One day in 2016, in the second year of senior secondary (SS 2) at CTY Model College, Ring Road, Ibadan, I wrote 'Ajisco' on my desk and my classmates started calling me that. I adapted it as my nickname and it has since stuck.
My name is Abdulquddus Ajibade, and I am from Popoyemoja in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria.
From primary school to university
I had been in CTY from primary school in the 2006/2007 session.
I was given double promotion in Primary One but my mum, Mrs Rahmat Kehinde Ajibade, did not allow me to take it. She did not want me to have 'foundational knowledge issues' in the future. She was teaching part-time on weekends at CTY although she was a full-time teacher at St Luke's Grammar School, Molete. She was later transferred to Community Grammar School, also in Molete. A nutrition and dietetics graduate of FUNAAB (Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta), she taught catering and home economics.
I was brilliant but playful.
In my class, I was first consistently till the third term of Primary Two when a girl named Maryam Ibrahim in another arm, who had been leading in her class, was first overall.
I had to buckle up because every eye was on me.
I became first till I left in Primary Four for Al-Kitab Model Academy because CTY did not then have a day college and boarding was expensive.
I sat for the common entrance examination in Primary Four.
I was a little over nine years old. I was born on the sixth of June 2001.
I was in JS 1and 2 at Al-Kitab as a day student.
Here too, although I was first in my class, a girl named Sherifat Adeleke - she is now a computer science student at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife - led overall.
I was involved in every playful activity, including football.
I returned to CTY in JSS3 as a day student up until SS3 in 2017.
At CTY, the tradition was for students to sit for the General Certificate Examination O-Level in SS2; really for them to have options for university admission. Some go ahead to sit for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) without the college's consent. I would have wanted it that way but my parents would not have agreed. My mum, especially: she is a methodical person - everything must be done properly.
So, I sat for my GCE in 2016 while in SS2.
I had distinctions all through - 2As and 6Bs (Including in further mathematics).
I then sat for the West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) and the National Examination Council (NECO) examination in 2017.
I also had all distinctions. I sat for civics, animal husbandry, mathematics, physics, chemistry, technical drawing, Yoruba and English Language.
I had taken technical drawing because I had wanted to follow the passion of my dad, Mr Kazeem Ajibade, who is an electrical engineer with Flour Mills of Nigeria, here in Ibadan. He is an electronic/electrical graduate of Yaba College of Technology. He is an industrious person: at home, he would fix every technical problem. As the only boy - I have three younger sisters - I was always assisting him.
I would say I have an inventive mind.
In Primary Four, I had built an electric fan which doubled as a reading lamp using scraps of our lamps, curtain hangers, rotors, batteries, double fuse, etc.
In JSS 2, I spent a whole term to build a moving car from scrap DVD parts (rotor, rotary rubber, rotary plastic), TV pack (for the body), electric wires, fuse, Hi-watt battery (from my dad's collections, Dunlop slippers (for the wheels).I t was exhibited at the "Principal's Novelty Competition." Although I did not win a prize, my effort was well appreciated.
So, up until I sat for the UTME, engineering was my preference.
Left to my mum, however, I should read medicine, and that had been her dream since I was in primary school. Perhaps, because, she had desired to be a nurse.
She was confident that I would excel in medicine.
It was, however, our biology teacher at CTY, Mr Ambali Bamigbade, who finally convinced me to go for medicine.
He said that there were more job prospects in medicine in Nigeria than engineering.
So, I chose medicine in UTME and it was the only reason I took biology in the examination.
I also chose University of Ibadan (UI) as my first choice and Lagos State University (LASU), because I had always heard that UI is the best school for medicine in Nigeria.
I scored 281 in UTME and seventy-four per cent in post-UTME. My cumulative was higher than the cut-off mark for admission.
Although I was admitted in 2017, we did not resume until 2018 because of a strike by the staff within the university.
I am now in 400-level and at the College of Medicine. You cross from UI (pre-clinical) in the second semester of 300-level
My pathway to the future
I have developed interest in machine learning, artificial intelligence and data science.
In 2019, I had attended a programme at UI's computer science department called AI for Saturdays.
That was where I met a mentor, Israel Odeajo.
In January, I asked him how to learn data science and to add me to his mentorship group and help me with tutorial links.
He gladly did.
I determined to be serious about the pathway to follow so I had to devise a plan for myself.
I had to cut out playing of chess and volleyball and maximise my free periods.
Progress. Prospects. Problems (Challenges)
I started coding eight months ago.
And, because I needed to work on real-life projects, I have done three internships - one, in data engineering; one in software development and one in AI/machine learning.
Only one of them had a stipend to go with it
All were remote.
I have completed several projects, and those I am proud of include:
AI bot app to diagnose car faults from pictures of emergency lights and chatting with the bot.
Test images: https://bit.ly/carbot-test-images.
AI App that uses music therapy to combat depression:
Loan repayment predictor
I am working towards building solutions that applies AI and data science for medical interventions.
I am looking towards specialising in radiology because it will give me more time to push my career in AI and it has higher prospects for AI interventions.
My major challenges so far have been the stress that comes with combining two cumbersome fields as well as my inability to get access to good device. I can do with a more solid laptop.
My mum is concerned that I do not have burnouts.
I believe that I am managing.
I am on Twitter as @Dayo_Ajisco while my LinkedIn access is: https://bit.ly/ajibade_linkedin.
PS: If you are able to support Mr Ajibade in any form, kindly get in touch through us at +2348186935900.
TO KEEP US GOING
This initiative which started as a demonstration project for an intern of The Journalism Clinic has, before our very eyes, taken a life of its own, demanding a lot more resources than envisaged.
Your kind support will keep us going. You can do so securely here.
May I also request you to kindly join our community by subscribing to our newsletter so that we can deliver the toris directly to your inbox, hot and fresh. Please fill the form here. So, as we keep growing the brand, we will be sufficiently ready for long-term support through product placement and sponsorships.
Taiwo Obe, FNGE
Commonwealth Professional Fellow
Founder/Director, The Journalism Clinic
+234 818 693 5900