Interviews The First Class Diary

First Class Diary: Grade without Grace Makes Merit Inelegant-RA

Written by Abigael Ibikunle

Grade without grace makes merit inelegant.

Hello my readers! It’s another monday and you can be sure that it’s an exciting episode on the series again. How does grade without grace sounds to you? Let’s find out.

Let me introduce my guest today to you, all the way from Osun State University. Please meet, Remilekun Eunice Atobatele. Let me save the rest of the story.

In her words,

Grade without grace makes merit inelegant. Therefore, the two are essential. Howbeit, beyond grace and grade, one should learn to be impactful, a great landmark is not achievable without emulating values that makes one’s footprints memorable.


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

Remilekun Eunice Atobatele: I am Remilekun Eunice Atobatele by name, currently in my M.Sc Finals at the Pan African University, Institute of Life and Earth Sciences.

Born into the family of Mr and Mrs Atobatele who hails from Ijebu-jesa in Oriade local government of Osun State, 25 years ago. The second born of 3 children.

I graduated with a first class honors from Osun State University, department of Geography and Resources Management in 2016. My hobbies are cooking, studying, soliloquizing, praying and seeing movies.

However, I am very inquisitive. Hence, I love to observe thoroughly so that I can digest and derive some new things while I am alone. This explains my distinct behaviour.

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

RA: Yes, a lot. Like I said earlier, I am very inquisitive and this made me love to be alone most times, thinking. I had always imagined what’s happening beyond the atmosphere and beneath the earth surface.

My Geography teacher in SSS 1 made his class enjoyable and all he always said seemed similar to my thought. This motivated me to attend the class although it wasn’t a core course and I wasn’t a bright student as at that time.

Yet, I didn’t have lesser than distinction in the subject throughout that session.
However, changing my school in SSS 2, everyone was complaining of my course combination. Wondering how an art student would prefer not to do literature-in-english and choose geography.

Hence, I decided to create a department for myself (Social Science), I dropped C.R.S for Commerce and I continued with my Geography. Therefore, the difference between a science student and I, was only chemistry and physics while I did Government and Commerce.

I began to love the subject more and more especially because I could pick the text books, read and relate it to my immediate environment. Before I knew it, I was already topping the geography class every term (83, 81, etc). When I wrote my WAEC, I only had 2 distinctions (Geography and Commerce), others were credit score.

Unfortunately, that year Ibadan city where I resided experienced a great flood as a result of torrential rainfall leading to the loss of lives and properties. I was so downcasted because of these massive loss.

Hence, I followed my instinct, I wanted to be a problem solver, I wanted to be an environment advocate, I wanted to ensure the human-nature interaction wasn’t altered so that we don’t experience mother earth’s fury.

My choice of Institution:

Firstly, I carried out an intense research on Universities in Nigeria that offers Geography. But I didn’t want just Geography alone. So, Uniosun caught my attention because of the resource management included. Being a great citadel of learning with an outstanding educational performance made me choose it.

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?

RA: I solely do not agree with this claim. Though it’s understandable that few graduates may be competent yet performance-challenged. But, I believe a lot of factors aside from performance hinders graduate from seeking lucrative jobs.


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

RA: I believe in Nigeria, our educational system is more theoretical in approach than practical. Often times, we were taught how to pass exam and not how to secure a job. This is why graduates in the western nations perform better than us.

The majority of examinations encompass theoretical knowledge leaving behind the application of the knowledge acquired. I think our educational system should be upgraded in the following ways:

  • More energy should be channelled towards the application of knowledge acquired.
  • Students Internship should be promoted
  • Companies should be embrace the internship ideology and create more Internship positions.
  • Every student must be mandated to acquire practical knowledge from discipline-related firm.
  • Students should be properly supervised

For the lecturers:

  • A researcher should be distinctively separated from a teacher.
  • PhD holders should be encouraged to create research based- organizations and not moving them all to academics. Not all PhD holders should be a lecturer
  • Aged lecturers should be allowed to rest and younger generations should be given opportunities explore.
  • Educative programs and benefits (Such as grants, benefits) should be steadily made available
  • Lecturers should be employed based on their expertise and not diversification in other specialization. Such as grants, scholarships, etc

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?

RA: Yeah, a lot of people really contributed to my success story. Firstly, my Mom (Mrs F. O Atobatele), she kept believing in me even amidst my failures. My siblings (Mrs Dolapo Shitta and Boluwatife Atobatele) gave me courage. I derive strength from their comforting words.

Additionally, I am so lucky to have a man (my fiance: Mr. Adekola Fakunle) who gave me confidence despite my fright nature.

My Academic Mentors:

Dr. K.J Samuel (My undergraduate supervisor), he gave me a close monitor academically, he was readily available for any academic assistances. I made use of his textbooks alot and his advices were inestimable.

Mr O.S Durowoju (a lecturer in my department at UNIOSUN), I am fond of calling him my daddy because he has been my all- rounder adviser. He was ever-ready to help me out. I see him as a father figure in my success journey.

Dr Olushola: He was also very helpful, gave me a lot of advice that helped and still helping in my journey.

And a host of other friends; Ifeoluwa Ayegoro, Theophilus Onewo, Rebecca Seweje, Joshua (I met him on Social media), my best childhood friend (Damilola Titiloye); his courage made me believe in myself, Mrs O.L Olanrewaju (her sisterly role during my days in UNIOSUN) can’t be forgotten, Seun Adeshina (her sisterly advices made me focus more on my studies), Emmanuel Idowu (he was more or less like my spiritual father back then) and others that I can’t really remember.

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

RA: No, but I got an African Union Scholarship where I am currently doing my M.Sc


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

RA: It’s quite easy to say a Yes, but I believe grace and grade have been speaking for me.

Grade without grace makes merit inelegant. Therefore, the two are essential. Howbeit, beyond grace and grade, one should learn to be impactful. A great landmark is not achievable without emulating values that makes one’s footprints memorable.


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

RA: They should be more studious, remain focused and determined. Never should they undermine their dreams. It’s never too late until one gives up.

Championship is a hilly-valley ship, keep sailing till you attain your goals.


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

RA: I once read that if you want to destroy a country, let their be decadent their educational system. My advices are:

  • Encourage and promote more educative programs.
  • Revamp the infrastructures in our institutions.
  • Modify our curriculum to suit this digital era that we are.
  • Engage lecturers in brainy duties that could put their competency into a test.
  • Great rewards should given to both outstanding lecturers and students.
  • Encourage firm/institution research partnerships.


AI: Any other thing you would like to share?

RA: Hmmmm, My mum once said to me, you can never be graced when you have not been disgraced, so that you would have a story to tell. This statement kept me going.

Therefore, I will conclude by saying comparison is not allowed but healthy competition could be. What anyone thinks about you doesn’t matter, what you think about yourself does.

Never give up because of a defeat because the aftermath is success. Diamonds are gotten after several profuse sweats.

Keep putting more efforts in whatever you are doing a great reward is awaiting you. Thank you!


That’s it for this week’s episode. I hope you enjoyed the interview. Got a scholar you would love to be featured? Would you like to sponsor any of our scholars you find their stories inspiring?

Do you want 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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