Born into the warm embrace of Ajayi Abiodun and Ajayi Fatima in the heart of Osogbo, Ajayi Abiola Bamidele embodies a spirit of unyielding determination. His educational journey began at the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic in Abeokuta, where he laid the foundations of his academic pursuits before moving to Osun Polytechnic, Iree, with unwavering commitment, he recently completed his service year in Oyo, marking a significant milestone in his path to success.
Ajayi’s journey has been marked by the remarkable ability to overcome adversity. Despite facing formidable challenges, including a setback involving malpractice during his final exams, suspended for four semesters Ajayi emerged stronger, refusing to let setbacks define his destiny. Steadfast in his resolve, he remained undeterred even in the face of discouragement from lecturers who doubted his potential.
Today, Ajayi Abiola Bamidele stands as a beacon of inspiration, ready to share his compelling story of resilience and victory. In an exclusive interview with Edugist, he speaks from the United Kingdom and candidly unveils the chapters of his life that have molded him into the tenacious individual he is today. Excerpts
Can you take us back to the moment when you were caught passing answers fellow students during your final exam at Osun State Polytechnic? What was going through your mind at that time?
That moment was one of the moments I will never forget in my life, because immediately many thoughts ran through my head such as my friends been disappointed in me and the people who looked up to me also. I already saw myself as a failure and I really felt sorry for myself.
You’ve mentioned that some of the lecturers were irresponsible and inconsiderate in their activities. Could you share specific instances or examples that led you to this conclusion?
Yeah, I’m sure many students of Osun State Polytechnic will agree with me on this. Many lecturers there are corrupt, honestly. But no one is bold enough to voice it and I get it , because, if they did, their results would be at stake. During my quagmire back then, I wasn’t the only one that was caught and everyone knew that. But because I was not among the big boys on campus with money and a ride and I din’t have connections in school they refused to temper justice with mercy.
I knew of a big boy on campus that was caught with an iPhone 12 at that time but nothing happened, his phone was returned and all issues were swept under the carpet and it was this same man who victimised me that caught him too.
How do you think the behaviour of these lecturers impacts the overall educational environment and the students’ learning experience at the institution?
Well, these lecturers’ bad behaviour have a lot of negative impact on students honestly because everything on that campus is about money and ladies offering their body for marks and good grades. You see a lecturer making life difficult for a female student and her boyfriend just because she refused to agree to be intimate with him. Lecturers saying without fear that a student won’t graduate.
Facing suspension after such an incident can be emotionally challenging. Can you tell us about the support system that helped you navigate this difficult period?
I must say it was one of the most difficult moments of my life because I felt the world had turned against me. But I had the help of good friends who stood by me and some good lecturers too. We still have good lecturers on campus just that the bad ones are spoiling the reputation of the good ones have built. If I’m allowed I will use this opportunity to thank Mr Akinrosoye for still believing in me despite the storm. He is a good man. His kind words and words of encouragement helped me to sail through the storm.
Completing your National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) after the suspension must have been a significant achievement. How did you manage to shift your focus from the setback to successfully completing your service year?
I always tell Nigerian students in Poly to have a back up plan and always explore more in academics, I had to fall back to my plan B which really helped a lot. It took a long process but in the end it was really worth it. And looking back, I remember what a lecturer in the Electrical Electronics department said to me. He said I will never make it in life and that he would see to this. He added that when he was done destroying my life he would be compensated with rice and vegetable oil by the school committee. I didn’t get that part at first but after my investigation I got to know that when a lecturer caught a student in exam malpractice the school board compensated them with rice and oil. Can you imagine he really wanted to bring me down over food?
I guess the Osun state government should work on these lecturers’ salaries. This same lecturer said “If God who created me disabled comes to earth to beg me I will never change my mind about ruining your career.”He said this because I was using God’s name to beg him. This same man I later heard was a pastor.
Congratulations on the success of your online media TV platform. Can you share the journey that led you to create and establish such a thriving digital presence?
Thank you so much, well I got the inspiration of starting it during my school’s internal strike; that was when the school medical centre was set ablaze by angry students due to the death of one of their colleagues. I was at home that day and I realised many students were on their toes and really wanted to know the updates about what was going on and when they will resume back to school. I picked on that and decided become the school’s town crier, gave legit and fresh info on it and that was it! The plan was to be the voice of Ospoly but in the end it got bigger than that but yeah I thank God for the journey so far.
In light of your experiences, what changes or reforms would you suggest to improve the ethical conduct and responsibility of lecturers within educational institutions?
A lot of reforms need to be done most especially on the so call panel. I remember during the time I faced the panel I was not given a chance to defend myself, they already decided what Dey wanted to do. and found me guilty without any form of trial.
This is wrong. They need to work on that and more-so they need to establish a watch dog on the student and lecturers relationship, a committee that has power over lecturers whereby students are allowed to drop anonymous tips and info about corruption going on among the lecturers.They said we should SOROSOKE (speak-up) but they refused to give us the tools needed to do that.
As a leader in the digital media space, how do you intend to utilise your platform to bring about positive change in the field of education and address some of the challenges you’ve encountered firsthand?
I’m working on organising a platform where students can come out with receipts and evidence to bring down all these corrupt lecturers and make sure they dance to the tune of their evil music because many people want to voice out but who will bell the cat? They are all scared but I will make sure I give them a platform that will make it comfy for them to voice out with a good receipt and evidence because ‘evidence must dey if not person go just dey explain till e tire LOL.’