Young Achiever: Nasir Alabi – A Lesson in Perseverance

True success is built on a foundation of hard work. In fact, what people call luck is preparation meeting with opportunity. The story of 17-year-old Nasir Alabi, an SS3 student of the Lagos City college, underscores the fact that can be whatever you want to be despite your history. This is an account of success despite setbacks and is certain to inspire thousands of young people to strive to be the best they can be.

Nasir was born on August 11, 1992 into the family of Mrs. & Mrs. Alabi as the last six children. He had his primary school education at Command Children School, Army Barracks, Sabo, Lagos. It was in this school that his desire to be knowledgeable received life. “I had always been in the 4th or 5th position up till Primary 5, when suddenly I felt I had been an average student for too long,” he says. He went out of his way to seek help from his classmates who taught him different topics, especially in mathematics. According to him, “I learnt from other students who were better than me- they taught me LCM (lowest common multiple). Our female class teacher was also very nice to us and advised us. In moral instruction, one of the subjects we studied, she taught us about perseverance and that encouraged me to study more and work harder.” By the third term in Class 5, he rose to the next position and by the next year, he had become very good at mathematics. However, he did not score up to the cut-off mark for admission into highly rated Kings College, Lagos, so he was transferred to Aje Comprehensive Junior High School, Sabo, a less known public school run by the state government.

“The heights by great men reached and kept, were not achieved by sudden flight. But they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), U.S. Poet

At Aje Comprehensive Junior high school, he had to study under difficult conditions- half constructed classes, some had no roof. Nevertheless, he was quick to add that “the teachers imparted useful knowledge in us. I remember Mr. Oshipitan and Mrs. Oshin who taught us mathematics in JSS 1 and 2 respectively. The laboratories were not equipped and we only had science practical during the JSSCE examination.”

In October 2006, Nasir resumed at the Lagos City College, Sabo, where he had a little difficulty choosing what department to enroll in. He finally chose to go to science class in order to keep his dream of becoming a medical doctor alive. In the first year, the science class had a further mathematics teacher. He excelled and became the best further mathematics student, as well as occupying the first position throughout SS1. He has maintained this position, though he admits that SS2 posed greater challenges. “The industrial strike actions by the teachers in Lagos state did not help matters, but after the strike, some teachers organized after-some school classes to compliment classroom efforts in order to finish the syllabus.”

In August 2009, Nasir wrote a qualifying examination and emerged as one of the top 30 student selected, to attend a three-week summer camp organized by Lonadek Oil & Gas Consultants. Two month later, Nasir Alabi won the Lagos state finals of the National Science and Technology Quiz competition organized by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, in conjunction with the Lagos State Ministry of Science and Technology. The candidates were tested in core subjects: physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, further mathematics, agricultural science, and ICT during the preliminaries and all except further mathematics and ICT at the finals (quiz). To claim the top spot in the state, he out classed over 40 best students from schools in the Local Educational District 4 (Mainland, Yaba and Surulere), and another 35 best students from all the 6 districts in Lagos State. The quarterfinal and semifinal stages involved written tests while the final was in an oral quiz format. At the final, he contested against nine other students and secured the top spot. He won a trophy for his school. He also went home with an Omatek Notebook Computer and books worth about 50,000 Naira.

Nasir is an official (Provost) of the JETS club at the Lagos City College (LCC) where he coordinates meetings and special events and ensure regular attendance at the weekly meetings. He also serves as the Naibul-Ameer (Vice President) of the LCC chapter of the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria.

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