Hope 2000 will be hazy, like watching only Part 7 of a 10-Part Nollywood movie (watching the whole Parts from 1 – 10 wouldn’t clear the haze anyway), unless I take you down memory lane. Strap yourself up and let’s get ready to roll!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Without trying to sound like a Naija artiste, I have always been brilliant from time immemorial; my mum actually told me I used to practically explain to her things that transpired when I was still in the womb. But like Kryptonite to Superman, Mathematics was my one weakness. I cannot remember when the problem actually started but it must have been sometime in JSS2 when Mr Komolafe, that confusionist of a Mathematics teacher, started combining letters and figures and asking us to repeatedly “find x” without telling us what he did with the one we found the day before. How can people spend their whole life “finding x and y” when there is a whole lot of real life waiting to be explored? Sadly, that sums up my problem with Mathematics – I could not relate it to real life! Add that to having to cram Elements and their Symbols, and the realization that I would have to read, understand, and remember textbooks such as Ababio, Harwood Clarke and Modern Biology, and I conveniently dodged the Science Class to the chagrin of the school Principal who believed any student who scored 10As and 2Cs (Mathematics and Integrated Science of course) like I did in JSCE had no business in any other class except Science.
Fast forward three years and I finished secondary school as one of the best students in Methodist High School which also happened to be one of the best schools in Ogun State, so we can say all was well that ended well. But, I had P7 in Mathematics. And here I was with the hope of being a Chartered Accountant (my rich Chartered Accountant uncle was my role-model). My dad, collaborated with some of my uncles and they came up with a song titled “Go and Read Law”… another bout of cramming??? Olorun maje!!! I quickly devised a plan: I would choose a UME combination that would qualify for any course but Law. I eventually chose CRK, Literature-in-English, and Yoruba. Yes, you read right – Yoruba. I prepared for the exam the way I used to prepare to go toast a babe. I read the whole Bible, read the recommended eight texts each for both Yoruba and Literature even though I had the option of choosing only four each, and I read all the poems too.
D-Day came and I left home feeling as confident as an agbero after an early morning dose of jogodo and paraga. I was fully prepared and I was not afraid, why would I be afraid of UME? The fact that I even knew I had prepared for UME unlike others who had prepared for JAMB was a strong conviction that my name and photo would be on the back page of the next brochure. I got to my Centre in Akoka, located my seat, placed my 3 pencils, 2 erasers, and 2 razors on the table awaiting the invigilators with the question papers. The papers eventually came and it should not come as a surprise to you that my combination was not available, I am sure JAMB had never had to deal with such a combination before. But they looked for them in pieces and provided my meal which I had been salivating to devour. But the real surprise was seeing the answer script and having to shade the type of question paper, that was when everybody realized they had different types of question papers ranging from S to A, L, I and M in honour of SALIM Ahmed Salim, the then JAMB Registrar. Come see Kasala! That was when I knew preparation was of two kinds, while I was doing last minute reading from Keypoints, others were doing last minute expo-sourcing. Proximity to UNILAG had made the centre to be a haven for “machineries” who came, collected money from most of the candidates and sold them confirmed expo. Everybody had come in with the same expo, but here are different questions grinning at them. That was how the whole centre scattered with people shouting, chasing and dragging, the invigilators were not spared because they already got their shares to look away. Police had to come in before the examination could continue. Despite the unscripted drama, I was still able to pour everything I had swallowed and went home feeling sanguine.
The results were released about two months later and I am still sad to inform you my result was CANCELLED along with the whole centre’s result. HOPE 2000, just like MKO’s Hope’93!!!
God Bless Us All!!
See You Next Time!!!
NB: This is an entry I submitted for a competition last month.