Mufutau Akuruyeju is a 500 level Computer Engineering student of the University of Lagos, Akoka. The second of two children, Mufutau has always wanted to learn everything he could about ICT, which occasioned his studying computer Engineering in the University of Lagos. His brilliance helped him to win an MTNF scholarship and has maintained the required minimum CGPA of 3.50 which allowed him to continue receiving the scholarship worth N200,000. He spoke on his journey to clinching the coveted slot to study a nine-week ICT training programme in CERN Openlab, Switzerland. Excerpts.
How did this journey begin?
When I was in my second year in school in 2012, I saw an advert in the MTN Foundation website where they requested for application from interested students for their scholarship scheme. I showed interest, took the exams and passed. Since then, I have maintained the required CGPA and have enjoyed the scholarship worth N200,000. Early this year, there was another post on the Facebook page of the MTN Foundation announcing an upcoming nine-week advanced IT project and requesting interested applicants to apply. I applied and an acknowledgement mail was sent to me. They later requested for details of different things: project management skills, data base skill, analytic framework and Linux. I made all they requested for available and forwarded to them. I was then requested to visit the website and upload my personal details. It was a very rigorous exercise and it took me weeks to apply because they requested for a lot of things. Also requested for was my motivation, reasons for applying, what I have accomplished and so much more. Another requirement was reference letters from my department and my school and a recommendation from one of my professors. It really was a rigorous exercise but I am happy with the results today.
What impact did the MTN Foundation scholarship have on your educational pursuit in the university?
A whole lot of impact. The difference between an average student and a very brilliant student is the extra mile walked by the very brilliant student. Left to me and with my own financial capabilities, I wouldn’t have been able to go that extra mile by getting necessary materials for my course of study. The scholarship played a very big role in assisting me to buy all the materials I needed to excel in my academic works including past question papers, books, among other materials. They went a long way in adding value and helping my academic work.
You are not just the only Nigerian but the first African to be selected for the ICT programme in Switzerland, tell us your feelings on this accomplishment.
Words cannot express how I feel right now. Sometimes, I feel like I am still dreaming and someone should wake me up. The first time I received the call, I needed the caller to repeat the words again to me to enable me believe it was really happening. Right now, I am mapping out a strategy of things I hope to achieve while in Switzerland. This is an opportunity of a life time and I cannot thank MTN and Oracle enough for this opportunity. Aside from Oracle data base that I will be studying there, I hope to go one step further and enquire about a good school where I can begin my Master degree programme immediately I graduate from school, perhaps intern in a research institute if possible because I am a very passionate about technology and skills. In sports for instance, only a few people can excel. Evening football, all 11 players cannot be like Ronaldo and win every tournament but through education a whole community can be librated. I am very passionate about skills and this is the kind of thing that can change it.
Going to Switzerland will make you an ambassador of sort for your school, Nigeria and the African continent. What words of advice do you want to give to fellow young Nigerians?
Hard work pays and when you get something on merit, it will take you a long way. If you get something because you know a few people somewhere, you may not be able to sustain the position or prove your worth. Achieving something on merit through hard work and dedication, is the easiest way to reaching the pinnacle of your career. Personalities like Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, CEO, Oracle and a host of other people who worked hard to get to where they are today inspire me. So I say to my friends in school, there is always a reward for hard work.