How 24-year-old Ilorin-indigene breaks UDUS 49 years jinx, Graduated with 4.98 in Islamic Studies

Abdulrasheed Akere

Right from secondary school days, Abdulganiyu Abdulrahman Akanbi has been a determined student who always strives hard to attain excellence. The determination made him to be among the top students of his class in a public school — Government secondary school adewole in Ilorin.

Fortunately for Akanbi, a 24-year-old indigene of Ilorin, the capital city of Kwara State, the determination became part of him and followed him to university level. He already had determination to graduate with first-class honors from the university.

“Before I was given admission to study Islamic Studies, I had already nursed a strong determination to graduate with First-class honors in any course I’m given to study. That’s why I put all the effort required to acquire such a challenging feat,” he said boastfully.

Akanbi departed his hometown in the northcentral to the northwest when he was offered admission in 2018 to study Islamic Studies at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS), a second generation university established in September 1975 during the military regime of General Muritala Muhammad.

When Akanbi arrived in Sokoto, he realized that there was no place like home but had no choice but to adapt with the new home. He didn’t allow the nature of weather conditions in the seat of Caliphate to affect his determination. As a result, he transitioned from 100-level with Grade Points (GP) of 4.89 out of 5.0 grading system. It was because he had C in a 2-unit course among the courses he offered.

Moreso, he had B in a 2-unit course while in 200-level, which made him come out with 4.92 Cumulative Grade Point Average or CGPA. He had a perfect GP of 5.0 in 300-level and 400-level which cumulatively formed 4.95 and 4.96 CGPA respectively. “It is notable that I had the best results in my 300 and 400 levels respectively while I built my academic excellence right from my first year,” said Akanbi.

Findings showed that Usmanu Danfodiyo University is one of the hardest universities to study in Nigeria and it produces very few first-class sessionally. Her first-class ranges from 4.50 to 5.0 CGPA. Evidently, at her just concluded 2024 combined convocation for 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st sets, only 167 graduates bagged first-class honors out of more than 13,000 graduates convocated.

According to the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof Lawal Suleiman Bilbis, “In terms of academic achievements for all the four sets, 167 students graduated with first-class honors, 3,486 with second-class upper division, 9,573 with second-class lower division, and 15 with pass degrees.”

The VC clarified that, “Adeyi Mercy Enyo-Ojo (B.Agric) emerged as the best-graduating student of the 38th set — 2018/2019 session with 4.78 CGPA; Ismail Abdullateef (B.Forestry) topped the 39th set — 2019/2020 session with 4.72 CGPA; while Salahudeen Sodiq (B.Sc Accounting) best the 40th set — 2020/2021 session with 4.73; and Abdulganiyu Abdulrahman Akanbi (B.A Islamic Studies) stood out of the 41st set — 2022/2023 with 4.96 CGPA.”

Historically, the highest CGPA of the university since its inception was 4.95 produced by the Mathematics department in 2015 until Akanbi bagged first-class honors with 4.96 and broke the long-standing 49 years jinx.

Achievement with no appointment Many students of the university and externals were shocked with surprise when the combined convocation was concluded without awarding Akanbi for attaining such a great academic feat. He was not even called onto the stage for proper recognition in the presence of several dignitaries who graced the event.

Not only Akanbi, many best-graduating students of various faculties who deemed it fit to attend the convocation despite all odds were disappointed instead of being appointed. Recent report by The ICIR has it that UDUS first-class graduates were disappointed over lack of public recognition at the concluded convocation.

Regardless, Akanbi was the happiest man on the surface of the earth for topping the university. “I believe every winner is always happy. And as such, I’m very excited to have graduated with a first-class and top of my class. Not only that, as the best graduating student in my faculty and the whole university during the 2022/2023 academic session,” he expressed blissfully.

“When I gathered that my CGPA was the highest so far since the establishment of the university, my happiness increased while I remained grateful to the Almighty Allah for His blessings and grace, and my lecturers, mentors, and all those who made the journey possible. Specially, the unlimited support I enjoyed from my parents, siblings and my legitimate partner who is a colleague in the department.”

Challenges in the journey

Akanbi loves reading, writing (especially in Arabic Language) and exploring productive opportunities. He enjoys gisting and playing at leisure time. This multilingual scholar communicates in Yoruba, English, Arabic and Hausa properly.

When he was asked about his academic challenges, he narrated thoughtful ordeals he went through before graduating with flying colors. In his words, “Definitely, there is a price as a sacrifice for any good things achieved. In my case, though I easily adapted with the change of environment, I faced some challenges ranging from unstable weather causing differing health issues, and minimally, paucity of funds. I could remember how I became a monthly-visitor of the clinic.”

In his 200-level, he couldn’t afford some of the recommended materials to enhance his studies which left him in deep worries. He was able to overcome it through connection with friends, lecturers, mentors and more.

Akanbi’s source of motivation

This young graduate unveiled that his motivation for greatness is his parents, especially his mother who he promised to always make proud. And also his lecturer whom he drank from their experiences and ocean of knowledge.

Akanbi said, “Aside from my lecturers who have been instrumental in shaping my intellectual prowess, successful individuals in the profession such as Prof. Isiaq Oloyede, the JAMB’s registrar, are also part of my motivations.”

“My constant motivation is deeply rooted in some several naturally inspiring, mind-soothing and enticing religious texts of the Glorious Qur’an and Prophetic traditions,” he added.

First-class honor is the best — Akanbi says

The outstanding graduate advised all undergraduates to be determined and know the class of degree they want to graduate with. “I will advise them to aim for first-class honor and work for it because that is the best class of degree. They should research what it requires to bag it, be focused on it and have adequate planning.”

He encouraged extracurricular activities such as campus journalism which would help them to develop good writing and communication skills. Akanbi said prayers will also help and ask students to be fervent in prayers and to always sort elderly advice.

“I do not know what life after campus has for me, but my plan is to explore more opportunities and go for postgraduate studies immediately. This is because I don’t want to relent at all.”