Ifeoma Chinenye Onuike, is a Nigerian writer and online columnist, who has proven that Nigerians have the intellectual tenacity to thrive among their international peers, as she recently emerged as the best graduating master’s student, the same title she bagged at the undergraduate level last year at the Girne American University of Cyprus, in this interview with Gabriel Atumeyi, she speaks about her experience and world outlook
How do you see your educational experience so far?
My academic experience so far has been exhilarating, it is more like featuring in the dreams of the past playing in reality. The journey was not totally smooth, there were times I wanted to quit. I felt it was too much and besides I have not done badly so far. There have been some hiccups along the way but am grateful to God that in all He saw me through. The truth is however successful my academic journey plays out it is because that is what God wants from me, His light shines on every aspect of my life including the academic aspect. After my LLB undergraduate, I continued with my master’s program. I was a bit anxious because of the benchmark I had already set in my undergraduate not to fall below. I was careful in writing my projects, assignment and presentation, and to God be the glory my masters set a different standard.
What is your driving force and who is your role model?
My driving force has always been to be who God has already said I am, not to live a life of mediocrity but to live out the plans God has for me. That has always been my motivating factor. My role model is Jesus Christ. He fulfilled Gods plan perfectly. If I am to pick a human role model wow I don’t think I have any now. I deeply honour my parents they are pace setters for my life I believe my siblings too maybe that counts as one. I have mentors whom God placed in my life. They have not ceased to help shape my life. Also I have always been passionate about Law, the profession fascinates me, its dynamic yet rigid, has been the pillar on which societies of the world rest and I can’t help than wanting to be part of it.
How do you see the future of Nigeria and what impact do you desire to make?
Why should we seat and complain, when we can change the situation. It is never late to achieve our dreams and the dream of a better Nigeria. It might take more effort than required, but hard work won’t kill instead it is profitable.
Regardless of what many may think, I strongly believe Nigeria has a great future. After crisis and chaos comes restoration. The ‘restoration’ or the ‘great future’ phase will not come unless comprehension and actions are put in place. Corruption is like a cancer, it has eaten deep into the Nigeria system. I may not be able to proffer one good solution about how to deal with corruption but I believe Nigeria can have a better working system again with the current anti-corruption drive of this administration, only if it can be sustained and made more independent.
It is quite sad that people are not interested in supporting the effort to see the nation through this phase of its development. It is also unfortunate that some are trying their best but are frustrated by people who love the status quo. I want to impact my nation; that has been my strong desire for a long time. I may not be able to do everything but I believe in my own little area as an educator and legal practitioner, that positivity will be injected into the system. If only some people can decide to start making a difference right where they are then the great future is close.
What is your advice for young Nigerians especially the ones looking up to you or striving to make their mark on the sands of time?
We are all unique in our own ways, I believe there are potentials already in Nigeria maybe they have not met with the right structure to blossom. As a nation we have a long way to go in our educational system, our legal system need rapid reformation. The structure may not be in place for us but we can only try our best.
Am really grateful, I have been getting positive feedback from people who said they read up about me and were motivated to achieve their own. In everything we do, we sow, what you sow, that’s what you reap. We sow in our words, time, conduct, sacrifice for a better tomorrow. Create the story of your life and work towards playing the lead character.
Do not hold back, ‘push on, pursue it and persevere in it’. It may hurt sometimes YES, it’s hard YES, but is it profitable absolutely? YES. I passed through it as well, you can log on to my column Diaspora Talk with Onuike to read my story.
My other goals incude the vision of being a mouth piece for the less privileged particularly women across Africa and the world at large. I intend doing this via an NGO I run called EMBLER (Enhancement Module for Best Legacies and Essential Reformation).
EMBLER is a two dimensional organization, saddled with the responsibility to create a community atmosphere for idea generation, sharing and implementation.
It was created in 2016 and ever since has been a platform for people making a difference in their lives and environment.
EMBLER’s two dimensions are professionalism and Service. The future plan is to launch properly into its professionalism aspect putting up the required structures. We want to help people build their profession from the tiny little idea into what it should be. Also we would not neglect the service arm of the organization. One way we strive is by giving back to the society.
EMBLER will be introduced to Nigerians. Plans are already in place and we have some sponsors even though we are still open for more.
I have other projects, I want to be an educator in the legal area which means the project hovers around this. The projects are still hatching so I don’t want to let out specifics yet but it is very close and will be announced soon.
What lessons do you think Nigerians can learn from the educational experiences of the western world?
Of a truth, the Nigerian educational system builds the toughness in students, we have a good education but not surrounded with the right system. For example, students give bribe to get grades. The compulsory buying of textbooks and handout as well as lacking of internet facilities for students to conduct proper research. These and many more not listed are among the things that destroy our educational system. It is not enough to list out a problem and look out for a solution. I do hope that as people read this article, we begin to question things around us and put in the active step as much as we can to achieve the difference.
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