife, Deola, who he said have treated him like their own children.

    The Oresanyas attested to his good character and morals, which made them to develop interest in him.

    “He has not given us any problems since we took him in and we don’t regret taking him in. When we went to Osogbo to take him, we wanted to take two of them because Mama had four of them with her and we felt the burden was too much, but she refused saying she could give us only one child so we ended up with the youngest, which was Seun and he has been doing us proud,” Mr Oresanya said.

    Afolayan advised undergraduates to be disciplined, saying discipline determines the height everyone will get to on earth.

    “No matter how high you rise on earth, without discipline you will fall in no time. Discipline will help you get your life right, even your spiritual life, academic, social and otherwise,” he said.

    Afolayan already has his eyes on his next goal: to pick a scholarship to study in Cambridge University, United Kingdom. After school, he hopes to be an entrepreneur.

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