Young Achiever: Olaide Adesopo

Dreams they say die hard, but dreams will always be dreams unless they are backed by action and a burning determination to bring them to reality. On April 8, 2009 at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Ikeja, Lagos, the yearnings and aspiration of a sixteen-year-old senior secondary school girl (SS3) came to fulfilment as she became the 2009 One-Day Governor of Lagos State.

Her incredible spelling abilities had not only won her fame and success but had actually paved the way for her to further her education; take decisions that would be incorporated in the development of a state, of course with the assistance of the executive council and the governor’s personal advisers as well as have the opportunity to travel overseas for a youth exchange programme.

Olaide Adesopo is a native of Obokun Local Government Area of Osun State. From 2002-2003, she attended Ajenifiya Primary School, Ilupeju and from there, proceeded to Estate Senior Grammar School, Ilupeju where she is presently, an SS3 student. She is the third child of Mr. Adebowale Adesopo (father) who is a local repairer of sewing machines and Mrs. Bisi Adesopo (mother) who is unemployed. The inevitable success wasn’t easy for the young virtuoso as she faced a lot of challenges on her way to success. According to her, “the distance from my home to school is far and sometimes I had to trek to school”, she quipped.

Still savouring the sweet taste of success after she was adjudged the 2009 winner of the Spelling Bee competition organized by the Lagos State Government In collaboration of the New Era Foundation, a nongovernmental organization founded by Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, wife of the former Governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Olaide attributed her success to her mother’s unflinching support and her determination to succeed as well as her fervent prayers to God. She said she was encouraged by the success of Daniel Osunbor who won it in 2008 and vowed to emulate it by religiously reading the dictionary she had borrowed from her friend and looking out for new words. According to her, “if Daniel could do it, I could also do it”, she emphasized.

She re-iterated the fact that students from public schools can always compete favourably with those from private schools, if only they are empowered and motivated. She called on the government to provide necessary facilities and quality teachers as these would facilitate development. She also called on students to take advantage of government innovative policies and pay attention to their studies as well as being obedient to their parents and imbibing the finest qualities of discipline and honesty.

On the prospect of going overseas for a youth exchange programme, an overwhelmed Olaide thanked the New Era Foundation and the Lagos State Government for giving her such an opportunity. She planned on becoming a chartered accountant in the future and for her efforts, The First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola presented her with a cash prize of N250, 000, and a laptop from Omatek computers.

Who says being a Winner is no big deal?

The spelling bee competition is designed to create a forum for Academic Excellence among students in the state public schools. It provides opportunities for pupils’ wholesome growth and development. It also provides a platform for students to showcase their talents and inculcate in them the culture of healthy rivalry for better academic performance. Fifty-seven senior secondary schools in fifty-seven Local Government Areas in Lagos State took part in the competition.

Previous winners include Ebuka Anisiobi (2001), Otiti Ovwuwhore (2002), Emmanuel Aiyenitaju (2003), Tolulope Esan (2004), Oyetade Ajao (2005), Abundance Ikechukwu (2006), Mariam Busari (2007), and Daniel Osunbor (2008).

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