A Nigerian, Onoriode Aziza, made waves when after he bagged 3 First Class degrees from OAU, Nigerian Law School, and Cambridge University – all at age 23.
Onoriode’s father is a retired civil servant while his mom is a professor at the Delta State University. He praised his father for his counsels which helped my his remarkable achievements possible.
“Although I had a penchant for childish excesses, good parental discipline, and support from my siblings led me in the right path, and into starting my schooling at a tender age. I believe this gave me a spirit of extreme determination, a trait I believe, is my most distinct feature. he stated.
He spoke with Bella Naija and here are excerpts from the interview
I Was Never a Genius
After strenuous struggles at the prestigious Kings College Lagos, I was admitted to study law at Obafemi Awolowo University at 15. Young, naïve and free-spirited, I took up the challenge of studying law – and a daunting challenge it was! My initial years were rough. I initially had a writing style used across all examinations, but wildly fluctuating grades quickly taught me to pick courses only after careful enquiry, and tailor examination answers to the tastes of the particular lecturers. After initial skirmishes with unpleasant grades, I later became consistent and my CGPA hovered around a 4.4 from the second semester of my third year until my very last result. The fact that I am the only first class graduate of the Faculty of Law in the last four years confirms the difficulty of the task.
The Daunting Feat of Law School
Proceeding to the Nigerian Law School at 20 presented even more challenges: I was forced to compete with my colleagues in the Yenagoa Campus and with the five other campuses of the Law School system; I was exposed to seminar-styled lectures sometimes running into six hours in length with only a thirty minute break, as opposed to the maximum of two-hours I was accustomed to in the university; I was compelled to challenge myself on a national scale against the best and brightest of students around Nigeria; and I was constantly reminded that as the best graduating law student from OAU, I had to replicate this excellence on a national scale. I had the benefit of fantastic lecturers at the Yenagoa Campus of the Law School who showed me the nuances of the system and how to make the most of it. After ceaseless hours of working through the year and during the externship programs, I sat the bar examinations and made my 2nd first-class and finished as the second best in Nigeria.
I recall joking with my friends that whilst I do not have the dexterity of Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo on a football pitch, I may have the ability to score a hat-trick of first-class results. The Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge was the venue, the flagship Masters of Corporate Law (MCL) Degree was the target and I prepared myself for an epic battle of intellect.
Funding a Masters in Cambridge is a big issue. Prior to resumption, and facing the prospects of having my admission revoked, I wrote ceaselessly to prominent Nigerians, Senior Advocates, Governors, Ministers, and Governments, requesting funds and promising to be bonded in service to them or to the country upon my return if granted the funds. As expected, my entreaties were met with a mixture of deafening silence and tenuous, pontifical excuses. Thankfully, I finally secured a scholarship just in time to commence the program.
Cambridge and the MCL brought competing to an entirely new level. The minimum eligibility requirement to take the MCL was a first class in the university, and the course admits a maximum of 25 students in the world. With an eventual cohort of 23 students spread through 16 countries and all continents, including students who had concluded doctoral programs, and students working in the Central Banks and Securities Commissions of their home countries, I had no doubt that around and beside me were some of the best and brightest brains in their respective countries. The prospect of learning with and competing against them was scary and refreshing in equal measure. Whilst realism told me it would be difficult, optimism told me it is possible.
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