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Daniel Okorogheye: In Nigeria, Policies Kill Dreams

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It seems ever so often that we hear about young geniuses from all over the world doing great things at such young ages. At some point we heard about 15 year old Asian whizkids earning doctorates, a 19 year old American earning a professorship and so on. They seem like interesting topics to consider when we marvel about other people. There are stories like those of Kim Ung-Yong, who gained his doctorate at 15 and is on record as the person with the highest recorded IQ on earth, Balamurali Ambati who earned his first PhD at 17 and went on to become a medical doctor at 24, and Sho Yano who got his PhD at 18 and became a medical doctor at 21.

Top left: Daniel Okorogheye, right: Kim Ung-Yong. Bottom left: Sho Yano, right: Balamurali Ambati

In Nigeria however, the case is different. Daniel Okorogheye, a 15 year old who scored 322 in the 2018 UTME and aced his WASSCE scoring a decent 9 A’s has been denied admission by the University of Lagos to study medicine. The university based the reason for their decision on Daniel’s age as the standing policy regarding admission to higher institutions holds 16 years as the minimum age limit; in Nigeria, at 15, he is apparently too young to be of any good. Is this a quaint depiction of the Nigerian system working hard to kill young, homegrown talents?

Perhaps that is the Nigerian plight, until some other country grants his wishes and he goes on to do great things but outside the shores of this land and in the future, we would talk about him fondly as a “Nigerian born” some other nationals like Phillip Emegwali and Dr. Rotimi Badero who still holds the honour of being the world’s only cardio-nephrologist (a doctor specialising in treating the heart and the kidneys).

In the countries with the Ivy league schools, kids like Daniel are hotly sought after with offers for full ride scholarships and other incentives to ease his educational journey, but here, since Daniel and some others like him cannot afford private schools, he is faced with the reality of having to wait a whole year before trying to secure admission again.

We wish Daniel good luck and hope he doesn’t actually have to wait until next year to gain his admission either in Nigeria or elsewhere.

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