Salami, who graduated from the Department of Industrial Chemistry, College of Science and Technology, was ranked the overall best graduating student with Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 4.99 points out of the possible 5.0 points.
She clinched the trophy ahead of Ahaotu Chiagoro of the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Department, College of Engineering, and Oladipo Okikioluwa of Banking and Finance Department, College of Business and Social Sciences, who secured 4.98 and 4.97 CGPA respectively.
As the establishment gathered to celebrate the graduating students for the 13th time since its inauguration in 2002, dignitaries including top government functionaries, captains of industry, members of the academia, church leaders as well as parents and other well-wishers were in attendance to celebrate with the school and the students.
Among the dignitaries were the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu; Chairman, Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Plc., Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, prominent educationists, among others.
No fewer than 1,887 graduating students received their scrolls for the award of first degrees and postgraduate certificates.
Of the figure, 238 bagged First Class in various degrees and programmes, while 746 obtained Second Class (Upper Division); 452 finished with Second Class (Lower Division) and 86 obtained Third Class, and 365 graduated from the Post Graduate School.
Among the graduating class, which the university dubbed the Regal Set was 19-year-old best graduating student, Flourish Salami, and a 65-year-old grandmother, who bagged a Master’s certificate in Guidance and Counselling, Mrs. Evelyn Enakimio (nee Idedevbo).
Salami, who hails from Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State, said her mother is a teacher, while her father is a pastor and retired staffer of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
She had wanted to go to University of Ibandan but said she was only 15 when she left secondary school and had a low score of 208 in her Joint Matriculation Exanination.
When asked how she eventually turn out to be the best graduating student considering her low JAMB score, Salami thanked her elder sister, who she noted had attended the university and graduated in 2015 with First Class.
“I was in 100-Level here when my sister graduated and during her convocation she made First Class and shook “Papa’s hand” (Dr. David Oyedepo), the Chancellor of the university. As soon as she stepped down from the rostrum she shared her experience with me. Then, I decided I would make First Class also so that I can shake Papa. And from then I kept working very hard towards achieving the goal, and I prayed too,” Salami said.
Salami hopes to enroll for her Master’s programme as soon as possible and wish to acquire her PhD certificate soon enough so that she can join the academics and teach for passion.
“But I also wish to own an industry in the area of polymer science. It will be aside my teaching career,” said the third born of her parent.