So we have a surprise entry from our friendly neighborhood Nigerian Bachelor, he read one of the entries in this series and decided to lend a voice as well to our campaign, I’m quite excited about this cause this is what I was aiming for with this campaign, getting each and everyone of us to look within ourselves, confronting that thing inside each and everyone of us as we take charge and responsibility for our actions. And that is just what he has done with this post. Ironically his story is something I have faced and something we face on a daily basis all around the world. Okay, I’m talking too much, enjoy:
Four gruelling years in a university where standing too close to a girl or wearing the wrong colour could get him suspended or expelled. Four almost unbearable years in a school where he was subjected to curfews and restriction of movement within and outside campus. Four years of constantly walking on eggshells in order to avoid being implicated in a matter that didn’t concern him. It was finally over. Timi had finally graduated.The ceremony had taken place the weekend before and Timi was back on campus as a fresh graduate. All he needed to do now was get himself cleared by certain departments like the registry, library and his faculty to make sure he wasn’t owing anything and then he would have his certificate in hand and finally be rid of the place for good.
He had arrived as early as possible, leaving Lagos for Ogun state as early as 6am so that he could complete the process that day and not have to travel back and forth on the ever dangerous Lagos-Ibadan express way. He had succeeded in getting all the signatures he needed except that of his former faculty officer and it was only 1pm. This was good. It meant he still had time to finish up and stop by at his favourite buka in town before heading back to Lagos.
On getting to the faculty officer’s office, he discovered some of his colleagues waiting outside. They revealed that they had been asked to wait by the faculty officer while she took care of some other matters. Two hours passed by and they still had not been attended to and Timi decided to find out what was going on. He knocked and entered the office and saw that the faculty officer actually not busy. She had been keeping them waiting for no particular reason. As soon as she saw that it was one of the recently graduated people, her demeanour changed from welcoming to hostile. “I have told you people to wait. Do you think the world revolves around you just because you have finished school? In fact, I am not signing any forms today. Get out of my office.”
Timi was shocked by the outburst and quietly backed out of the office and informed the others that she had told them to go home and come back another day. It was obvious that this woman was not happy for them and was allowing herself to become a tool of the devil to delay their certificates. They all decided to let her be and come back the following day.
The next three days, yielded the same results. The faculty officer proved difficult and knew she was the only person left who needed to sign Timi’s clearance form. She kept posturing and always had a reason for turning everyone back. But after three days of travelling back and forth, Timi had had enough. If no one else was going to speak up, he would. While his colleagues simply accepted her nonsense once again, he challenged her and insisted she sign everyone’s forms that day and stop being unfair.
The faculty office did not take kindly to this kind of boldness and decided that she would punish Timi. She proceeded to collect all the forms, sign all but Timi’s and kept his in a drawer and locked it. Not only was she not going to sign it, she was going to hold on to it so that he would have to start the process all over again. Timi was beginning to get upset and to make things worse, the people he had just stood up for simply collected their signed forms and left. They abandoned him even though they would not have competed their clearance procedures if he had not stood up for them.
“Madam, I am begging you now. #DontLetTheDevilUseYou. I have been travelling back and forth for four days straight and we both know that is unsafe on our Nigerian roads. Would you like it if it was your son in my position?”
“Will you shut up? My son would not be so foolish as to challenge his faculty officer’s authority”
“But madam, you are no longer my faculty officer. After all, I have done my four years and I have graduated. Why have you decided to be an enemy of progress?”
“My friend if you don’t get out of my office I will call security and you know the police will follow”
“Madam, call anybody you like. I am not leaving this office until you sign my form and let me go in peace”
A few minutes later, she carried out her threat. By this time, the argument had gotten heated and words were flying like daggers. People had gathered around and were begging both Timi and the faculty officer to cool down. Even Timi’s former H.O.D had tried to plead on his behalf but the woman was adamant. She was going to be a stumbling block and Timi would never collect his certificate as long as she had anything to say about it and that was that.
Security arrived with two police men in tow and proceeded to arrest Timi for disturbing the peace.
“Officers, I am only asking for what is right. This woman has no right to delay my progress like this and I beg you, don’t arrest me, #DontLetTheDevilUseYou.”
No one listened to Timi and they proceeded to drag him out like a criminal.
When they got to the parking lot of the faculty building, the drama took another turn. Everybody was about to learn who Timi really was.
“Oga! Wetin dey happen? Why are these officers manhandling you?” All of a sudden everyone noticed two well-dressed naval police officers approaching the scene. Unknown to them, these were orderlies assigned to Timi by virtue of the fact that his father was a retired naval officer. Timi’s father had been a Rear Admiral before he retired but being a very simple person, he never flaunted that fact even while he was a student.
At this point, the officers quickly let Timi go and started to apologise to the officers saying they had no idea who Timi was and would not have arrested him if they knew. It was too late though. One of the naval officers had called Timi’s father to describe the situation and was already receiving instructions. It was out of Timi’s hands now. He had begged everybody knowing what would happen if the situation escalated but they had allowed the devil to use them. Now they would pay.
The police officers were disarmed and bundled into the escort car that had accompanied Timi’s car and driver. The faculty officer was forced to sign Timi’s form and then promptly arrested for endangering the life of an innocent boy and no amount of pleading by anybody could change the current sequence of events.
Once the school administration got wind of what had happened, they issued a written apology and the VC himself visited Timi’s family to apologize and beg for the release of the faculty officer. Timi had also pleaded with this father to let things go and he had agreed. The faculty officer was released but only after she had been properly dealt with in the guardroom.
The university immediately demoted her and issued instructions to all members of staff to always attend to clearance matters without delay. In the words of the VC, “#DontLetTheDevilUseYou to give this school a bad reputation”.
***This has been a complete work of fiction from the mind of Naija Bachelor. Your friendly neighbourhood Average Story Teller. Check out his blog at Naija Bachelor