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INTERVIEW | I managed my health conditions to achieve a first-class degree – Abdulrahman Akanbi, UDUS’ best-ever student

Abdulganiyu Abdurahman Akanbi, a graduate of Islamic Studies from Usman Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS), has broken the school’s 49-year record by becoming the best graduating student ever with a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.96. In this Q&A with Abdulwahab Muhammad, he relives his experience on campus and how he managed to achieve the remarkable academic feat despite his health conditions.

How does it feel to be the best graduating student from UDUS?

I feel honoured, highly delighted, and joyous. I am the happiest person on earth. It is also a privilege to break the unbreakable historical achievement record since UDUS was established in 1975.

Can you share some highlights of your academic journey at the university? What challenges did you encounter, and how did you overcome them?

My academic journey began in 2018. I ended my first year with a CGPA of 4.89, including only a single ‘C’. In my second year, I achieved a CGPA of 4.92, with only a single ‘B’. I ended my third and final year with a CGPA of 4.95. It has been a rough-smooth journey filled with positive and negative memorable challenges. The weather in Sokoto was a major challenge, especially during hot periods, which affected my health. I managed this by taking health precautions and visiting the clinic when needed. Additionally, a lack of academic resources sometimes made studying and research difficult, as obtaining books online often used my food budget.

Who or what played a significant role in your success at UDUS?

My success at UDUS is tied to several role models and mentors. My mother played a significant role with her constant encouragement and prayers. Professor Isiaq Oloyede, a respected Islamic scholar, inspired me to strive for excellence. My brother, who earned first-class honours and a distinction at both undergraduate and master’s levels, was also a significant source of inspiration.

What were your study habits like during your time at UDUS? Do you have any tips for other students?

My study routine was consistent, reading for at least four hours every day. I recommend that other students set aside time each day to read and not take their studies lightly.

What are your plans after graduation? Do you have a specific career path in mind?

I plan to explore and seize opportunities that come my way. Specifically, I aim to pursue a master’s degree abroad in either Islamic finance or Hadith studies, which align with my interests and passions.

How do you plan to use your education to make a positive impact in your community or field?

I plan to contribute to existing knowledge through writing articles and conducting further research in my areas of specialisation. I have been actively participating in community services such as a weekly radio programme on SBS FM Ilorin.

What advice would you give to current or prospective students who aspire to achieve academic excellence?

My advice is to have strong determination and focus, along with adequate planning. Identify your academic potential and capabilities, and be prayerful. Make an effort and combine it with prayer. Prayer was essential to my success.

What was your most memorable moment during your time at UDUS?

My most memorable moments were during lectures. I never missed a class and learned something valuable every day.

How do you feel UDUS prepared you for the next phase of your life? Are there any changes or improvements you would suggest for the university?

UDUS has been instrumental in shaping my future, helping me recognise my potential and choose my career path. I suggest the university prioritise student welfare and increase academic research to benefit the students and the entire school community.

Is it true that attending an Arabic school (madrasah/islamiyah) is necessary for success in Islamic studies?

Yes, the foundation of Islamic studies is based on Arabic knowledge. To excel in the field, one must refer back to traditional forms of learning. I studied Islamic knowledge at Markaz Taaleemul Arabiy in Oke Agodi, Ilorin, Kwara State, before going further for my tertiary education.

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