Okoro Benjamin, a young Nigerian from Anambra state, has made history as the first Nigerian to graduate with a first-class degree in Pharmacy from Voronezh State University in Russia. He achieved a remarkable cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 4.65 out of 5, making him the best student in his faculty.
Benjamin’s journey to academic excellence began in Nigeria, where he graduated from Federal Government College in Anambra as a top student with 8As distinction out of the 9 subjects he sat for in his senior secondary school certificate exam. He applied to study Pharmacy at the University of Port Harcourt, but he was not admitted due to the high cut-off mark. He then took the Nigeria Federal Scholarship Board Exam, which he passed with flying colors and secured a scholarship to study Pharmacy at Voronezh State University in Russia.
Benjamin said he was delighted to study at one of the best universities in Russia, where he faced many challenges and opportunities. He said he was determined to excel in his studies and make his country proud. He also said he received a lot of support and encouragement from his lecturers, classmates and friends.
“In my 1st year, after passing my Botanical examination, the lecturer told me I was the first person in 10 years to ever get such a score. That was when I knew something big was coming,” he said.
Benjamin attributed his success to hard work, discipline, passion and God’s grace. He said he hopes to pursue a master’s degree and a PhD in Pharmacy and contribute to the development of the health sector in Nigeria and the world.
“I want to use my knowledge and skills to improve the quality of life of people, especially those who are suffering from diseases and lack access to quality health care. I also want to inspire other young Nigerians to pursue their dreams and achieve their potentials,” he said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Nigeria has one of the lowest ratios of pharmacists to population in Africa, with only 0.2 pharmacists per 10,000 people. This is far below the recommended minimum of 2.5 pharmacists per 10,000 people. The shortage of pharmacists affects the availability and accessibility of essential medicines and health services in Nigeria.
Benjamin’s achievement is therefore a remarkable feat that deserves recognition and celebration. He has not only set a record for himself and his country, but also shown that Nigerians can excel in any field of endeavor anywhere in the world.
Ifesinachi Nelson Ezeh, a 26-year-old Nigerian, also made history in Russia by graduating with a perfect Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of 5.0 in his Master’s degree in Agronomy at Saint Petersburg State Agrarian University. He is the first African student to achieve this feat in Russia, and has earned himself a Ph.D scholarship.
Ezeh, who hails from Nsukka, Enugu State, said he was motivated by his passion for agriculture and his desire to contribute to the development of his country. He said he chose to study in Russia because of the quality of education and the opportunities for research and innovation.
“I have always loved agriculture since I was a child. I grew up in a farming community and I saw the challenges and potentials of agriculture in Nigeria. I wanted to learn more and acquire the skills and knowledge that would enable me to make a difference,” he said.
Ezeh’s Master’s thesis focused on the effect of different fertilizers on the yield and quality of spring wheat in the Leningrad region of Russia. He said he conducted several field experiments and laboratory analyses to determine the optimal fertilizer application for wheat production. Continue reading about Nelson’s story here.