From First-class to Second Class: Zamfara-born’s Struggle to Break Jinx Ends in 4.48 CGPA

Abdullateef Faruq

Umar Musa

Umar Musa, a 24-year-old Zamfara-born began his academic journey at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS) in 2018 when he was offered provisional admission to study Primary Education under Adult Education and Extension Services (AEES) department.

Although, Umar had passion for studying Nursing in the university, several attempts to secure admission into the field were to no avail. Destiny changed his ambition to Primary Education where he thrived as a scholar.

While speaking with this reporter, the fresh graduate, Umar recalled that, “During my 100-level, I found it difficult to combine academics with extracurricular activities because it was my first time as a fellow in the citadel of learning.”

Nevertheless, he was able to transitioned from undergraduate one (UG1) with 4.47 Grade Points (GP). He was excited to be among the students who topped his department and promised to do better the subsequent session.

His academic performance motivated him to apply for the Federal Government Scholarship and he waited for two years before being directed to sit for a Computer Based Test (CBT) by the Federal Scholarship Board (FSB) in 2022. “Fortunately, I passed the test and awarded the sum of N500,000 which I utilized throughout my remaining years on campus,” narrated Umar.

Situated in the seat of caliphate, Sokoto is Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, a second generation university established in September 1975 by military government of Nigeria. The institution is a religious citadel of learning which awards certificate based on character and learning. Her grading system for first-class honor ranges from 4.50 to 5.0, while second class upper ranges from 3.50 to 4.49 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA).

Struggle to Break Long-term Jinx

Since inception, Umar’s course of study, Primary Education has never produced first-class graduate despite being among the oldest course in the Faculty of Education and Extension Services (FEES). When Umar heard about the unbroken record at the end of 100-level, he buckled down to break the jinx. As a result, he was able to attain first-class CGPA of 4.51 at the end of 200-level.

Actually, he was very happy with the achievement and told himself that the journey just began, so he won't give up in the next level. “During my 300-level days, I was told that that's where all the first-class ambition in the department used to end. I overlooked the discouragement and put more effort in my studies,” he explained.

For the second time, Umar nailed firstclass at the end of the cumbersome 300-level with 4.51 CGPA. But the grace fails to persist as he dropped to second class upper in final year. “In second semester of my final year, I scored D grade in a certain course which dropped my CGPA down to 4.48. Eventually, I graduated with second-class upper,” he expressed.

Allah's Plan is Always The Best — Umar

When Umar was asked how he felt to graduate with second class honor despite all efforts, he replied, “Allah's plan is always the best. If you worked and prayed for something and it was preplanned, put your trust in Allah's choice and accept how it comes.”

He believes Allah has nothing to do with first-class, so, there's nothing to worry about not graduating with it. “I believe that Allah's plan is the best for achieving second-class upper. That's what is best for me as it was Allah's choice.”

Recalling Challenges Faced During Academic Struggles 

Second semester of 200-level was hell on earth for Umar as he faced his worst academic travails. He was born into a working-class family who depends primarily on farming as source of income, at the time, funding became his problem.

“My younger brother also secured admission into Polytechnic to study computer science which made things very arduous for me in battling with financial issues. N5,000 was budgeted as my monthly allowance for upkeep,” Umar recalled.

Umar appreciates the good friends UDUS gave him as friends. “Allah blessed me with a gentle lady, Fareedah Nasir Daniya who supported me financially, and Mustapha Aminu who continued to aid me throughout my stay in the university.”

Graduate With Transformation

Umar was born and bred in Zamfara state, Gunmi Local Government Area (L.G.A). He was the only child of his biological parent who could write Hausa sentences.

Neither his father nor his mother has western education, but they put their best effort to invest in him to become educated. “This always makes me proud of being an outstanding student among the sons and daughters of intellectuals,” he asserted.

Despite being less privileged, he attended government schools for both primary and secondary education. He was able to come across people from different social classes which inspired him to study hard while avoiding procrastination and compete with brighter-minds through consistency and determination. 

“I came to university without having a sound educational background but graduated with achievement and transformation,” he boasted.

The Reporter: Abdullateef Faruq is a 200-level student of Education English at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS). He is a passionate campus reporter.

Adekunle Famuyiwa

An avid writer, campus Journalist, researcher and budding Lawyer. Currently a 500-level student of Law at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun state, and the Editor-In-Chief of Observers Mag

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