FROM A REJECTED LAW STUDENT TO A CELEBRATED HISTORY STUDENT: MY LASU STORY / TRAJECTORY - Pelumi Olugbenga








                                                                   Pelumi Olugbenga

Just as an old man in his last days on earth has a heavy heart laden with thoughts of his struggles and breakthroughs in life,  I sat there under the tree that warm evening starring at the faculty building with mixed feelings of achievements and regrets. In the mood of an athlete who sustained heavy injuries in a marathon race he ultimately crossed the finish line - I was lost in a world of my own thoughts of what could, and; could not have been.

 I secured admission to study law at the Lagos State University in 2014. I had dreamt of living the life of a law student at LASU - a dream I had nurtured since my formative years in high school. I recall how the rains of tears flooded my heart at the MBA complex in January, 2015 after I was informed of my rejection as an admitted law candidate. I cried, cried and cried; my early dreams faded off like smoke but if only men know what the future would look like?

I eventually changed my course from Law to History and International Studies. The latter was an unfamiliar territory. I had never dreamt of studying History and International Studies all my life - even my most insane imaginations failed to capture the thoughts for once. But as fate would have it, I eventually became a student of History and Global Politics - and as God said in the book of Proverbs chapter 19 vs 21 : "Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established"

The beginning was tempestuous but I'm grateful to the Creator and individuals like Osita Odafi(Posh Prof), Fadare Kehinde, Awesu Olaniyi Williams, Elesho Moyosoreoluwa, Moshood Adewale and many others who helped me to settle down.

THE LASU I MET IN 2015
All through my four years in LASU -  I experienced the pastiche in a typical Nigerian university. A few months(in March, 2015) into my LASU journey, the drums of crisis rented the air. There was a major disagreement between the university workforce and the university authority so much so that the then University Administration declared a "recess" for we students - the recess lasted for over 3months. This was a period of doubts and fear - many taunted me with comments like "LASU is not a university; it's a tutorial centre". I was pained to my marrows - the budding fire of patriotism in me went off like that of a candle and truly - I questioned if I made the right choice to attend the Lagos State University. I found myself in the dilemma of a Lion and a Gazelle. What is this dilemma? Read till the end. 

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve.  The lion represents the leader in the market: he feeds on his competition and swallows up the weakest gazelles. The gazelles symbolize the “herd” of average players that flood the market and swarm the terrain in packs. Where one gazelle goes, the rest follow. This  hatred of being average or a mediocre explains why I took on the strength, zeal and muscles of a Lion in the course of my stay in LASU.

As fate would ultimately have its way, it was in this period of the 2015 crisis I fell in love with LASU the more - it was in this period I saw an opportunity to make a change, work with the community to push a new narrative and relish the greatness around us.  It was in this period I discovered very recent LASU Alumni members who had their postgraduate studies at Harvard University (Jesutofunmi Olabenjo), Oxford University(Chinedu Geoffrey) and other top universities across the world - some of whom later became my mentors and whose success stories helped inspire my own subsequent exploits abroad as I saw LASU as a fledgling Eagle who was yet to discover its ability to fly and soar. I recall that it was during this period(first semester, 100level) that I published my first ever article on LASU which was titled "BE THE LASU OF YOUR DREAM" - it called on members of LASU community - particularly students to look beyond our past challenges, draw strength from our history and strive for greatness. This publication also attracted the attention of the then students' union president - AWO; who immediately pronounced me as his 'special adviser'.  It was equally during this period of crisis that I had a foundation in student leadership from individuals like Adeyemi Wasiu Onikoro(AWO), Nurruden Aregbesola Olayinka, and a few others who baptized me into the aluta realm.

January 2016: Heralding of A New Dawn

On the 6th of January, 2016,  Professor Olanrewaju Adigun Fagbohun; SAN, was appointed as the new Vice Chancellor of the Lagos State University. The past three years (January,2016 - January,2019) of his administration have proven to be a defining one for me and my darling university. We've witnessed unprecedented transformation across all spheres as a university. I equally remember how the "GNS CHALLENGE" became a defining moment in my life. This was however not accidental, as you can see in the trajectory of my story that I had developed an intimacy towards my university, I had a hunger to contribute and I was unyielding about its development. The GNS (General Nigerian Studies) Challenge, which affected over ten thousand students in 2016 was the big oppourtunity to work with the community to make a change I had a long thirst for. Immediately the challenge came to bare, I began to aggressively engage the university administration on the need to ameliorate the short term problems and push the frontiers of reforms for an overhaul of the LASU Centre for GNS. In this regard, I'm forever grateful for the role played by individuals like Sekoni Tayo - the then LASUSU President - whom despite all the pressure from different quarters ensured I meritoriously served on the Review Committee. It was a period I endured the toil of hard work and also an array of threats, blackmail and lies from individuals who were bent on bringing us down.   My service on the Review Committee heralded a new era in my life and this informs why I will soon be unveiling the "PELUMI OLUGBENGA'S SCHOLARSHIP AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN LASU GNS COURSES". This will be a tuition scholarship for the best students in the four GNS courses. This I believe will greatly encourage excellence in the learning and studying of GNS courses at the Lagos State University.
Pelumi and Professor Olanrewaju Adigun Fagbohun; SAN

The GNS experience also helped to lay a foundation for me in civic leadership, which encouraged me to apply for training programmes abroad through resources I got from websites like oppourtunitiesforafricans.com

Nevertheless, in life, our setbacks are invisible but they happen more often than our successes.  The most successful men in the world 'achieved' more failures than successes. In less than a year, to the glory of the Almighty God, I traveled to the United States four different times(I attended   training programs at the World Bank Group Headquarters and the United Nations General Assembly) - I equally saw five different countries in the process but out of every single application whose acceptance/success facilitated these travels - at least 7 other applications were rejected/failed. Simply put, when I go online to apply to many of these programmes - if I apply to 8 of them - I mostly get selected for just one. Those of us who use websites like youthoppourtunites.com (the other website where I got these opportunities from) understand the point I'm making. It all boils down to the number of knocks (failures) you can take and still soldier on(never give up).

My final year and final days in LASU  brought a fresh dimension of joy into my life. For over three years, I developed maverick tendencies toward religious beliefs but an encounter with the Holy Ghost changed the narrative. I deeply appreciate the company of those who although do claim to be my mentees but in reality are some of my best friends : Adebiyi Kehinde, Ayomide Mariam Ogboye, Shotunde Oladimeji, Dayo, Habeeb and so many others on the Campus Movement for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)- who are blazing the frontiers of excellence through the spirit of service and civic leadership.


 APPRECIATING THE SUPPORT SYSTEMS
Firstly, I give all glory and appreciation to Almighty God, the maker of my destiny. To my family members, my mum, my siblings, my brother and his family (who hosted my series of holidays in ATL), the entire Oluwole family and the Babatuyis for being the bedrock of my life.

To Professor Fagbohun and his family, I can spend the rest of my life appreciating your life-changing support and it still won't be enough. The best asset you can ever get from a successful man is not his wealth but his mindset. Professor Fagbohun imbibed in me the values and spirit of hard work, consistency, discipline and integrity. These  values and principles have been a driving force in my thirst for greatness in life. To all my departmental Lecturers on whose shoulders I learned how to fly - thank you so much for everything sirs/mas - we owe you a bright future.

I equally appreciate the leadership, support and  mentorship of Professor Biodun Akinpelu, Professor Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello and Mr. Wale Anthony for the defining impact they've had on my life. To the Dean of Students' Affairs - Dr. Olufemi Obayori: thank you so much for everything sir. You are one of the most principled men I've ever come across. You have a brave but loving heart - the fire will never burn out sir.

 Some Centres and Offices were pivotal to my stay in LASU. All members of staff at the Office of the Vice Chancellor, CIPPR, LASU Career Development Centre (Dr. Ofem), Students' Affairs, Counselling Unit, the Centre for GNS, the Security Unit and the entire LASU Community - I'm forever grateful to you all for your support. In the same vein, I equally salute the past and present students' union leaders I had the honour to share different memories with - thank you all for the experience.
 To Pastor Mavis C. Orji - whom through the Creator has unlocked a phenomenal part of me - God bless you sir -  the future has a lot in store!

Today is equally an emotional day for me. I recall how almost impossible it was for me to walk as a child, losing my biological father at the age of six and my guardian 5years later. Life has been a hodgepodge of painful setbacks and today I look back wishing I still have some individuals around me. But..... life goes on, regardless.
Moving forward, LASU remains a project I'm forever committed to. I'm grateful for everyone I met in the course of my journey in LASU. I relish the fruitful evenings at Mr and Mrs Lewis residence where bright minds like Erinfolami Jumoke(Kristie Ope), Timilehin and many others laughed and shared some of our worries and improbable dreams. We are grateful to the amazing family of Mr and Mrs Lewis for welcoming and impacting so many promising young minds.

To the students, prospective and current, success is no guesswork. It is a product of hard work, sacrifices and tested principles. It represents the wise choice of many alternatives. I strongly believe in a relentless pursuit of excellence - all these make me defy my young age to achieve remarkable feats. Remember, all of your dreams are achievable - it is the power of God, hard work and believe that makes them come true. The reality of life is that no human being can ever be loved by all and many will even wish you always fail but always remember that: it is your responsibility to create the future you want by yourself and for yourself.

Today, I look back to evaluate the life I lived as a student.  I do have some regrets and some things I wish I had done differently. Some days, I wish there were 30 hours in a day - I know how to manage my time but my schedule favor my career development and books more. I wish I had enough time to truly give out my heart to love and be loved in return. I wish I was more flexible. I wish I sufficiently reciprocated the attention I received from my colleagues. But truly, you can't eat your cake and have it - the prize comes with a price.
To the graduating Class of 2018, congratulations to us all. Tomorrow will surely run faster, break us harder but also provide us with the opportunity to brave the odds and carve a niche for ourselves - to become the Lion and not the Gazelle.

In all you do, put God first, be good to everybody you meet, show them love and respect. Talk to someone, live the moment, have fun and feel the world around you.  Find every reason to be happy and always ignore the naysayers; after all: life is too short.
I wish you all the very best in the years ahead!  Thank you for being a great part of me.

May God bless the Lagos State University.
We are LASU, We are Proud! 
We are LASUITES, We are the Greatest!!!


Pelumi Olugbenga Iyanuoluwa (Ambode of LASU)
LASU Student, 2014 - 2018.



FROM A REJECTED LAW STUDENT TO A CELEBRATED HISTORY STUDENT: MY LASU STORY / TRAJECTORY - Pelumi Olugbenga FROM A REJECTED LAW STUDENT TO A CELEBRATED HISTORY STUDENT: MY LASU STORY / TRAJECTORY - Pelumi Olugbenga Reviewed by Kola Oyewole on March 20, 2019 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. This is great and highly inspiring.Now,I am more persuaded that LASU is a breeder of excellent personalities.Oh!LASU here I arrive-A Fresher of English Education.

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