ABU Water Engineering First Class Graduate; How I weathered the storm
Posted: 14/Jun/2022

? I became beggar, did menial jobs to make first class, says ABU Water Engineering graduate
In spite of daunting challenges, Bashir Abdulmalik still struggled to obtain First Class honours in Water Resources Engineering, from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. He also became the best graduating student in the department. 

His father, a teacher at LGEA Primary School, Ogaminana, Okeji Local Government, Kogi State, has not been paid salary in the last seven years. The mother, a petty trader, who was taking care of the family, suddenly became sick and got paralysed.

Abdulmalik resorted to menial jobs to train himself, feed his parents and siblings. He vowed to graduate with First Class to save her parents from poverty and squalor. But three years after graduation, he still roams the streets without a job.

He spoke recently with The Education Report. Excepts:

What was your university education like and the challenges you faced?

After my secondary school education, I stayed for two years before I got admission into Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State, in the Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering. I graduated with First Class and the best graduating student in 2019.

My father was a teacher before the introduction of screening by the present administration of Governor Yahaya Bello. He fell into the category of un-cleared teachers. Seven years now my father, who is the breadwinner of our family has not been paid a dime.

My mother is a petty trader. After two years of my admission, she had health challenges, which later resulted in partial stroke. She is at home without care and most times without food due to poverty.  At times, I had to do menial jobs for friends and members of the public before I could send little things to them for upkeep.

When I got admission in 2014, it was my father and mother that sponsored me. I started facing financial challenges when Bello, who ironically is my tribal man, became governor. 

At my 300 Level, life became extremely difficult for me. I had to resort to begging and meeting few friends I had to solicit their assistance. Very few of them actually assisted me. What I got from them I still sent money home to my parents because the situation at home was very critical.

Financial challenges almost sent me out of school if not for God, who used some friends to assist me. Some would borrow me money, washed their clothes and did other menial jobs to pay them back. My mother’s health challenges affected my studies. Before she fell sick, she ensured I lacked nothing. When she became ill, I had to turn myself to a beggar in the campus before I could feed.

Did you at any time think of abandoning studies?

There was one particular day when I packed my load to abandon my studies because I could no longer cope. Later, I summoned courage and stayed behind to see what God would do for me. And God has been kind to me.
 
The sufferings and financial challenges I faced motivated me to make First Class. I decided to put hunger aside to concentrate on my studies. I ensured that I read my books, spending at least six to seven hours a day to meet my academic target.

I made a vow in year one to graduate with first class to save my parents from poverty and squalor. But three years after graduation, I am still roaming about the streets without a job.

What will you want from government and companies?

I am appealing to government and corporate bodies to assist me with a job. This will enable me to take care of my sick mother and my father, who has not been paid his salary in the last seven years and my siblings, who can no longer go to school because of financial challenges.
 
By virtue of my area of discipline, I can work in the Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Environment. I can also work in any oil company. If I am financially buoyant I will set up business for water treatment and borehole-drilling enterprise.

Who do you give credit for your academic success?

I dedicate my academic success to my parents. They deprived themselves of comfort of life to see me through education, especially at the primary and secondary school level before challenges set in when I got admission into ABU.

Today, I am partially happy that I have achieved the feat. I will be completely happy when God Almighty assists me through individual and government to secure a good job so that I can take care of them.
 
Your advice to Nigerian youths

I am calling on Nigerian youths to be focused. They should not allow challenges to push them into committing crime. They should convert the challenges to success through seriousness, focus and determination in whatever legitimate things they are doing. With determination a lot can be achieve