Since i like to write..i might as well tell the story. Unfortunately, i can’t remember the exact date, except it was maybe June or July ’96..
i won’t say it was a bad day, I’d say it was worse.
i woke, from my bunk which i shared with henry enuma, and dayo edgal..i was feeling particularly happy, why, i cannot say i remember. i said out loud “i feel like today is my birthday”..my mischievous friend henry enuma, ever happy to foment trouble, started screaming, its jobas birthday, today na joba baiday..!! people started coming as was the tradition, to beat me, or whip me, or pour water.. well i was laughing and saying henry was just messing around, and it definitely wasnt my birthday..henry kept screaming, so i decided to run for my life..and ran i did..unfortunately, bimbo, a guy, who represented Osun house, in 100m sprint races, was also hot on my heels, and he sure wasn’t going to let me outrun him..he came at me with a rubber belt, lined with metal fittings-inscribed on which was 501 levis..He whipped me twice, leaving a 501 tattoo on my side. After begging him,and convincing him, that my birthday was not till september,he let me go..and so i went back to the hostel, where someone definitely a senior, emptied a bucket of water and piss on me, as i lay in the gutter..after all the drama of the morning, i had a bath, freshened up, and put on my red sports tee shirt, and chinos brown shorts. It was a saturday, so everyone was in the hostel. Enuma and i were quite close, we shared quite a lot in common, and one of them was our mutual dislike for Alex egbedumame, who was then acting Osun house senior boys house captain..he was demanding jss3 students preparing for our junior waec exams, to come to senior hostel every morning for portion, and to report with our hoes , cutlasses and brooms. i wasn’t feeling the routine, even though i noticed soun house guys were also made to do same. And so enuma and i decided to write letters which we would submit into the new suggestion boxes the then principal, S.A Olarinde had placed everywhere..
So after i had freshened up, and was appropriately dressed.LOL! I took the letters, and strolled to tuc shop, where i intended to give myself a treat, after all I had already been beaten like it was my birthday, i might as well celebrate and enjoy myself. So i got to tuc shop, bought loaf and moin moin, and stuffed my small pockets with buns. i now pondered as to which was the safest of the suggestion boxes that I would put these letters and not be seen.
I decided on the one at admin block, unfortunately, as i got there, the gate was locked..so i proceeded to the dining hall..i knew there was one box there. On getting there, lo’ and behold, sitting directly opposite the suggestion box, were gweke,who i think was food prefect, and the food prefect girl, who i remember thinking was too pretty to be hanging out with gweke. They were talking, and did not notice me pass. I walked past the suggestion box back and forth twice, now sure they had not noticed me, perhaps I was invisible.LOL..so i walked swiftly to the box, and tried to slot in the 2letters in at once. I tried and tried, but the slit was narrow, and the letters together bulky, and so i slid one in first, and was about putting the other, when i heard gwekes voice, shouting, “that boy, that boy”..i panicked, and i was caught letter in hand, gweke snatched it opened it and started reading it..the fair babe looked at me, disappointment written all over her face..hell, i didn’t even know her name..as soon as he was done, i got one of his famous slaps, and so he asked me who wrote it, i claimed it was 2niger house boys that asked me to help them put it there..that i wasn’t sure i could recognize them.. apparently the letter contained names of acting prefects misbehaving, even before they were confirmed as prefects. Gweke wanted the other one out..
Augustine joda, my mate, a Niger house boy, renowned bully, and eventual games prefect of my set,and now international kickboxer, apologised to me as he used a broomstick ingeniously to remove the letter I’d managed to slide in. He was friends with Gweke and a couple of other seniors, and he said he did not want any of his friends implicated. So they called on the attention of other prefects as they passed, fortunately one Ejiro, also a Niger house guy, happened to like me, and took me away asking me to show him who it was that gave me the letters, he believed my story. He took me to Niger house junior hostel were junior boys were paraded, and of course i couldn’t identify any. Bashir mohammed who was to later become my school father, beat the living day lights outta my system, then other seniors i couldn’t remember. I remained mute about who gave the letter. At about 8pm, i was summoned by yinka oladoja, who was the assisting assistant house captain, junior hostel, good looking, charismatic guy, with a mean streak. No one wanted to be in his bad books. He called me and spoke to me gently, asking me what happened, i of course spilled my guts,and that was the first time i mentioned enumas name. Ikechukwu Dingba was there, apparently, he came to report the matter to ‘doja. As i left his room, i went straight to my room, to eat my loaf and moin moin, which of course was by now cold. I Saw my homie, enuma curled under the bed, i called him out, and told him what happened, by now, everyone had heard. He was scared shitless. I told him i had finally mentioned his name, and it was time he joined in the festival of cane.. we were summoned from our night prep classes, and paraded round the ss3 students , who were then preparing for their waec exams, they had told them our story, and they were laughing at us, asking , what pushed you to do this? Enuma and i answered in chorus, it was the devil. There was more laughter. Ikechukwu took us to the class were Gweke was supervising, there Gweke gave me 14 resounding slaps..I did not know what else enuma suffered, but that day i was overwhelmed ; to think what i did was even legit. I must have said as prayer or maybe a curse for the fools who put me through it. I left school with this memory, and several others, many good, many also bad. But in all, i still agree with Wole Soyinka, when he says, the man dies in him who keeps silent in the face of tyranny” i saw them as tyrants and bullies, i hated bullying and bullies and i still hate them.. i learnt the best way to survive these bad agents is hard work ,self belief, and resilience.. i hope these things don’t happen anymore, if they do, then its too bad, this is not a real reflection of people. Wicked people prone to violence are not “cool”, or normal, no they’re not. Time heals wounds, leaves scars. And do not be fooled, what you sow, you will reap..for God is not mocked, neither is kharma…