As a fresher, one tends to listen to all sorts of stories especially when such stories would be a determinant of your success or failure on campus. One of such experience I would like to share with you. Please read on…
I had just been admitted into the Cross River University of Technology, Calabar to study Mass Communication. In a quest to know about the lecturers in the department, the tales about a particular Comrade was that which frightened me the most.
Tough enough was the story I heard about him; he challenged the late Sani Abacha of blessed memory and the likes of Donald Duke, the erstwhile Governor of Cross River state and went scot free.
Having spent much time at home before securing this admission, I was worried he might be another barrier to my success.
I was told that no matter how brilliant one is, you can’t do well in his exams because he’s never satisfied with answers from students. This alone made me curious. I wanted to know why no one checkmates lecturers’ excesses when it comes to students result, but I was advised to keep mute because curiosity kills a cat. I was told I might not graduate if I go asking some silly questions. On hearing this, I had to zip my lips.
To further confirm all what I’ve about comrade, I took a peep on a previous result he published; I was perplexed at what I saw that I almost gave up my hopes of succeeding. I came to a conclusion that I was in the wrong place, and that was how my fears for comrade began.
The first course he was allocated to lecture me was ‘Desktop Publishing’. Weeks after lectures had started, every other lecturer allocated to us had lectured at least thrice, but comrade was nowhere close to the lecture room. On sight, he scolded with a subtle though very scary voice any course representative who approached him to inform him of lectures. Such representative dispersed to the class unable to narrate to others.
On a particular day after many of colleagues had gone home thinking he wouldn’t come as usual. He surreptitiously appeared in the class like the biblical Nicodemus. He spent some few minutes with us, took attendance of those in class and left. Those who were not patient enough and left out of mere frustration were thrown into a pandemonium which sparkled a great deal of panic.
In my Sunday school I was taught that ‘the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom’, but I had to add ‘the fear of comrade is the beginning of wisdom’ to my philosophy. Those who feared him took caution and at the end of the semester, unlike the result I had seen, we passed excellently in great numbers. Our result was a record breaking one.
HOW I GOT RID OF HIS FEARS:
I was very particular about my fears for this man. Perhaps I was the only person who feared him so much. So I quickly devised a way to overcome it. I looked around and discovered that as a department of mass communication, we had no newspaper or magazine and for me it was important. I quickly drafted a proposal for a campus magazine and brought it to him.
He always inspired us on how we could do better as communication students. This was what gave me the guts to approach him with my proposal. I had to endure long periods of knocking on his door, being yelled at and scolded before I could eventually see him. He looked at my proposal in appraisal and finally advised me on the way forward. Though the proposal didn’t see the light of the day, I was relieved of the fear that had grown overtime and l started feeling a sense of belonging each time I encounter him. His toughness actually gave me an upper hand, as it helped me perform well in all his courses.
HOW I FARED UNDER HIM AS MY PROJECT SUPERVISOR:
The process of assigning a project supervisor to a student was through a balloting process. Many of my colleagues were praying to pick a lecturer that would grant them soft landing. On the other hand I was praying for a lecturer that will not request a dime from me. God answered my prayers expressly and I picked comrade as my supervisor. Those stories about him tried to resurface, but I intercepted them at the bud by my coverage.
The journey started smoothly. He asked me to choose a topic from the tentative topics I submitted. He approved the statement of problem without delay. I can’t really remember much about this journey, but all I can recall right now is that during the course of our supervision, comrade had given us light refreshments consecutively vis-à-vis on his account and we gave him nothing in return. I’ve flawed his laws severally but he overlooked, above all he made me enjoy a mentor-mentee relationship which I had never enjoyed before.
After defending my project successfully, I noticed other project students buying gift items for their supervisors as a mark of goodwill for a job well-done. I decided to follow same. Eventually, I brought a bottle of red wine to appreciate my supervisor, I was amazed when he refused the offer and asked me to rather give it to my father who sponsored me through school.
I said ‘sir, my father his late’, he said okay but you have a mother, and I nodded my head in affirmation. Comrade said to me, “put this wine with the tag on it in your box anytime you visit home, hand it over to your mum, you can narrate the story to her if you care. By the time you do that, you’ll see what will happen to you”. He told me categorically clear that the only time he feels he can be appreciated which is if I like to anyway, is when I’ve collected my degree certificate. He told me I have been his friend and an intelligent student, so drink or no drink it will not change anything.
Afterwards, I released my long accumulated breath, thanked him and left his office. Without hesitation, I yielded to his advice and did exactly as directed with the assurance I’ve done the right thing.
A COMRADE WITH A DIFFERENT LIFESTYLE:
I have read and heard stories about comrades in Nigeria, but I’ve seen and known only one comrade. His name is Comrade John Inah Ukam.
He’s the only man who holds comradeship to a very high esteem. As such, he believes corruption is the worst sin on earth, and he goes all-out to fight it. He’s indeed a socialite, a human right activists and a defender of the down trodden. If people like comrade John Inah Ukam will be given a chance in public service, the world will be a better place. He deserves a Comradeship award for his lifestyle. Don’t you think so?