… As man, wife bag doctorate degreess same day
By SAM OTTI
What God has joined together, let no man put asunder, says the Holy Book. A young man, Olusegun Bamidele Samuel and his wife, Temitope, are presently celebrating the triumph of both pen and love. They added pep to the golden jubilee celebration of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, with their graduation from Ph.D programmes on the same day.
The feat achieved by the learned couple was considered as the crowning moment of the three-day golden jubilee convocation ceremonies of the university, which held from February 6-8. Shouts of joy rent the air when the news was broken at the peak of the convocation ceremonies. They were congratulated, along with other graduating students, by the Pro-Chancellor of the university, Deacon Gamaliel Onosode, the Vice Chancellor, Prof Rahamon Bello, the Registrar, Oluwarotimi Shodimu and other principal officers. Samuel, who is also a lecturer in the Faculty of Sciences, graduated with a Ph.D in Marine Biology while his wife, Temitope, had a Ph.D in Botany.
Her research work, which centred on ‘studies on dermatophytes isolated from patients at two tertiary health institutions in Lagos State, won the best overall Ph.D thesis of the 2011/2012 session. The vice chancellor said a total of 3,268 higher degrees, including 47 doctoral degrees were conferred on worthy students of the university for the session. Aside from the high number of post-graduate students, he said 3,664 other students also bagged first degrees in different programmes, with 91 of them finishing in First Class division.
To the shock of male students, Prof. Bello said the three best graduating students of the university were females. Aside from the outstanding performance of Adeoye Babatunde Wasiu, from the Department of Economics, Temitope had the best Ph.D award, while 22-year-old Ibok Favour Asuquo, from Accounting Department, emerged the best graduating student for first degrees, with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.89. She was closely followed by Miss Gabtony Flora Nkeiru, from Psychology Department with a CGPA of 4.88. Although it was not clear whether it was the love of books that brought Samuel and his beloved wife together, our reporter gathered that Temitope caught the eyes of her husband on campus.
She had her first degree in Botany in 2006 before enrolling for her M.Sc and later Ph.D programmess. Her marriage to Samuel on May 1, 2010 didn’t come as a surprise to many, who had observed with keen interest the growing affection between the two campus love birds. Although Temitope gave her heart to her husband, her love for books remained. With the consent of her husband, she continued her Ph.D programme and equally retained her maiden name throughout the programme, since she had already enrolled with her father’s name for the programme. For completing her Ph.D within three years, in spite of domestic chores and tasks of child bearing, she now wears an unfading crown among men of letters.
Her brilliant performance won her accolades from other scholars. She won the Prof Adetokunbo Babatunde Sofoluwe prize for the best Ph.D thesis in the university, N50,000 cash reward and a laptop. In an interview with Daily Sun, her husband, who was beaming with smiles throughout the convocation ceremonies, noted that they had mutual understanding of each other since they were in the same field of science. According to him, he started the programme before his wife, but coincidentally, they graduated the same day.
He said his wife was committed to her work and he merely gave her the necessary support that crowned her effort with success. “It is cooperation. That is the most important thing that made our success story possible. When she cannot do some certain things at home and I know I can do it, I would take it up to ensure that the work is going on fine,” he said. Samuel admitted that his family had to make some sacrifices in their quest for double crown, but rejoiced that their investment in knowledge didn’t run at a loss.
Also speaking, Temitope said her husband was a blessing to her academic life, as he gave her all necessary support that made her dream come through. She told our reporter that she was a fun-loving student during her earlier days as an undergraduate. Although she escaped having carry-over courses during her youthful days on campus, she was not, by academic standard, on the list of spectacular students of the department. Looking back at her undergraduate days, she was not counted among the academic hopefuls.
However, marriage has changed her story to success, as she was later reformed in the furnace of matrimonial love. Above all, she told our reporter that the mentoring role of her lecturer, Prof Adedotun Adeyinka Adekunle, contributed immensely to her success. “Like every other student, I had fun and studied at the same time during my under- graduate studies. I never had carryover but I was a fun-loving student. I passed through UNILAG and I allowed UNILAG to pass through me as well.
I took my exams seriously,” she said. She said Prof Adekunle encouraged her to enrol for the M.Sc programme, a step which later increased her desire for higher degrees. Hear her: “After my B.Sc, I actually intended going into the banking sector but like my father usually tells me, he brainwashed me into coming back for my M.Sc programme. He was a Sub-Dean then when I finished my B.Sc. I worked for him as his personal assistant before going for my National Youth Service Corp Programme (NYSC).
Actually, it was while working for him that the whole thing sprang up and he indeed encouraged me to come back.” United by love, the couple was, however widely divided by the different courses of study. While Samuel studied Marine Biology, his wife chose Botany. Their disparity in academic discipline didn’t create any gulf in their relationship, however. Rather, Samuel, as his wife confessed, was a pillar of support throughout the programme. The task of motherhood never affected Oguntade’s programme and graduation date.
She wriggled out of domestic chores and returned to campus six weeks later to continue her research work in the laboratory. On her award as the best Ph.D student, she said: “There was really no extra job. I had my objective that I set out at the beginning of the programme and I achieved that. I never knew that the award would come to me. To be honest, I cannot say that I worked extra hours or did anything special. I didn’t know the criteria they used but I am happy I was selected for the award.”