A 12-year-old JS1 student of Infant Jesus Academy, Asaba, Delta State named Miss Jessica Okonye is on the verge of history to become the first Nigerian to be admitted into a Nigerian university from junior secondary school.
Admiralty University of Nigeria (ADUN) has already offered Jessica admission as an auditor student pending when further checks on her ability to cope with the rigours of being a university student without the completion of her post-primary education are concluded.
Jessica was offered admission after fielding questions on Tuesday 16th August 2022 from some Faculty Deans and Heads of Departments of ADUN in the presence of her father, Prince Emmanuel Okonye.
The Vice-Chancellor and President of ADUN, Professor Paul Omaji explained that an auditor student in the case of Jessica is a person “admitted” to participate in university lectures without necessarily aiming at coming out with certificate awards.
TNG gathered that it all started when Professor John Alizor discovered Jessica at Wilmak Pharmacy, located in Asaba, where he had gone to purchase some drugs. Explaining his encounter with Jessica, the retired American Professor of Educational leadership stated that he was amazed by the way the JSS 1 student who served as an intern at the shop attended to him.
According to the professor whose business interests include the mentoring of young Nigerians to stardom, Jessica made some remarks that startled him while interacting with her.
“For example, without prompting, she introduced herself, the father and his (father’s) business and asked if he (Alizor) as a “big man” would like to also patronize him (her father),” Prof Alizor said.
Impressed by the 12-year-old’s boldness and comportment, Alizor asked if she knew any philosopher of note, of which she responded in the affirmative and went on to tell the Agbor-based Leadership Consultant about men like Aristotle, Plato and others.
Speaking further, Alizor informed the panel that since he discovered the girl, he has not only met her Akumaze-born father but had also assigned at least one academic exercise to the child per day for about two weeks.
Alizor concluded by requesting ADUN to offer admission to Jessica in any field of studies she so desires, describing her as an exceptionally gifted child. He added that his request is worth considering despite being alien to Nigeria’s educational system.
All the professors and senior lecturers, at the occasion, including the Vice Chancellor took turns in engaging Jessica and her father in some academic exercises.
Asked what she enjoys doing most, the child said; “I like studying and teaching my classmates”. On what she aspires to do for her society, Miss Okonye said her principal aim is to help eradicate corruption in Nigerian society and solve the problems of electricity supplies among others.
Responding to another question bothering on the issue of having a school mother, the young lady said; “when I got admitted into JSS 1 at Infant Jesus’ Academy, a senior student approached me, suggesting that she would like to be my ‘school mother’. But I rejected the offer and insisted that she can only be my ‘take care of. The senior agreed and we moved on”.
As the meeting drew to a close, the Vice Chancellor, who is a Professor of Criminology And Security Studies and Leadership Consultant, admitted that Jessica is indeed a brilliant child.
Professor Omaji added that, pending when further checks on Jessica’s ability to cope with the rigours of being a university student without the completion of her post-primary education are concluded, ADUN can admit her into the school as an auditor.
He then explained that an auditor in this case is a person “admitted” to participate in university lectures without necessarily aiming at coming out with certificate awards.
“Jessica has come to the right place as a first choice centre for her academic pursuit as leadership is the central focus of our institution. This can be seen from our slogan, GUELL (Global University Educating Luminary Leaders),” Omaji said.
TNG reports that if Jessica finally gets admitted into ADUN, she will be making history as the first Nigerian to be admitted into a Nigerian university from a junior secondary school class and at the tender age of 12.
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