We Fall Down and We Get UP

I originally finished University in January 2001. I said originally because I did not know I was going to stay back for a whole session to do 2 courses. The worst thing I ever imagined, happened to me as it was clear I had an extra year. The painful part was that we lost a year in Ife and so instead of graduating in 99/2000 session; I had to wait till 2001/2002 session which was a big blow to me considering the fact that I had so much planned for the outside world and coupled with the financial state of my family. The events that led to that extra is one I don’t want to put on the Internet now but may come out in a future book as they were not very palatable. I can recollect those events now and be happy because I learned from the setback and I discovered a lot about myself during that extra year in Ife.

When my dad found out about the extra, I envisaged he was going to be mad at me but to my surprise he became very philosophical and said he was very happy it happened. I was disappointed by that line of thought but he clarified it for me by asking if I had ever suffered a setback in my academics. My answer was no and he said that when men go on in life without understanding what it means to falter – it might be dangerous for them. That it is good to learn these lessons early in life and hold on to God so that the future will be better than making the mistakes later in life when the lessons would not matter again. That got me thinking and I decided to make the best use of the situation.

That session was a popular one filled with high profile extras for my friends who ordinarily should not even be part of that phenomenon called ‘extra year’. I eventually stayed with a fellow extra buddy – Niyi whom we go long way back from School of Science Ile-Ife. We have been through a lot together and I consider him more than a friend. So we were together carrying the same burden but with a joint goal of making the best use of the situation. We spent a lot of night toiling, reading and making money on OAU campus. It is of note to mention that we made more money than most of our mates who went for NYSC then. We were involved in Year CD productions, Website designs, Computer Assembly, etc and we lived big. We also paid our school fees and accommodation without collecting money from home and I personally helped my family from those funds we made. He was doing one course – a special elective while I did a course per semester so we had ample time for our runs.

At a point, a friend told me about a job on campus with the Universal Basic Education (UBE). I went with the friend to meet the head of the place and I got the job. I explained to them that I had 3 lectures in a week but they did not mind. That was how I met Prof. Amole and Dr. Mrs Amole of the department of Architecture, OAU Ile-Ife and it was a meeting with destiny as it changed my life and put me on another pedestal. My salary was to be 7,500 naira per month and I still had time for my other runs. The first few weeks, Prof did not know my expertise in computer went beyond the work I was doing for them in tracking the status of the UBE projects on Microsoft Excel and Word. My computer was giving some problems and he kept telling me that a certain man every lecturer in Ife thought was the only one who knew about computers in OAU was going to come and fix it.

One day while he was away; I decided to fix the computer and re-installed the Operating system. When he came back and found out – he was very surprised and asked how I got to know so much about computers. He asked for an invoice as the UBE had to pay for my services but I declined. That was how he took interest in me and started getting me jobs from his friends. I assembled a lot of computers for his friends and helped with some other things. I learned a lot from that couple about hardwork and family life. I remembered they gave me the first opportunity to write a paper in an International journal of a conference that was hosted in Ife. My paper was titled “The development of an e-enabled City”. My paper was accepted and I presented it at the conference marking my first academic paper while doing extra year in the department of Mathematics.

It was in that spirit that I approached Prof about an idea I had for the University’s 40th anniversary in 2002. I envisioned a multimedia CD that would have the history of OAU in a very attractive multimedia format. This CD would have contents like names of all graduates of OAU, landmarks, history, faculties, departments, etc. He got the vision and led me to the head of the 40th anniversary celebrations (Prof Elujoba) who discussed with the Vice-Chancelor (Prof Roger Makanjuola) and it was a hit with him. They requested a proposal from me and I gave it to them in record time. That was how the deal was sealed. It was a dream come true for me not because of the money I was going to make but because a major University like Ife could believe in the dream of a young man like me. At this point, I must remember the commitment of Sola Adebajo nee Sobanjo and Igudia Konyeasua who carried the vision with me when I discussed it with them and whose shoulders the responsibility of ensuring the success of the project weighed on. We eventually produced the CD after I had graduated and the same was sold to all graduates at the next convocation ceremony. The whole process came with a lot of lessons for me in business but that is a matter for another day as I did not make a dime on the project. As I said; it was a fulfilling moment as OAU was the first University in Nigeria to have that kind of CD and I was the first to envision and carry that goal out.

The moral of this is simple … I was disappointed to have to stay back in Ife for a whole year but at the end of it I came out of it a better man, more matured and more learned. My first CV after University was more attractive than some people who graduated years before me as I did a lot during that year. I am tempted to say it was a blessing in disguise. I also know that if we are patient, God will reveal why we had to go through some events in our lives.

I will take a break about the past for now. My blog will go a different route in the coming days. Thanks for following the story.

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