Olaniyi Ridwan Dolapo popularly known as Agbaye, shares his academic story and journey with Edugist. Agbaye has moved from poor performance, lack of vision and purpose in secondary school to becoming a student leader, mentor, teacher and a leading force in helping students get better in Osun state.
Born into a polygamous family, Agbaye against all odds became a cynosure who is now a graduate of Mass Communication and the brains behind ‘increase the volume’ a daily motivational and inspirational quotes that come from the depth of reality. A dedicated students’ teacher with over six years of experience in helping, organising, and mentoring students on a part to excellence basically around campus.
Agbaye is a public speaker passionate about raising eloquent students and dedicating all his time to campus activity years after graduating from campus. In this conversation with an Edugist reporter, he reveals how his life trajectory changed after moving to study mass communication after doing music in the ancient city of Oyo, from Oyo to Iree, Osogbo, Osun state his life changed and since then has refused to go back to Oyo. Excerpts:
Describe your academic journey?
Maybe my background, maybe the friends I chose, my journey from secondary school was not one to be proud of. I must confess as a person, I give thanks to God each time I look at myself again. You know how it is to be a student, visionless without no direction, it was that bad.
Then, I only went to school to play, and I chose my department because my friends were there, no goal, no vision, nothing. Just follow others sheepishly. But fast forward to tertiary institution, everything changed and I was able to make a good name for myself, it wasn’t easy, but my tertiary education was great.
How many years did you spend at home before gaining admission in a tertiary institution?
Let me say, three or four years, this is because I sat for WAEC like three times and it was very tough as a young boy with no academic compass and proper guidance.
How can you describe your first year on campus?
My first year on campus came with determination, I came prepared knowing I was academically poor, so it was all work and work till I made myself a good image. I dedicated my energy to everything good around and I explored all available options,group reading, tutorials, night class, marathon class and all. You know how it is when you are trying to make something out of nothing. It was that bad.
What’s your passion and what has kept you going?
One thing that makes me go better is; I don’t like being in a circle and remain irrelevant or useless, so I’m always giving the best so my name will be mentioned when naming the great ones.
While in school, describe yourself and the things you were able to do?
While in school, I was able to build great minds and encourage people who one way or the other may have poor academic background like me too before my life was transformed.I represented the school at an inter-institution debate, I senate president during my National Diploma and Higher National Diploma, no one is perfect, but I’ve contributed many students lives in my own way. I have participated in everything that I know can bring value to the table for the students.
What’s your course of study and is it the same as your passion or was it because you had no options?
Mass Communication was my study, but like I said, while in secondary school, I had no vision. But practically, I’ve loved to speak in front of the masses, so I choose Mass Communication not because there is no other option. That was what came to my mind and I went for it and I thank God for today.
What are your most challenging days on campus and how are you able to overcome them?
During the first phase (ND), not being able to answer a question I was given in a test class, the one beside me covered his paper. He was a friend although I didn’t stop walking with him because of that. I turned that weakness to strength.
It is now a good memory each time I remember because I was able to change. And when I was in HND, that was one of the toughest parts of my life, I paid school fees from begging people, even someone I don’t know, but not today, the story is perhaps for another day. It was a very tough one.
Lecturing on your campus?
I’ve experienced great lecturing from great lecturers, but yet, not all lecturers understand teaching, and their attitude? Some are just blessings, and some are not supposed to be taking classes.
What can the government do to improve education through lecturers?
Same story, same song, maybe the government and the school need to do proper screening for the lecturers too, one can be brilliant, it doesn’t make that person a good lecturer. There should be quality control and periodic evaluation and report.
Influence of money on education?
I laugh, in this current era, there is no education without money, no student can survive that. Money is very essential. A student who doesn’t lack anything money can solve should be able to focus more. I guess, education is money.
What’s your driving force despite your academic challenges?
I don’t know how I fell into that, but teaching is my therapy, my solace, and all I need is a certain number of people who are ready to learn, one of the things I can’t say no to in this world is when I’m called to come and impact lives (teaching). My passion is “the people who are ready to learn.”
Speak about your challenges in school and what were the lessons?
Well, in our current society, especially Africa or let me say Nigeria, nothing guarantee success, but of course going to school and acquiring certificate is like you having a reason life suppose to be fair to you. No matter how far the value of education falls, an educated person has an edge.
Is formal education overrated?
It is not overrated, it’s essential, although for people who are interested in education and not just going to school.
Describe secondary education in your locality and what things can be changed?
The secondary education, well, I can’t call the whole years a waste of time, but six years is too much to my suggestion, and in this country, secondary education is not really preparing students ahead tertiary, believe me, or maybe I can say the secondary schools around me are not encouraging
Do you agree that the reading culture among secondary schools is dead?
Dead long ago, the few doing it are probably being monitored by their family, the secondary education doesn’t offer much, but I can’t tell in private schools. You go to a public school no teacher, no one is showing serious concern and no motivation as well.
What form of education is the best for you, formal, informal, or technical?
My parents did not plan for me. But I’ll do for my children, they will have all, they won’t put all energy into formal education, for me, none of my children will use 6 years in secondary school when there are other things to acquire (informal and technical education).
You moved from the streets of Ibadan, as a local music lover into academics, what’s the motivation?
Well, like I said, being among the good and leading people of any place I go is one thing, I don’t joke with. My mother woke me up one midnight and said “it’s all about school now, I’ve done my best, don’t ask me for anything except is about your academics.”
How I wish she knew better and helped me plan it, but she motivated me with those words because I’m always looking forward to give her reasons to never regret spending on my academic journey, especially my first year, she followed me down to the school and helped me with things. What a great mother.
What’s your favourite educational quote?
School in our generation might be a scam as claimed, but being educated is not.