Some days ago, many national newspaper headlines bore the story of Mr. Gabriel Olarenwaju Akinyemi, who wishes to study Pharmacy. The story of Mr. Akinyemi is spectacular because he is already 60 years old and has been striving to pass JAMB and gain admission. According to reports, JAMB Sunday Bulletin of 26th July, 2020, recounted that Mr. Akinyemi is unhappy with his 2020 UTME score because it was 161, which could not fetch him his desired course of study in University of Lagos, his school of choice.
The low score of Mr. Adeyemi did not deter him from pursuing his dream. Instead of losing hopes, he went back to the JAMB State office in Ekiti State to make enquiries on the next UTME registration exercises. This makes it obvious that he is ready to do everything within his power to achieve his dream of becoming a pharmacist, or even a university graduate.
The story of Mr. Adeyemi may sound weird to many Nigerians, who believe that people at a certain age should quit the pursuance of their dreams and allow the younger generation to achieve that for them. It will be more shocking for some of us to learn that Mr. Adeyemi resigned from his job as a Court Registrar at Ekiti State Judiciary in 2017 just because he wanted to go back to school. Another strange thing about Mr. Adeyemi’s story is that he sat for his SSCE and passed them in flying colours. It was shortly after he received his O’level results that he resigned from his job so he can pursue his dream of furthering his studies and becoming a pharmacist.
According to Nigerian Tribune, Mr. Akinyemi had the opportunity of speaking with Ekiti State Coordinator of JAMB, Mr. Abdulhakeem Abdulhameed, to whom he revealed his desire to obtain a degree certificate. He told the State Coordinator that he had always had the desire to go to school but couldn’t because of financial challenges. According to him, he dropped out of school after his primary education because his parents couldn’t train him further. Right now he seriously desires to be a university graduate.
There might be so many other people like Mr. Akinyemi out there, who either desire to go back to school, or have already done so. I could remember when I was running a programme with National Open University (at their Dutse Alhaji study centre), I met a grandma that could barely walk. I chatted her up and found out she was studying Law. She noticed the awe her ambition had on me and told me, “You never stop learning, even at old age.” Mr. Akinyemi’s desire to seek for knowledge just brought back the memory of my encounter with a probable octogenarian.
I tried all my best to find the contact of Mr. Akinyemi (even if it’s an email address) so I can use my little voice to grant him an audience but I couldn’t. All that JAMB did was write a sketchy story about him to fill up their Sunday Bulletin without doing anything further for him. JAMB did not say if he will be given an admission waiver, nor did they call for stakeholders to sponsor his ambitions. Right now, the only thing Nigerians know is that a sexagenarian wants to write JAMB so he can study Pharmacy, and that’s all. His story ends there.
I think JAMB Ekiti State Office should seek out Mr. Akinyemi and give him more opportunity to make himself known and heard. Who knows, Ekiti State University may decide to grant him the chance to study Pharmacy with that score. Even the University of Lagos may bend their admission processes for him. Who even knows if there are people that might desire to sponsor the man through school? Since JAMB obviously has his details, they can reach him or speak for him. That’s my opinion, though.
From the information JAMB Sunday Bulletin gave, Mr. Akinyemi lives at Obafemi Awolowo Academy, Fajuyi, Ado-Ekiti. Obviously there are people reading this that might know the place or even know the man. Those that can locate him should advise him to also consider part-time programmes, even though it is obvious that Papa wants to test campus life. But if none of these schools wants to give him a chance, he has options of part-time programmes.
Please, whatever it takes, Mr. Gabriel Olarenwaju Akinyemi should not be made to re-sit UTME; it can discourage him and others like him.