Exclusive: Inspiring story of how 22-year-old whiz kid surmounted all obstacles to emerge 2019 best graduating student of Nigerian Law School

In a remarkable story of pure determination and man’s indomitable spirit over adversity, 22-year old Mubashir Mayowa Abiru, last child and only son of a family of three shattered a few myth and validated the long held view that what the heart desires, is achievable.

Inspite of his two weeks admission in hospital few days to final bar exams, Abiru emerged the overall best graduating student with First Class at last week’s passing out ceremony of 2019 set of Nigerian Law School where over 5000 freshly minted Lawyers were released to the Nigerian market.

In an exclusive interview he granted newsclickng.com, the Lagos born Abiru shared an interesting perspectives that is indicates his readiness to reach the very top of the Legal profession.

Enjoy the excerpt of the interview below;

Excerpt of Exclusive Interview with Newsclickng.com:

How does it feel being the overall best graduating law student at Nigeria’s Law School?

It feels very fulfilling and perhaps just a little bit overwhelming – a few weeks ago, I was just one student out of about five thousand, who sat for the bar final examinations. I put in my best just like most people and now, to find that I had the best performance in the entire country, it feels unreal sometimes; but all in all, I feel a sense of fulfillment and joy, for the opportunity to make my family proud. I am grateful to God.

How did you achieve this feat?

That’s an interesting question – because I didn’t originally set out to achieve this feat. I started the law school with the sole desire to attain a 1st class grade, I did not initially aim for anything beyond that; but as the session progressed, I dared to dream much bigger. I would summarize my answer by saying that, I achieved this feat by leaving nothing to chance (that was within my control). I tried to always attend my classes, to do my readings, I studied diligently, and I practiced consistently; I would always meet with other students that I felt were faring better than me, to advise me on how I could improve in my efforts – I was always looking for how to improve and do more. Lastly, I would say that, I prayed just as hard as I worked, I told God that this law school, it was me and Him that would do it together, and by His grace, we did.

Is it your University that prepared you for this accomplishment or self-motivation?

I would say it was a bit of both, but certainly more of self-motivation. University attempts to give you the basics, the foundational grounding that you need to venture forth into the world, but university will not build for you. So, I would say that my university gave me a foundation, and self-motivation was what enabled me to build. Anyone who has been to law school will tell you, that if you don’t have a strong driving force that is motivating you, you will definitely falter – because trust me, it is not an easy journey.

What are your future aspirations now that you have conquered Nigerian Law School?

Well, as far as aspirations go, I don’t believe that such things are set in stone. The more I grow and the more exposed I become, I find that my aspirations often develop alongside me, and as such I will attempt not to be overly specific. However, in a broad sense, I would say my future aspirations certainly include – becoming a professional of international renown in my chosen field and attaining a position in life that will enable me to impact the future generations of my country (and perhaps the world) positively.

What would you advise youngsters who now see you as a role model?

My advice would be this – that they believe in themselves and in what they are capable of. You are not a bystander in the unfolding of your destiny, you are an active participant in the determination of your fate, so don’t take everything that life throws at you lying down. Don’t go down without a fight. Life can be really tough, and storms will often come – but do not tell yourself that you are helpless, because you are not. Rise to the occasion and never stop trying to change your narrative for the better. If I had accepted my fate from my university grade – I would not ordinarily be here, I graduated from my university with a second-class upper, I did not make the top 5 of my university class of less than 120 students – but I believed in myself and I told myself that it was up to me to change my own story. It was up to me to go out there and change my narrative, and although it is no easy task, if you set your mind to it, you can exceed everyone’s expectations of you, and shape your destiny.

What was the greatest challenge you faced to reach this height?

I would say the greatest challenge I faced, was health-related. I fell ill at the worst possible time, barely weeks to my bar final examinations, I had to be admitted in the hospital due to ill health. I missed almost the entirety of the last two weeks of school as a result of this and was only able to fully return to school a few days before my exams (Thank you Dr. Smith). I thought all my hopes of a 1st class were gone, but as God would have it, it would seem the opposite became the case.

What would you say to your parents?

First, I would say “Thank you”, for their dedication, their love and support. My parents are the most devoted parents I could have ever asked for. We literally went through this law school together. There was hardly any struggle I went through, that they were not aware of. Their dedication to seeing their children succeed is awe-inspiring. Like I said, I fell ill right before my exams, and without their support back then, I would have probably ended up having to miss my exams and re-do law school next year; but they stood by me and never left my side, I could not be more grateful.

What number are you in the family and what are your hobbies asides from academics?

I am the third and last child of three children, I have two older sisters.

I have a pretty robust life outside of my academics, and I try to engage myself in quite a number of things, but some of my hobbies are: photography – I consider myself a bit of an amateur photographer, I go out quite often and I socialize well, I swim, I try to keep up with a few tv shows, I volunteer with Junior Achievement when I can, and I also solve problems – solving problems for myself and other people, is one of my more useful hobbies.

What accounted for your inability to graduate from the University with a 1st Class?

Well, I would say that the answer to that question requires a bit of an explanation – In my university, your 1st semester GPA, goes a long way in determining your final grade, regardless of how many years you spend in the university and regardless of how much you improve as you go along. I started my 100L on less than perfect footing, because I found myself doing a number of mandatory courses that were not law-related – as a result, I struggled a bit and finished the semester with a 4.15 GPA out of 5.0; from that point on, try as I might to attain a 1st class, my CGPA increased at a painfully slow rate, leading me to graduate with a 4.31 CGPA, when the required CGPA for a 1st class is 4.5. It was a painful experience, and an occurrence which I vowed to rectify at the law school. I think the system needs a bit of work, because it is a system that tends to make improvement very difficult, and this is dangerous, as it may lead many students to give up on their dreams.

Could you kindly share your childhood journey, including schools you attended?

I was born into the family of Mr. Kayode Abiru and Mrs. Moriliat Abiru, the last of three children and the only male. I grew up in a very humble household, where love, respect and hard work were the cardinal values upon which we were raised. I attended Childville Nursery and Primary School, Lagos where I would often receive awards for my academic performance. I went on to Caleb International College, Lekki where I had my secondary school education and also received numerous certificates of academic excellence – which now adorn the wall in my bedroom. I graduated from Caleb in 2013 as the best graduating student in five subjects including English Language, Literature, Economics,…From there, I went on to Babcock University, where I held a few positions of note, including serving as the Chief Justice of the Babcock University chapter of the Law Students Association.

Could you share with us the awards you carted away at the Law School graduation ceremony where you were the star attraction?

As God would will it, I was called to bar on the 28th of November 2019 and emerged the recipient of:

The Justice J.O. Shofolahan prize for the Best Overall Student in Corporate Law Practice.

The D. D. Dodo OFR, SAN prize for the 3rd Best Overall Student in Professional Ethics and Skills.

The Mallam Y.O. Ali SAN prize for the Best Overall Male Student of the year.

The Nigerian Bar Association prize for the Best Overall Male Student.

The Boinime Jackson Lott Foundation prize for the Best Student of the Year.

The Sir Adetokunbo Ademola K.B.E, GCON prize for the Best Student of the year.

The Dr. Taslim Elias GCON, SAN prize for the Best Student of the year.

The Justice A. Fatai-Williams GCON prize for the Best Student of the year.

The Justice S.A. Ayujah OFR prize for the Most Promising Graduating Student of the Year.

The Director General’s prize for 1st class students.

The Council of Legal Education Star Prize.

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