Department of Physical and Health Education, Obafemi Awolowo University,
Ile Ife when she made first class; the first time in 28 years, despite
being a dancer who performed at different events regularly. In this
interview with TUNDE AJAJA, the 25-year-old, who also
made Distinction in her Master’s programme, talks about her days in
school and the level she’s taking her dancing passion to.
people have about Physical and Health Education is the one they did in
primary school. What does this course entail at the tertiary level?
than the layman’s definition of it. It is a subject matter that touches
every aspect of life. Through involvement in activities, individuals can
develop themselves mentally, physically, emotionally and socially. It
helps individuals to make meaning of the world around them and think
critically by exploring health-related and movement contexts. It also
takes a preventive approach, rather than a curative one, towards the
incidence of diseases. It entails the mechanics and analysis of movement
(biomechanics), socialisation (sociology), understanding of the
structures and functions of the human system (anatomy and physiology)
and the study of mental practices (psychology) towards promoting
purposeful and goal-directed movement for healthy living (kinesiology).
Relations but I was given Physical and Health Education. I decided to
take up the course, but I sat the Unified Tertiary Matriculation
Examination again hoping to change to drop the course. I realised the
course was more than I had perceived it to be, so I began to love it and
I stuck with it. However, I had the plan to have first class but it
didn’t come easy, especially from Obafemi Awolowo University, and a
department that had not produced a first class in 28 years. It was
challenging but I was able to overcome the challenges through prayer,
hard work, discipline and determination.
not been done before, so I really cannot say why it was difficult and my
department had the best lecturers I can think of. But as I said, I
prayed, worked hard and smart, avoided procrastination, attended
lectures, read my books and gave my best. Every individual has their own
style and pace of learning. I had to take the time to figure out what
worked for me, recognise and improve on my weaknesses and capitalise on
my strengths; always ready to know more and constantly seeking ways to
improve on myself. I have never been comfortable with ‘average’. I
believe that has always been the reason why it’s either I give my best
to something or I don’t attempt it at all. Excellence and greatness have
a price; they never come easy. It involves working hard and smart,
discipline, faith, determination and commitment. These principles have
always been my watchword and applying them without any second thoughts
has always worked for me.
gave me the needed support (advice, discipline, encouragement and
memories). Growing up was fun and memorable. Those memories cannot be
forgotten, because they came along with several experiences, lessons and
values which have helped in shaping and moulding me into the woman I’ve
grown to become. I can’t seem to forget study time with my parents. Dad
was my mathematics teacher. He would help me with whatever difficulty I
was having in the subject. Mum, on the other hand, would wake me up
every night to study. Sometimes, she would sit with me all through the
night to make sure I was not dozing off and ask me questions afterwards.
Any question missed would attract several strokes of the cane. It
wasn’t tea party for me, but those days prepared me for the future and
I’m glad about the progress I’ve made so far. In my previous schools, I
always had impressive performances. I remember bagging the prizes in all
subjects except Yoruba in my secondary school. I always took first
position both in primary and secondary school.
and most academic sought-after female of the department. I also won the
Prof. Babatunde Fafunwa award for the best graduating student with the
highest CGPA in my faculty.
in other activities. I made sure I slept from 8pm to 11pm and then read
from 11pm to 4am every day. Besides, I was involved in other
activities. I like dancing and writing. I was in two dance crews and was
the editor-in-chief of the National Association of Physical and Health
Education, Recreation, Sports and Dance News and also belonged to the
editorial unit in church. Those activities were equally demanding. I
would travel to perform at dance events and competitions and go for
overnight rehearsals, write for magazines and stay up to meet deadlines
for submission. Ordinarily, I was doing rehearsals every day and the
duration varied and there were times we had overnight rehearsals and I
had to go to class the following morning. The most important thing was
creating a balance and doing the right thing at the right time. I really
wanted the best out of both worlds. It was a challenging feat but I was
able to pull through with the help of God.
It gets me excited seeing people move their bodies. I realised I could
do some of those movements very well. I started getting interested,
formed a dance crew and we performed at special events in school. The
experience in the university was not any different. I joined a dance
crew, performed on stage and events, and became recognised in OAU. I
started getting referrals to teach people how to dance. I really can’t
describe what dance means to me. I’m very passionate about it and it
makes me very happy.
something I could do, naturally. Although, as dancers, there are certain
moves that need to be learnt and internalised.
Aso Rock at the YOUWIN conference. Having to dance in front of the then
President Goodluck Jonathan was an honour. Also, I was given the ever
ready member award and best female dancer award by my crew (Shake up’
crew), and best female dancer, Obafemi Awolowo University (2009). I was
named the best female dancer, Malta Guinness street dance competition,
2010. These mean a lot to me.
school, until they heard from friends that I was on TV. Since my
academics wasn’t affected, they were very supportive.
was when I went for Malta Guinness Street dance and the judges made
wonderful remarks about my performance, so that meant a lot. That was in
my third year. I was really excited.
I was a fresher. My results proved a lot of them wrong. Most of them
had to change their notion about dancers. I was given the nickname
‘unique dancer’ and ‘first class dancer’ because of that.
fetched me some money later on. But more importantly, it gave me lots of
exposure and opened doors for me to meet people. There were people who
tried to discourage me. They told me to leave one for the other; that it
was impossible to combine both. But, to me, I believe impossibility is
nothing. I enjoyed it all the way.
assignment was my studies. I chose my academics over rehearsals. My
performance was superb in my first year with a CGPA of 4.8. so, I learnt
wanted, it has in a lot of ways helped to build flexibility, stamina,
strength, endurance, balance and co-ordination. It has helped my dance a
fun. I didn’t think I would go deeper into it while in the university. I
believe Physical and Health Education was just what God wanted for me
and the best course for me to build certain components and qualities
that I needed to have as a dancer.
physiologist as a result of my work and contribution to society and a
strong advocate for dance to be accepted and recognised as a sporting
activity in Nigeria and beyond. Also, I really would love to be a
lecturer. I love writing, reading and conducting research. Being a
lecturer will give me the opportunity to do that. If I’m not one, I
would love to be on my own, acting as a consultant for several
organisations as an exercise physiologist.
preparation and indiscipline. I think students should put God first,
they should be disciplined, determined and work hard. They shouldn’t
listen to negative voices that tell them they can’t achieve certain
things. Believe in yourself and give your best.
but I have a principle. I took them as friends and drew the line. So, I
was able to keep friends as friends and fans as fans.
worked in a hospital and I had some contract jobs. I actually left to do
my Master’s in Exercise Physiology, which I concluded last year,
because I love the academics. Right now, I’m working on my own project
to gather some money before I go for my Ph.D., which costs a lot of