It is generally expected that one only seeks professional certifications after securing an academic qualification like a degree or HND from the university or polytechnic.

So, friends and relatives criticized Elizabeth Orefuwa when she took an unusual route of seeking professional certification even when she was yet to gain admission into a university.

She knew in good time that perhaps hers was destined to be a unique story and she was ready to live it up to reality.

She ended up winning from both worlds.

The now married and pregnant Mrs Elizabeth Orefuwa graduated as Lagos State University (LASU) best graduating students in 2015/2016 with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 4.74 in Accounting Education.

Telling her story during the institution’s 21st convocation on Wednesday in Lagos, she revealed that she wrote the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) seven times before gaining admission.

Orefuwa, 29, said it was this frustrating process of seeking for university admission that led her into starting a professional career in accounting.

“The journey through the institution was not easy; it took me seven years of writing the UTME before I finally gained admission in 2012.

“I also applied for direct entry three times at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.

“During this period of waiting, I started professional career at the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN) in 2007 and became qualified as an Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA) in 2010,” Orefuwa revealed.

She said that she wanted to study accounting but fate brought her to education. Surprisingly, she enjoyed every bit of it but never dreamt of coming out with a first class and becoming the best student.

According to her, self-determination and motivation through her father’s insisting on academic excellence gave her an edge.

“My aim is to get my first-degree certificate after several years of waiting and to satisfy my dad, who has been insisting on academic certificate before professional certificate.

“He would always say to me then that I have put the cart before the horse.

“However, what kept me going was self-belief, focus and determination bearing in mind that I am not competing with other but with my own capabilities.”

She said that her marriage at the beginning of her final year and the pregnancy condition did not affect her academic performance.

“I had a CGPA of 4.72 before marriage and I graduated with 4.74 point.

“I got married during my final year in 2015 and my husband was very supportive throughout that period.”

Although a chartered accountant, Orefuwa said she would love to teach and combine it with practising accounting profession.