- American University of Nigeria's best graduating student has revealed the secret of her success
- Immaculata Onuigbo also spoke on the various challenges she had to surmount to achieve the feat
- On Friday, May 12, she was celebrated alongside others as her parents looked on in pride
Immaculata Onuigbo graduated with a GPA of 3.98 as the best graduating of American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola.
In an interview with Premium Times, she revealed the story of her success including the many problems she had to overcome while at AUN.
She reveals that when she was in primary six, two visitors came calling at her school in Enugu. They were from the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation, Abuja.
Ms Onuigbo says: “My school was one of the schools they came to and I was lucky to have been chosen for the exams.
“So, I went for the exams, the first one was a written exam, the second one was an oral interview. I was lucky to emerge as one of the winners of the scholarship from my state. That was how I won my first scholarship to secondary school.”
After her secondary school, she got another scholarship into the university.
On Friday, May 12 night, she bagged six awards including the Afrinvest (West Africa) Award for Academic Excellence that includes a paid internship at any of the company’s subsidiaries.
She also revealed some of the challenges saying: “The first challenge was language barrier.
“Prior to coming here, it was only English and Igbo that I normally hear, but I came here and almost everyone was speaking Hausa, so I heard to adapt to hearing people speak Hausa, and I eventually learnt how to speak Hausa.
“Another thing was the journey; the road trip was always very stressful but then it was always worth it coming back to school.
“For academic challenges… I had great teachers in my secondary school. Whenever I needed help, I always asked for one and they were always willing to help, so it made it very easy to excel academically. I didn’t have much problem academically.
“Being a member (of the Honors Society), the minimum CGPA to be a member is 3.5. So, if you want to maintain your membership, you have to work hard to at least be above that 3.5. So, it helped me to keep my grades in check.
“Also, the scholarship programme that we do, we organize jazz nights, we sell tickets and then the money we get from the ticket sales we use it go give scholarships to primary school children. So, it really helped me build my community service skills. I served as secretary.”
Onuigbo said she chose a course that she enjoyed.
“I would say that I was lucky to have chosen something that I enjoy doing.
“Because you know, one thing is that no matter what studying is actually hard. What makes it easier is if you are enjoying, then you feel the pain less. So, I enjoyed what I read, and I love learning, learning new things. Every day I learn a new thing. That was what helped me," she said.
Her mother, Victoria, said her daughter was “just naturally gifted.” Mrs Onuigbo who is a nurse said:
“Because as from Primary Four, she used to write letters. If I am out now, she wants to tell me something, she will put it in writing, when I read it, I’ll just laugh and say ‘this girl has sharp brain.
“They are three boys and three girls, God has blessed us and crowned us with this Onyinyechukwu,” she turned and pointed to her daughter, “She goes with her name, ‘Gift from God’.”
According to Andrew Enwerem, the suspects were apprehended during initiation at Orji Comprehensive secondary school in Owerri north local government area of the state.
Watch a NAIJ.com video of another special young girl below: