From Lagos to Sudan and back


Otogo Jeremiah Ashik...

Mar 21, 2024

Join Ahmad Muhammad on a whirlwind journey from Lagos to Sudan and back, where resilience, faith, and hustle collide. Through highs and lows, Ahmad's story inspires with its raw authenticity, reminding us to stay true to ourselves and ride the waves of life with determination.

At Aswan international airport, Egypt.

1. Introducing Ahmad Muhammad

Could you introduce yourself and share a bit about your background growing up in Nigeria?

Ahmad Muhammad: My name is Ahmad Muhammad, and I was born and raised in Mile 12, Lagos.

2. Influence of Upbringing on Career Choice

What was it like growing up in Nigeria, and how did your upbringing influence your decision to pursue pharmacy as a field of study?

Ahmad Muhammad: Initially, pharmacy wasn't my planned path. I had envisioned studying nuclear physics, but considering the circumstances, I opted for medicine. However, due to stiff competition, I ended up in pharmaceutical sciences, which I've come to appreciate as an excellent academic field.

Journey to Egyptian border

3. Opportunity to Study in Sudan.

How did the opportunity to study in Sudan come about, and what motivated you to pursue your education there?

Ahmad Muhammad: I owe immense gratitude to Alhaji Muhammad Indimi, the founder and CEO of Oriental Energy Resources, and my uncle, His Excellency Alhaji Ahmad Muhammad Ketso, for their unwavering support. Their sponsorship enabled our journey to Sudan, where I pursued my education.

4. Deliberate Choice or Circumstance

Was pharmacy your deliberate choice, or did circumstances lead you to pursue it as a field of study?

Ahmad Muhammad: Pharmacy wasn't initially on my radar, but circumstances led me to it. However, I've grown to enjoy it and consider it one of the best academic paths available.

5. Pre-Conflict Experience in Sudan

Can you describe your experience studying pharmacy in Sudan before the conflict erupted?

Ahmad Muhammad: Studying at the International University of Africa in Khartoum provided a rich learning environment with students from diverse backgrounds. It was a valuable experience, especially in terms of networking and composite learning.

6. Contrasts Between Nigeria and Sudan

What were some of the notable differences between studying in Sudan and your experiences in Nigeria?

Ahmad Muhammad: Sudan offered a unique blend of academic learning and Islamic education, which was distinct from my experiences in Nigeria. The environment provided comprehensive training in both academic and religious aspects.

7. Pre-Conflict Sudan

How would you describe Sudan before the outbreak of violent clashes and instability in April 2023?

Ahmad Muhammad: Sudan was a hospitable place with righteous people, offering a welcoming atmosphere for students like myself.

8. Indications of Escalating Tensions

Were there any indications or warnings of escalating tensions before the conflict erupted, especially for foreign students like yourself?

Ahmad Muhammad: While Sudan had experienced political instability, the eruption of full-blown conflict caught everyone off guard, without prior indications for foreigners or locals.

At the Egyptian border with humanitarian aid

9. Preparation for Conflict

How did you and other students prepare, if at all, for the possibility of conflict or unrest in Sudan?

Ahmad Muhammad: There was no prior preparation. The conflict seemingly erupted overnight, catching us by surprise during Ramadan.

10. Life After Returning to Nigeria

Could you share your perspective on life after returning to Nigeria following the Sudanese conflict?

Ahmad Muhammad: Life after returning to Nigeria made me realize the nuanced nature of the world, where one size doesn't fit all.

11. Impact of Sudanese Conflict on Outlook

How did your experiences in Sudan, particularly during the conflict, shape your outlook on life and education?

Ahmad Muhammad: The conflict in Sudan made me deeply spiritual, as I witnessed the fragility of life. It reinforced the importance of faith and consciousness in navigating life's challenges.

12. Challenges of Readjustment

What challenges did you face in readjusting to life back in Nigeria after experiencing the turmoil in Sudan?

Ahmad Muhammad: Fortunately, I didn't experience significant mental breakdowns upon returning to Nigeria. My strength, both physically and mentally, helped me readjust smoothly.

13. Influence on Career Aspirations

Did your time in Sudan influence your career aspirations or personal goals in pharmacy?

Ahmad Muhammad: Not significantly. Despite the turmoil, I remained focused on my pharmacy studies.

14. Role of Education in Resilience

Looking back, how do you perceive the role of education in shaping your resilience and adaptability amidst challenging circumstances?

Ahmad Muhammad: Education enlightened me and prevented me from making rash decisions. However, my faith, Islam, played a crucial role in building my resilience and adaptability.

15. Understanding Global Conflicts

In what ways did your experiences in Sudan deepen your understanding of global conflicts and humanitarian crises?

Ahmad Muhammad: My experiences in Sudan highlighted the urgency and severity of humanitarian crises, often more dire than portrayed by mainstream media.

16. Memorable Moments in Sudan

Can you reflect on any memorable moments or lessons learned during your time studying and living in Sudan?

Ahmad Muhammad: The most challenging moments were during the evacuation process, particularly the days spent at the Egyptian border. However, witnessing the Red Crescent Society's humanitarian efforts was inspiring.

17. Impact of Supportive Networks

How did the supportive networks or communities you encountered in Sudan impact your journey as a pharmacy student?

Ahmad Muhammad: The presence of supportive networks, like the Red Crescent Society, during the humanitarian crisis was invaluable and provided insights into medical practices during emergencies.

18. Advice for Nigerian Students Studying Abroad

What advice would you give to other Nigerian students considering studying abroad, especially in regions prone to conflict or instability?

Ahmad Muhammad: Firstly, thoroughly research the country, especially regarding political volatility. Secondly, consider your financial stability, as financial crises can pose significant challenges abroad.

19. Contributions to Healthcare in Nigeria

How do you envision contributing to the field of pharmacy or addressing healthcare challenges in Nigeria, drawing from your experiences abroad?

Ahmad Muhammad: I aim to improve patient care by advocating for the implementation of Patient Medication Profiles (PMP) in Nigeria, ensuring comprehensive medical records for efficient pharmaceutical interventions.

20. Insights Gained from Journey

Finally, what insights or wisdom have you gained from your journey as a Nigerian pharmacy student, navigating both personal and global challenges along the way?

Ahmad Muhammad: Politics often impedes humanitarian efforts, prioritizing interests over humanity. My journey emphasized the importance of faith, resilience, and adaptability in overcoming adversities.

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