Oyindamola Omotuyi, will be graduating as the top of her class and her year mates with the highest Cumulative Grade Point Average of 5.0 from the Department of Systems Engineering in the University of Lagos on January 25, 2017
She is the first female to achieve the perfect C.G.P.A in UNILAG history and also the first engineering student to achieve such a feat in the faculty of Engineering at the prestigious University of First Choice and Nation’s Pride,the second person to achieve the perfect grade point after Ayodele Dada in Nigeria.
In a tete-a-tete interview, an I-witness sat with down the woman of God in the control laboratory – around her faculty, where she spent most of her last weeks at UNILAG finalizing her project to hear her story and experiences in Akoka.
Q: Oyinda can you please introduce yourself to us?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Omotuyi Oyindamola Ajoke, Systems Engineering
Q: You just achieved a feat that quite a lot of people are wondering how you did it and not just how you did it but going back to how you started, can you just us through your story?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: My whole life revolves around a man and that is Jesus. I would rather say that there is really nothing…. People say God did it probably to end up a particular story, it was good O! Olorun lo se(God did it O!) and something like that and really not understand that actually. God did it because all the while through five years there was actually a particular wisdom to apply at every particular time, that is the truth. So I’m not been religious by saying God did it, I’m just been truthful about it. So obviously there is wisdom to do everything that you are supposed to do. A student obviously will obviously read.
A student will always go for overnight but yet there is just something different about everybody. There is really nothing I will say, there is an extra thing I did but let me just say probably working with classmates, probably reading with classmates and encouragements from friends like classmates from people like Gbemi (present at the interview) and Yemisi and all of that. So that is what I will just say and let me put it like this, it is not really about the 5.0 (Cumulative Grade Point Average CGPA) it is doing what you are supposed to do at the right time and doing the right thing at the right time.
You know many students will just go to Library and just read but the question is, are you reading the right thing? What submits the result is you going to class, doing assignments and exams. So if you can obviously have an A in exam obviously you have a 5.0 (CGPA). So what are the things that actually facilitate you passing your exams? It is the question your lecturer probably gives you. Answering the question in the right way, in the way that the lecturer wants to see it not the way you want to write it actually helps out in winning some things. And not just rushing to read, you can ride on the backs of people that have done it and not be proud. And understand that you are a different person. Like when I was young they said nobody had ever had an A in FSC 102 (Physics Practical) in Systems (Engineering) and am like ok.
They said the best person they have had never had it. I said ok, that is them, I’M A DIFFERENT PERSON, WE HAVE A DIFFERENT PATH! So I believe even if someone has not done it, someone can pick it up to do it, that is the truth but then it is really not necessarily for show because I stopped reading because I wanted to pass in year 3. Rather I started reading because I needed to teach people because how will you be in a class and will not understand the course. Eighty percent of the class will not understand the course, so it was very terrible all these things. So sometimes you just have to read because you have to teach people. Sometimes you just the call ‘come and teach me something’ from a friend and that thing you have not read it. So I had a lot of that and I had to teach them on the spot.
Q: As a young black woman, where you are in a field that has very few black women, in fact very few women to be precise, what will you say to the young girl out there that maybe doesn’t even want to go into engineering? Maybe wants to go into another field but she is scared of a field where it is mainly male dominated. What will you tell them?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Engineering is mainly not for the males so to speak, it is for both genders. I did not really see anything we did that was solely for males. Ok probably when we were in year one and had to cut with a saw. You can obviously do it. It actually just depends to the field that you are actually going into. There are some fields that probably are very mechanical but then let me just put it has this – Anyone that wants to come for engineering that is a female can obviously come, because it is actually sweeter, better.
I didn’t like medicine, because I didn’t like reading. I like calculations. So that is the best place to go to! So if your best subject is Mathematics and Further Mathematics Engineering is the best place for you. So it is not hard labour like people use to think engineering is. In fact it is more technical. You can be in engineering and you are a programmer and obviously programming involves thinking and everybody can think. Either you are a male or a female. So there is no gender inequality.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background? What helped you maybe when you were in secondary school, in primary school?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Ok let me say it all started from secondary school. I had a very good family. My father is a Jack-o-meter
Q You dad was a Jack-o-meter?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Meaning he could read till day break. Do you understand?
Q: So people don’t know the meaning of Jack-o-meter
Oyindamola Omotuyi: So that atmosphere was always at home that you had to be serious. In Primary School, you don’t eat when you get home until you have done your assignment, you get what I mean, they were strict. Secondary school was a bit kind of, ok let me put it like this when I finished primary school, I felt my primary school was not that ok for me because I was taught some things that were not right, not right, not really correct like that. So I just felt I was duller, probably entering secondary school I felt I should be the worst student. In fact I liked staying at the back. I like being the person that they will flog. I like just being very naughty. In fact I was very very naughty.
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Until somebody came to meet me that you are always staying at the back why don’t you come to the front. One of the reasons was because the people – the grade of people that entered secondary school with me were from very high and reputable school. You hear Apata Memorial High School.
Oyindamola Omotuyi: The lecturer, the teacher rather probably said I should spell something and I started following from that experience. One day, the teacher asked a kind of question, and I was a very very shy person that doesn’t like talking in class. I knew the answer but I didn’t like to talk. The teacher just picked on me that I should answer the question and I was like ok. After a while, I answered the question and they said I was correct and I was happy. As in, that day in class changed the orientation that you can actually be successful, you can actually do it.
Oyindamola Omotuyi: The Lord had it that I passed through a particular path. My secondary school was all beautiful. I had first position from Junior Secondary School 1(J.S.S 1) to Senior Secondary School 3 (S.S.S 3)
Oyindamola Omotuyi: So coming to University was just a continuation of what had happened.
Q: Do you sometimes feel like a lot of students are not doing well in school or are not doing as well as they should be doing in school because they have not gotten that re-affirmation from people that they can do it? That they can achieve greatness, that they are smart.
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Sometimes encouragement is always good. Some people probably in their family get discouraged. Especially when they compare you with somebody, so even your little effort, even if it is been seen and been encouraged that is a way of getting people to do better.
Q: What secondary school did you attend?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: SMA college.
Q: SMA college, where was that located?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Jakande Estate
Q: So you grew up in Jakande Estate?
Oyinda Omotuyi: No I didn’t but I started my secondary school, is it secondary school or primary school? I was in primary school when I was in (Jakande) Estate but I didn’t start my primary school in estate, I started my primary school in Ejigbo (Lagos)
Q: So what made you pick Systems Engineering of all the Engineering degrees?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Ok first of all I wanted to go for Engineering and I wanted to go for a course that I will be doing computer anything computer and anything electrical. Systems Engineering is a combination and fortunately it is only University of Lagos that is offering the course in Nigeria then.
Q: So you actually picked systems engineering?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Yes
Q: On your Joint Admission Matriculation (JAMB) Form?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Yes
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Yes like Wow!
Q: So tell me about that JAMB experience. Did you have to do JAMB three times like everybody else?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Ok. The year I did JAMB was a year of examinations, that is what I will call it. January was pre-mock, February was Mock, March was Mock, April to May was West African Senior School Certificate Exam (WASSCE), June was JAMB Exam, June to July was Nigerian Examination Council (NECO) Exam. Then September to October was General Certificate of Education (GCE) then October was resumption into UNILAG!
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Yea so it was a year of examinations! So obviously I did JAMB only once and I scored 315 (out of 400)
Q: You just mentioned 315 like…
Oyindamola Omotuyi: like?
Q: Like it was 206?
Q: So JAMB 315, a primary school that nobody knows, it sounds like a story of greatness out of a low-key background?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Exactly, so everything started from primary four. I know I was best in my class four. Also I worked on challenge in my secondary school.
Q: What is challenge?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Ok. There was a day they called a girl to our assembly ground and they were like this girl, she was in Junior Secondary School Three (J.S.S 3) celebrating WAEC for J.S.S 3 and all that and they were like this girl, I think I was in J.S.S 1. This girl had first position first term then second position second term I was like why is there an A.C current?
Q: You understood A.C current back then?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: No I didn’t
Oyindamola Omotuyi: But later I wanted a D.C current, constant something. And there are sometimes it is not just about a first position. Just like UNILAG – 70 and 100 is still an A but you won’t know the gravity of all those things until you probably go abroad. Abroad, A is like 90 to 94
Oyindamola Omotuyi: 90 to 94 is actually
Seun Noibi & Oyinda Omotuyi: A (minus)
Oyindamola Omotuyi: So like that, my sister was just calling one day and asking is it possible for someone to get 10/10 in all those subjects? I was like hmmn just try it out
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Secondary School was just trying lots of things out but University was majorly based on faith, you know…wisdom of God.
Q: So now back to that faith. You graduated still with your 5.0 CGPA and if I remember correctly you were an executive in your fellowship for the last two or three years?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Last two years
Q: How did you balance faith and school?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Ok. Let me put it like this, year 4 was a bit ok but I was both assistant in both places
Q: Assistant in what?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Assistant Drama Coordinator in RCF UNILAG, Assistant Academic and Library Secretary in Engineering Student Christian Association (I.G @escaunilag)
Oyindamola Omotuyi: So I was basically just an assistant. And obviously you know the right thing to do at the right time, so just do it! That is the truth. Let me put it like this, everybody has twenty four hours, it just depends on the way you use it. And there is always a direction there is always a leading, there is always a structure. I sometimes know when it is time to read. You just know. But year five was very tedious, trust me I was actually at a point let it just end, trust me.
Oyindamola Omotuyi: At a point I had to miss classes and all of that.
Oyindamola Omotuyi: But then thank God for, when I say thank God for some people, thank God for them mehn. They were just there and do what I am supposed to be doing. So probably, sometimes I didn’t have to cook.
SeQun Noibi: So final year you were vice president at RCF?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Yes. Vice-President at RCF (I.G @rcfunilag) and Academic and Library at ESCA (I.G @escaunilag)
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Engineering Student Christian Association
Q: You said a lot about faith; you said a lot about God, do you think you could have still achieved this if you were not a Christian?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: For me, I would say that it won’t have been possible
Q: Why is that?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: For me I don’t know how to be if there is a Life without God. I don’t know, trust me. No, don’t trust me
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Trust me I don’t know. I just know that if there was no God along the way I would have given up. I had breaking points, three breaking points. All of them were electrical courses, electrical, electrical then computer engineering. They were breaking points, a day before my exam I would see test result 9/30. A day before the exam!
Oyindamola Omotuyi: What should I read for the exam? Or you see 5/40. What else? If it weren’t for God this wouldn’t have happened that is the simple truth.
Q: The reason why I ask that is we have to be truthful I’m a student also here too and you see a lot of people that are actively with God on campus but it is not really showing in their Grade Point Average (GPA). To those people what will you tell them? They are serving God but it is not showing in their GPA
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Ok, it really depends. Let me put it like this. For you to have a very good GPA sometime your department is a factor. Do you understand? I will rather say as long as you have done your own part and it is glaring that this is what you are supposed to do and this is what you are supposed to get and this is what the Lord will have you get, fine it doesn’t have to be a first class, doesn’t have to be a second class.
So in fact if I had finished with a 5.0 CGPA without God probably I will be miserable. So what I’m saying is that it is not really about the GPA being high or low. Let it be glaring that, I have done my own part, then it now look like oh it was the lecturer, it was the department. And some cases like that, the Lord will leave it like that probably just to tell you some things. The Lord is not interested in you failing. The Lord is interested in you passing. Let me put it like that.
Q: Now finally, thanks so much for your time. Future plans, what are you planning on doing?
Oyindamola Omotuyi: Systems Engineering is a very good course, in fact it has very great prospect. Probably Nigeria has not yet gone through or sourced out its value in Nigeria, because the three major aspects in UNILAG are control, operation research and robotics. I think I missed one, Simulation and modelling. So now these areas have not been explored and there are a lot of areas. If you ask me what I will like to do I would rather like to explore in all of those areas.
They are a lot, computer vision, my project was based on robotics, a drone and all of that, so there a lot of prospects. Going abroad for masters is a good idea. It is a good prospect to be able to go into this field very well.