Aliu Opeyemi, a winner of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship grant and first class student of University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) in this interview with our correspondent, ALIM AJENIFUJA, describes how painful it could be to be defeated in a competition.
TELL US BRIEFLY ABOUT YOURSELF?
I am Aliu Sheriff Opeyemi. I hail from Offa Local Government Area of Kwara State. Currently, I am in the penultimate year of my degree programme at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta(FUNAAB). I am studying Agricultural Extension and Rural Development.
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT Cumulative Grade Point?
IN YOUR OWN TERMS, WHAT IS ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE?
Academic excellence, to me , is the coherent understanding of the knowledge embedded in prints and been able to apply them to solve fictional problems/questions in a way that is pleasing to the instructor.
WHAT EXTRA CURRICULUM ACTIVITY DO YOU ENGAGE IN?
Essay writing, debating and public speaking.
DO YOU THINK EXTRA CURRICULUM ACTIVITY IS AN HINDRANCE TO ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE?
No. It all depends on proper planning and having the discipline to adhere to a well structured schedule.
WHO DO YOU THINK AN OUTSTANDING MUSLIM IS?
An outstanding Muslim is one whose mastery of the essence of the Quran and sunnah has translated into a consistent display of the best mortal character.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL INFLUENCES ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE?
Desire. Decision. Disciple. Doggedness. And, of course, Allah’s grace.
WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES LIKE?
Reading, chatting and public speaking.
EVERYONE IS STRIVING THOUGH BUT HOW WOULD YOU RATE YOUR PRACTICING OF ISLAM?
DOES NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY CURRICULUM ALLOW ONE TO BE AN ACADEMIC HIGH-FLYING STUDENT AND A PRACTICING MUSLIM AT THE SAME TIME?
Contrary to her multi-religious society, the fact that Nigeria is constitutionally secular reflects in every face of her national life, without exempting the university curriculum. Hence, the curriculum does not synergise academic and religious growth. The recent alleged removal of Islamic Religious Studies (IRS) from the curriculum of secondary schools by the Ministry of Education is a testimony to this fact.
AS AN ACADEMIC HIGH-FLYING MUSLIM, HOW ARE YOU CONTRIBUTING TO THE PROPAGATION OF YOUR RELIGION?
Periodic sermons, and, most importantly, by being a model, a shining example for others to emulate.
RELATING TO THE OPPOSITE SEX, HOW IS IT POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO DO THAT WITHOUT ENGAGING IN THE FORBIDDEN?
With Allah’s grace, it has not been too difficult.
WHAT ARE THE HURDLES CROSSED BEFORE GETTING TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?
I had to learn to be productive each time and to also ignore the pleasurable trivialities.
TELL US YOUR AMBITION BOTH FOR ISLAM AND SECULARLY?
I want to be a reference point for excellence and the perfect example of what to be.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE?
Favourite quotes? Question like this is always hard to answer. Except a man stops reading, it will be difficult for a particular quote to retain the favorite tag forever. Hence, I think the question; your recent favorite quote is more apt. Notwithstanding, the quote: “Was today productive?” stands tall amongst my favorite aphorisms.
KINDLY SHARE WITH US YOUR BEST AND WORST MOMENTS DURING YOUR PAST YEARS IN THIS CITADEL.
Best moment: Once again, I am spoilt for choice here. Allah has indeed been magnanimous to me. To say I have had many wonderful moments as an undergraduate is an understatement, I have lived the dream. Howbeit, having a 5.0 currently in my antepenultimate year and winning the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship grant rank as the best.
Worst moment: Losing the last Green Super Bowl Debate was one of my lowest point. The defeat was particularly painful as I was the competition’s favorite. Having just led the university to victory at the Green Clash InterVarsity Debate at Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife, many expected the intra collegiate to be a walk in the park . No one knew I was in for a bashing. But, Alhamdulilahi, I remembered that day now with smiles.
FINALLY,WHAT ADVICE WILL YOU GIVE TO THOSE THAT FEEL THAT PRACTICING ISLAM WOULD AFFECT THEIR WORLDLY SUCCESS?
Unarguably, being an active member or a partaker in the various programmes of the Muslim community will take away time that could have been spent digesting literatures. However, with proper planning and discipline, one would still have more than enough time to pursue worldly success. Stories abound of people who have successfully striked the balance between academics and spirituality. Brother Akinlolu Sheriff and Bro AbdulGaniyu Sodiq both graduated summa cum laude – in recent times – despite being a 2-time Naibi Amir and hostel coordinator respectively. Shittu Remilekun AbdulHadi, a sound and practising Muslim was the Best Graduating Student for the 2014/ 2015 session. In the end, it all boils down to how much we want it, that will determine the length we are going to go.