Glory Ezike is a graduate of the department of Accounting who graduated with a CGPA of 4.91 out of 5.0. She was the best graduating student of Bowen University at the 12th convocation of the university for the 2016/2017 session. She shares her journey though the university, her aspirations and advice for upcoming students in this interview with vasiti. Excerpts from the interview below…
Please can we meet you?
My name is Ezike Glory Ekpereka, I am from Anambra state, a graduate of Bowen University, Iwo, Osun state. B.Sc Accounting.
Can you tell us about life in Bowen University?
Life in Bowen University… As a fresher, university life was so hectic and so much demanding. There were so many new rules to abide by, registrations rigours, etc.
Moving to higher levels, I became accustomed to the life of a student. It was more like ‘the higher you go the tougher it becomes’ kind of thing. Especially in the Accounting department, substantial part of the whole day was dedicated to lectures with little time to myself. By and by, I realised truly that once there’s life, there is hope.
But then during my final year project days, I felt like it was all over. Project requirements were so draining and exhausting. In all, I was able to scale through owing to the excellence and Godliness instilled in me in Bowen University.
In terms of teaching and excellence where would you place Bowen University?
On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say 7. Teaching isn’t complete without the perfect teaching environment. I am so expectant of an air conditioned classroom and study area. Asides that, my Alma Mata should be rated a 9.9
What was your motivation while in school?
I could do all things through Christ who strengthened me.
You graduated as the best graduating student, how did you attain this feat?
First, I owe it all to God, only he did what no man could do. Also, as an undergraduate I was determined not to underutilise any potentials in me. Although this feat wasn’t at all in the picture, I stayed focused, hence didn’t indulge in anything that could alter my personality negatively.
Lastly, I was persistent and consistent. Times when I fell, I kept pushing forward forgetting the past.
During your time in Bowen University, did you have a favorite course and why?
Yes… I loved Financial Accounting because I just had a passion for my ledgers and financial statements.
Which course(s) was the most difficult then and why?
Entrepreneurship courses, they were just too cumbersome. I enjoyed every bit of the classes because they were just so practical. But the problem was, no matter the amount of stories I put down, I just always ended up with a ‘B’. So it was kind of tricky.
Do you plan to practice in your course of study or venture into another field entirely?
Yes I do want to practice in my course of study or say in a closely related field.
As best graduating student there will be quite a number of opportunities open to you at the moment. Could you share some of them with us and what the next steps are for you?
Well… There is an offer to take a second degree in any course of choice on scholarship with salary payment in Bowen University. Also there is a job offer in a company. For some reasons, I am not sure of my next steps yet.
How did friends and family contribute to attaining this great feat of yours?
I had and still have challenging friends who didn’t encourage me in inactiveness or dullness. Hence, I ceased every moment and ensured I was productive.
My family were the most supportive all the way financially, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and in all ramifications. I couldn’t have gone far in life without these ones.
Would you say you were social while in Bowen University?
Erm… As an executive member 2016/2017 set, the academic director of the Nigerian Universities Accounting Students’ Association, Bowen chapter. I could say I was social (outgoing, easy going) to a great extent.
Were you in any relationship back in school?
Any relationship? Well there are all sorts of relationships. Let me just help you out here… No I wasn’t in any boy-girl relationship back in school
What actions did you take or decisions did you make back then that given the opportunity now, you would make a major change or improve upon?
They were not really actions I took or decisions I made but then, I wish knew people earlier, I wish I met a lot of people earlier. In essence, I wish I was able to help people earlier because it was not until my 300 level second semester/ 400 level, I was able to meet with people and then impact on them. Like tutorial wise, academically, I wish it was earlier because I realised there was so much joy doing that, I wish I was joyful from the scratch.
Also I wish I was given the opportunity to speak in public earlier. I remember that it was in my 400 level via some units I was involved in while in school that I was able to speak to the general public and I was so happy I did that. So I wish all those things were early in my university life. Also let me just say saving habit, I wish I was able to save a lot more… a lot earlier in my University days.
There are several complaints about the restrictions given to students in Bowen University. Were you okay with all of them or you also had your differences?
Yeah it could be seen as restrictions but in every setting, in every university there are rules, there are regulations and Bowen University is no exception. But to be honest at first, I was against all the rules because I wasn’t even adapting to them in the first place. As time went by though I got accustomed to them and my consolation was… just look at the results, look forward to the results and I realised that although there were restrictions I realized that the result was worth it. If you could look at some Bowenites lives you would see some kind of discipline in them. So if those restrictions weren’t there it could have been something else. Although there were students there who didn’t comply, but to me personally I got okay with them and I was fine.
What changes do you think can be effected in Bowen University that would bolster the productivity of students academically?
Bowen University is doing fine but then there is still room for improvement. My key words here are investment and facilities and motivation for students. I would appreciate it if Bowen University invests more in facilities because as the year goes by they have more students so it would be better if they bridge the gap between facilities available and the students.
Aside facilities investment, students need motivation. There is nothing that can be compared to motivation in the life of a student. Because once one student is motivated, probably for doing just one thing that is unique and different, every other student would want to do better things. So I believe if Bowen University improves their incentives or whatever it should be called for students, it would better the academic life of a student. In fact, just within Bowen alone there will be better standards for students. Students themselves will raise their own standards because when they see one person doing one thing and the school recognises it even though it was little they will want to do more.
There is a popular contention between private universities and public universities on which one is better. What is your take on this?
Private universities have their own comparative advantages but majorly public universities sometimes outside the country are more reputable with the exception of very renowned private universities. Though looking at the standards in Nigeria, private universities are outperforming public universities owing to their willingness to invest more in the educational aspect, facilities wise, laboratories, technology and on and on. Unlike public universities though they get their quota for investment and all but if you go to some public universities what is there actually is nothing to be reckoned with compared to what is supposed to be.
And again the quality of private universities with a lesser lecturer to student ratio, aids students’ assimilating abilities. What I am saying here is that unlike in public universities where we have a greater lecturer to student ratio with that, students are not able to assimilate well. Even research has proven that with a lesser lecturer to student ratio it is better for a student. Also lecturers can have time for the students, students are able to ask questions, students are able to relate with their lecturers and they get to be clear on what is not. Compared to when you have a large number of students, and lecturers don’t even care whether you understand or not.
Also the security, in private universities there is better security and less immorality. Say when we have the hostels inside the school, you know to a great extent it reduces immorality. And majorly there is more discipline in private universities. These are basically the comparative advantages private universities have over public universities in my view. By and by private universities are waxing stronger and are performing better.
What do you think the future is for education in Nigeria?
Generally the future for education in Nigeria is bright especially due to the investment of the private sector in the educational sector. Unlike before when people do not actively invest in the educational sector but nowadays, you see especially in Oyo state, you see different schools springing up, the private primary schools, nursery schools and on and on. So there is hope for the future for education in Nigeria because of all these coming up here and there.
Even in the government sector, the government if they would continue to allocate budget wise a large portion to the education, definitely there will be hope for a better education level and standard in Nigeria. Like with all the private schools, universities and all, it improves the standard, it increases the competition. There is a better place for education in Nigeria, so there is hope for Nigeria in education
In your view can just anyone be the excellent student that you were in school?
Well… it’s a yes and it’s a no because an ordinary person can be that excellent student and also an ordinary person may not be the excellent student. Okay the determining factor here is God because coming down to my life, I am a really ordinary person. In fact, I am just too ordinary, I don’t know but when God taps something in you there just this feeling that he will never abandon you. So the point here is anybody can be that…
God can use anyone to be at the top of whatever. You firstly have to make yourself available and you know when you are with God, God is not a lazy man. He builds you up, you are able to study, and you are not just an uncommitted type. God puts his mind into something and he does it. So we dare to behave like him, we become like him and that ordinariness in you becomes super ordinary. That’s all I have to say there. Anybody can do anything with God that strengthens them.
What advice do you have for others who desire to attain the same feat as yours?
To students aspiring to get to the top, you must put God first in everything and anything you do. When I get discouraged, the grace of the comforter (the Holy Spirit) abounds even greater.
Yeah yeah… God also wants you to study to show yourself approved. Whatever you find yourself doing, ensure you do it well. There will be pressure, competition, challenges, but please stay focused. Show a lot of respect, love, towards your, parents, roommates and people in general. Because you don’t know who is going to be your helper next.
Lastly, there is one thing I got convinced about and helped me all through which was to say ‘NO TO CHEATING!!!’ You would see a lot of wonders it would do your personality. It would build your confidence and help you to be dependent on God not a friend. Your study life will improve drastically!! Plus, stick to Philippians 1:6.