Biodun Kazeem is the first graduate to bag the first class grade in the Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin, If you call him a jinx breaker, you are not far from the truth. The reason is that many students had tried to graduate from the University of Ilorin with a first class degree in Law for many years, but they failed for one reason or the other. Finally, on Tuesday, however, Abiodun Kazeem achieved the feat, drawing accolades from many people. Kazeem studied Common and Islamic Law at the institution, which became a full fledged university in 1976. Achieving this feat, according to him, is something he will always cherish. But he never forgets to note that his march through the system was a tough one.
For instance, he recalls that he did not get admission into the university on a platter of gold. He sat for the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board’s examination twice, in the course of which some of his friends tried to convince him to forget about applying again.
“The first time I sat for JAMB was in 2007,” Kazeem says. “I did not get the cut-off point. But I was bent on studying law. So, in 2008, I obtained the JAMB form and sat for the examination the second time. I was successful this time around.”
Between 2007 and 2008, he worked with one of his uncles, Mr. Tahiru Adeosun, who has a law firm in Ilorin. While the experience might have influenced his academic strides on campus, from his first day in the institution, he had his mind set on obtaining first class degree. Yet, some of his colleagues tried again to discourage him. They reminded him that no one had ever achieved that feat in the institution as far as the faculty was concerned. But he remained resolute.
He says, “From the day I entered the university, I wanted to make a first class. I thought that my experience in my uncle’s law firm could be used to optimise my ability. But some of the challenges I had have to do with the issue that nobody had made it. Some of my colleagues who noted that I was so focused on my studies discouraged me. Many of them said, ‘You can never have it. You do not need to disturb yourself.’
Twenty-six-year-old Kazeem, who hails from Iganna in Oyo State, says he is from a polygamous home. His father, Muideen, has 12 children. His mother, Mulika, gave birth to six of them. He states that settling for Law in the higher institution was largely due to the influence of his uncle.
Perhaps, he could have read Mass Communication and not Law. According to him, his nickname in secondary school was Mr. Mass Communication, due to his writing skills and gift of oration.
He recounts his days at Community Grammar School, Iganna. “I decided to read Law because my uncle, a lawyer, inspired me. I wanted to study Mass Communication. I was very eloquent and I was in the Press Club in the secondary school. But when I got to my uncle’s chamber, he influenced and inspired me to read Law. I never dreamt of becoming a lawyer,” he says.
Beaming with excitement and a sense of accomplishment, Kazeem adds that this feat is an honour for his generation and his people in Oyo State. For now, he is preparing for the Law School, after which he will choose between three directions he has envisioned for himself.
He hopes to become a lecturer, to inspire young people, practise Law or participate in politics, either actively or passively.
Kazeem is one of the 41 graduands from various faculties in the university who bagged first class degrees at the ceremony, with 1,088 making second class upper; 2,435 had second class lower. In the third class degree category are 1,082 students and 214 had ordinary Pass.