My first day in the biology laboratory was a dreadful one. During a briefing session a day before we were to have practical during my 100level, We had been told that it is a customary to always put on the ‘laboratory coat’ each and every time we have practicals, hence whosoever without the laboratory coat will be punished.
I’d no money as at that time to buy laboratory coat, and the first practical came just too soon. I couldn’t borrow as my only friend in the school then was Asiwaju Olalekan Godson Ayodeji. Anyway, I knew breaking the rule of not putting a ‘laboratory coat’ was a bad idea but I was young and wrong to take that risk.
I had no choice than to enter into the laboratory room to get engaged with my fellow departmental mates.
Not quite long after I entered the lab, one of the biology lecturer who handled biology practical came around. He spotted few of us without the ‘laboratory coat’ and decided to play a fast track on us, he wanted to get hold of us. I was fortunate to be sitting near the entrance door, so I got away.
He was able to lay hands on few guys unaware but everyone of us that escaped went into his black book. He called our class rep then, and collected our matric numbers. Printed them and pasted them in his office. It was printed boldly.
That was how myself and other guys that ran away failed Both the practical and the actual Biology course that year.
Personally, I sat for the same courses for good 6years; making it 6 different times entirely.
On my third year of rewriting, I summoned courage to visit him in his office. I went to see him to plead with him, he didn’t know me, he only knew of my matric number. So I’d to take the bull by the horn to explain what had happened. He laughed wickedly and angrily sent me away, I returned the next day. He told me, if I return again then it would be very bad and I won’t like it. I left him for a week. I consulted my advisor, Dr. Mrs Adigun. I explained everything to her… She told me, I should give him time, and to return to him after sometime. That he may consider my ‘show of repentance’. So I didn’t return for like a month.
Then one day, I was returning from a friend’s place Osisami Babalola Enitan on Friday after I had gone to play chess, I saw him also returning from the mosque. We both met along the school former fine-art department, just by the way that leads to Alata eatery, Under G.
I quickly used the opportunity of meeting him just coming from the mosque to plead yet again. He treated me like ‘shit’
He still went on to fail me even in my 400level. On my final year, I went to him, then I was married. I took my pregnant wife to plead with him. He walked us out and told us never to come again. He promised to report to the school security. So we left.
He failed me for 5 years consecutively. It was hard for me.
I wept for days.
I told my parents, and few friends.. It prevented me from going for NYSC with my class 13′ set.
Then I turned to God. Yes, I was guilty and I deserved punishment but that was too much. I prayed ‘no be small’. So many different phases of life, most times it is always our fault that we find ourselves in difficult situations but immediately we get to seek God for help, he surely always provide us a solution to all of our problems. I seek God’s face and he never fails.
That biology course was taken away from him and was given to someone else, it was given to another Dr. I can never forget him.
I registered as a spill-over student, and sat for it, I borrowed 4 other courses to boost my CGPA, I collected my result and my biology 101, 102,104 and 106 were all A(s).
That was how I got cleared.
Moving forward, During my service year, after I redeployed from Abia state to Oyo, I was posted to the West Africa examination council. (Waec) Ijokodo, Ibadan. Great place with wonderful people. On my great work ethics, being dutiful and so diligent during my service year, I was given the green card and permitted at all time to work during their examination and marking exercise each and every time I so wish. Oluwafemi Martins my great boss, one of the great people I had worked with.
Coincidentally, I was officially sent to Ogbomoso marking venue as an assistant subject examination officer to partner my Waec daddy
I was handling Biology and chemistry subjects.
For the ones who don’t understand the whole drama during the Waec marking exercise.
We give out the examination scripts to qualified teachers or graduates with the certification in their specified subjects for marking and recording during a stipulated period of 21/23
So that day in April, there was a long queue of Examiners waiting to submit their CV. Then this Dr. lecturer that failed me for 5years was on the queue too, I’d spotted him.
My wonderful Waec daddy was beside me, he asked while I was smiling, I simply told him that something funny will soon happen, and when it was this Dr’s turn, He greeted and called me “sir” (bending his head). I quickly stood up to greet him too. But I was so surprised, he didn’t recognize my face. Apparently, he would never have thought and believe and to be possible for the young man in front of him to be me.
So I pretended as if I had nothing in mind too, I was going through his CV when he started pleading that he really needed my help concerning this marking stuff, he told me he came along with his daughter who is a gate crasher ( these are people who are new to the marking system) and his wife who also had marked for a long time but needed to mark too.
He told me Ladoke Akintola university of technology had been on strike for over a year and nothing seemed fine, no salary. No money and nothing at all. I should help him. At that point I told him to call his wife and daughter. He did. I then asked him; “Sir, Is it truly that you do not recognize my face?”
He said, “ehn! It’s like this face is familiar o but you know there are many people like that I can’t remember. I can’t really remember where and when I had seen your face”. I told him to try, that I will only help him if he can remember where we had met and when..
He didn’t remember so I helped him out with my surname, I told him. “This is Akeju, the guy you failed for consecutive 5 years. The guy that brought his pregnant wife to beg you but still, you sent us away”.
At that point, he was dumbfounded. He left without saying a word. His wife and daughter were confused and everyone on the queue too. His wife asked what the matter was, I told her to go and ask her husband.
Shortly, His wife and daughter returned. He had explained everything, they knelt down and asked for forgiveness. I smiled and asked them to tell him to come back. He had gone home. In the evening he did returned.
He asked for forgiveness, and I did forgave him. More than he had asked for, I granted him all of his requests. We were not permitted to give more than a packet packed of scripts but I gave him more than one. Just for him to make more money. He wept uncontrollably.
Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you”.
I only know of the way of doing good even unto them that do me evil.
Till I left ogbomoso, he was always calling because I had put enough food on his table and not only him, but also for his family during that difficult period they were going through.
It’s left to him, if he will change or not.
Our tomorrow isn’t promised.
Story by Oluwanishola Akeju