Mr. Korede Ajeniya is a graduate of Lagos State University (LASU), an intellectual, who has two degrees, two MBAs, and three certifications. He is currently a Property and Tax Consultant.
In a chat with Adekemi Oyedeji, he talks about his campus days.
What school did you attend?
I went to Lagos State University (LASU) and Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH). I got into LASU in 1989 through pre-degree but I didn’t pass, so I wrote jamb and gained admission in 1990.
What course did you study at LASU?
Well, I started up with physics, and later changed to economics.
What was the reason why you switched courses?
(Laughing) well, lousy academics.I just found out I had no interest in physics and my capability was low, by the second year, I was already given second probation.
So you drifted to economics?
I had to drift elsewhere, it wasn’t a choice when you get three probations, you either leave the school or you switch to another course, the downside is that you can’t change course until the third probation that was the school rule at the time.
Your switching to the economics department, was it favourable?
Well,I graduated, and in fact, it was a miracle but I did graduate.
Why did you then move to YABATECH?
YABATECH was a case of working out things. By the first year, I already had issues in LASU, I was already given second probation, of course it takes the school a long time to release result because the Senate has to cross check it, that was dragging on, so a friend just came around and was like if LASU and studying physics isn’t working out, why don’t you try something else it was purely a friends suggestion, of course, there was ego, after spending two years in the university and then faced with the option of going to a polytechnic. He got the form for me and said if you like, smoke it (smiles). So I took it and enrolled. I studied real estate management. So by 1993, I went back to 200 level in LASU to study economics, which was supposed to be my fourth year in the university, that same time I went back to YABATECH for my HND.
What was your best course?
Well, for me it was Political Economics, it was more holistic, it had to do with political decisions as it affects the country’s economy, and it gives a historical account.
What was your worst course?
If I ignore physics which seemed like the worst course. I would say Econometrics. Omg!
Was it because of the math?
Well, I will say my capacity was a bit low. The lecturer… (I don’t want to use negative words)
Were you in love while you were on campus?
No, I never got there, between hunger, school, and challenges.
You mean you never dated?
No, I did date, a whole lot of women actually, but unfortunately, love wasn’t involved.
My loss, I wish I experienced it that young though.
What was your encounter or experience with cultism when you were in school?
Well, there were a lot of cultists. Looking at the era from 1989 to 1998, it was probably the worst time, you know, from June 12 to cultism and the fact that I was studying in two different schools. So I tell you I did see it all.
Were you being bullied into joining them?
I wouldn’t use the word bully but there were a lot of offers, I am sure why I scaled through was because they didn’t even know where I stand, they would be like that guy from YABATECH, only God knows who his friends are. There were pressure-points up to the threat of life, you couldn’t live a flamboyant life, without expecting harassment, but nobody cares about that guy who couldn’t put two pennies together.
How was the school authorities able to stem the tide of cultism in your school?
I wouldn’t say they stemmed the tide, the school brought some guys who would parade the school to check, in some extreme cases calling rapid response but of course, that was the school compound, most students don’t live in the school, there was still chaos, people being beheaded, it was a mess. I could remember an incident when Daddy Showkey and Baba Fryo came for a show at the school, the show ended in disaster, there were gunshots everywhere, that particular night I think about four people died, their heads were decapitated, it wasn’t just a shoot-and-go thing. I wouldn’t score the school high after all.
Yes and No.
I played lawn tennis but couldn’t play for the school because, it would be a problem, which school do I play for, yes I play on my own personal field. The school asked me to play but I just couldn’t tell them why.
And it could have been your big shine?
Yes, who knows, who knows
How would you describe your social life when you were in school?
It was fun, there was a lot of drinking and partying.
How would you describe your university days?
Mixed emotions, it was a lot of challenges, when you think of academics, and also I was filtering between two schools. I was angry about a lot of things, the quality of the lecturers, the sexual harassments. You see students going through their own hell. You see a lady who wouldn’t graduate because the lecturer wanted something, the guy who had to leave school because the cultists won’t let him be, the nice guy who was pushed into confraternity and was shot, there were a lot of incidents ( madness), most times it just wouldn’t concern you, it was wild wild west.
What school event still lingers in your mind till now?
I think it was 1990 or 1991. It was called switch carnival. For once we decided that guys should dress like ladies and ladies should dress like guys. Honestly, it was fun and I think it was also to promote respect among sexes, though ridiculous in a subtle sense, it was to promote gender equality.
When you think about your school I mean both schools, what comes to your mind?
Madness, let me make it clear to you when you school both here in Nigeria and overseas, it is easy to find a comparison. Abroad you can practically tell your lecturer to leave and it won’t affect your grade, it is what it is, you know you can’t write on your palm and get away with it, so it challenges you, builds you, making you know your strength and your weakness and it builds your self-esteem, you don’t feel like, I can do anything just to graduate, sense of oppression, like if am not careful with Mr. Suban, I won’t graduate. My experience might be different from the regular students because I did both university and polytechnic, and I also schooled overseas. I did my MBA and three professional courses, some might say it’s my perception but I did experience it. it is possible if you were in education and all you did was come to school to receive one or two lectures and you leave the school premises. Your experience might be different from mine, we live around the school, I can almost use the word popular, I was popular and popularity comes with exposure.
Did you have a nickname back then?
I was called koradium.
What year did you graduate from the university?
On paper, it says 1997 but it was actually 1998, they were trying to make up for the lost sessions.
How special was that set?
The durations deprived me of my joy, I already had friends who had been working for five years, by the time I finished there was no joy, I was just relieved, excited that this could end and its over and I actually have my result.
What academic qualifications do you have after LASU and YABATECH?
I went back to LASU in 2000 and did my MBA in international business, it was an 18-month course. Then in 2008, I thought it’s been long I left school, I would like to renew myself, so I applied for another MBA at Cardiff University in England. I did MBA in strategy and marketing, which was a year program.
If you would rate your school on a scale of 1-10?
I would rate mine 4.
Who are your contemporaries that are now well known?
Contemporary interesting word, for some reasons it seems like every time they’re into politics I forget their names, honestly, I remember Dayo Adebiosu of the National Assembly. We used to call him “bush” back then. A number of them are now in State Assembly like Sola Giwa. But again, contemporaries become lost. I can only say those we were in LASU at the time I was there whether they were Lower level or higher level, it becomes blurred.
What do you do for a living presently?
I do real estate now, and also property and tax consultancy since 2012. I am currently the CEO of ROK properties. Before I left for my MBA, I did a bit of consulting with the Lagos state government. I was senior inspector of taxes for almost a decade and since I came back it has been taxes and properties, sales, renting, evaluation, in certain cases development, also taxes that concern property, capital, land use charge and arbitration.
What advice do you have for young graduates?
The word that always comes to mind is TENACITY, just keep at it and it extends beyond school, whatever it is. There were times when I could have walked away, I hated it but today, it is fun talking about it; two degrees, three MBAs, and three certifications…. There was a time I thought it wasn’t possible I will graduate from one, I was kicked out of YABATECH like three times. So prioritize what you want, whatever it is, and you can achieve it, Tenacity is the word.