By Kofoworola Belo-osagie
The Nursing Sciences Department of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria has produced only three first-class graduates, and the trio hail from Bauchi State. Kofoworola Belo-Osagie reports their feat was due to determination, hard work, and basic nursing experience.
In 2017, Usman Usman Muhammad broke the jinx in the Nursing Department of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, emerging as the first student to graduate with a First Class in Nursing Sciences since its establishment in 1997. He achieved a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.50.
Muhammad’s success inspired others, including fellow Bauchi indigene and namesake, Usman Usman Muhammad, and Abdullahi Muhammad Bello.
The second Muhammad and Bello graduated in December 2021 with CGPA of 4.66 and 4.55. The duo are from Kirfi Local Government Area of Bauchi State while the trailblazer Muhammad is from Bauchi Local Government Area.
Co-incidentally, all three of them attended the School of Nursing, Bauchi before gaining admission into ABU to study Nursing Sciences.
In an interview, Muhammad told The Nation that the trailblazer Muhammad was his senior but did not complete the basic nursing course in Bauchi before gaining admission to study Nursing Sciences at ABU through the UTME.
“I know him personally because when I was at the school of nursing in Bauchi, he was also there but before he could graduate, he gained admission to ABU. He wrote UTME and started from 100-Level.
“When I got admission through Direct Entry to study in ABU, Zaria, I met him in his final year.
Muhammad said he also tried the UTME route to Nursing at ABU after his secondary education at the Government College, Azare, Bauchi State in 2009 but failed to gain admission. So, he decided to attend the nursing school.
“I actually had ambition to study in ABU Zaria right from my secondary school. I wrote JAMB during secondary school but I could not get admission. So, I had to apply for basic nursing. Immediately after graduation, I applied to ABU. I wanted to actualise my ambition, because I like ABU Zaria.
The 33-year-old said his name sake’s feat in being the first to graduate with first class in the Nursing Sciences department inspired him to work hard.
“When I was in my second semester, my namesake graduated with first class. I felt motivated. I kept on trying, reading and committing myself so I would also be a first class student just like him,” he said.
Bello was the second Muhammad’s senior at the School of Nursing Bauchi. He was one of the seniors who gave Muhammad’s class orientation tour of part of the school. However they later became classmates at ABU – after Bello had gone on to complete a post-Basic Nursing programme at the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital.
“We are friends. I was his senior. When he came to the school of nursing during his first year, I had graduated. I was working with accident and emergency unit, so, the school organised a tutorial for the new comers and I was part of those that tutored them.We became classmates at ABU,” said the 34-year-old.
Bello said he worked hard to achieve a first class so his department would not be absent on the roll call.
“I wanted to work hard and I wanted to be one of the best graduating students in the department. So, I already planned it and I started working towards it by reading hard and doing a lot of things to make my study successful so that I will pass my exams well.
“What motivated me was that I felt a lot of departments have a lot of first class graduates. But since the inception of the nursing department in 1997, only one student graduated with First Class in the year 2017. So, I said okay, let me work towards that so that I too will have that opportunity as a first class student and by God’s grace, we are able to make it,” he said.
Bello’s basic and post-basic nursing education as well as work experience prior to attending ABU really helped him in earning a first class in his degree. He said many things came to him as revision.
“Actually, I have a lot of experience from my basic nursing that added with some basic experience, so, when I came to do my BSc Nursing, I saw a lot of things that I read before. It means that I was just recapping some of the things I had done in the past. So, it gave me an added advantage,” he said.
Not only were Muhammad and Bello classmates, they both worked at the same General Hospital Kirfi in their home town before proceeding on study leave to ABU. They were also interested in the same areas of study for postgraduate education, Public Health Nursing or Maternal and Child Health Nursing.
Muhammad said he was interested in nursing because he liked the way nurses take care of people.
“I chose nursing because I have interest in nursing’’.
He hopes to complete his post-graduate education and become a teacher helping others to train as nurses.
Muhammad said: “I want to find myself in academic environment. I was taught by my lecturers; they put me through, so, I also want to reciprocate that. I want to help young ones that are up-coming, the younger generation. I will like to find myself in a school of nursing or a university so that I will be lecturing and I will also further my education. “Advising students coming behind, Bello urged them to set goals and be focused.
“I want to call younger ones to have focus, target, objective that they want to achieve. And they have to work hard by reading well; reading a lot of textbooks and other documentary.
“The most important thing is for them to set the goal and work towards achieving that goal. If others can do it, why not them? They too, they have the capacity and the ability, so what they need is motivation and working hard towards achieving their goals,” he said.