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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
100Level, Nigeria.
From Third Class at LASU to overall best
PhD graduate at UNILAG

TUNBOSUN OGUNDARE writes on the striking
achievement of Oluwaseyi Ajibade, who
recently graduated with the best Ph.D thesis in
his set from the University of Lagos, Akoka.


Last updated Apr 12, 2019

Oluwaseyi Ajibade stole the show at the 50th
convocation ceremonies of the University of
Lagos held last week. They were 5,405
graduands in all from the Postgraduate School
of the university for the occasion. 150 of
them, including Ajibade, are PhD holders, while
4,771 have master’s degree and the rest

But Ajibade, 37, stood out from the rest as he
was called repeatedly to the podium to receive
his numerous prizes and also have a handshake
with the eminent personalities on stage,
including the chancellor, pro-chancellor and
vice chancellor of the university, Dr Abubakar
Ibn Umar El-Kanemi, Dr Wale Babalakin and
Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, respectively.

He was, indeed, a cynosure at the event.
Interestingly, 13 years ago, Ajibade’s story was
not that inspiring as he graduated for his first
degree in Mechanical Engineering from the
Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo.

Though, he had been somehow brilliant right
from his primary school days up to the time
he was at the Baptist Boys High School,
Abeokuta, Ogun State, and also at Nigerian
Navy Secondary School, also in Abeokuta,
where he had his junior and senior secondary
school education respectively, he graduated
from LASU unsung.

“I graduated with a Third Class degree from
LASU. And that should be due to a number of
factors which I may not be able to explain,” he

But today, Ajibade’s story is different. He was
a toast of all at the convocation. This is not
only because he has turned out to be the
overall best PhD graduate of his set; he
graduated from the prestigious ivory tower
that prides itself as ‘the university of first
choice and the nation’s pride.’

Ajibade, who hails from Lagos Island, was
ahead of 149 other graduands in his set,
including Olumide Oyebade, who won the best
PhD thesis in Humanities and also the
renowned comedian, Helen Paul, who bagged a
PhD in Theatre Arts, to lead the pack.

For that, he won the overall best PhD Thesis
prize in the Postgraduate School, and also in
the field of Science and Engineering. He also
received a cash prize from the institution’s
alumni association and from the Postgraduate
School, among others.

Ajibade studied Metallurgical and Material
Engineering and not mechanical engineering
which he studied at undergraduate level. He
said he opted for the course because that is
where his strength lies.

He explained that he caught the vision in his
300 level days at LASU when he was the only
student in a class of over 120 people who
scored ‘A’ in Physical Metallurgy, a general
course for all engineering students.

“Many students usually don’t pass the course,
but I did very well in it,” he said.

His thesis at UNILAG, entitled ‘Developmental
and Optimisation of Dual Particle Reinforced
Polymer Composites for Automobile Brake Pad
Application’, is centred on the use of
conventional materials to develop automobile
brake pad.

“I hope the project would be developed for
mass use,” he said.

However, Ajibade did not come by this
achievement on a platter. He told Saturday
Tribune that it was a product of sacrifice, hard
work, commitment, diligence, and
determination, coupled with God’s

“So having had a third class at LASU, I said to
myself that I would need to work very hard to
enable me to move from that level to the
highest obtainable grade in UNILAG,” he
declared. “And God saw my commitment and
crowned the effort with success.”

He explained that he had read about many
people in and outside the country who had
moved from zero level to become big
legitimately in the society.
Troops kill 35 suspected bandits, arrest 18,
rescue 40, recover arms in Zamfara

“So, I decided to brace up myself right from
my master’s programme and I did well and
qualified for PhD programme,” he said.

“But I must equally add that my supervisory
team was made up of wonderful people. They
are great tutors. They encouraged me a lot,”
he added.

Even at that, and just like many other Nigerian
students who faced lots of challenges,
especially that of finance mostly because they
are not from financially buoyant families,
Ajibade is no exemption. His PhD programme
was a full-time while his parents are retirees
with no surplus money at hand.

“So, at times, there would be no money at
hand to sustain myself and carry on with my
project. But somehow, God would just come in
and make a way out by using people, including
my supervisors to support me,” he said.
But then, all was not about reading and
studying. Ajibade also engaged in social life on
and outside the campus. For him, it was a
matter of effective planning to strike a

“Sincerely speaking, I was focused and very
determined to come out with an excellent
grade,” he pointed out.

“But then, it wasn’t as if I was totally cut off
from social life. I have many friends and I’m
also into a relationship. I attended social
functions and also church services on regular
basis to worship God as a committed Christian.

I also did watch movies and documentaries and
all that.

“So, it was not that because of PhD I didn’t do
any other thing. I did, but in a moderate way
without one activity negatively affecting the
Nevertheless, Ajibade has an advice for
government and also for private sector.

said government would need to commit more
resources to education and provide enabling
environment for the private sector to do well.

“It is also necessary that private sector
joins hands with the government to
interface, especially as regards the PhD
programmes, by way of providing financial
supports to researchers on issues of public
importance so that we all have Nigeria of
our dream,” he said.

Now, Ajibade, who in-between his first and
master’s degree programmes had a brief stint
in the banking and automobile industries, is
ready to take up teaching appointment,
preferably with UNILAG.

“I love lecturing job so much and I know I will
do very well in it. So, while I would be
lecturing, I would continue with my education
to a post-doctoral position,” he said.

Source: www.tribuneonlineng.com/203410/amp/

Oluwaseyi Ajibade: Third Class LASU Graduate, UNILAG Best Graduating PhD Student - Campus Gists & Events

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