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Inspiring story! Pregnant at 18, best
graduating student at 25
Found this amazing story on Punch. Read and
Seven years after an unwanted pregnancy
forced her to drop out of the University of
Ilorin, Aishat Farooq emerges the best
graduating student of the Bells University of
Technology, Ota, Ogun State, reports
When Aishat Farooq gained admission into
the University of Ilorin at 15, to study
Zoology, little did she know that she was not
going to be an alumnus of the institution.
That was in 2003.
Despite the fact that she was a high flyer in
her first two years in UNILORIN, the now 25-
year-old indigene of Ilorin West-Local
Government Area of Kwara State got
distracted along the line. She played the
campus love game and got a shocking result:
she got pregnant. It was in 2006 and in her
third year. She was pregnant for a fellow
student whom she had been dating. She was
disappointed in herself and thought the whole
world was crashing on her. Yet, she vowed
not to terminate the pregnancy.
Although she wanted to continue her studies in
the university, she became disillusioned and
dropped out at 18. She sought consolation in
But her father, Mr. Shehu Farooq, who
believed that his daughter’s academic prowess
should not be wasted, was determined to get
her back on the academic track.
Today, Aishat has a different story to tell. On
Saturday, she stood tall among her peers at
the 5th convocation ceremony of Bells
University, Ota, Ogun State, where she
emerged the overall best graduating student
with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.93.
“The rebel in me won,” she declared while
giving the valedictory address on behalf of the
208 graduating students of the university.
“I hope my story will inspire at least one
person to change his or her circumstance. I
was pregnant at 18 and by 19 I was already a
mother. I had disappointed my father who
believed so much in me. He had such big
dreams for me and feared the dreams would
become unfulfilled,” she added.
Breaking the news of the pregnancy to her
father, who was at the time based in the
northern part of the country, was not easy.
Aishat’s mother, Fatima, who stayed in Lagos
with the family, did not break the “sad news”
to the man until the lady was almost due. The
mum feared her husband would be too angry.
Fatima narrated to our correspondent,
“Looking back, we knew her to be very
brilliant. But all of a sudden she got pregnant.
Though her father and I were always discussing
on the telephone, I hid it from him. Whenever
he said he would be coming to Lagos to visit
us, I would quickly chip it in that I would like
to be the one to visit. So, I ensured I was the
one always visiting him.
“That was how I managed the situation until
the pregnancy was eight months. But even
when we broke the news to him, he felt really
bad. Although there was nothing he could do,
he couldn’t go out for three days.”
Aishat studied Business Administration with
specialisation in Human Resources
Management, and received the Vice-
Chancellor’s Prize for the Overall Best
Graduating Student with a cash reward of
N50,000 and a plaque. She also won the
College of Management Sciences Prize and
Department of Business Administration Prize
for the Best Graduating Student.
Speaking with our correspondent after she
received the awards, Aishat, whose face
beamed with smiles, expressed gratitude to her
dad for not losing hope in her during her
She noted that the popularly-held notion that
the child that goes astray belongs to the
mother, while the good ones belong to the
father, was not applicable in her situation as
her father did not give up on her.
Asked why her dad had so much hoped in her,
she stated that her history of academic
excellence from childhood right to the
university was a major driving force.
Aishat, who attended Nazareth Nursery and
Primary School, Lagos; Penny International
College, Lagos and Model Secondary School,
Maitama, Abuja, said she bagged several
academic awards while growing up and noted
that she secured admission to UNILORIN the
same year she completed her secondary
She noted, “I did exceptionally well and bagged
awards in the schools I attended. I had the
overall best result at the Senior Secondary
School Certificate level at Model Secondary
School, Maitama, Abuja. In fact in UNILORIN, I
was on the first class grade in my first year
but in 200 Level, I dropped to second class
upper division because I had already started
getting distracted by the boys.
“It just happened that things turned out the
way it did. But here I am, a product of God’s
unending mercies, unconditional love and
grace – all coupled with the faith my dad had
in me and my fierce determination.
“I’m a goal getter. I push myself hard. Even
here (BELLSTECH) in spite of being a mother, I
was pushing for the best despite the
challenges. I wanted to make my dad proud
again. Once you are determined, nothing is
impossible. Nothing can stop you.”
She said her decision to study Business
Administration as against the sciences, which
she was studying in UNILORIN, was informed
by her two-year experience in the world of
business after she dropped out of university.
She explained that incessant strikes by the
Academic Staff Union of Universities, however,
informed her decision to attend a private
university. “Age was no longer on my side and
I wanted to do it fast. And my dad could afford
it because he was a businessman,” she added.
Asked if she was involved in any relationship at
the Bells, she explained that she was a popular
“snob” on campus because the majority of
male students were younger than her. Besides,
she did not want to get distracted or
disappoint her parents and herself again.
Aishat, who has been posted to Lagos State to
observe the mandatory National Youth Service
Corps scheme, said, “If you ask around you will
be told that I was a snob. My favourite spot
was my room. I rarely went out of the room
for social events. I went to mosque. However,
when I contested for the president of my
departmental association, Business
Administration Students Association, the
Nigerian system worked against me.
“I lost to my male opponent. Although I had
plans to take some giant strides if I won,
especially in the academic aspect for my fellow
students, the fact that I was not the type of
person who hangs out worked against me. I
didn’t have a social life.”
She said she has no plans for marriage for
now. She wants to pursue a master’s degree
programme in Human Resources in the
University of Aberdeen, Scotland. She added
that she also plans to work in a corporate
environment to garner experience and
afterwards go back to the university to teach
“as a way of giving back.”
The second child in a family of eight children,
Aishat brought her six-year-old son, Damilola,
to the convocation. It was, however, learnt
that the Edo State-born father of the boy has
since got married to another woman.
She noted that her major challenge on campus
was the randomness of classes which denied
her the opportunity of spending quality time
with her son while her stay in the university
“We had visiting professors who came into the
campus at anytime. Although we had
schedules, many of them had a bit of flexible
time. Sometimes on Sunday when I took
permission to visit my child in Lagos, my
classmates would call me up on the phone that
there was going to be a class. Because
attendance is very important, I had to rush
down. This affected me a little,” she added.
Aishat’s father advised parents to give their
children and wards the best of tutelage and
close monitoring. He noted that he least
expected the feat achieved by his daughter as
he was at a time disturbed that “she could no
longer make it.”
Asked if it was lack of adequate monitoring
that made Aishat go astray at UNILORIN, he
said, “Let’s just say that is how God wants it.
You see, 70 per cent of the fault is on us the
parents. Parents should give their children
good supervision and tutelage. With this, they
cannot derail. I thank God for her because it’s
is not easy to have raised her from grass to
“I screamed on the phone the day I learnt she
was pregnant. I started asking questions: When,
where and how. I burst into tears. But today,
she is a new being. And I know the mistake will
not repeat itself. My expectations for her are
that she should fly higher and higher.
P.S : I'm however, not advocating you get preggies at 18, you might not be this lucky....all I'm tryna say is, do not let unforeseen circumstances become a sorta set back or limitations to your progress in life, Determination and drive is the KEY.