A lot of people have asked me, “Segun, why are you so passionate about Nigeria and Nigerians?”
Growing up, my late dad will stand up for any one who’s oppressed, especially those denied their rights and most especially, the down trodden.
I asked him once, “why are you so concerned about other people’s business than yours?”
“I don’t know. But I guess I’m here on earth for that purpose. Who knows who’ll stand up for me or you tomorrow? I may as well do it right”.
My own journey started as I know way back as a kid, fighting bullies in school and at play. No matter your height, no matter your father’s wealth, you don’t push the other kid down where I am, I’ll stand up for him.
There was a lecturer in my school at 300L who’s notoriously stupid. Pardon my French.
Most folks who studied mass communication in KadPoly know him well as ‘KJ’.
He loves women (single and married), he can’t stand criticism, always late to lectures, loves to frustrate students and all for no particular reason.
If you’re a dullard, your in soup. How those wey sabi book finish?
Sometime in the new millennium-year 2000, after the nations cup co- hosted I think by Ghana & Nigeria, he came into the class at 9:45am instead of the usual 8am for a 2 hours lecture.
And instead of getting down to business, he decided to crack jokes about women’s butt, how some scream and moan then ended it with, “even your HOD was crying that Cameroon beat Nigeria 1-0!”
Everybody laughed at his joke, even though its dry, just to please him. I didn’t. In fact, I got very angry and didn’t hide it.
One, the jokes were unnecessary. Two, I had an AP for 10:30am during break and I knew he won’t leave the class until sometime around past 11-11:30am.
My seat mate, Ms Cecilia said to me, “why are you not laughing?”
Angrily, “what’s funny in what he’s said to make me laugh?”
He looked at us, since he was just a few tables away; sitting in his dirty jalabiyyah, holding one small wedding souvenir note pad with his scribbled notes on it and said, “…what did you say?”
I repeated it, “…what’s funny in Cameroon defeating Nigeria? What’s more important is that you do your work; lecture. Instead you’re cracking jokes. Not fair!”
His face changed and he said, “get out of my class!”
I turned first then asked him, “are you talking to me?”
He said, “yes. And if you don’t, I’ll never come to this class again then everybody will fail”.
I put my feet on the desk and said, “I’m not wearing a school uniform and I’m going no where. Come drag me!”
Now, my class mates got scared. Some begging me to go out, some begging him, some yelling at me, some indifferent, some silent but in my support.
“Its time someone stood up to you and the nonsense you do.”
After a lot of pleading, I agreed to leave. As I walked past him, something said, “if he do kphim, whip am with chair”. I didn’t. He too couldn’t look at me till I left the class. But I left a message; ‘not everybody is an idiot’.
The matter dragged throughout the semester.
He won’t let me write his tests or attend his lectures. But I wrote the exams; half way…
He gave me a carry over, my first and last.
In a 2 credit unit course when I scored ‘As’ in even 6 & 4 credit unit courses o!
The HOD, I remember told him, “this boy is not an average student o! Why are you doing this?!”
He insulted the man then called my bluff. He did that easily because the HOD himself was gutless.
Some said I should beg him.
“For what? For telling him the truth? I’ll rather lose this admission!” I replied.
I didn’t. I stood my ground.
I wrote the carry over.
It was in ‘Quantitative Survey’, I think and from the famous ‘Yellow Book’. I gave it to him, cover to cover.
Meanwhile his excuse for failing me, that I copied from my bosom friend Ladi.
That incident made me switch to broadcasting instead of print. So our paths don’t cross, again till I left the school.
It never crossed.
For years, students spoke about that incident. And I heard he was more punctual to work and though still acted stupid, but was more cautious.
He even boasted, “…because he’s a cultist he thinks I’m afraid of him? While st UniLag, go and ask, we clash with cultists!”
I wanted to sue, my friends said I should let go.
Generally, in life, no matter where you find yourself, learn to stand up for your right and that of others.
Though with wisdom but it maybe your only task here on earth.
No man should deny you your rights because he’s above you. Only God is above us and worth worshipping, not any man.
I know my calling. Do you know yours?
SW&SH is a weekly series here on my page and on Chungai Media.
Don’t miss it.
I’m done, I’m gone, I’m ghost!