Monday, October 19, 2015

Tale 8: Of Admissions, Corruption and Favour

Great Ife, Great Ife!
Africa’s Most beautiful Campus!
Conscious, Vigilant, progressive {Ahem}
Aluta against all oppression! { Looto?}
Ati be be lo…

Ps: If you know the rhyme song ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little star’ you can sing the Ife Anthem. Hee hee hee!


Location: Ojota Bus Stop, Lagos

Distended Voice on Megaphone: Osoooogbo, Osogbo! Ileeeesa!

Me (in my head as I walk with my mum into the park): Nope, Not me!

Distended Voice on Megaphone: Challenge, Challenge, Challenge!

Me (still in my head): Nope not me - no challenges!

Distended Voice on Megaphone: Iwo road, Ibadan!

Me (voice raised in my head): Noooooo not me, stop haranguing me (at the hustlers following my mum and I).]Me: (Finally voicing out) Stop following us - we are not going to those places.

Distance Voice: Ile-Ife, Ile-Ife! Ife Campus straight!

Me (With a huge smile in my head voice): Ope o! Finally Yes!

My Mum: Titi, are you sure?

Me: Yes Mummy. I will be fine.

Then follows loads of prayer, publicly said and my answering Amen. All while we settle my bag securely in the trunk of a station wagon, and I take the ‘luxurious seat’ next to the driver in front - well paid for. The conductor attempts to place someone on same seat with me - on account of my tiny physique. He ends up being ‘withered’ by my mother’s laser eyes!

My mum, bravely - I now realise - waves me off, at fifteen and a half years old - to University - three states away. To her alma mater, my first time ever away from home.

{Now as a mum of two, having to see off my three year old to pre-school and how much that draws my heart strings - I appreciate you more than ever before mummy.}

Me (soliloquy): And thus my sojourn to an in Ile-Ife began. With one traveling bag, No cell phone. Bag stuffed with clothes, food and books. Some change in my pocket and an even bigger bag of courage hefted across my shoulders {Thank you Daddy}. I had been shortlisted and offered admission to the most beautiful university in Africa, nestled in the hills and valleys of of the land of origins - ‘Yo Ho! to Ile Ife!
Thanks to the atrocious state of the Lagos Ibadan Expressway and the then terrible and notorious Ibadan Ile Ife road, a journey of 2 hours took me 5 hours. I arrived in Ife at about noon.

Aside: {Of Corrupt Politicians, Contractors and locals - a tale that beckons to be released}


Location: Great Ife Gate, SUB and Department of International Relations

The gates of Obafemi Awolowo University loomed as we drove past its then impressive archway past security. My front row seat meant I saw it all. My senses drank it all in like on starved of natures beauty. Coming from the concrete jungle of Lagos, we drove into the rolling green hills; rivers and well tarred roads ending up in front of the Student Union Building (SUB) - where I encountered my first blockade!

Power drunk security: All of you hout! Now! Come hout! Ha you registad?

Me: No but I…

Him (cutting me off): Ahhh! Jambite!

Me (aside) Na you sabi!

Him: Oya come out. No cars towards hostels (for some security reason). You go and register first - if they clear you, you can enter. But you, if you have friend go and drop your bag first.

And thus I got my first favour on campus - Thank you unknown man - for letting me through.

Titi Soliloquy: I ventured to go and register before the day ended. Confident in my acceptance into the course of my dreams - straight to the department of International relations. I arrive there and behold on the notice board, my name.Yes! But wait why is there a line across it? O No! Why is there someone else name in front of mine??? No, not again! Noooooooo!!!

Someone had sold my spot to another, derailing what I thought was my ultimate hope and dream to being a diplomat with a single pen stroke across a name unknown to them.

And there I am, confused, distraught, in a strange city, all naivety fallen off, alone, as night falls...knowing I cannot return to Lagos, I have to find a way. First though - where am I going to sleep???

This is where I say Thank you Toyin Onasanya - as she was settled somewhat thanks to an older brother. You only knew me due to the ride from Lagos - yet you lead me, fed me and housed me in your bunk space - U2, Mozambique hall - my first squatter space! Some would call it managed homelessness. I laid down my head afraid but courageous - knowing I had a battle ahead of me as the cock crowed at dawn.

See you tomorrow - sleep beckons.


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