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Tosin Otitoju: A Whiz Kid’s Journey of Self-Discovery & Fulfilment

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Born on May 1, 1981, Oluwatosin Helen Otitoju is perhaps the most decorated young Nigerian her age. At a tender age of 14, she was already the head girl of Queens College, Lagos. She had the second best Junior School Certificate results nationwide and became the overall best in the May/June 1996 Senior School Certificate Examinations. She went on to shatter records at the Howard University, graduating Summa Cum Laude (First Class) in Electrical Engineering and becoming the first ever Howard graduate recipient of the Poincaré Fellowship at the California Institute of Technology for postgraduate studies. In 2004, she received a national merit award (FRM) from the Nigerian government and two years later received the Young Person of the Year Award at The Future Awards 2006. Less than three years later, she had a teaching stint in Yola, Adamawa State, and currently lectures at the Department of Systems Engineering, University of Lagos. An Associate of the Nigeria Leadership Initiative, she holds a Masters degree in Control and Dynamical Systems from Caltech and is the author of Comrade, a collection of poetry published in 2010. She was actively involved in Caltech Theater Arts (2002-2006) as an actress in five full productions, including Molière’s The Misanthrope, Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and As You Like It, and modern works: Inspiration by Iona Morris and Krishna by Sid Jaggi of OASIS. In this exclusive interview with BN Editorial Assistant, Gbenga Awomodu, she shares details about quitting her PhD programme, teaching experience in Nigeria, and her continuous journey of self-discovery and fulfillment in marrying science and the Arts.

Could you briefly describe your journey from primary school to the California Institute of Technology?
After Primary 1, I was promoted to Primary 3 where I was in the 8th position after the first term; 7th after the second; then, after that, I probably remained 1st. My dad was very competitive and wanted me to be the best. There were only two terms in JSSI and when I came 23rd, out of over 300 students, I started crying, like they were going to kill me at home. They didn’t. Then, I moved to the 11th position. In JSS 2, I was 5th, and then there was a turning point: there was a Speech & Prize Giving day, but I couldn’t give my parents the invitation card out of shame. I decided to work towards the next session so I calculated what I needed to top the class. I worked towards it and even overshot it! And the rest is history. I finished secondary school in 1996 and had the best national result in the May/June 1996 SSCE. In June 1996, I took part in the EESI programme sponsored by NASA and entered the Howard University to study Electrical Engineering in 1997. I started working on my PhD in 2001 and got the FRM, a national merit award from the Nigerian government in 2004. I don’t go around thinking about the laurels or letting them get into my head. Maybe that’s good…

Any fond childhood memories?
Running, skipping, and jumping to/from the house on TinCan Island. It was an idyllic place. You know – cooking with sand and leaves, and one time we planned and planned a Christmas concert…

Why did you halt your PhD programme at Caltech?
I was satisfied that I had learned a lot and by that time there was a mismatch between what a PhD is about – deep research into a small topic – and my broader goals. I didn’t have a strong research interest or a clear path to the PhD. On the other hand, I had developed strong interests outside my PhD and was pining to explore them. Put it another way, I had overdosed on elite science and wanted a change of diet. Some people call this whole thing “burnout”. Anyway, it’s a complex and popular PhD disease… There are not so many places where you find such intellectual density. It’s so super amazing, but it’s very irritating too because there’s nobody else. Nobody you can talk to and share problems with. No church, not many religious people, no buffers – people who care. No real community – everybody’s just really, really, smart…really, really, competitive… After you go to a place like that, you appreciate women. In the absence of this oiling, and the people who say “how was your day?” and pay attention, the world wouldn’t work. People didn’t understand me, I didn’t understand them, but I knew that I was in an amazing learning experience and the emotional climate there was horrible.

In July 2006, I let people know I was heading out. I talked to my friends and they gave me good advice. I told them everything that I thought that I had been going through and what I had decided and they told me what they thought. Six months before I quit, I had spent a month in Yemen in the Middle East studying Arabic and that was probably why I finally made the move out of grad school because when you have been that happy, it makes it less tolerable…

Could you describe your experience in Yemen?
Not everyone has experienced falling deeply in love – with a place. I can say that I have. I felt something indescribable in my five weeks there. I’ll have to turn to one of my poems to explain:

In each town
I will stand on a roof, trembling with pleasure
When the spirits in the sights and the sounds whisper:
Stay, stay in this your primordial home.

That first reunion with the winds
Carrying the sands from the brown mountains of South Arabia –
It was like falling deep in love.
It drew love songs from my lips and tears from my eyes.
Let me return to Yemen before the longing drives me mad. (from Arven: The Inheritance, in Yalla!)

My next-to-be-published poetry collection is about the joy of travel and the essence of place; of location. It is titled Yalla! (Let’s Go), Yemen had amazing Architecture and that was the first Eastern place that I liked. I just had a perfect time there. Everything was right, felt very right like I was from there in a sort of ancestral sense. Well, I returned from Yemen to Pasadena, California, where I was again not in love. With such a marked contrast, what could I do but leave?

How did you find California after you returned from Yemen and what were you up to for the period before leaving the US?
The moment you go to Yemen and you’re like “this is life… wow!” and then you come back? When I came back, it was like Jesus after praying on the mountain for forty days, all pure and everything, clean and happy and, you know? Then, you’d interact with somebody like two minutes and then you feel the toxins coming back, and then you’re thinking ‘maybe I can breathe… maybe I can let it out’, and there are so many things that happen and within a week, it’s like you’re back to your nervous state again… so it wasn’t easy… so I started saying to myself again… me with the PhD, me without the PhD, plus or minus… you know? I went to an Arab film festival in San Francisco. For once, I could actually, see events, and just attend whenever I wanted. I also watched a lot of tennis. I was looking for a job with truth, with excitement. But it was hard to take any. I wasn’t going to lock myself in something I wasn’t ‘mad’ about. I had a few dollars saved; I always have a few dollars saved. That way you can live; you can do your own life. You won’t be like ‘If I don’t do this, then I can’t eat tomorrow’. I don’t spend a lot and I like money for security. It was just a big change from the really stressed thing. It was hard for me to even do credible interviews because I was very honest with myself and with the interviewers and many people would just politely run away, because when you are talking about freedom… the interviewer’s like “No!…You will not be free, go!” I was blogging a lot. I wanted to start teaching for a while; that didn’t work. I did one little FOREX trading thing. I just played, you know? On the last day of 2007, I think, I left the U.S. and in 2008 I had a job in Egypt. I worked in Cairo at a Software company for six months. It’s very good for the soul. Sunshine is there and the people are warm. I love the Middle East, not necessarily Egypt. I loved Egypt, but I love Yemen more. I will do my honeymoon in Yemen, if I ever married someone (I didn’t say I was marrying anybody) Anyway… [laughs]

How has your teaching experience in Nigeria been, and what challenges you have had to tackle so far?
In Yola, they gave me a lot of freedom there so it was great… I’m still in touch with my students; even though some of them have now graduated. I had a quick stint in Abuja, then Lagos. I like acada, but I don’t like Lagos. I’ve found my way to adapt and enjoy it, but spiritually still, I’m not a Lagosian. 20 years from now, when Lagos is Barcelona, I may actually be in tune, but now mehn! I’m passing through! (laughs) I’m a pilgrim. I like the north; I love rural life right now. I love teaching and learning, in any country. I love the heightened sense of mission when it’s in my home country. We have to take better care of our young people, not the criminal neglect that exists. Care for our youth includes providing for their food and security, but it also includes their social and economic development, which is ensured by sound education. Nowadays you still see classrooms in Nigerian universities with hundreds of students – this is an insult to the students, it shows a lack of care. In the academic world, they try to tell people that it’s all about research; it’s not about teaching. Really, what does the world need? More critical people, more educated, more prepared and then you say somebody who’s providing that service is inferior? My former advisor was interesting by being unconventional and weird and he had a world record in rowing. For instance, he didn’t put a lot of equations on his slides…

What do you miss about the Caltech environment and when do you intend to go back to finish up your PhD programme?
At a place like Caltech, you learn about extreme efficiency. We’re perhaps the most intense technical institute in the world. We joke that MIT exists “because not everyone can go to Caltech.” Besides being saturated with brilliance, it’s also wealthy. All this is to say that it’s an excellent place for science and I don’t miss it. However, I would like to get another dose of immersion in which I would learn something new and important. It’s also somewhat important to me to write a thesis and get closure; to slay the dragon as it were. Yet I must say my work right now is very fulfilling, and the PhD itself will add little value to my life. I should return in about one year; I’m looking for funding now.

What is the single most important decision you have made in the last decade?
No idea which one. I like my decisions.

How do you manage Engineering and Literature?
I teach engineering better because I have been a performer and writer, and I started thinking more creatively about scientific research only after I gained confidence as a published writer. On the other hand, I think my literature is part social engineering, part language engineering. I like the synergies. However, it seems I have to educate people about the synergies, since many people are wedded to the specialization myth: this is art – that is science – this is social science – that is language.

What inspired your collection of poetry and its title – Comrade?
I had just returned to Nigeria and felt sad about the society I was seeing. We had not united to improve our lives – no wonder things were so bad that we did not have simple electric power, let alone justice or prosperity. Not only was there a lot of work to be done to build the society, but also all the people were not busy building. Then I went to Yola for NYSC, and it was so dreamy and peaceful that I started writing tonnes of poetry. I decided the first collection, where I put all the political-, or struggle-, themed poems had to be called Comrade. The word evokes images of coming together and acknowledging a shared struggle. We struggle because we want better, and there is no shame in it. It seems the Nigerian youth today has got that message actually.

If you were Nigeria’s president, how would you solve Nigeria’s electricity problem?
If I was the president of Nigeria, I would ask Ernest Ndukwe, formerly of NCC – the telecoms regulator – to spearhead the deregulation of the Electric Power Industry. Since I am not the president of Nigeria, I am asking him to do so. (President Jonathan, you don hear?) We are lucky to have several great talents in this country, yet so often we do not respect the importance of the right person in the right job.

What are your personal dreams for the next ten years?
I want to marry Rafael Nadal – tough one, he has a lovely girlfriend. I want to keep being an academic – one that is successful in relation to my students and other academics, and also publicly, in engagement with the larger society.

What are your plans for marriage, or are your folks not giving you the eye or even raising the question?
I’m interested in partnering with someone, but (fortunately for me) I’m not overly driven to accomplish this or to do so by a certain date. OK, to be honest, I go out of my way to deter some applicants because some people have longa-throat – they want to be with someone that they can’t handle. Later now, they’ll say “do this”, “change that”. If it’s love that we’re talking about, I think it’s not romantic to set goals on love.

Why do you keep a haircut, unlike many other ladies who do more sophisticated things with their hair? How do you respond to people who give you that quizzical look?
My hair is natural and beautiful and random and nice. I don’t think people looking quizzically is like, sinister or anything so I suppose it’s not a problem. Sometimes people go beyond looking and advice me to do something different and on occasion I take that advice. I understand that some people may not be used to jagajaga hair as a style, but the hair is not sinister or anything and the owner-of-the-head likes it, so kini big deal?

How do you spend your leisure time?
Usually reading, but these days I want to spend more time swimming and/or watching tennis.

What would you say to young Nigerians out there who hope to make a positive change in our nation?
This is our time, this is our home. This is it. And we are capable. And my favourite colour, since you didn’t ask? I’ve never met a brown that I did not like. Other than that, green makes me happy. Both are colours of earth and nature. Some occasions call for red, on the rare occasion that I need to attract attention, like for a book cover.

____________________________________________________________________________________________
Tosin Otitoju blogs on Up Naira (Money Talk), LifeLib (Personal Blog) and X in Vogue (Math Blog).

Gbenga Awomodu is a freelance writer and editor. He blogs at Gbenga’s Notebook!, a repository of his thoughts and other works.

Photo credit: Jide Odukoya

Digital Content Strategist | Creative Writer. Copy Editor. Storyteller. Vocalist. Amateur Pianist. Spoken Word Poetry recording artiste. Lover of Words & Images. #ArsenalFC. Twitter: @gbengaawomodu

90 Comments

  1. Timma

    February 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Wow! Scientist cum poet! You are really blessed, tosin, well done BN!

  2. Dee

    February 14, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Inspiring…..

    • Anya

      February 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

      I know right! So much inspiration in this post. Naija babes doing big things, I like what I see!!

  3. kayode taiwo

    February 14, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    yay!!! first. i”ll come back and make a comment tho.

    • THE AMAKA

      February 14, 2011 at 2:35 pm

      NOT QUITE!…lol

    • Ready

      February 14, 2011 at 4:32 pm

      Haha!

    • Adaeze

      February 15, 2011 at 1:21 am

      Amaka I love the way you make people realise that they are not the first to comment loooooolll. Very inspiring interview.

  4. KerryAnn Hamilton, PhD

    February 14, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Hello Tosin,

    You were a true exemplar at Howard University. We are very proud of you. Keep up the stellar work you are doing.

    cheers,
    kah

  5. Oyinda

    February 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Tosin for President!

  6. chewunski

    February 14, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Genius indeed and it runs in her family….. keep it up

  7. Toriola

    February 14, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I am impressed. really really impressed. She could have been better sold though. Howard is a good university but if this girl had been connected with the right folks, i don’t see anythgn stopping her from bagging a full ride scholarship to Stanford or MIT’s engineering program (world’s best). just saying. It happens to a lot of bright Nigerian kids who migrate to the states, but jsut cos they weren’t not fortunate to meet the right people at the right time, their maximum potential isn’t explored.

    • Proud HU grad

      February 14, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      Seriously? Did you attend Howard? I’ve been at both Howard and Harvard, both HUs are awesome schools. She was accepted to CalTech’s prestigious program upon graduation from Howard. Apart from the “name”, what else could Stanford and MIT have offered? Nigerians need deliverance from bondage to name effizi.

    • Kechy

      February 14, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      lol…obviously Toriola has no idea what she’s yapping about.Feel free to ‘Google’ information before you comment.
      Needless to say, CALTECH is very much on the same level as Havard, MIT and Stanford (do your homework)
      Thumbs up Tosin, given intellectual curiosity (learning arabic in Yemen? WOWWW!!!) there is no doubt that you definitely do not lack exposure.

      I want to visit Yemen too 🙁

    • tatafi!

      February 15, 2011 at 1:40 am

      co-sign with Proud HU grad.

  8. Ade

    February 14, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    This interview seems so intense.While reading, I felt like i was taking a peak into the reasoning of a genius!
    Its wonderful that you’re back to give a bit of your knowledge to nigeria.All the best Tosin

  9. Asuquo

    February 14, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Wonderful achievement in academic world especially in the science and also your adventure into Art. I want you to complete your PhD and channel your energy and youth to work for the re-building and developing of Nigeria like Okonji-Iwela, Dora and other great women did, We need the likes of you to help this country to grow techologically. May God bless you and Nigeria and directs your foot steps to do right things. Happy Valentine.

  10. Titilola 'Esther's' Akinkugbe

    February 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Inspiring and thought provokin

    Very Inspiring and thought provoking.

  11. OgheneElo

    February 14, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    This is so inspiring! Just what I wanted to read today

  12. GHANAIJA

    February 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Just beautiful!!

  13. Name (required)

    February 14, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    reading her interview takes back to Q.C!!

  14. Name (required)

    February 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    “takes me”

  15. TeeTee

    February 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    I loved this interview, she is a breath of fresh air. …lol @some people have longthroat! but so true…do your thang girl!

  16. Babs

    February 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    We took lectures together in FLT, UI before she left us all for the US…Go girl!

  17. Ifeoma-adiagwuagwu

    February 14, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    She is an achiever o. Many congrats to her, I am serious!!! 🙂

  18. Miss ATL

    February 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Truly inspirational! Best wishes for the future

  19. val

    February 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    really cool…ur a genius. am glad ur a nigerian.

  20. Chibaby

    February 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Tosin you are an inspiration.

  21. jess

    February 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    This woman is like my role model! She’s so real which is rare in the upcoming Nigerian society.

  22. Lady Jaye

    February 14, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    I LOVE this interview. I was like ‘what’! the whole way through. And she is only 30 this year! Wow!!! LOVES IT!

  23. RMG

    February 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Now THIS is what i’m talking about! More brains plzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!

  24. Hali

    February 14, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    “…20 years from now, when Lagos is Barcelona…” – Amen to that, but until such a time, i’ll stay in Barcelona 🙂

  25. D.O.T.M.H.

    February 14, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Senior Tosiiiiinnnnn!!!!

  26. Nicole

    February 14, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed this interview.

  27. Name

    February 14, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    She was the GOLD standard in Q.C. I remember that my dad made me read about her ALL the time. I wanted to be Senior Tosin so bad 🙂 She’s still an inspiration to me.

  28. NNENNE

    February 14, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    “We are lucky to have great talents in this country,yet so often we do not respect the importance of the right person in the right job” The truth hurts but it has to be told anyway.Hope the powers that be are reading and listening !!!!

    Ms Tosin,I love your confidence above everything else.U are a success story and a role model.May God continue to guide you.

    • anuri

      February 14, 2011 at 10:57 pm

      It was really hard not to be in awe of this babe! She was head girl in my set! Nothing but luv for u girl! Shine on

  29. igwe

    February 14, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    what the hell is she doing in unilag? Don’t throw your life away my dear….

    • mary007

      February 16, 2011 at 2:37 am

      Oh my God its people like you that make me mad!!! How do we improve our lot in nigeria if people cannot follow their passion instead of money??? here is a bold girl who is able to stand up for what she believes and see you rotten comment, publish this BN cos this is not insulting

    • ogg

      February 16, 2011 at 5:49 pm

      na wa for u igwe oO. infact we nor want u for our country sef… people like u destroy our reputation all d more

  30. Sia

    February 14, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Very smart girl. I love seeing women like this. Nigerians are very intelligent people. I have conversations with some people in Canada and they don’t know sh**. They act like they know but they are so ignorant. I remember reading newspapers when I was so young in Nigeria. I even remember seeing security guards discussing about politics in Nigeria. The kids/teenagers in the west mostly care of pop trends and stars. They do not know what is happening around them.

  31. Ola

    February 14, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    She’s quirky and I like that she doesn’t take herself seriously. Live on!

  32. Crazy Nigerian

    February 14, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    I love your story, you inspire me. These are the mentors we need in Nigeria today.

  33. Kemi

    February 14, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    My daughter (a highly gifted 8 year old with an IQ of 130) met Tosin Otitoju at her school last year. Tosin gave her a copy of her book, Comrade, and she was entranced, constantly reading it and articulating ways to make her nation and the people in it better. Thank you Tosin, for reaching out to a young Nigerian girl and giving her the challenge to change her country.

  34. lezzy

    February 14, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    I envy your accomplishment and hard work.However, I question your choice of Yemen of all places to study Arabic. You may have jeopardize the opportunity to use any research lab in the U,S for the fact that you were in Yemen.A trip ti Yemen for whatever by a Nigerian is a no no.

  35. Realist

    February 15, 2011 at 12:30 am

    Smart girl,good article, great read……
    One important note, YEMEN?? Hope the environment doesn’t make a good girl turn *odd*. Just saying

  36. pamhe

    February 15, 2011 at 1:52 am

    …Lord I totally agree with that emotional frigidity and lack of freedom that occurs in some acada environments..people are sooo obsessed with appearing smart……wish you the best luvie

  37. Francois

    February 15, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Dear Tosin,
    I feel like I am reading and hearing your younger sister Kunmi. Kunmi is a very good friend of mine. This superintelligence, strength of character, lovable personality, being an artist and scientist, being so open to the world, I can go on…This runs in the family then. Bravo Mr and Mrs Otitoju!! Thank you Nigeria for sharing your wonderful children with us….Barcelona, that’s where Kunmi is now, at the latest count!
    Love,
    Francois

    • K

      February 15, 2011 at 9:57 am

      Thank you Francois! You are the best calculus prof. I could ask for 🙂 Love you Tos. Your light will continue to shine brightly l’agbara Olorun.

    • Tosin

      February 17, 2011 at 7:57 pm

      Hi Kwirky!

  38. Francois

    February 15, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Tosin, I forgot an important thing: The physical beauty, the mental beauty and the spiritual beauty.
    Francois

  39. Damola

    February 15, 2011 at 8:45 am

    She got that one right… Put Ernest Ndukwe as head of NEPA.. I mean we have the telecoms today…largely cos he headed it.. why don’t we put him in PHCN too?.. D girl know book.

  40. Chinedu A

    February 15, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Wow! so intense, who are you?! i admire your spirit, well done!

  41. Victors Honesty

    February 15, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Very Inspirational but hope she can snap out of that quirkiness that becos you are so into your books no guy…was actually hoping she would say she has a dude…Its just too steriotipical ok your smart and all, but all that talk of her wanting a geek(someone that loves reading)as a boyfriend is a lil off putting! They would just be one boring couple!….Think she should loosen up some more else she would wait tire….stop putting that ‘so intelligent thing on top of her head’…there are 1000 other intelligent females too…Its good to celebrate them…but i guess its so nice to know she is learning to take a chill pill…..just act normal….have a boy-friend you’re of age Tosin!….nothing wrong with being a successfull woman and dating man…just the way she very quickly dismissed having someone like as if we were gonna think less of her being so intelligent!…chill mhennn girl…..Bill Gates could have said cos he is soo ino computers it wouldnt work if he got a girl who was not into computers tooo……I just find it a little more inspirational to know a woman has read so much and yet doesnt fit that stereotype of being so quirky or geeky…Honest Opinion but kudos to the good job so far!..Welldone x

    • Wow

      February 15, 2011 at 10:11 pm

      na which one be your own? Does she have to make a match that makes her seem more interesting to you or one that seems great to her? Are you kidding?

      She doesn’t need to do anything she doesn’t want to do. She is of age, so she should get a man… really?

    • Sia

      February 16, 2011 at 3:55 am

      I guess having a man is your main concern. Leave her to worry about that.

      More intelligent comments pleassseeeeeee

    • 'Naz

      February 16, 2011 at 7:50 pm

      I don’t even know where to start with my response to “Victors Honesty” because I read this post yesterday and was so mad that I didn’t know what to say. This sort of myopic thinking needs to be eradicated from our culture ASAP!
      “Have a boyfriend, you are of age”???
      It’s people like you that have made many young women believe that their completeness, wholeness, self-esteem, or existence lie in the palm of a man’s hand.
      Please, don’t share your simple-minded comments/ideas with the public… reserve them for the ears of the repressed women you interact with.

    • Tutu

      February 17, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      I used to be bitter too when I read such responses in the past, but I have come to realise that the role of women all over the world and in Africa especially is changing rapidly and like Egypt’s Mumbarak some men are holding on to the past.
      As long as more mothers send their daughters to school to help them be the best they can be, this Paradigm Shift is inevitable and men like Oga Victor will soon realise that a powerful and intelligent woman is not a threat but an equal. This he will learn soon. 🙂

    • Victors Honesty

      February 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm

      Bella Naija youve been so unfair, partial and one sided not publishing my replys they have not had any unfavoirable language so what exacly is d problem…1st time ever commenting on your blog i need to get my point across…

      For the records i am a very succesfull male medical doctor trained in the US not a woman. Im used to seeing very successfull females who are well rounded around me. They study wen they need to, and do adult stuff when they are of age to them…And do not meet that stereotype that put alot of kids off in this day and age from school. It is rather fickle for you lot to start getting over excited becos im simply stating my opinion.

      long and short Tosin is just a masters degree holder like a lot of well studied Nigerians…She hasnt brought a new edge to science & Engineering yet, so i simply dont understand what all the hype is all about. CHILLAX!!!

  42. Grace

    February 15, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Go girl! well done and may the Lord continue to bless you with more wisdom, knowledge and understanding

  43. 'Naz

    February 15, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Wow! Reading this struck a cord! Thank you for being so openly honest with your interview. As a Ph.D. candidate myself, I understand how the “intellectual density” and “emotional frigidity” in acada can get under anyone’s skin. Thank-you for sharing how you dealt with it. I remember the legacy you left at QC… I also remember your sisters (the twins were in my class). Your parents did an amazing job with you all! Best wishes for your future!

  44. mary007

    February 16, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Thanks BN for letting us know that there are such wonderful people who have seen the world and are able to stand up with such confidence and follow their heart. For those shouting man matter I think thats one of the problems with the way our people think if you are not married you are doomed, they forget your happiness and mental well being.

  45. loak

    February 16, 2011 at 11:03 am

    That was inspiring……We were together in Yola,i’m proud of o

  46. Omokhaiye

    February 16, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Brilliant! She’s special!

  47. ForeverYoung

    February 16, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Victor’s Honesty has a point, however crudely said. There are some things in life that remain basic, no matter how complicated or intelligent you are, one of ’em is human-relationship. Now I agree with Tosin saying she does not wanna put a “date” on finding the right partner, but one thing dat made me break a smile is dat she said, “some have longa-throat and want to b with someone they can’t handle”. Pray tell what can’t they handle? Is there anyone in this world that can’t be handled? Listen when it comes to things like love, it’s a leveling ground, next to your bed. When you get to that point kinetic equation would not matter nor would the price of fish in the market. Oh how the mighty have fallen cos of it, and it’s not because they are less intelligent, in short finding love can be humbling. My point really is, it’s good dat she wants someone she can engage with on an intellectual, spiritual and physical level, however looking at most things from d science perspective might deter her from finding someone like this just cos intelligence/love doesn’t always come in form of geeks, science or perfection…when u cross over to d man-woman relationship it’s all abt compromise and 1 + 1 don’t always equals 2….and no, I don’t mean she should start dating touts.

  48. Ba Wahala

    February 16, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    So because she did not talk about man in the article, it means she is not into man or does not have a man? Shaking my head SMH everywhere.

  49. toto

    February 17, 2011 at 5:06 am

    she got that good good aint gonna lie.
    please help support…http://thatblogn3xtdoor.blogspot.com/

  50. Amaka

    February 17, 2011 at 10:00 am

    It feels absolutely wonderful seeing a qcog doing something great.u r an inspiration to alk qcogs and a host of young nigerians out here.i wish u d very best in all your endeavours,i sincerely hope to be like you some day.pass on the torch……..:-)

  51. emmy

    February 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    infact my sister ur wonderfull i wish i will see u face to face one day, wishing u all the best and may GOD continue to show u his wisdom amen.

  52. Tatafo

    February 18, 2011 at 2:51 am

    I love this girl… I have always loved her… I praise her parents for raising smart, sexy, confident, uber brilliant, and very insightful and inspiring kids….

    As for Mr. Victor’s Honesty … When I read his comments yesterday, I had to do some Yoga to get some calm… I am happy that he is a successful Nigerian male doctor in the US (a dime a dozen), and he knows and has many successful women around him… (who do adult things, when the time is right)… But…

    … I struggle to be polite going forward… so I rest…

  53. arakunrin

    February 18, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Up QC….i remember hearing alot about Tosin growing up!…Glad to see she’s still excellent!

  54. Nonna

    February 18, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Victors Honesty
    Bella Naija youve been so unfair, partial and one sided not publishing my replys they have not had any unfavoirable language so what exacly is d problem…1st time ever commenting on your blog i need to get my point across…For the records i am a very succesfull male medical doctor trained in the US not a woman. Im used to seeing very successfull females who are well rounded around me. They study wen they need to, and do adult stuff when they are of age to them…And do not meet that stereotype that put alot of kids off in this day and age from school. It is rather fickle for you lot to start getting over excited becos im simply stating my opinion.long and short Tosin is just a masters degree holder like a lot of well studied Nigerians…She hasnt brought a new edge to science & Engineering yet, so i simply dont understand what all the hype is all about. CHILLAX!!!

    SO mr “successful medical doctor” – what accomplishments have YOU brought to the world. you are also just one of millions of degree holders. Were you even distinguished in your class sef? You sound ignorant and insecure. I’m glad bella did not publish any of your comments. We don’t need you soiling the world with your insecurity.

  55. Tiki

    February 18, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Tosin, you make me want to be better, and invest myself more in my country’s problems…and I’m not even Nigerian!
    Now for trivia…
    ‘Victors Honesty’, find place shiddon.
    Your comment is totally out of place, and shows your narrow-mindedness…whether she dates a geek or not is her business…besides, what fun is it when your partner never understands half of what u say?I get where she is coming from, when you are a genius people automatically feel threatened, and the alpha male especially so…so Oga ‘Honesty’, you just told the world how scared you are of intelligent women!

  56. Ola

    February 21, 2011 at 10:09 am

    While I attended the BookJam at STv late last year, I thought you were a Muslimah as a result of your arabian rendition of the Muslim greetings. Kudos! But try get married soon to leave a positive impact on your admirers. I urge to also be wary of the saying of our prophet, upon whom is peace: “He who strive to merry a perfect partner will end up marrying non at all.” Best Wishes…

  57. itsmebitches

    February 25, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    the piece about why she left a PhD programme is awesome. I wish I was that eloquent about why I left my PhD program but I couldn’t agree more with everything she said. I felt like a fish out of water; i was miserable.

  58. jemee

    February 28, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I must admit, am impressed by her simplicity. She is great

  59. GLORIA ANTHONY

    March 22, 2011 at 10:47 am

    am so trilled, you are a rare gem…more grease to your elbow!

  60. Tosin

    March 31, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Tosin I am extremely proud of you, more grease to your elbow, may the good lord continue to guide and direct your path.
    Thanks for the Inspiration #Queen’sCollegeAlumni

  61. Azeezat

    April 7, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Tosin Otitoju…..Nigerians are proud of you!

  62. Ademola

    June 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Well, I met Tosin today and got carried away by her person. Had to google her and I’m still reeling. Really, I thiink I got something that most do NOT. I met her and got swooned. Only to find out who she really was. Waiting with batted breath for my copy of her book. Tomorrow!

  63. OLUWATOSIN ABEL

    June 22, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    my sake you really well done and may the Lord continue to bless you with more wisdom, knowledge and understanding.like to get your e mail address as to communicate with you.

  64. betty

    September 19, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    i love her dats ma skul

  65. CHOOX KEMA

    November 5, 2011 at 9:46 am

    grand…

  66. Tosin

    January 2, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Yalla! is out. Read all the poems for free at Lifelib – Yalla

  67. nabo

    July 18, 2012 at 6:30 am

    i lived adjacent to these girls( 4 girls then, hope there is a boy now) on tin can island housing estate in the late 80’s, early 90’s. the family were just simply unique from their dad’s swag to their mum’s style all passed unto the children. coupled with the support they had from their senior relatives bayo n bunmi. i read about them today and i’m like their brilliance was never gonna hide. wish you all d best. tosin, incase u are reading this whereabout are the attah’s who lived opposite u( junior, bamanga, odiba n elama).

    • Tosin

      May 23, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      awww, tooo cute. you had all the swag. bayo = Banji. nebo = Eyalum?

  68. nabo

    July 19, 2012 at 5:12 am

    not bunmi sorry, aunty iyabo

  69. Omolade

    August 27, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Well done tosin ! Ekiti is proud of you .

  70. Boris

    February 25, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I love this lady’s sincerity and frankness!!

  71. lawani

    July 14, 2015 at 11:33 am

    a rare genius

  72. "changing moniker"

    April 26, 2016 at 10:40 am

    I finally found Tosin…..
    aww, i like her…..

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