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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

DIARY OF AN ADVOCATE- EPISODE 7: (THE TRIP TO NEDUGO) by Ebi Robert








I started preparations for my Jamb and WAEC Examinations with all manner of seriousness required. Then, I had just three months to my exam. They were times not big at all. I had many literary books to peruse apart from poems and other text books of other subjects I had to offer. Those who are in my area of studies understand better, but even in the best opportunity to understand if you are to write WAEC and Jamb on your own. I mean those who did understand far better. 

I got the necessary books and started that serious study that is needed. Day and night I read. At that point of my life, I ceased the good friendship I had with some home movies, especially the gruesome ones. I had a high taste for the horror ones. God was so wonderful and he is still for sure. How I was able to beat the night sleep was one miracle beyond miracles. There was no night candle I did not burn. Before then, I had been a preacher of Self reliance on God. I believed that those who organize the exams are not different than we were; not even those who wrote the so called books of impossibilities as students believed to be. Shun malpractice and read was my daily sermon to friends and foes alike. Students have lost their self esteem. They just believe it is impossible writing WAEC and Jamb exams by oneself and as well making it in the process. But for me, it was different. My imagination had been changed by God’s word. Malpractice was just one sin as big as that of Witchcraft.

I met my Old friend back then in Yenagoa. Igirigi’s father had already been promoted to the position of Vice principal of the Nedugo/Agbia Secondary School. I approached his father to get me registered for the WAEC exams which he did. We were to spend almost a month in the community because I was to write both WAEC and NECO at once. With the help of my parents, I went to the community and stayed in the house of one man whose name I can’t remember anymore. But I was and am sure the man is an academic because the room if not the whole rooms were occupied with books of all colours and classes. 

I continued my studies while preaching the word of God to my friends who then saw me as a strange being. Sure, I was strange to all those that knew me before. I had changed so much. I was just the biggest opposite of what I was and I was quite okay with the feeling. My taste for worldly things had reduced to the barest minimum. 

The exam began and I and those with me went to the examination centre. And as it was normal with the Nigerian educational system, we were asked to pay some money for cheat (p) answers. I had no issues with myself because even if I had the money to give, I had intended writing the exams myself. I and others who could/did not pay were kept in a separate hall as rebels. Based on my observation, I think those with me, were, not because they wanted to write the exams themselves, but because probably they did not have the money to pay or the money was provided by their parents but was used for a purpose other than that which it was given for. No wonder, some of the students jumped out of the window to get text books for cheating.
The day for the Economics exams came. We were all set for the exams. Those that could pay had done that already. We were all threatened to pay but when it became clear to them that not all could afford the money, they became liberal and asked all the students to enter the same hall for them to be fed with the answers as well. All the students entered except me. I told them I intended writing all by myself. I was sure I would be distracted being in the same room with them. My request was granted and so I was the only student in a hall writing by myself. Soon, some officials from the Ministry of Education arrived, and saw me alone in a hall. Ironically, they felt I was a special candidate, and so they collected my papers. I wasn’t afraid at all. Somehow, I was just calm. I just prayed within. Something within asked me to approach them which I did, listening to the voice. 

“Excuse me sir. I have something to say”, said I.

Yes, what do you have to say? You are a special candidate, ain’t you?

“No sir”, I replied. 

“Then, why were you all alone in that hall?” asked the man, curiously.

At that point, I started speaking like one who was told what to say. “Hmmm.. Sir, I know you are surprise seeing me alone there. The truth is I am not a special candidate. I am a student like everyone else. But I have come to observe that here in Nigeria, many students believe no one can write an external examination like WAEC on his or her own and make it. I do not think so. I want to show to my fellow students and the country at large that this is possible, that is why I am writing on my own.” 

Immediately I finished saying this, the man handed over my papers to me. It was just like a miracle. What was in that statement that got my paper back to me? I wondered. That had no reasonable defence. No, not at all! At least, so far an average Nigerian is concerned. I think it was God, I mean I knew it was God that did it. 

After the exams, I received one of the biggest antagonisms of my life. I was attacked by many. 

“What did you tell those men?” I was asked. 

I could not lie. The story got far even to Igirigi’s father, and Igirigi’s father who felt threatened, got so angry and said: “You are lucky I was not there. I would have crushed you. You do you think you are? Are you even intelligent? I have seen intelligent students; you are even nowhere close to any of them. Do you even know God?”

I can never forget those words. I was underrated but I was calm. I wasn’t angry at all. I was rather worried whether what I did was wrong. But those words didn’t get my courage sank. I was rather propelled to do better and prove him wrong. I didn’t blame him then, because he had once marked my script in a competition in which I didn’t do well. 

The day I wrote English language was not different as well. Satan was ready for me. I had sat with other candidates who had paid for malpractice. Answers were called in rows to them and they were busy putting them down. For me, I was receiving a very big disturbance, but I had to bear it as someone who was writing all by himself. I was in the 60th question out of 100 when I was asked to submit. They never cared whether I was writing on my own. They collected my paper because others who had answers given to them were done. It was painful because the time allocated by the examiners was not yet exhausted. But what can I do? I was one helpless boy. But in all, I thanked God for everything. 

Many things got me surprised then. Many believe that the cause of malpractice is the Government’s failure to give the necessaries to make the educational system work the way it ought to. But I think, this may be half true, because there are other contributory factors such as the corruption of the teachers. I remember I was once mocked by a supervisor for writing all by myself. The elderly lady who made reference to her own children that were being help elsewhere looked at my script with disdain. But I was never bordered. In another occasion, I saw a friend of mine who was a science student writing Literature in an exam hall. I wondered what a science student would be doing with Literature examination, so I approached him, only to find out that a teacher had singled out my script and gave it to that friend of mine to answer questions for a special candidate. When the teacher saw me, he was shocked. Unstable he spoke: “Seeing your subjects, it is obvious you want to study Law or something?” 

Yes, I replied. 

“Don’t worry; we will help you to pass”. 

I was in thoughts. “Did I tell him I needed his help? Have I not been helping myself ever since?”

Well, what do we expect from a guilty soul?

I went home and waited for my result to be released. I was eager and full of anxiety. My English Language was the problem. I did not finish it. But I believed God will help me. Soon, the day came and my result was released. I got the needed credits and passes for all my subjects, except English language. I had gotten ………..

[Suspense – Next Episode, readers would be made to know what I got in English Language and what task was ahead]

STAR ADVOCATE OF THE EPISODE: There will be no star advocate of the Episode. Rather I will present one of my old poems, a poem I wrote while in Nedugo. It was a sweet memory indeed.


NEDUGO RAINFALL

At that hour I be Aard-vard,
Smelling the heat off the cover
I behind conman,
Sky-ball disappears, no one Doofus.

Here bog suffers, no siren
That Nedugo rivulet is full quiets my wittiness.
 But my disdain goes to the conceal
Cloud and the retrace wind of
Sosatie-meal

I leap, I let go.
Pre-time have I seek to glimpse
Tea light; not only kebab sniff,
Nedugo-rainfall ruins my dream.

Thus, I be seer, it would be pleasant
But I be not, inch jeremiad,
And I am not inquisitive inroad dead-lips.

Dismal rain that had me in dismay
Had me not all, in mine appear,
Large a cap above my head
But back in butt, just in an hour
Sosabie bye – that rain just a threat

WATCH OUT FOR EPISODE 8

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