• Wednesday, December 06, 2023
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National varsities’ maths champions reveal secrets to excelling in difficult courses


You represented the University of Lagos in the National Mathematics Competition for University Students? Can you share your experience?

To be honest, it was a beautiful experience. Basically, the competition was very tense. When you find yourself competing against intelligent brains from universities across the country, you cannot but have the initial belly-butterfly feeling. Throughout my five-day stay in Abuja, I was anxious. The University management was so kind as to make adequate preparations in terms of transportation (by air) and hotel accommodation. The event had students from University of Ibadan, University of Ilorin and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria among several universities.

How many institutions were represents in the competition?

There were about twenty universities cutting across various geographical areas in Nigeria with about 53 participants in general.

How did you get selected to fly the University’s flag at the competition?

There was a pre-selection test organised in the Department of Mathematics here in the University of Lagos. About six of us were involved in the test. Luckily for me, I was among the first four that eventually got picked to travel to Abuja. My other team mates are Jacqueline Martin-Ikpehai, Musa Seun and Ajayi Kehinde Peter. Mogbademu, a lecturer in the department was our accompanying guardian to the competition.

In that competition, how did the University of Lagos fare in the ranking?

It was quite thrilling. We did quite well. All four of us from Unilag were among the overall best eight. We clinched the first, the fifth, the sixth and eight positions in the overall ranking. In the total aggregates, Unilag came tops as a group, while University of Ibadan (UI) University of Ilorin came second and third respectively.

We are looking forward to the international mathematics competition that will be organised later this year (sometime in August) in Bulgaria. Hopefully, the university management being agreeable, we should be representing the school at the competition come August.

Can you tell us the areas in which you were tested in the competition?

The competition area cuts across real and complex analyses, algebra (linear and abstract) and calculus.

What and what do you think contributed to the overall success of the Unilag contingent?

Really, a lot of factors; topmost is the rigorous nature of the mathematics discipline in University of Lagos, the quality of lecturers we have in the department, and also the never-say-die attitude of the average Unilag student.

Do you, then, believe that the Mathematics Department in Unilag is the best in the country?

Yes. I will agree so, given that in Nigeria, we have the best pure-mathematics sub department in the country.

How is life for you after emerging national champion?

There has been quite a handful of attention, especially from female folks. More ladies say hello to me these days than in the past but I don’t see that as anything special. However, it has really been fun; my friends take me more seriously and there is this respect wherever I go on campus. People actually tend to listen to what I say more than in the past.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

That’s a tough question for me. By my plans, in the next five years, I should be an investment banker.

What is the prize for winning the competition?

According to the advert distribute by National Mathematics Centre, Abuja, the top 5 will get automatic employment in the NMC.

What is your advice for those who have challenges with mathematics as a subject?

Just like every other discipline, you need to take the subject seriously. Mathematics is not a difficult subject, so that mind-set should be squashed. The basics are always the core, so, they should make concerted efforts to learn them. If this is done, mathematics will be fun.