My passion for excellence drove me to work hard –Seunara Arotiba, best 2018 WASSCE candidate

A medical student at the University of Ibadan, Peter Arotiba, who was recently awarded the National Distinction and Merit Award by the West African Examination Council for emerging the overall best candidate in the 2018 West African Senior School Certificate Examination, shares the secret of his success in this interview with ADEMOLA BABALOLA

At what age did you start primary school?

I started primary school at the age of five. I attended Champions International School, Magboro in Ogun State. I recall taking the first position in my class, but it wasn’t all the time. There was a particular boy who always gave me a tough time in school. His name is Muiz. He took the first position once when we were in primary three. After that, by God’s grace, I started leading the class.

Later, I gained admission to the Air Force Secondary School in Ikeja, Lagos. When I sat for the junior NECO (National Examinations Council examination),  I had As in Mathematics and English Language. In fact, I had the best result in my school. I proceeded to science class and to the glory of God, I emerged the overall best candidate in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination.

How did you manage to achieve such a feat?

At first, I had thought that it was beyond my ability to have the best result in the examination. But I set a target for myself and prayed about it. I prayed to have 9As and it came to pass.

 What’s your family background like?

I am the second child among my parents’ three sons. My dad is a lawyer and my mum is a teacher. She teaches at the Air Force Secondary School Ikeja, where I had my secondary school education.

How did you develop a reading habit?

The reading habit came naturally to me. That knack for acquiring knowledge is something God has given to me. I have always loved to read books.

What was discipline like in your school?

There was a high level of discipline and pupils were expected to always be of good behaviour.  It is a military school. For that reason, I think, some elements of military discipline were inculcated in us. Although we had a few stubborn ones among us, the majority of the pupils were disciplined and cultured.

Did you have private teachers?

When I was preparing to sit for common entrance examination, I had a private teacher who taught me Mathematics and English language. In secondary school, I had private teachers for Further Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry.

 What motivates you to work hard?

When I was in secondary school, the pursuit of excellence drove me to work hard. Besides, my parents taught me to always be hungry for success.

What are your fears?

I have outgrown the fear of failure. Now, I’m certain that with God, failure isn’t possible in my life. My only fear now is not fulfilling God’s purpose. I trust God, however, that I’ll fulfill His will.

What roles did your parents play in your success story?

The roles they played are enormous and as a matter of fact, immeasurable. They were my first mentors and teachers. They believed in me long before I started believing in myself and they always encouraged me to strive for excellence. They also taught me how to approach goals. Finally they have been 100 per cent fantastic in providing emotional support.

What about your school and the teachers?

 The AFSS Ikeja is a school that provides all round quality education in character and in learning for its pupils. As a pupil, I enjoyed the privilege of having the best teachers in the country, access to quality books and laboratory facilities, as well as a conducive learning environment. These factors played pivotal roles in shaping my success.

 My teachers always went the extra mile to make sure we understood the various concepts that they taught us. They were very approachable. Virtually all the teachers who taught me contributed in one way or another to my success as a pupil. Time will not allow me to mention all their names, but they include Mr Goodluck, Mr Shoaga, Mrs Ekanem, Mr Anyanwu, Mrs Abdulsalam (of blessed memory) and Mrs Awofeso, among others.

 What do you intend to do after graduating from the university?

 I don’t have a clear picture yet. I still have quite a lot of time to spend at medical school. However, I intend to do my residency abroad. I’ll most likely specialise in Paediatrics. After practising for a while, I intend to delve into Agriculture. It sounds funny, but that is what I want to do.

I trust God to give me a clear picture of how he wants me to spend the rest of my life to the glory of His name.

What is your social life like?

 I’m a football fan. I’m an ardent supporter of Barcelona FC and I love Lionel Messi a lot. So I watch football a lot. I’m not that gifted as a player, though. I love music, too and my taste for music has evolved over the years. For me, the best way to unwind is to hang out with friends while enjoying the cool evening breeze. Sometimes, I watch movies or read novels.

Source: Punch

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