Mrs. Orefuwa Elizabeth emerged as the
best graduate of Lagos State University in the 2015/2016 academic
session. She made 4.74 CGPA from the Department of Accounting Education.
It became a moment of joy for her as she was delivered of her baby a
day after the convocation. In this interview with TUNDE AJAJA, she talks
about how she combined her academics with being married.
them that trust in the Lord’. Actually, it wasn’t what I wanted for
myself but it just happened like that. Taking same exam seven times
consecutively was killing, de-motivating and annoying, coupled with the
fact that I met the required cut off mark each time I took the exam. It
might have been destiny but I later found out that my West African
Examination Council certificate was carrying my initials instead of my
full name. This was brought to light after the last Post-UTME I took at
Ekiti State University. Although I scored a very good grade, I was
denied the admission because of the initial on my WAEC certificate
instead of my full name, so I just felt this might have been the cause
of the delay or maybe God’s plan.
myself that I wasn’t going to purchase any of UTME or Direct Entry forms
again, but I thank God for my elder sister, Esther, who took it upon
herself to purchase both forms for me and even bought the Post-UTME form
that actually turned my life around for good. I learnt never to give up
for education (old soldier never die), self-belief, determination, moral
support from my family and above all God because He gave me the
strength to carry on.
alternatives but I sourced for an alternative myself by starting my
professional career of becoming a chartered accountant. It was my dream
to be a chartered accountant, so I took up the challenge in 2007 to
register with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN)
instead of just sitting at home waiting for admission. All thanks to my
elder brother, Dr. Samuel Orefuwa. I became a qualified chartered
accountant, an associate member, in 2010 before gaining admission in
do the very best I could and come out with a good grade but my first
semester result in my first year made me realise the real me and what
I’m capable of. That was when I started having first class. It gave me
the self motivation needed to forge ahead with the strong determination
of coming out as the best in my faculty. It never crossed my mind that I
wouldn’t make first class.
major but during that time, there wasn’t accounting major in my school
so I applied for Accounting Education. And I have no regret because I
have always had passion for accounting and I love teaching.
persons think studying education is a waste of time. Without teachers,
what will the society look like? If the teacher that would teach their
children to become doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers and other
prestigious disciplines are not well equipped, then what would the
future of the country be? I have experienced it several times, even from
a pastor who said ‘why education?’ The truth is that I’m proud to be an
educationist, no regret. Faculty of Education is the mother of all
faculties and a nation without education is doomed.
immediately after gaining admission, I got married while in the first
semester of my fourth year. Even at that, it wasn’t easy because I
needed to adjust to a new life which almost affected my reading schedule
but for the understanding husband God gave me. He understood and also
wanted the best for me, so he gave me the support I needed and my CGPA
improved from 4.72 to 4.73. After all, marriage didn’t make my CGPA to
drop (laughs). Of course, being a student and performing my duties as a
wife wasn’t very easy but I thank God for the grace He bestowed on me.
at first but my course mates used to tell me that I had the highest
CGPA, even though I wasn’t sure. So I didn’t raise my hope. I was just
studying hard and maintaining my CGPA each semester. I believe students
should avoid side distractions, they should be focused, be determined,
self motivated, prepare well for their exam and above all, put God
first. That formula worked for me.
must have spent all your free time reading for you to emerge as the best
graduate in your set. How many hours did you read in a day?
for reading but I made sure that I always went through my notes every
day after school. So I read every evening till late in the night and
very early in the morning. I wasn’t the type to wake up to read in the
middle of the night because such didn’t work for me.
My dad had strong passion for education, so he made sure that we were
always provided with all the textbooks we needed. I also made good use
of the internet. I prefer reading in the comfort of my room.
live on the school campus, maybe during exam period, or you lived at
home with your husband throughout?
married, I never lived on campus. My parents, especially my mum,
preferred it if I was going to school from home.
realised that it is not how far but how well and God’s time is always
the best time. My parents, my siblings and my husband were positive
about it and that encouraged me. “God’s mills grind slowly but
sure.”This quote kept me going.
but just two of us from my faculty (my best friend, Oluwatimilehin, and
myself). I remember that sometimes we read together.
insisted on your academic excellence. How did he react when he heard you
were the best graduating student?
took my final exam. So, he didn’t know how well I had been performing in
school. When I called and told him that I would be graduating as the
best in my set, it was the greatest surprise ever.
I met some students that I was lecturing at an ICAN centre in the
school and they were asking me if I was in LASU for my Master’s. Thank
God it all turned out to be a huge testimony today.
in primary school and above average in secondary school. And in my
Senior School Certificate Examinations, I had good grades too. Maybe
that delay was the way God wanted it.
contraction the night before the convocation and my husband and I kept
begging our baby to wait and come after the convocation, and indeed the
baby heard us.
that she should be prepared because it was going to be from convocation
to the hospital (laughs). But I thank God.
I studied Accounting Education doesn’t mean that I should restrict
myself because that is the thought of many people out there. Presently,
I’m serving in an accounting firm and at the same time lecturing in
different ICAN tuition centres preparing students for ICAN examination
and I’m enjoying both. Also, I want to own a school so that I can give
back to the system what it has given to me.
deserved place in our country. I think we need to acknowledge
outstanding students in our schools and in the society. While in LASU,
our Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Adigun Fagbohun, appreciated all the first
class students with cash awards and this went a long way in motivating
and improving our performances and those of others. If our leaders and
other concerned Nigerian citizens can just value education and recognise
hard work and academic excellence, then things would be different and I
think it’s something we need to pay attention to.