An exceptional 70-year-old Nigerian man named Ben Duamlong has graduated from the University of Jos, Nigeria with an outstanding first-class Bachelor’s degree.
Ben Duamlong had a lifelong career as a football coach, leading the Nigerian U-20 team to several world tournaments and served as an assistant coach for the Nigeria Super Eagles Football team during Korea/Japan 2022 World Cup.
He, however, retired from coaching in 2016 and decided to enrol for a university degree. Speaking about his journey to success, Ben Duamlong said he discovered his love for arts right from the time when he was a footballer.
“I have always loved the arts. Like I wrote in the handbook of my first and only exhibition, ‘football and arts, to me, are one and the same. While football is performing arts, what I am doing now… painting is abstract arts. They all form the creative. Art to me is everything. Art is life,” he said.
He always wanted to study Philosophy but later choose to pursue his true interest in Arts.
“I enrolled for a course to study arts with a correspondent College in England. They were sending me tutorials and assignments on drawing and arts. I then said, why don’t I try my hands on this? Even as a kid I used to draw but I had never painted,” Ben Duamlong stated.
He enrolled for a degree in painting at the University of Jos and at the age of 70, he graduated with a first-class degree and was also the best-graduating student in his set.
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Ben Duamlong expressed that his journey to achieving a first-class was not easy at the beginning but as he goes further into the system, it became much better.
“It wasn’t easy at the beginning as my first painting was nothing to write home about. Gradually, I came into it. Now, thanks be to God, I can do it. In fact, I have held my first exhibition titled SWITCH,” he said.
Duamlong was among the 20,532 students that the university graduated in 2023 and was also among the only 112 first-class graduates of the university.
“What prompted me to go back to the university at this age is because of my passion for art. All my life, I have always drawn but never painted. I like painting. I can draw but I can’t paint. So, after retiring in 2014, as a footballer, I stayed home doing nothing. That is why I decided to go back to school,” Duamlong comments on how he was discouraged by many people.
His son, Gwandai Duamlong, who is presently in 100-Level said he was happy to see his father achieve his dream with an outstanding performance.