A former physically-challenged Lagos beggar, Mr. Abdulsalam Kamaldeen, and Miss Aarinola Olaiya, were celebrated by the House of Representatives yesterday, 5th of December for their academic feats.
While Kamaldeen overcame his physical challenge as a crippled beggar to graduate as a lawyer, Olaiya was honoured by the House for the rare academic feat of being the first medical student to graduate with distinction in Surgery at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, since 1989.
Here is Kamaldeen’s story
Kamaldeen, 38, lost his two legs to polio at the tender age of three; he lost his mother at the age of four; and started primary school at eight. He started street begging to raise money to buy school uniforms, books and to feed.
He begged for alms from primary through secondary schools; known on the streets of Lagos as a beggar; and slept under the Idumota Bridge for several years before saving money he gathered from commuters to rent a room.
From street begging, Kamaldeen bought a GCE form in 2002; passed his GCE and JAMB examinations and was subsequently admitted to study Political Science at the University of Lagos.
He sat for another WAEC and JAMB examinations while preparing for completion of his first degree in Political Science. In his determination to become a lawyer, Kamaldeen gained admission to study Law at the University of Lagos in 2010. He went to the Nigerian Law School in 2015 and was called to the Nigerian Bar on 30 November, 2016.
Here is Miss Aarinola Olaiya’s story…
Miss Aarinola Olaiya, 24, was admitted into the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, to study Medicine and Surgery in 2011; she scored an excellent Cumulative Grade Point (CGPA) of 4.74 in her first year.
Subsequently, in her second through sixth year, scored: Distinctions in Anatomy, Medical Biochemistry and Physiology (200 Level); Distinctions in Medical Biochemistry and Pharmacology (300L); Distinctions in Pathology and Pharmacology (400L); Distinctions in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Mental Health and Dermatology (500L); and Distinction in Surgery (600L).
The achievement was elusive for a period of 28 years in OAU/Nigerian medicine and community health.