Nigerian makes history as first African student rep in 438-year Scottish Varsity

Nigerian makes history as first African student rep in 438-year Scottish Varsity

Sokoto-born Aisha Akinola has achieved a big feat after becoming the first African sabbatical officer and the first African to hold the role of the Vice President Welfare in a Scotland University's 438 years history.

Sabbatical officers are usually trustees of their students' union, in its capacity as a charity, and may also sit on or form the board of directors of the union.

Akinola currently serves as the Vice President, Welfare in the Scottish University's Students Association.

Speaking on her new feat, she revealed that she became aware of the sabbatical officer role when she was getting her visa to travel to Edinburgh.

"When I was preparing my visa at the airport, they asked me if I wanted to go on sabbatical. So, I was intrigued and checked out the meaning of the word. From that moment, I started looking forward to it," she said.

Akinola who stated that at some point she became depressed explained that her mother motivated her to run for the role, PUNCH reports.

"After giving my manifesto, I felt so down and depressed because I was the only person of colour. I called my Mum and she encouraged me to continue," she said.

"During my campaign, I gave it my all and I was determined that even if I fail, I would fail gloriously but lo and behold, I won," she said.

As a sabbatical officer in her University's Students Association, Akinola hopes to carry out campaigns on her campus to solve issues relating to racial segregation and students support.

She is also passionate about embedding equality, diversity, and inclusion into the experience of students at the University of Edinburgh.

According to her, she hopes that the University embraces diversity and inclusion under her tenure, as these factors are personal to her.

She revealed that during her meetings with other officials, people always get to notice her as she is the only person of colour and that her religion makes her stand out too.

Being a person of colour and a Muslim, Akinola sees herself as a person of complexities.

Asides from being a sabbatical officer at the University of Edinburgh, Akinola is also a model, hairstylist, and henna artist.

For her, modelling is a passion while hair styling and henna artistry are side hustles.

She said, "As a child, I was making toffee and 'chin chin' to sell at school. I have always had that entrepreneurial spirit and that's how I've been able to manage my passion, role and side hustles."

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