Despite the fact that she was a high flyer in her first two years in UNILORIN, the now 25-year-old indigene of Ilorin, Kwara State, got distracted along the line. She played the campus love game and got a shocking result: she got pregnant.
It was in 2006 and in her third year. She was pregnant for a fellow student whom she had been dating. She was disappointed in herself and thought the whole world was crashing on her. Yet, she vowed not to terminate the pregnancy.Although she wanted to continue her studies in the university, she became disillusioned and dropped out at 18. She sought consolation in trading. But her father, Shehu Farooq, who believed that his daughter’s academic prowess should not be wasted, was determined to get her back on the academic track.Today, Aishat has a different story. On Saturday, she stood tall among her peers at the 5th convocation ceremony of Bells University, Ota, Ogun State, where she emerged the overall best graduating student with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.93.
“The rebel in me won,” Aishat declared while giving the valedictory address on behalf of the 208 graduating students of the university.
“I hope my story will inspire at least one person to change his or her circumstance. I was pregnant at 18 and by 19 I was already a mother. I had disappointed my father who believed so much in me. He had such big dreams for me and feared the dreams would become unfulfilled,” she added.
Breaking the news of the pregnancy to her father, who was at the time based in the northern part of the country, was not easy. Aishat’s mother, Fatima, who stayed in Lagos with the family, did not break the “sad news” to the man until the lady was almost due. The mum then feared her husband would be too angry.
Aishat studied Business Administration with specialisation in Human Resources Management, and received the Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for the Overall Best Graduating Student with a cash reward of N50,000 and a plaque. She also won the College of Management Sciences Prize and Department of Business Administration Prize for the Best Graduating Student.
Speaking with Punch’s Temitayo Famutimi after she received the awards, Aishat, whose face beamed with smiles, expressed gratitude to her dad for not losing hope in her during her trying time.
She noted, “I did exceptionally well and bagged awards in the schools I attended. I had the overall best result at the Senior Secondary School Certificate level at Model Secondary School, Maitama, Abuja. In fact in UNILORIN, I was on the first class grade in my first year but in 200 Level, I dropped to second class upper division because I had already started getting distracted by the boys.“It just happened that things turned out the way it did. But here I am, a product of God’s unending mercies, unconditional love and grace – all coupled with the faith my dad had in me and my fierce determination.“I’m a goalgetter. I push myself hard. Even here in spite of being a mother, I was pushing for the best despite the challenges. I wanted to make my dad proud again. Once you are determined, nothing is impossible. Nothing can stop you.”