MY STORY: A STRAND OF MANY FACES

BY KARIOLA MUSTAPHA

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Isn’t it funny how day after day nothing changes, but when one looks back, everything is different?

Once a baby, later a young boy, now a young man, waiting to be a real man. The bona-fide of my true self.

Capturing a life of over two decades, I believe this article will not suffice, neither will a memoir agree to my details in entirety. Only a part of the thriller can  rightly be known either.

But without leaving you with much ado, I shall acquaint you with my writing story. Succinctly and scholarly!

Privileged to be born third of six children with silver spoons, in the hinterland of Nigeria, Ibadan in the 90s. I had my primary education on the level of being conveyed to school on board, only to later recognise that private school wasn’t a must. I disembarked from the rank of those lucky kids, joined the ‘legegis’ rank; worse local aura. These were moments when I’ve lost the ‘silver spoon’.

In 1996, Christ Church Mapo School II, Elekuro Ibadan then became my new citadel of learning for primary education. Nothing remarkable, save the day I was seriously dealt with for losing all the free text books given to me by the government; which were supposed to be returned, with my entire school bag.

No account of excellence, needless a moment of recognition or award. Sober moments, sober me! But really it may not have made any difference if I had not gone to any primary school in the first place. Come to think of it, I have no real good time memory of cognitive impartation upon me. No, not one!

As the system was then, nothing kept me from promotion. I proceeded from one class to another yet without a clue of what it was. And by 2002 I graduated from the school.

Yes, I remembered I wrote an examination called Common Entrance, and after it ‘sha’ I proceeded to Aperin Boys’ High School, Orita Aperin, Elekuro, Ibadan. Clueless me, I cluelessly spent a term and then proceeded to Boys’ Academy, Lagos Island, Lagos.

The wave of change that surfaced here stemmed from what was clearly a bye-product of my salvation experience.

In 2004, I gave my life to Christ at the Deeper Life Conference Centre, Youth Camp. Then came the long Junior Secondary School Vacation. During that period, I learnt it was un-Christian to cheat in examinations. This fine-tuned the cognitive part of me. I learnt to study and sit examinations without cheating. In the same period I was the vice-President of the YCF (Young Christian Fellowship). Yet somewhat too late to make up, I graduated in 2008 with solid five F9s; solid in the sense that Mathematics and English Language were inclusive.

Making up these o-levels in the subsequent years was a sprawling undulating task, yet without compromise I made it. But not without having to go through the high school for another round of three years, though not formal, then I entered the University of Benin.

Precedent to that time, one of the moments that triggered the ability to write in me was an event I watched on the television 5 years ago. In 2010, I was
a teacher in a primary school in Lagos Island. During one of my free time I paced to one of the classes where we had television. While watching, on the programme, a governor had died and his son who looked about the same age with the primary school students I was teaching that time was asked to come give an opening speech, which the boy did very well. Like Moses captivated by the burning bush, such was the riveting I had owing to that event.

At that time, besides that I was a teacher I couldn’t face a crowd needless writing an essay. But I subsequently decided that my background would not bring my back to the ground. The result of the following decision is herein evident. (I read and found the need to write; I met people at random to give me topics to write about of whom Abdul Oluwaseyi Daniel- a friend who’s now a graduate of OAU was one)

Now coming to the crux of the matter, as a student of Inquisition (Philosophy) at the University of Benin, I wrote my first book (In the realm of intelligence you can achieve the unachievable) though it was not published. Yet many who had access to it acknowledged the intellectual drudgery employed in its claims.

But now, having featured on not less than nine national news papers in Nigeria, published on Opinions and Letters; having written for organisations as-well-as individuals on formal and informal styles, I think considering my almost moribund educational background, my writing story should cause a change in you. You can write if you can read too.

Yet mind you, “there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you” Maya Angelou. And know quite well that time spent in reading is in turn a radical tool for writing. Start with you story, read you life and write. 

When I analyse how me ‘read go’ have beating all odds to feature  among the rank of writers I owe it all to God who caused a change upon salvation. And I’m proud and happy a writer.

Hilarity: my ‘read go’ name. One day, while I was in secondary school, someone asked me at home; if I wanted to tell somebody not to stop reading, how would I do it?”. Lo and behold dull me said ‘read go’ and that gave me that name.

Kariola Mustapha

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