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BellaNaija Celebrates Academic Excellence – Class of 2016: Chigozie Okonkwo

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Chigo ConvocationIt’s so exciting to start the Celebrating Academic Excellence series for 2016. It’s just March and the brainiacs are already showing us that they’re here: alive and real amongst us!

If you’re a regular BellaNaijarian, you already know about the series, but if you’re a newbie, check out the information about the series at the end of this post. You can click HERE to read some of the past entries in the series.

We’re kicking off this year with the story of a young man who is not just excelling academically, but he’s also a rapper! Who says being a geek means you can’t spit some bars?  Well, Chigozie Okonkwo is proving the naysayers wrong. The last of five children, Chigozie has big shoes to fill as three of his siblings are also engineers.

He has gone on to make his entire family proud by finishing with a first class degree in Engineering from the University of Lagos. Read his story, and we hope it inspires you.

Chigozie, Engineering & the Inevitability of UniLag
I am from Imo State but was born and bred in Lagos.I have two brothers, and two sisters, and amongst my siblings there are 3 Electrical Engineering/Computer engineers and my immediate elder sister is an accountant.
My older brother and sister graduated from Unilag faulty of engineering and this contributed to my taking a keen interest in Engineering from a young age.

I got admitted into the University of Lagos to study Electrical and Electronics Engineering in October 2010. I really loved UNILAG and knew the school inside out even before gaining admission there. 3 of my 4 siblings,my father and mother all graduated from the university of Lagos.

On resumption at the university, my goals were clear: finish with a first class but still enjoy the university life to the fullest.

Chigo_2Merging Music with Engineering – and knocking it out of the park
I started really well, getting a 5.0 GPA in my first semester. My first and second years were also very good, as I had As in most courses. Along with school work, I had a great passion for music and showbiz. I attended many shows and concerts right from my first year.

By my 2nd year, I couldn’t hold back my love for music so I started visiting studios; just watching and learning. After a while, I started writing for some upcoming artistes.

On some occasions, I had to miss classes to be in the studio, but I was able to make up for it by reading at night.
I started recording covers in my 3rd year working with “Jigsaw” – a producer in UNILAG back then and I got featured on a couple of songs.

Chigo StudioFinding a Balance was NOT Easy
I loved partying and attending freestyle battles and shows as this gave me the opportunity to network, meet people and improve on my art.

I once attended a party in Ikeja on a Friday night, got back to school around 5a.m. on Saturday morning in time for Prof. Mowete’s 8a.m. test. I was so tired in the test hall, but it was the life I chose, so I had to find strength to make it through the test. In my 3rd and 4th year, I started performing at shows within and outside my school as an upcoming act.

I was also involved in sports during my days in school. I represented my department’s soccer team in the faculty games in years 2, 3 and 5.

In my 2nd year I was a member of the winning team in my departmental games tournament. In year 3 my team was the losing finalist (my team came 2nd) and I was chosen as the best defender in the tournament – as well as being named as a member of the “team of the year”.

In year 5, though I had a sprained and swollen ankle almost throughout the tournament, I captained my department to a 3rd place finish.

Awards, Scholarships & Accolades
In 2014, during my 1st semester 400 level, after a rigorous selection process, I was selected as the unilag representative and one of the 4 students to represent Nigeria in Paris for the Total Summer
School programe in France. The programme was a students’ workshop on clean energy with about 120 participants from all around the world.

sec school award
departmental award departmental awards football medals

During my stay in school I was a recipient of undergraduate scholarships from Shell Petroleum Development Company and MTN.I was also a recipient of the UniLag endownment fund for 5 years. I received the awards for “All Rounder of 2015 set” as voted by my peers during the faculty and departmental awards.

It Wasn’t All Smooth Sailing
I was a member of the team that won the final competition. We were voted as having the best ideas and presentation.
I returned to Lagos on a Sunday evening and I was to start my exams by 9a.m. the next day. I stayed up all night trying to read but I found it really difficult to concentrate.

Total Summer School France 2014Electrical and electronics engineering had gotten more difficult and coupled with my lack of preparation, I had my worst semester GPA. I had a lot of Cs and Bs with just 1 A out of 14 courses.
My CGPA took a terrible nose-dive. Thankfully, I had done so well in my first 3 years that my CGPA managed to stay just within the first class range.

My final year became more important than I thought it would have been, as I needed to have good results to avoid dropping from a first class to second class upper.

I was however able to blend academics, sports, music, shows and attending and organising parties together and I had one of my best years in school. In my final semester, I had a 5.0 GPA

Chigo temp_certificateSoaring to First Class Victory
When I received the confirmation that I had finished with a first class degree, I was overwhelmed with joy and experienced a great sense of fulfilment. I had a well rounded university experience and still excelled academically. I maintained a first class CGPA every semester throughout my stay in school.

I consider the keys to my success as: understanding myself and what works best for me, time management, always having inner peace and happiness no matter what I’m going through and absolute dependence on God above all things.

Now that I’ve graduated with a good degree, I’ve got time to focus on a career in music and eventually have a career in engineering.

____
About BellaNaija Celebrates Academic Excellence
We called for submissions of graduating students who had excelled in their course of study. We acknowledge the fact that everyone who has graduated this year is a winner. We, therefore, want to celebrate people who have gone over and above the norm. People who have gotten meritorious distinctions and awards from their institution of study. We hope that you are inspired and we look forward to receiving more entries.

30 Comments

  1. oluwaseun funmi kelly

    March 10, 2016 at 10:44 am

    congrat…

  2. DatEnuguChic

    March 10, 2016 at 10:46 am

    Bravo young man!

  3. Funms

    March 10, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Well done Chigozie! Your story is inspiring.

  4. Joan Olinke

    March 10, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Yes i know you right from Grace Schools. You were my Brother’s set in Grace and you were the Best Student in the Mock Examination. These are the future Leaders#jojo

  5. Tolu

    March 10, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Famzer???

  6. sonique

    March 10, 2016 at 11:32 am

    wow….all i can say is WOW!!!!……congrats dear, i graduated with a 2.1 but when i think about it, i know it would have been better if only i had the ability to balance my academic life with social life then. i always realize late when its like 3daysto exam and then i start doing marathon reading with like six different textbooks all over my table and Me fooling myself that i can read them all at once. Mtschewwwwww.,…Congrats jare, you did well.

  7. keke driver

    March 10, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Dude’s cute sha o…..wussup ladies

  8. dex

    March 10, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Congrats my dear, e no easy at all. I know how it is. Bella will u accept my story if write to you, though I did not make a first class.

    • Atoke

      March 10, 2016 at 1:27 pm

      Hello dex,

      Thank you for reading. The series is targeted at celebrating excellence and we strive to showcase people who have excelled academically. If you read the previously featured stories, you’ll see we have shared stories of people who have not achieved first class degrees as well.

      If you meet the criteria, please send your story to us and we will be glad to celebrate you.

      Have a lovely day.
      A.

  9. prince

    March 10, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    inspiriting. congratulations!!!

  10. chee

    March 10, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    Really inspiring. Congratulations and God’s grace in your future endeavours.

  11. nnenne

    March 10, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Congratulations.
    Good and bad exists in every race, tribe and nation.
    Hello, Bella Naijarians!

  12. Adetomiwa Jeminiwa

    March 10, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Well… as seen in one of the pictures above, he won the ‘All rounder’ award in the faculty.
    Chigo is someone worth famzing so please reach out to him while he’s still accessible. Dogged and resolute, I’d say after 100Level 1st semester result when almost everybody had above 4.50, I never thought he’d finish with a first class but look at him today, 5yrs later and he’s shinning brighter than ever. Young man, there’s no stopping now.
    The world isn’t ready for what you’re about to unleash. Earthlings brace yourselves!

  13. zarah Aboyade

    March 10, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Awwww

  14. ElessarisElendil

    March 10, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    Dude no chill. See some of us struggling to balance just academics with sleeping and failing woefully, and you just making everything look easy. ?????You nah G!

  15. X-Factor

    March 10, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    wow!

  16. Bee

    March 10, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    So proud of you Bobby!!

  17. Msmola

    March 10, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    Congratulations Chigo, great job balancing all and coming out excellent. Wish you more fufilling achievements ?

  18. Ujunwaa

    March 10, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Congratulations Chigo, am proud of u

  19. Beasie

    March 10, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    Really good work Chigo. This is inspiring and shows what you can achieve bring able to plan and balance well. All the best in your endeavours and we’d definitely hear more from you.

  20. Uzo

    March 10, 2016 at 6:48 pm

    Welldone Chigozie you’ve done your family, yourself and Nigeria proud. Xx

  21. engrhope

    March 10, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    A Graduate of Electrical/ Electronic Engineering, proud of man. it is not easy thank GOD 4 GOD

  22. El__Supremo

    March 10, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Triple respect… ordinary balance school with FIFA, man still dey struggle…. Congrats man. Blessing

  23. Chisom

    March 10, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Omg Chigo! I love your track “My Shine”. Wish I could meet you personally. I’m your biggest fan!

  24. Simi

    March 10, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    Im so proud of you. You’ve got a bright future and I saw it in you the first time I met you. We’re all proud of you, i especially.

  25. ozzy

    March 11, 2016 at 7:02 am

    this is awesome. i hope to read the story of Delsuite here someday. in Delsu, lecturers tell you that you cant graduate with a first. you’d just watch your gp going down with all your efforts

  26. BONIFACE EKENE AGU

    March 15, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Chigozie you have just started impacting in people’s lives with your outstanding performance. Bravo young and energetic future leader.

  27. BONIFACE EKENE AGU

    March 15, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    Chigozie if you will grant this wish. I wish to contact you an have your story published in our church youth magazine that we are about to publish. 08038179758 is my number

  28. Tosin

    March 17, 2016 at 10:44 am

    I feel so happy reading this, I’m going to cry. Definitely love.

  29. Mekzy P

    March 19, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Chigo………. all greetings from Me….i’m so proud of you. Since I knew you frm Sec. Sch, you’ve always had it High. May God grace you more.

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