Interviews The First Class Diary

First Class Diary: Competence Goes Beyond Just Skill Acquisition – OE

Written by Abigael Ibikunle

First Class Diary: Competence Goes Beyond Just Skill Acquisition – OE

Hi everyone! Happy new month, Happy independence to our beloved country. It’s another exciting episode on the series this week.

I present to you all, Ogunleye Emmanuel, from Osun State University. Let me save the rest of the story.

In his words,

Ways of improving performance of graduates goes just beyond individual contribution. It involves collective effort of the government, society and constant self-development by the young graduates.


Abigael Ibikunle of Edugist: Please share with Edugist, a little about your background.

Ogunleye Olubunmi Emmanuel: I’m Ogunleye Olubunmi Emmanuel, from Ondo State, Owo to be precise. I was born and brought up in Lagos state and there I had my primary and secondary education. I’m a graduate of Civil Engineering from Osun State University.

Also, I belong to the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Institute of Structural Engineers (NISTRUCTE) and Institute of Structural Engineers (ISTRUCTE). I’ve been privileged to be the most outstanding student in my class. This is from primary education to tertiary level. It is all attributed to the grace of God and not by my power or effort.

In summary, I would describe myself as someone who is always driven by passion and interest. I chose my intended course of study in the university out of love for it. Apart from academics, Im a lover of music and I’m an instrumentalist.

AI: Was there any motivating factor(s) that influenced your choice of discipline and institution?

OE: Well, I would say my choice of discipline was influenced by my environment. Also, my quest to understand the mysteries behind those massive structures I see. Such as the 3rd mainland bridge and other civil engineering works.

Growing up as a child, most people that stayed around me were engineers and they lived a good life. To some extent, they were rich. That made me really admired the engineering profession from childhood. So, I held the mind-set of never to be poor.

As I grew older, I started getting exposed and seeing some great structures that really fascinated me. Such as the dams, jetties, bridges, high-rise buildings etc.

I was wowed by these massive structures and that led me on a quest to know how they were designed and constructed. That was how I found my way into civil engineering.


AI: There are two major skills that every student must possess: COMPETENCE and PERFORMANCE. While competence revolves around skill acquisition, performance is much more concerned about skills application. It is believed that most graduates are competent because their academic performance testifies to this, but they are performance-challenged. This poor performance ipso facto hinders them from getting lucrative jobs in the labour market. What can you say about this assertion?

OE: Based on my own little understanding, I feel if one is competent for a job or task, he/she should be able to perform. Hence,

I feel competence goes beyond just skill acquisition. It involves you being able to carry out a task and deliver it satisfactorily within time frame.

The reason most graduates are not able to fit into many jobs in the society is because the society is changing constantly. And there is constant technological advancement.

What is being taught in school just serves as a basic idea of what to expect outside. So, when one gets out there, he/she finds out that most of those theories taught in school are already archaic.

Hence, as graduates, we require extra effort to unlearn and relearn theories and concepts to be able to meet up with current trends which most graduates are feeling lazy to do. This renders them incompetent for most job openings out there.


AI: What do you think is responsible for competence without performance? Please suggest ways of improving the performance level of university students and graduates

OE: There are numerous factors which can cause it. These include: economic factors as in the present situation of the country, social factors like the background of the individual, environmental factors etc.

Another major factor which also contributes to this is our educational system in Nigeria. Most of the curriculums taught in schools are old and there hasnt been significant review of those curriculum.

Ways of improving performance of graduates goes just beyond individual contribution. It involves collective effort of the government, society and constant self-development by the young graduates.


AI: Achievement in life transcends one’s personal efforts. There were people who, during your programme, rendered some assistance that made your dreams a reality. Who are specific persons whose contribution you can’t forget in your first-class feat?

OE: The master plan of it all was God and I give him all glory for the grace and enablement to be able to be able to achieve such feat.

I also attribute my success to my parents and siblings, who were always supporting me morally and financially. They never made me lack anything at any point in time that could serve as a distraction.

Also, I had a set of wonderful friends in school who were a source of motivation. Lastly, my Lecturer and Supervisor Dr. S.O.A Olawale who was my inspiration and mentor. I wanted to be like him and achieve similar feats. He was there to mentor me and guide me rightly, even till now.


AI: As a first-class graduate, are you currently gainfully employed?

OE: Yes, with a reputable firm too.


AI: Do you think your grades have or is giving you any major advantage over other graduates with lesser grades?

OE: I can’t really say, but I got my present job because of my grades. As a young graduate who just graduated last year, when I saw the job opening, they needed someone with at least 7years of experience in the field.

The only experience I had was my Industrial Training. Still, I decided to apply for the job regardless because I felt I was able to perform the task.

So, I was invited for an interview and the HR told me she had invited me because I had a first class with zero experience. Thus, she wanted to see what I had to offer. As the least among applicants at the interview, I thought I would not get the job. So, I said to myself that I would just use the experience to see how job interviews were.

To my surprise, when I was interviewed, they told me I performed best compared to other applicants with even many years of experience. That was how I was the only person selected from the multitude of applicants. Hence, to some extent, my grades helped me.

AI: For students who aspire to graduate with outstanding grade like yours, what would you advise them?

OE: I would advise them to first study what they love and have passion for, so they wont struggle. Also, be determined and ready to give it what it takes. Associate with like minds, pray to God for assistance.


AI: What would you advise the government to do to improve the standard of our education system?

OE: Help review our university curriculum. They could start teaching students with the recent happenings and technological advancements. This will enable graduates fit into the society after graduation.


AI: Any other thing you would like to share?

OE: No!


That’s it for this week’s episode. I hope you enjoyed the interview. Do you know any first class graduate that can be featured?

Would you like to sponsor any of our scholars you find their stories inspiring?

To contact any of them for engagements, please reach out to me.

I am Abigael Ibikunle and celebrating excellence is a top priority for me.

iTeach, iSpeak, iTrain, iFacilitate, iWrite, iInterview and iLoveYou all. Smile! See you next week!

About the author

Abigael Ibikunle

Associate Correspondent at Edugist, Abigael Ibikunle is a Mathematics Education graduate. A professional Journalist and a passionate writer. She can be reached via:

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