I AM A PRODUCT OF GOD’S GRACE- FADESHOLA CYNTHIA IJILANA
A first class graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University and 7 times ICAN prize winner, Fadeshola Cynthia Ijilana in an interview with Corper Diary Team (CDT) shares her life story, journey through University, views on national issues, relationship and lots more, excerpts.
CDT- Kindly tell us a bit about yourself.
Sola- I’m Ijilana Fadeshola Cynthia, the second child and only girl in a family of 5. I hail from Ondo state, had my primary and secondary education in Ogun State before I proceeded to ObafemiAwolowo University, Ile-Ife, where I obtained my BSc. Degree in Accounting with a first class honours to the glory of God. I’m also a Chartered Accountant (To the Glory of God) and I’m looking forward to more opportunities in life because I believe the best in me is yet to be seen. I am a serving Corps member in Ogun state.
CDT- Why the Choice of Accounting in the University?
Sola- It’s a long story… I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. I had this dream from the primary school but when I got to JSS3, I changed my mind to become an actress, but my dad wouldn’t allow me and instead he said I should study Accounting. So all through my Senior Secondary School days, I took both Art and Commercial courses, and I also did the same in WAEC and NECO Examinations because I couldn’t make a choice. But before my WAEC results were released, I prayed to God to make me fail either Financial Accounting or Literature, so I can know what He really wanted for me and as God will have it, I failed just Literature and passed Financial Accounting, so I knew from then that Accounting was God’s plan for me and I love it like that.
CDT- So far, you have undergone all your Education phases in Nigeria, what’s your view of the Nigeria Educational sector?
Sola- There are really a lot wrong with the system. I’ll say that the Nigerian Educational system is too theoretical. The system gives little room for practical which I feel we can improve on. Also, the evaluation of performance can be frustrating sometimes because during Examinations, most lecturers would want to be given back exactly what they gave while in class, i.e. No room for creativity and innovation. For most students in Nigeria today, going to school means nothing more than passing Examinations and getting good grades, because their ideas are not welcomed and Examinations are only the way performance can be evaluated and judged.
CDT- So what are the possible solutions to these problems?
Sola- I’ll recommend more Practical Studies from the Primary School level, so a child would be challenged to use his/her own initiatives and theoretical examinations should not be the only way of evaluating a child’s performance. I also believe that general courses should only be at the Primary level and from the start of the Secondary level, there should be departmentalization.
CDT- Despite all these problems in the Education sector, you were still able to graduate with a First class, how were you able to do this?
Sola- Hmm… Let me just say my life is an evidence of God’s grace. But then, I was able to adapt to the system and develop myself on my own, there was also the place of hard work, determination and also the willingness to learn on my part, all these coupled together made my first class possible.
CDT- Were you able to engage in some social activities in school at all? Graduating with a First class from OAU surely requires full dedication to academics
Sols- Well, not really. Though I was involved in other things aside academics, my social life wasn’t too bad, I attended few parties, went for some entertainment shows and social trips.
CDT- 7 months into NYSC, how has the journey been?
Sola- Very good, I’ve learnt a lot and I’ve met lots of wonderful people even though I think it can be better.
CDT- It can be better? In what aspect
Sola- The remuneration from my employer
CDT- So after NYSC, what next?
Sola- Get a good job, go for my Master’s degree, and then marriage.
CDT- You recently became a Chartered Accountant, how does that feel?
Sola- It feels good… It feels like I’m in for something great.
CDT- This is probably your greatest achievement so far, is that so?
Sola- You can say that for now, because my greatest achievement is yet to come.
CDT- Okay, do you mind sharing some of what you are setting your mind on currently that could be greater and better than being a Chartered Accountant?
Sola- Just watch out….
CDT- You were a prize winner in ICAN for a total of 7 times, how were you able to do this?
Sola- Like I will always say, it was the grace of God, I’ve always believed I’m doing what God wants me to do and that’s the reason why I’m excelling and I know I’m on d right path, so everything have to work together for my good
CDT- What is (are) your advice to ICAN students and aspiring Accountants?
Sola- Be focused and determined and also try to do some personal developments too.
CDT- What’s your take on ICAN allowing anybody to take the program (No restriction)? For example, for someone to go to the Law School, you must have studied Law in the University, for you to have NSE certificate, you must be an Engineering graduate. But in the case of ICAN, irrespective of the course been studied in the University, anyone can still go ahead and write ICAN Examinations, pass and become a Chartered Accountant
Sola- Merely looking at it you’ll feel it’s wrong but then it’s not like a medical doctor and an accountant will be placed at the same level when they’re writing the Professional Examinations, the way I see it is, before you can be a Qualified Accountant, there are some courses to take, learning processes to pass through and some characteristics you should exhibit. So regardless of your background, you can become a Professional Accountant just that it’s a bit easier for an Accounting graduate because of the number of courses to be taken will be lesser than that of other disciplines.
CDT- But they all still end up getting the same certificate and qualification. (ACA and then FCA)
Sola- That’s just the awkward thing about it
CDT- Moving on to national issues now. Unfortunately, the country is stuck in progression, we are in recession now. What’s your advice to the government during this recession period?
Sola- Well I’ll say it’s time to start developing our own ideas and talents and also start utilizing natural resources optimally. It’s no news that Nigeria is blessed but how are we utilizing this resources? Underutilization of resources and narrow mentality is the order of the day in Nigeria and that’s the major cause of our challenge.
Now to resolve this is a long term thing, it’s not something that can be done within one administration but then the transmission of power from one party to another, in fact, from one person to another affect it also because when a government introduces policies and is unable to achieve its objectives during his tenure, another person comes up and turns the whole thing upside down
Before the oil boom, the Agricultural sector accounted for a larger part of our GDP, but when oil came into play everybody wanted to be involved in it and Agriculture was abandoned, and people moved to the oil sector; that’s a narrow mentality and lack of foresight. We could have as well run and harness these two sectors with the same might and not leaving one at the expense of the other but then we forgot our major revenue generating sector. Things would have been fine if the gains from oil had also been spent prudently in the booming days, but unfortunately, another problem is mismanagement
But now we are back to or near square one
Well, now it isn’t up to the government any longer, it’s up to each and every one of us, we need to start developing ourselves, look for a vacuum to fill, develop ideas and products to fill it, we need to tailor our minds more on agriculture, manufacturing things ourselves and also patronizing indigenous manufacturers rather than importing things that are made within the country, at least if we can’t export for now, let’s produce and use our products and reduce importation to a reasonable extent. By doing this, we, as individuals are helping our economy…And for the government, I think they should put more effort in promoting d agriculture and manufacturing sector by providing easy access to grants and loans by those that are willing to go into these sectors.
Also the NYSC program, rather than spending a whole year in schools teaching or in some other PPA, Corp members can as well spend 6 months teaching and 6 months farming or probably the scheme might just be like; you either teach or farm and there should be provision for retaining farm lands for those that want to retain the land either at a price or by giving certain percentage to the state government after the service year, this will help so many corps members on the ability to work on their own projects, compete with their mates and try to make the best out of their farm lands and will also help those who don’t know what next to do after the service year. If farming is well mechanized, believe me people will find it easy to opt for the farming option, the fact is there is a future for agriculture in Nigeria because no matter how hard things are, people will eat and food is just like a small part of agriculture, there are a lot more.
CDT- Great one. Thank you!
Something(s) you think your friends don’t know about you, that you would love to share?
Sola- Well, let me say I see myself as a product of grace. Even though people think hard work brought me to where I am today, I don’t think it is, instead, it has all been the God’s grace. Also, people see me as a bookworm or someone so obsessed with book, but that’s not totally so, I’m social in my way and very adventurous
CDT- Are you in a relationship currently?
CDT- Do you mind telling us about the lucky guy?
Sola- Well he’s a Chartered Accountant and also a graduate of OAU.
CDT- Wow, so it’s an Accounting family?
Sola- Laughs, Something like that but he intends going into the Agriculture line someday.
CDT- So when should we be expecting the sounds of the wedding bells?
Sola- Very soon. God willing sometimes in 2018
CDT- Things you do at your leisure?
Sola- I read novels, magazines, news and also I enjoy seeing movies and I sometimes swim.
CDT- Thank you so much for your time
Sola- Thank you!
Source Corpers Diary