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We motivated ourselves towards our goals – Convenant University Twin brothers First-class graduates

Taiwo and Kehinde Abiodun are not just the regular twins. They are 21 and very identical in appearance, speech and even laughter. But beyond these, they both graduated with first class from Covenant University.

While Kehinde, from Accounting Department, led the College of Business and Social Sciences with 4.93 CGPA, Taiwo had 4.86 CGPA in Economics. In this interview with TUNDE AJAJA, they share how they helped themselves to succeed

You have a striking resemblance, are there times people mistake you for each other?

Kehinde: Since when I knew myself, people make that mistake daily, and I’m used to it. Daily, we were asked the same question, ‘Are you Taiwo or Kehinde?’ Sometimes, I just answer as Taiwo to avoid further questions.

Taiwo:  Yes, I get that at least once daily and it happens mostly when we walk together. People are always amazed when they see us and they don’t stop staring at us. We are used to it.

Do you remember any event that is remarkable?

Kehinde: While in school, there was a time a man wanted to pay some money to my brother, then he came to meet me, and this was someone I had never met before. He said ‘take, this is the money I’m meant to give you.’ I was shocked, but I told him I had a twin and he must have mixed us up. There was also a time we were about to sit for an exam. I was in the hall and Taiwo’s lecturer saw me when we were about to start. She exclaimed, ‘Are you not meant to be in the other class where Economics students are!’ I just smiled and I had to explain to her. She was amazed and said we should come and see her together after my exam. There are so many other experiences.

Taiwo: There was one when we were in primary school. We were playing football and we were in different teams. It was the finals of a competition. Unknowingly, his goalkeeper threw the ball to me, giving me a one-on-one opportunity. Of course I scored the goal, which made my team to win the competition. I thanked the goalkeeper for making such a profitable mistake.

It’s amazing both of you had first class, and one of you led his department. Was it a joint decision?

Kehinde: Yes, we both aimed to be tops in our department, and not just to have a first class. So, I will say it was a joint decision. Some people have first class without stress probably because they are naturally smart. But, I believe mine was just the Grace of God, coupled with reading at nights several times and, very importantly, planning my day.

Taiwo: We talked about it at some point on how it would be if we both led our departments. I won’t say it was easy, neither will I say it was difficult. Mainly, it required a lot of sacrifice and dedication. I have always envisioned having a first class right from a very young age and when I entered Covenant University, I put it in God’s hands and He brought around me the right people who encouraged me. Thank God for His grace and mercy.

Was it also deliberate you were in the same College (faculty)?

Kehinde: It was my personal choice to study Accounting. In secondary school, it was common for students in commercial class to aim to be accountants. So, that was what I wanted. Although, I developed some interest in Finance after my second year in the university, I have no regrets studying Accounting.

Taiwo:  Well, initially I was planning to study Law and I was even in Arts department in secondary school. But then, I always knew I had a deep interest in the stock market. I wanted to know how to appraise the market and analyse stock report, and that started from a very young age. So, I decided to study Economics.

Were there times you chastised yourselves to study?

Kehinde: Yes, and that happened several times. I wouldn’t say he chastised me, I think he just motivated me to read, especially while he was reading and I wasn’t. At such times, I would have to plan to read by force. We didn’t see ourselves as competitors and I believe that was healthy for our relationship as twin brothers. I believe we helped ourselves to succeed by motivating each other towards our end goals, especially our career goal to become investment bankers. But I also believe we would still have achieved the same feat even if we were in different schools.

Taiwo:  Well, I can’t remember chastising him to study, I trusted him to know what he needed to do per time and be fully conscious of the goals he wanted to achieve. Like he said, we always motivated ourselves towards success, especially on our career goals to be successful investment bankers. It would have felt awkward if we were not in the same school, but that wouldn’t have stopped either of us from having excellent result.

Does this performance date back to your previous schools?

Kehinde: I was a good student but maybe not very outstanding; I wasn’t the type who scored all As except in my preferred subjects, although I was close to being an excellent student. Things changed for the best when I got to the university.

Taiwo: In secondary school, my performance can be regarded as good. It was not as excellent as I would have loved it, but I was one of the best three in my set and my name entered the school’s hall of fame. We both had outstanding results in the O’level exams and Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.

What was your growing up like?

Kehinde: I grew up in a Christian home and my father, Rev. Bankole Abiodun, my mother Mrs. Titilayo Abiodun, a banker, and my four brothers were all of great help. They brought us up in the way of the Lord and their counsel and advice played a key role. We were not deprived of having video games, but when it was time to study, we were not expected to be playing.

Taiwo:  Growing up was alright. I believe God placed the right people around me per time. We are the last children of a family of five boys. My parents and siblings have always been extremely supportive right from when we were young. They almost always rewarded us for good performance. We went to two primary schools and two secondary schools.

People believe there is a strong bond between twins that when one is sick, the other would be feeling feverish. Did it happen to you?

Kehinde and Taiwo: We experienced that when we were in junior school in secondary school. When one person recovers from a sickness, the other person would start. We couldn’t even explain it. At a point I (Taiwo) tried not to be sick after his, but it would always happen. But, there was no such thing when we got to the university. There was a time I (Taiwo) was sick in our second year and I only struggled to write the exam, but he wasn’t sick.

What worked for you that you think other students can adopt?

Kehinde: They should be close to God and have faith, be diligent; they should detest procrastination and they should network with people, have a possibility mentality, and finally believe in themselves. Also, they should never compete with anyone and know what works best for them.

Taiwo: Students should learn to discipline themselves, learn to delay gratification, work hard, be dedicated and have study partner(s). You are not an island on your own. I don’t think I would have made it this far without my study partners, and they all finished with first class as well. Like a great inspiration to my life, Bishop David Oyedepo would say, for every star, there is a scar and the scar of every star is sacrifice.

Were you in a relationship throughout?

Kehinde: No I wasn’t in a relationship. I didn’t have the time to commit at that moment.

Taiwo:  I wasn’t in any relationship as well. I had a lot of responsibilities and I wouldn’t have had time for her. There was a time I almost did, but when I weighed it, I had to drop the idea.

Where would you like to work?

Kehinde: I would like to work in any of the global investment banks, preferably Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse or Nomura Securities.

Taiwo:  I would like to work in a global investment bank.

How would you have felt if both of you didn’t have first class and it was only you?

Kehinde: Obviously, I would not have felt good, but I may not be disappointed. As much as it is good and desirable to have a first-class, it is not a determinant for success in life.

Taiwo:  Well, I would be sad if he didn’t make a first class, but I won’t be disappointed, because I know there are better things to achieve in life other than having a first class.

Did you operate joint account or your parents sent you money separately?

Kehinde: we had separate accounts. I wouldn’t even have considered a joint account. There were days we didn’t see. And there were times we didn’t live in the same hall, coupled with the fact that the time of lectures were different.

Taiwo:  That is very funny. We operated different accounts and our parents sent us money separately.

When going for your National Youth Service programme, would you like to be posted to the same state or you like to explore separately?

Kehinde: I would want to serve in the same state with Taiwo.

Taiwo:  Well, we would want to be in the same state.


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