Tuesday, July 4, 2017 9:08 am
Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu is going for her Ph.D at age 18. Her mother explains what it takes to produce her
By Daniels Ekugo
Mrs Kemi Chidi-Ogbolu is a proud woman. Why? Her daughter, Nkechinyere Chidi-Ogbolu, is going for her Ph.D at the age of 18. Nkechi is anything but your average teen but she has just graduated magna cum laude from Howard University, with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. She’s now preparing to start a Ph.D. program at the University of California-Davis after the summer ends. She’ll be studying biomedical engineering with a focus on creating and discovering new medicines. The young and brilliant student grew up in Nigeria where she was often pushed to higher classes from a young age because she very intelligent for her age.
She started from Carol Nursery and Primary school, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos. She proceeded with her parents to the Gambia where she attended the West African International School and was the 2013 best graduating student.
Speaking to her university’s newspaper, The Hilltop, Chidi-Ogbolu spoke of her achievement: “I was overwhelmed with emotions; it was just a very happy day overall.”
“I came into college for Chemical Engineering because I wanted a really broad field and I like the idea of engineering, because it’s basically just solving problems,” said Chidi-Ogbolu.
And probably Chidi’s flying colours might be attributed to her no-nonsense mother Kemi “It’s something I couldn’t have done without the love and support from my family and friends, especially from my mother, who expects nothing but excellence,” Chidi explained.
And yes, the magic wand came from her proud mother Kemi Chidi-Ogbolu. As she narrated to TheNEWS: “Our daughter started Howard University at 14 years old after studying for the SAT in Nigeria.”
“The height of it as a mother is the fact that sincerely I can look at her and say she did well, graduating with honours, probably the youngest engineer in Africa at her age, but sincerely speaking if you travel very well, you will know and testify to the fact that there are so many kids on the streets, the kids of the rich. She is not a kid of the rich, she is not one of those. I mean she is just lucky, favoured to go to university abroad and she did well, not only academically but her sanity is just intact, she is bold, for me she is an approved ambassador for Nigerian youths.”
And to be precise, Kemi never expected her brilliant daughter to fail in her quest for a brighter future, not just Chidi but all of her children. In her words: “My children know me very well. I always tell them that it is not all about me, but it is all about them. For her, she travelled to the US at 14. Of course, I did so many things as a mother; I think I did a good job. We have a connection, she is my friend and she can confide in me and most of her friends also confide in me. I am a “youth” person, I love youths, I mean that is my comfort zone, interacting with youths and I am happy that my daughter is like a role model.”
When she was in Part 2, she wanted to take one year off to study Music because she knew her mother would kick against her dropping Chemical engineering completely. However, the mother gave her the example of Falz (Femi Falana’s son) who finished his Law degree in the UK and thereafter became an instant celebrity in music.That made her to concentrate on her studies.
Kemi, the mother, added: “My email is her primary email. Her assignments drop in my box first, and then we see it together because she has the password. We monitor each other. I am always asking her, has your assignment been done? Remember you have a presentation today and all that. I think the kind of synergy or unity between me and my husband was good as well because most time I overstep my boundary as a mother towards her, screaming and shouting. Of course the man has a calming effect on us, but sincerely speaking am very close to her.”
For Kemi, it wasn’t easy for Nkechi to have gone that far without studying hard. “Every day, Monday through Sunday, every day…four hours every day, she was busy with her books. In her first test, she was making 87/89 and that is ‘B’. For me, Nkechinyere wasn’t ‘B’. said Chidi-Ogbolu.