ECU Honours First Class Graduate with Lifetime Achievement Award

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Rebecca Ejifoma

The Evangelical Christian Union (ECU) Alumni Fellowship has honoured 23-year-old First Class graduate, Oluwadunni Oni, with Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding performance at the Nigerian Law School in 2019.

Oni, who graduated with Second Class Upper Honours, was among the top 10 students in her class. She proceeded to the Nigerian Law School, Yola Campus, for the compulsory Bar Part II course, where she graduated with First Class Honours and was awarded six prizes, including Best Female Graduating Student and the Second Overall Best Graduating Student.

Presenting the award at a reception for her, notable theatre Director and Author, Mr. Austin Awulonu, who is the President, ECU Alumni Fellowship, commended Oni, noting that she had done herself, her family, Ife, and of course, and E. C. U. Alumni Fellowship proud.

“For the avoidance of doubt, Oluwadunni is a thoroughbred E. C. U. daughter. Her father was a member of the ECU Fellowship during his days as a student in Ife. In fact, he is a distant predecessor of mine having served in the same capacity I presently serve as President of E.C.U. Alumni Fellowship,” he said.

Awulonu continued that at a time when from the pulpit to the soapbox the country is bedeviled by do as I say but not as I do leaders; when youths are branded lazy and are left to navigate the labyrinthine paths of life; when opportunities for the girl child is at a costly premium in Nigeria; when righteousness is the last thing on the minds of many; when unemployment is eroding the motivation to reach for academic excellence among the teaming young population, “Oluwadunni stepped out to show us that we still can overcome by righteousness and dint of hardwork”.

He lauded further; “She went to the Nigeria Law School alongside some 5600 others. She saw, conquered, and returned victorious. She was the best female student in Civil and Criminal Litigation; best graduating student in Yola Campus; best overall female graduating student; and second best overall graduating student.”

According to Awulonu, success didn’t come easy. “Oluwadunni knuckled down to do the rigorous work that precedes success. Success never dropped on anybody like a bag of cherry out of the sky, no, success is the consequence of decisions made at opportune time.

“Our opportune time is now. As a nation, as institutions, as individuals what we make of today determines whether we would be celebrated tomorrow or denigrated. Then your team members, acolytes and support structure will not be there. You will stand alone. Today is the day of salvation, tomorrow is the consequence of it.”

For the author, Oni’s footprint is worthy of emulation. Adding, he said that celebrating Oni was to send a clear signal to the younger generation of alumni members and the students back home in “Great Ife” to strive for excellence, pursue it, delay gratification, pay the price for it, and “your reward will come and with it, celebration and honour”.

Expressing her joy smothered with polished smiles, the young Oni said: “I feel very elated and honoured. I know how much effort I put in, so I feel very blessed to have won those prizes.”

On her passion for creative writing, she enthused that she had always enjoyed writing since she was a child. She recalled, “When I was in primary five, I wrote a short story, and it was usually on and off. So, it wasn’t something I thought of pursuing professionally but it is an outlet for me.”

Her writing skills metamorphosed even in Law School, “Whenever I was tired of reading, I would just carry my notepad and write a poem or something about how I felt or an experience. But it is not a line that I thought to pursue professionally.”