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Sunday, February 25, 2024

70-year-old woman who worked as a food seller to sponsor her education finally bags masters degree, set to earn PhD

A 70-year-old woman named Onike-oke Mabel Ayodeji who worked as a food seller to sponsor her education has finally earned a master’s degree at Crescent University, Abeokuta in Nigeria.

Mabel graduated with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree at Crescent University despite her old age. Narrating how she was able to bag the degrees at an old age, she told BBC Yoruba that she has always loved education.

She mentioned that she left her town in Ondo state and came to Ibadan in 1967 because her parents could not afford to send her to school at that time. She said she had to drop out of school after graduating from Mordern 3.

Mabel said seeing her other friends continuing their education made her sad but she did not give up. To make ends meet, she had to become a sales girl stating that she suffered different maltreatment because she was working in a canteen filled with unruly men.

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She said while working as a salesgirl, returning to school to further her education remained her priority. Mabel said remembering the words of her teacher who commended her for performing excellently in a test in Modern 2 always encouraged her.

“One day, my teacher came to class when I was in Modern school and asked us to prepare for an impromptu test. After he had marked my script, he commended me and said he wished I’d become a professor by the time he returns in 10 years’ time,” she said.

Mabel said those words kept pushing her to strive for better despite all odds and limited finances to sponsor her education. She continued to work earning different certificates while working as a government worker.


Mabel stated that one day she heard an advertisement for admission to Crescent University, which prompted her to apply to the university. During the application, she said an officer in the school asked her if she was there to enroll her child in school. She replied to him, “Am I too old to be in school?

Mabel fulfilled her dream of pursuing higher education by earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She expressed her desire to obtain a doctorate degree, but she would pray to determine if it is her next step.

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