Only passionate women can make impact in career — Dr. Misitura Lawal-Arowona
My name is Misitura Lawal-Arowona.
My father’s name is Alhaji Abdulraheem Asumo Lawal and my mother is Hajia Maryam Lawal.
I am from Kwara State, Offa local government area to be precise. I was born and brought up in Kaduna State . I am the last of ten children.
I was raised by my parents; my father who was then a retired civil servant and my mother who is a business woman. I got married in 2012 to Mr. Abdulazeez Arowona.
I started my early education at Clara Nursery and Primary School, Kawo, in Kaduna State, where I obtained my primary school leaving certificate. I did and obtained my Senior School Certificate (SSCE) from Federal Government College, Malali-Kaduna, Kaduna State in 2001. Later on, I proceeded to the University of Ilorin where I obtained a degree in Chemistry in 2006 and a second degree (M.Sc) in 2013 respectively. I went further to for a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) from the National Teachers Institute, (NTI) in 2015 and completed Ph.D. programme at the University of Ilorin in 2021. During the course of my PhD research work, I worked at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Malaysia, and Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda (MSU), India under the fellowship of TWAS DBT (Third World Academy of Science and the Department of Biotechnology India and TETFund in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
I am a lecturer with Kebbi State University of Science and Technology, Aliero, Kebbi State. I have been into it since 2008 because I have a deep passion teaching and using it to make great impact in the society. My desire to groom an educated youths for a better and a developed future inspired me to join the teaching profession.
HOW IT STARTED
My story as a lecturer started after I was posted to Kebbi State for my one year mandatory youth service scheme (NYSC) where I was deployed to Waziri Umaru Federal Polytechnic, Birnin Kebbi, then in 2007 for PPA. After my service, I was like what is next? Job for Nigerian graduates after NYSC as we all know are not given on merit, but who gets what, how? And through who? One morning, as I was set for my community development service (CDS), my, one Alhaji Sani neighbour called me, and was like , “Corper” you must be very hardworking, I and my wife discussed your issue last night. He then threw an open cheque at me, he was like, would you like to stay back after your service?
In fact, my response was direct.
I was like, Why not sir? That too, is if I secure a job and Alhaji Sanni simply asked that I drop my CV with his wife.
He explained that there were calls for application at the newly established University in Aliero, and further inquired if I would love to teach based on my discipline but I bluntly told him that I wasn’t interested in teaching and my mood immediately changed. He however, encouraged me to apply as I may be shortlisted. I sat done in my quiet time and gave his advice a thought, guess what happened, I made up my mind to apply and Alhamdulillah, all went well, as I was shortlisted for the interview. That was how my journey in the teaching profession began.
WHO TAUGHT YOU?
I never wanted to go into academics before, but after my NYSC, I changed my mindset that why can’t I pass the knowledge acquired to my upcoming generation?
In my own opinion, a mentor is someone who critically guides you through your life decisions and pushes you through to do more than you can actually do.
So, three persons, my dad, mother and Professor Abubakar Kaoje (the pioneer Vice Chancellor of Kebbi State University who later became Minister for Science and Technology) falls into this category. After securing the job, he encouraged me to further my studies with the saying; “if you want to remain in academics, you need to further your education and work very hard. He indeed , pushed me to be the best version of myself . The four of them remain my most significant mentors.
My husband, Mr. Abdulazeez Arowona, and parents are my biggest inspiration seeing how they cared for me and my siblings and my family. These three unique characters showed me that you can do it as long as you believe and trust in yourself
I have no fear as regards my career. If you want to succeed in academics, not only delivering a lecture to students, you have to conduct quality research, publish your output in a reputable journal, attend conferences, and present papers, as well as carrying out community services. With all these and more, you are good to go.
Yes, we live in a society where some professions are naturally dominated by men, so women have to strive to be noticed. So you have to be very passionate and know your onions to make an impact.
Another major challenge I have as a Chemist is that , most of the analytical instruments are not available in Nigeria for conducting good research. If good research must be carried out, samples are usually sent outside Nigeria, and considering the cost and time it takes, hmmmmm! , it makes it a bit tough.
I don’t have any regret. I believe what is lost is gone, no need to live with “what I should have done. Rather, I believe in “ what should I do next”. My focus is basically on the future.
WHAT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT
When I am passionate about something, I talk about it a lot and try my possible best to share my knowledge with others. Talking about something I love doing or participating in , helps me learn more about it. Above all, I love to challenge myself to see me do better than before. I don’t follow the crowd, I follow the path
My plan is to closely watch my mentees to the level of Professorship which is the highest rank in academics, In Sha Allah (smile). I will continue in that trade even after leaving office .
STRIKING A BALANCE
For me, being a lecturer is the divine will of God and as well as my strive to impact on the nation. As I stated earlier, women should be able to pursue their careers with regards to education .
I put in more efforts to balance my reaction by working hard in my field and not forgetting that I have a family. I do my calculations very well. And if you have a supportive and an understanding husband, your work is already partly done.
ADVICE TO WOMEN
Despite the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari once said that “women belong to the kitchen and the other room”, my advice to women is that they should always be focused. They should replace discouragement and the term, “It’s impossible” with “it’s doable and achievable”.
I make bold to challenge women to do away with the notion that a woman’s education ends in the kitchen. Let’s all wake up and join the moving train so that our voices can be heard. I appeal to our daughters to work in line with the the programme recently hosted by a year two medical student of Zaporizhzhia University Gabriella, Aishat Idonije which she tagged “THE MYTHS AND REALTIES OF THE GIRL CHILD, MISS GUIDED OR MISS- UNDERSTOOD”, with this , I believe we are catching them young.
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