Abdullahi Akintade Akanbi, an Senior Secondary School 3 (SS3) student of Osogbo Grammar School, recently emerged as the best science student in Nigeria in a competition organised by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. In this interview by Oluwole Ige he shared his experience and what motivated him to achieve the feat. Excerpts.
Which primary school did you attend before coming to Osogbo Grammar School?
My full name is Abdullahi Akintade Akanbi. I attended three primary schools. The first primary school I attended is Kings and Queens, which is located in Osogbo. The next primary school I went to is Rock Eternal Model School also in Osogbo and Islamic Nursery and Primary School, where I eventually ended my primary school education.
Why did you attend three different primary schools?
Initially, I didn’t know why I attended three primary schools because I was very young then.
We learnt that you were a student of Molek Secondary School, Osogbo before you came to Osogbo Grammar School. Why did you leave Molek, a private school for a public school?
I left Molek Secondary School, Osogbo because of financial difficulties. That was why I left private school for public school.
What is the profession of your parents?
My father and mother are teachers. They have five children and I am the last born of the family.
How did you feel when you emerged as the best science student in Nigeria.
I was very happy and excited. Some minutes before the announcement, I felt I could not emerge as the winner of the contest considering other brilliant students, who participated in the competition. I thought there was no chance for me to win. My name and state were not mentioned during the announcement. It was the code we used for the contest that was announced. When my code was announced as the winner of the competition, I was very happy, but I was calm and did not show the happiness. It was an amazing moment for me.
Can you give us an insight into how the competition was organised and your emergence as the winner
The competition started at the local government level with participants from 774 local government areas across the country. Then, the competition proceeded to the state level, which involved all the 36 states of the federation. Later, the first 15 contestants were chosen among the 31 local governments in Osun State. Then, the 15 contestants competed among themselves. I represented Osun State at the final of the contest.
What was your score that made you the winner
I scored 124 over 200. The two runners up to me tied by scoring 118 each.
What is your ambition
My ambition is to become a great medical doctor in the future and offer services to the needy, the rich and poor people in the society.
What are the sacrifices you made personally to achieve this feat of the best science student in Nigeria
I abandoned all my extra curricular activities by devoting my time to reading almost 24 hours. As an individual, I love playing football, but I had to stop and spend every day reading my books, through the nights with the ultimate goal of excelling.
Can you describe the happiest moment of your life?
My happiest moment was when I had the presidential handshake with President Muhammadu Buhari. I felt so elated as President Buhari held my hand. I was very happy seeing myself standing beside President Buhari and Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State.
Which course do you intend to study at the university
I want to study medicine and surgery at the University of Ibadan.
Did you write in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and what is your score?
Yes, I did and the result has been released. I scored 332.
What is your message or piece of advice to your fellow students?
My message to them all is to embrace hardwork and determination. When they are determined, all other good qualities would follow and they would record progress in their academics.
Since you emerged as the best science student in Nigeria, what has changed about you?
There is nothing much. All I know is that I have become calmer in my interaction with people, most especially my student colleagues. I also render assistance to my friends in terms of academics.
Where do you see yourself in the next 10 or 15 years?
In the next 10 to 15 years, I see myself as a great medical doctor providing services to the sick.
How would you describe the quality of teaching in Osogbo Grammar School and the performance of the teachers?
The quality of teaching in our school is good and the teachers are trying their best to impart knowledge on students with the available infrastructural facilities.
How did your parents feel when you emerged as the winner of the contest?
They were very happy. The first thing they did was that they congratulated me. The state governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola also congratulated me.
What are your hobbies?
My hobbies are praying, reading Quran and my books.