By Henry Iheanacho
Some years ago, Dr Olumuyiwa Igabalajobi was caught between doing his master’s degree in Nigeria or going for a fresh start abroad, but he chose the latter after much consideration.
He departed his motherland with just N16,000 after winning a scholarship from the Korean government.
Speaking with Legit, Dr Igbalajobi said the scholarship provided all that he needed to leave Nigeria.
In his words: “I am forever grateful to the Korean Government Scholarship Program that provides tuition-free, settlement allowance, monthly stipends and flight tickets to successful applicants.”
Today, he is a PhD holder working in Canada and proving to the world that Nigerians will always succeed wherever they find themselves.
Dr Igbalajobi who wrote O-level examinations ten times said he didn’t give up because he was determined to succeed.
“When I was young, my father had a book titled Success is Never Ending, Failure is Never Final. That stuck with me while I write those exams.
Yes, at a point, I wanted to pursue another degree with the results I had then because I was really discouraged but thanks to my family, most especially my mum, she wouldn’t give up on me,” he said.
He noted that Nigerians are leaving the country because of insecurity, unemployment and lack of funding for novel research, adding that there is no country in the world that would grow without investing in education, science and innovation.
“Take Germany, South Korea, the US and Canada for instance, they had something in common, prioritising their educational sector. The exodus of medical doctors, people in academia and lots more from Nigeria would eventually lead to stunted growth for the country unless something is done as soon as possible,” Dr Igbalajobi said.
In the last seven years, Dr Igbalajobi has consistently pushed out information to assist prospective graduate students. This includes one-on-one sharing of scholarships tips and CV reviews.
The Ekiti state indigene created Scholarship Cafe to do more of what he has been doing for graduate students.
In his words: “My vision for Scholarship Cafe is to have the biggest scholarship platform in the world where prospective undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs and faculty can source for scholarship and funding openings as well as resources.
“I have in the last one year mentored and provided guidance for FREE to over 20,000 applicants across the world including Nigeria, Kenya, India, Pakistan, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mexico, among others.”
Dr Igbalajobi who currently works with the University of British Columbia, Canada, said he studied for free in two continents and had lived in four continents in the last 30 years.
He said: “I am not sure this will be possible with the present state of things in Nigeria. I have access to sophisticated equipment and tools to carry out my research which is contrast to what is applicable if I had stayed in Nigeria.”
Dr Igbalajobi is the vice president-external, University of British Columbia Postdoctoral Association.