I walked into the service one pleasant Sunday morning and the question Pastor Taiwo Odukoya asked during the service reverberated in my heart. He asked, “Do you know who you are?” Right in that service, I began to reminiscence on the events and seasons that shaped my life; some of which I will like to share.
I wrote my final year West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and National Examinations Council (NECO) examinations and graduated from college hoping to get Credit grades in all my papers. Knowing that I did not write some of the examinations well, I began to pray and fast for God to intervene and give me good grades. As it turned out, when the results were released, I failed Mathematics and I wasn’t so much surprised because I hated the subject with a passion. I wept like the day I learnt that my mother had passed on to eternal glory and the only consolation I got from my father was that I could take the exam again. At that moment, I rejected the idea of a re-sit because I couldn’t think of going back to secondary school and sit in the same class with my ‘juniors’.
Luckily for me, I had two older sisters who were studying Economics and Law at the university, so I approached them to help me out. They counselled me on the courses that I could study without having a Credit grade in Mathematics.
Literature has been my life since when I was a kid. Growing up in a home where the child is not to be heard, I took solace in reading novels from the age of seven. I must confess it was another world that gave me joy and the expressions that I needed. Some of the characters were my friends and I could communicate with them. Also, in college, Literature-in-English turned out to be my best subject.
While growing up as a child, I also loved Abike Dabiri on The Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) News at 9:00pm and always looked forward to being a broadcaster but my parents rejected the idea. So, I was torn between becoming a Lawyer or a Broadcaster. When I learnt that I couldn’t study Mass Communication without a Credit grade in Mathematics, I opted for English Language and reassured myself that I could get a post graduate degree in Mass Communication to make me come back to my first love.
I announced my decision to my Dad who didn’t object to it and supported my moves. Afterwards, I wrote Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and filled in English Language as my first and second choice. And a lot of people thought I was losing my mind. Interestingly, I got an admission to study my desired course.
When my father’s friends visited our house and asked me what course I was studying at the university, I told them English Language, and they would sarcastically answer that means you want to become a teacher! I did not know where I got the boldness from but I always told them “I am studying English Language not English Education so I am not training to become a teacher.”
God ordered my steps and I met Dr. Henry Hunjo who offered to mentor me. His mentoring allowed me to have a smooth sail through university such that by the time I was graduating, I knew the sky was just a stepping stone for me.
I did not let the words spoken to me deter me from becoming “The Writer in the Family!” Now, I can look back and I say ‘thank you’ to my parents who made me discover the Life in Literature. Therefore friends, pursue your dreams and ambitions irrespective of what people are saying or how ‘non-lucrative’ it may be.