I know a lot of y’all have been waiting for the continuation of this story, leading to a lot of speculation on your part as to who Jacob is; why he is hiding; and if he is real.
He is real, that much I can tell you. I would not say who he is, or even if ‘he’ is female or male or a deviant! But the story is real, and the lessons are true. And today, we continue from where we left off. I would plead again that even if you know who Jacob is, that you preserve his anonymity.
Last week, I told of how I gained my admission into the University, of how things had moved smoothly for me, and how in my last year in school, after so long, everything took a downward spiral. My name is still Jacob, and this remains my story.
After my Supervisor threw me out of his office, my life fell into disarray. Activities went on all around me, my mates worked and read and played, yet I couldn’t join in, not totally. I would go about the motions, trying to come to grips with what had befallen me and to attain some semblance of balance. As someone who had grown up with goodluck, the other side of the coin was strange and unwelcome. And like with all endeavours, when one reaches a wall, you resort to higher authority. So I went in search of the Dean.
I entered the Dean’s office that day, after spending an hour in the bathroom, psyching myself. As I stepped into the office, the secretary told me to wait as the Dean had another visitor at the moment. Five minutes later, the door opened. It was the laughter I heard first, for walking out arm-in-arm with the Dean, laughing like they had both won a lottery, was the cause of my troubles, my nemesis, the evil Don of corrupt practices and my erstwhile supervisor.
As they shook hands and laughed, I searched for an opportunity to sneak out. The secretary, who probably misunderstood my nervousness, quickly said: “Sir, this Jacob has been waiting to see you”. Both the Dean and the supervisor turned to stare at me.
There I stood, wishing the ground could just swallow me up, or a riot should start or a bomb blow up, anything at all to save me from this moment. Thinking fast I blurted out that I wanted to request the Deans permission for two lecture free days for the Final Year students, to enable a good environment for the coming Final Year Week. The Dean ordered me to return with a formal letter, and as I dashed out of the office, I could feel my supervisor’s eyes on me. He had not uttered a word, he had not needed to. The threat was obvious, and the Dean was a close friend, and probably in on the scam. Who could I turn to for help?
I talked to a classmate and friend, and after laughing at me for being such a fool, he told me there was a simple answer. Then he directed me to one of the supervisor’s ‘boys’ and told me to narrate the issue to him. I met the ‘boy’ in a canteen. Nodding his head while I narrated my ordeal (minus the encounter with the Dean), he expertly threw ball after yellow ball of starch down his throat. When he had finished and was reclining in his chair, a satchet of water in his hand, bloated belly straining against the shirt buttons, he began to preach.
According to him, what the supervisor did was not wrong. If anything, students who refused to avail themselves of his ‘offer’ were the ones wrong. If the supervisor could go out of his way to influence student results for chicken change, why shouldn’t one jump at the opportunity? According to him, I was among the priviledged ones; to be chosen to be a student under this supervisor. If I wanted, he could show me lists of the students who had served under this man. They were all successful students with wonderful results. What I should do was simple. Take N40,000 (about $250) and give to him, maybe then he would look through his files and ‘find’ your name.
Gasping in shock, I asked where I could get such money. The ‘boy’ just smiled and kept picking his yellow teeth.
So I went to a close friend and confidante, a man who I considered above all reproach. He was a counsellor and I went to meet him that afternoon for some quality counselling. After hearing my story from beginning to end without a word, he smiled and said:
“Did he ask you for sex?”
Shivering in disgust, I replied, No. In that case, he then said, you should give him the money. My counsellor’s reason was that this crook had made it a law unto himself to demand outrageous sums from struggling students and so, as the Bible and all other religious books all agree that it is proper to “Obey authority without question”, then that is what I must do.
Picking up my bag, I left in disgust.
You will note that, in all this time, weeks had passed and for all intents and purposes, I was still without a supervisor. But I persevered and working against Fate and logic, I presented my seminar and finished my project in good time and a minimum of hassle. Ignoring the ‘counsel of the ungodly’ I trusted in my God and myself; I had done all I could. After the festivities were over and we had celebrated, Yes Janus Aneni, even me, I danced windeck and alanta, we all waited for the results.
As is characteristic with schools in this country, the result came late. But when it came, the scores for the Seminar and Project were released first. I had a B’ and C’ respectively. So happy was I that I already started to brag about my expected Second Class Upper Division. And then, as has become characteristic with me life since I entered this school, tragedy struck. And it struck in a cruel way.
I was at home, watching TV when I received an e-mail from an International School in Bombay, India. I had written them a while ago and in the reply, they asked for the details of my result. I was still cursing the educational system for wasting my time when my phone rang. It was a junior colleague from school. According to him, the results were about to be put up on the noticeboard. Throwing on a shirt and a pair of jeans, I rushed to school which was just a few minutes away by foot. In my mind, as I walked, I was already rejoicing that I could send the details back to the school in Bombay before the day was over. It was 12:30pm, I would not come back home till 9:20pm that evening.
Janus Aneni is signalling that I stop, he wants to postpone the story. No Janus, we finish it now.
When I checked the list of successful students and their results, my name was not there. At the bottom of the list, in small print was a note saying: this was the first batch, the next batch would be up the next day. If I had left at that moment, maybe things might have been different, but I stayed a little longer.
Tucked into a small portion of the board was another list of names. Glancing at the list, since I had nothing else to do, I noted it was the list of students with ‘carry-over’ courses. A sad smile on my face, I decided to look through the names of my less fortunate brethren. Right there, comfortable in number six position was my name. And I who had never failed a course was to spend an extra year rewriting three! While I was still staring in horror, the phone in my hand haven fallen to the floor, the supervisor walked over, glanced at the board, then at me, and said:
“It seems you are coming back”
That was last year.
My parents have cried, I have cried, my friends and neighbours and uncles and aunts have all wept. But you know what they say about Adversity and how it strengthens people. I am strong now. Very strong. I wrote the exams (which coincidentally, or not, happen to be the courses lectured by my supervisor and two of his close friends and cronies) and I am certain of my results. I know how the game is played now and if you decide to play hard ball, the same would be served for you.
The pain, the stigma and the shame was to strengthen me. It is my Cross, and I would not have borne it in vain.
- This is still based on a true story, so any resemblances to people, places etc. is already copyrighted! 🙂
- The people in the pix are in no way related to Jacob! Or may be they are, I don’t know, and if I knew I won’t tell.
There could be some body going through what Jacob has gone through and maybe some of you feel that Jacob made the wrong choices or the right ones, that is what the comment boxes are for. Post a comment, help some one…(Okay, now I sound like a Counselor from Intervention)…nevertheless, do not forget the lessons, and to each, when your time comes, bear your crosses with grace.
ff on twitter @janus_aneni
P.S: my next post is going to have alot of sex, time to spice things up a bit. 😉