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‘How I became chartered accountant at 25’

He is just 25 years old but has achieved what many hoped for in a lifetime. Ahmad Shehu Haruna, in this interview, speaks of his dream and how he is achieving it. 

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Daily Trust: Tell us a little about yourself and educational background

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Ahmad Shehu Haruna: I am 25 years old. I hail from Bida in Niger State. I started my early education at Usrah International School Bida, from where I moved to Himma International College Minna. Immediately after my secondary school education, I gained admission into Al-Hikma University in Ilorin for my first degree. I did my one year mandatory National Youth Service Corps with the Surulere Local Government Area in Lagos State.

DT: How did you feel when you were inducted as a chartered accountant at age 25?

Ahmad: It was the most fulfilling moment of my life, especially achieving such a feat at that age. I give glory to Almighty Allah for the grace and my parents, lecturers and friends for their support.

DT: Were your parents present at the induction ceremony?

Ahmad: Yes of course. In fact, my family moved down to witness the induction ceremony. Some of my friends from the Northern part of the country were present. I felt like crying, as I could not believe the class of people who graced the occasion for my sake. I’m indebted to my parents who made sure that I had the best of education their resources could give me and also made sure I’m morally sound.

DT: When did you have your training?

Ahmad: It was during my service year in Lagos. I enrolled in one of the Centres of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) in Lagos. The journey was very tough. My first exams were in May 2015. I failed all the four courses, which was a very big challenge. I had to reschedule my timetable and work extra hard. Then I passed in subsequent exams. I qualified as a Chartered Accountant within two years, which was a short duration.

It was a very challenging experience. We receive lectures every weekend from 7am to 6pm. I knew what I wanted so I was very focused and did not give room for distractions. I suspended my leisure and also my siesta and every other thing just to ensure that I meet up. Allhamudullilah, today my effort has paid off.

DT: At 25, would it be right to say that you are one of the youngest to achieve such feat in the North?

Ahmad: I think so. In the South West, you have many youngsters within my age bracket as chartered accountants but the situation is not the same here.

DT: What informed your decision to be an accountant? 

Ahmad: It’s all about passion. During my secondary school days, I realized that I did better in commercial subjects than sciences.

I made a choice early enough with the guidance of some of my teachers, especially Malam Garba who taught Accounting. With my performance at the Secondary Schools Examinations, I decided to study Accounting in the university since I made an A1 in it, together with other commercial subjects at both WAEC and NECO exams. When it was time to choose the course to study in the university, it was very easy for me to decide.

DT: Was there any resistance from your parents on your choice?

Ahmad: I did not face resistance from any of them to be candid. They already knew what I could do and they trusted me, so they encouraged me greatly.

Daily Trust: What was it like studying Accounting?

Ahmad: Accounting, I must confess, is a very challenging course because it has a lot to do with calculations and arithmetic. The sound background I had in both primary and secondary schools helped me a lot.

DT: How many of you were in the class at the university?

Ahmad: We were more than one hundred.

DT: What was the statistic like comparatively?

Ahmad: The female undergraduates were more than the males. I must mention that our Accounting lecturer Mr Ahmad Uthman grilled us through the path of success, which I’m a beneficiary today.

DT: Can you remember a particular female classmate who gave you a run for your money in school?

Ahmad: In fact, to be honest with you, the ladies in our set were very serious to the extent that our lecturers tagged us unserious group of young men.

DT: How did you see this challenge by your lecturers?

Ahmad: The challenge to me personally was a wakeup call. I had to adjust my study timetable so that I will be counted out of the unserious ones. That was how I started doing TDB (extra study until daybreak).

You see, hard work never kills. The result started manifesting immediately. Before I knew it, I started tutoring my colleagues and friends.  They used to converge in my house for extra lessons. I was also taking 100 and 200 level undergraduates. I kept doing that till I graduated in 2014.

Because of my hard work, my faculty, Management Science Students Association (MSSA) offered me the position of president, which I turned down immediately. However, I later accepted the offer after consultations and those who wanted to contest initially following my refusal stepped down. That gave me the opportunity to serve every student in the faculty for a year.

DT: Did it in any way affect your studies?

Ahmad: That was one of the most challenging times for me at Al-Hikmah University. I started with a Second Class Upper GPA and graduated with same. My target was to graduate with a first class but glory be to Almighty Allah as He destined for me the class of degree I have today. I must be honest, I was cautious of what I was doing and ensured that I wisely utilized every second in the university.

DT: How do you want to see this profession in the next 10 years?

Ahmad: Accountants are the life wire of the economy. I want to see more ethical issues addressed and the profession as a whole solidified where necessary. 

DT: What advice do you have for the youths generally?

Ahmad: I have two attributes I held very dear, which brought me to where I am today. They are hard work and prayers. I combined these two without compromising and it worked for me. It has also worked for a lot of people in attaining success in life.

Youth should imbibe the spirit of personal growth and development. I have realized that many of them, especially these days, sit back and relax after obtaining a first degree.  It is not enough. Try and find something to do; at least move up for post-graduate level if the jobs are not forth coming.

I was inducted as a chartered accountant in November last year. As I’m talking to you, I have already obtained a form for my masters degree at the University of Lagos.

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