UNILAG Lecturer Shares Story of Transformation: From Failing O’levels to First Class Honours

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Dr. Adewale Tiamiyu, a lecturer in the Department of European Languages and Integration Studies at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), has offered a remarkable story of resilience and academic redemption. In a recent interview with Saturday PUNCH, Dr. Tiamiyu revealed a past that might surprise many considering his current position.

While a student in secondary school, Dr. Tiamiyu openly admitted to struggling academically and having a vibrant social life, including “about 18 girlfriends.” He attributes these distractions, along with his involvement in breakdancing, to his initial failure of the O’level examinations.

However, Dr. Tiamiyu’s story doesn’t end there. He highlighted a turning point that led him to pursue a different path.

“So, I think it was my social life,” Dr. Tiamiyu stated in the interview. “It was later in life that I understood that I wasn’t a dullard since I had a First Class in OAU years later.”

Following his O’level failure, Dr. Tiamiyu travelled to Cote d’Ivoire and worked as a meat seller for several years. This experience, while seemingly unrelated to academics, proved to be a catalyst for change. Upon returning to Nigeria, Dr.Tiamiyu rededicated himself to education. He enrolled in GCE classes while working as a primary school teacher. This perseverance paid off, allowing him to pass his GCE exams in 1996 and gain admission to Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) the following year.

Dr. Tiamiyu’s academic journey continued at OAU, where he achieved a remarkable turnaround, graduating with a First Class Honours degree. He contrasted his success with some of his former classmates who were unable to overcome their initial academic hurdles.

“None were able to overcome that setback of poor O’level results,” Dr. Tiamiyu revealed. “There is even one at the University of Lagos where I work currently. He is a bricklayer…Though we still talk, he is not always comfortable around me, because he is not happy seeing me as a Dr, while he is a bricklayer.”

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