Victor Olalusi: Wold record breaker!
“I count not myself to have arrived: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” —Philippians 3:13
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” —Albert Einstein
The great philosopher, Aristotle, once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Nigeria is a country of excellent minds, a country full of youths with great talents and unique potentials. In the previous edition of YOUTHS WITH PURPOSE, I wrote about the young man, Ayodele Dada, who broke the 5.0 CGPA record in Nigeria. Even so, we have Nigerian youths in the diaspora that are standing out and breaking world records. Many of them are blazing trails in foreign lands. In a time when Nigerian youths are labelled as fraudsters and scammers, there are many Nigerians that are setting global records; such is the story of Victor Olalusi, who broke the world record of attaining the 5.0 CGPA mark in faraway Russia. Ordinary people look for where they fit in; great people look for where they stand out. His record breaking feet has put the Nigerian youths on the global scale, he has proved to the whole world that Nigerians are competitive with their colleagues all around the world in terms of intellectual ability.
Nigeria is full of youths with winners’ spirit. They are both home and abroad breaking and setting records, showing the whole world that Nigeria is made of more. We are living in a world where the definition of winning has been polluted. God’s plan is for you to win every day of your life, but before then your definition of winning has to change. Winning is not being better than others, you don’t need to wait for other people to lose before you win; winning is being the best of yourself. You don’t need to excel others to win, winning is excellence of self. In the winners mind, failure is never an option. You don’t need to wait for others to lose to win; you don’t become a winner at other people’s expense, rather at your own expense, be the best version of yourself, and be a winner!
On 29 May 1953, Edmund Hilary became the first man to reach the summit of Mount Everest (29,035 feet/ 8,850 metres), the highest mountain in the world. It was acclaimed unconquerable because of the extremely harsh conditions along its rugged paths, for years and decades, it was the terror of climbers. Many mountain climbers considered the mountain all but unconquerable. A journey of perpetual cold and air so thin that the human brain and lungs do not function properly. Numerous Everest expeditions had failed, and dozens of experienced mountaineers had been killed, several attempts to climb it was terminated; the mountain that was meant to be conquered became a conqueror. But one man was undaunted in his pursuit; he refused to give up after several fruitless attempts. Though Edmund suffered great loss in his attempt in 1952, but he never gave up, he lost one of his members in the attempt; but he indeed return and conquered Mount Everest. He was reported once standing at the foot of Mountain Everest and speaking out audibly to his ‘stony foe’, “Mount Everest, you have defeated me. But I will return and I will defeat you. Because you can’t get any bigger and I can”. This was the culmination of 12 serious attempts since 1921, including nine British expeditions. Hilary described his exploits in his famous book High Adventure (1995) and explained the importance of the virtue of tenacity.
The expedition to conquer Mount Everest was set off in March of 1953 with approximately four hundred people. The trip up the mountain was extremely difficult and when they neared the summit, only four men were able to continue. Two men out of the four were just 300 feet close to the peak when they turned back! Hilary and Tenzing Norgay made the final attempt to make it to the summit. On May 29, 1953, Hilary and Norgay reached the summit of Mount Everest. At the age of 33, Hilary had conquered Mount Everest, the highest peak on Earth! On his return from the mountain peak and in an amazing twist that stunned journalist, when Hilary was asked how he succeeded in conquering the mountain, he said, “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves”. The same year, Hilary was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and became Sir Edmund Hilary. In 1992 Hilary appeared on the updated New Zealand $5 note, thus making him the only New Zealander to appear on a bank note during his or her lifetime, in defiance of the established convention for banknotes of using only depictions of deceased individuals, and current head of state. Hilary was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the 20th century.
There is great hope of seeing Nigeria being in the forefront of excellence with the present crop of youths that are emerging with exceptional and unique abilities. An exceptional corp member will be passing out this year from the NYSC scheme in Rivers State; he was acclaimed to have scored 5.0 CGPA in a Russian Medical University in Moscow. Victor Olalusi graduated as a medical doctor in 2013 with a record breaking score of 5.0 Cumulative Grade Points Average in Russian National Research Medical University. The University rated him the best graduating student in the whole Russian Federation; he became the first person ever to record such feat in Russia and arguably the first ever in the world! The Guinness book of record will in no time be readjusted to accommodate the record breaking feat of the 28-year-old Nigerian. Olalusi has over the years known to consistently break and set records. He was the best graduating student at Aquinas College, Akure, Ondo State, where he obtained distinctions in all the subjects he offered in the 2004 West Africa School Certificate Examination.
In the same year, he enrolled in a pre-degree programme of the Federal University of Technology (FUTA), Akure, where he emerged as the best pre-degree student with a score of 80%. He continued his record-breaking streak in 2006 by scoring 321 points out of the 400 points in the Universities Matriculation Examination to emerge the best Science student in Nigeria. He eventually got a full scholarship from Cowbell (a milk brand) and the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB) to study Medicine and Surgery in Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in 2006 as he was able to score 326 points out of 400 points in the University’s Post-UME examination thereby emerging again as the highest scorer in the Obafemi Awolowo University Post-UME examination in 2006. He was actually set on breaking another record in OAU but was shortly awarded a scholarship to study medicine at the Russian National Research Medical University.
In 2015, it was a long awaited response from the Federal government when Olalusi was eventually honoured for his record-breaking feat in Russia by the Federal Ministry of Education in Abuja. Olalusi inspired the youth to always demand the best from life and to always be an image builder for Nigeria wherever they go, as he described how he took his time in Russia to redefine and reposition the image of Nigeria in the mind of his colleagues because all they ever heard about Nigeria had always been about corruption, bombing, killing scam and all other social vices.
I am a firm believer in the youth and I am encouraging the Nigerian youths to imbibe the spirit of excellence in their endeavours. To the teeming youths, are you used to settling for less? Don’t ever settle for less in anything- your academics, career, and relationships. Maureen Dowd said,
“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for”. Always strive for excellence, break your own records not others. Excellence is to keep beating your own standards every day. Our business in life is not to get ahead of others, but to get ahead of ourselves, to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterday by our today. Don’t ever be involved in any negotiation that makes you settle for less. Discern the reason why you were born and be willing to pay the price to be it. My sincere question to the youth is this: what great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? That is exactly what you should attempt! You are full of possibilities; go and break that record.