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After four years of striving for excellence in the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka (UNIZIK), Two young men who were roommates defied the odds to graduate with a first class.

Apart from sharing the same middle name, Henry Ikenna Ozor and Joshua Ikenna Akuchi, seem to have a lot in common.

The two were classmates were classmates in secondary school, and when they met as undergraduates in the faculty of Engineering of UNIZIK, they became roommates.

Years down the line, the pair conquered expectations when they both graduated with first class degrees, and even finished as best graduating students from their departments.

Henry who hails from Iwollo in Ezeagu local government area of Enugu state, finished with a 4.85CGPA to become the best graduating student in the entire faculty of Engineering. While Joshua who hails from Ezza North local government in Ebonyi state, finished with a 4.66CGPA and emerged the best graduating student of the Mechanical Engineering department.

The pair seem to always challenge each other, because when they represented UNIZIK at the national Engineering competition which was organised by the Committee of Deans of Engineering and Technology (CODET), Joshua emerged the first runner-up while Henry came in second.

Narrating their journey and their success story to CAMPUSLIFE, the pair who went to school on scholarship said: Henry: “As an indigent student, I had a challenge of paying my fee. I remember I could not pay school fees and house rent when I was in 100-Level. I would have lost my admission, because I had no financial support. I searched for scholarship, and I wrote many examinations as possible. By the grace of God, I got scholarship from ABC Transport Company, Shell Petroleum Development Company and Chevron/Agbami Joint Venture. I was also encouraged and financially supported by Allied Energy. The money I got from these companies yearly helped me to pay my fees and buy books.” Joshua: “I squatted in a friend’s hostel for about eight months when I was in 100-Level until I got money to pay my rent. Like Henry, I also applied and wrote many scholarship examinations. I was able to get Agbami Chevron/Agbami Joint Venture scholarship, which helped to pay my school fees.”

When asked how their parents reacted to news that they were the valedictorians of their departments, they said: Henry: “My parents were over excited, because of the challenges they experienced in getting me to the level I am today.” Joshua: “My mum was overjoyed, though she expected it. She could not believe it when it was confirmed. My dad said he wanted to keep hearing the testimony of how I made it happen and each time he hears it, it is breaking news to him.”

Sharing the secret of their success, they said: Henry: “I have always had successful and hardworking people around me. So, I draw energy and motivation from them. I would say that God’s favour made it happen, but I enjoy reading in the night except at weekends. Most of the time, I came back from night class around 5:30am to sleep before going for lectures. After lectures, I would return to my hostel to prepare for night reading.

After sleeping for two to three hours, I would wake up to go for fellowship. From there, I would go for night reading till the following morning.” Joshua: “My daily routine is similar to Henry’s; only that I slept for more hours than I studied.”

The pair opened up on their sole desires, they hope their academic records will be broken soon by their junior colleagues.

Henry: “The only thing that kills a mission is distraction. I will advise my junior colleagues to design a plan and timetable, because they cannot be reading at random and expect to have a well-structured result.

They should try to summarize their lecture note and textbooks in their own understanding for better concentration, comprehension and retention. If, after reading, and one cannot clearly understand key concepts and highlights of a course, then it is a clear sign that such a person did not understand it or he may be cramming.

I equally believe that everyone has its own way of achieving excellence. What is needed is self-discovery.” Joshua: “Academic excellence is achievable for students who wish to attain enviable feat and height in their studies. They must carefully choose their friends, dedicate quality time to studies and be ambitions. They must always make up for lost time. The Almighty God is the pillar of all wisdom and knowledge.” 

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