Monday, November 2, 2009


Father had told me years ago when I was about to enter the university that I should be driven by my convictions and not my fears.

“….How many times did I call you,” father asked after I finished packing my travelling bags for the day’s journey, with the help of mum, of course.

“Three times, father,” I answered, counting. He sat on the chair in my room. When father sits down in that position, it is the signal that you are in for a long talk. Oh, not again, mum just finished having one with me.

“Remember where you come from,” father started

“Yes, father,”

“Remember that honesty is always the best policy and the patient dog eats the fattest bone,”

“Yes father…but not in this Naija anymore,” I could dare interrupt father when he wants to show he’s proud of me, I think. Passing JAMB is a big deal nowadays, you know.

“Oh, I see. So, what is the new policy for your generation now,” father asked amusedly.

“Your bank account is the best policy and the smartest dog eats the fattest bone. Ask our politicians,” I said, grinning.

Father smiled. “So, you want to be a crooked politician in your crooked student union government?” he asked.

“C’mon father. You know I hate politics,”

“So, why the reference?”

“Sorry, just stating the obvious,” I said apologetically. But, father should know the trends of events in this country nowadays. Our politicians don’t steal in millions anymore, they steal in billions and stash ill-gotten wealth for themselves and fifteen generations after them.

“Son, let’s be clear on this. I have tried my best to bring you up on the right principles and guide you in the right path. I would be highly disappointed in you if you change your in-bred high standards overnight in university. That’s the reason for this discussion,” father said as a matter of fact.

“Yes, I understand father,”

“Remember that no matter how far lie goes, truth would always catch up with it one day,”

“Yes, father,”

“I want you to always be truthful to God and yourself,”

“Yes, father,”

“Your integrity is priceless. There is no asking price,”

“Yes, father,”

“Hold fast to God and the right principles I have taught you over the years,”

“Yes, father,”

Father went on to talk about the consequences of cultism, rising above negative peer pressure, , keeping company with the right kind of friends, knowing who my real friends are, dating and relationships vis-à-vis concentrating on my studies, striving for excellence in all of my endeavours ….” Well, it lasted for an hour.

“Choose your friends wisely,” he continued. I remember him quoting these same lines to me when I turned ten. Father, in his fatherly self, had discussed some of these topics with me when I was much younger. But one of his golden principles is that learning is a continuous process. And as a student matures, the issues also mature. So, the teacher has to devise new and innovative methods of re-introducing the subjects to the student.

“That is why you still learn the fundamentals of BODMAS in your junior secondary school modified as equations and algebra,’ father had said then. The largest room in the world is the room for improvement, he always said. When you hear a thing twice or more, it becomes part of your psyche.

And Father knew many innovative ways on reinforcing timeless truths and principles to us, his (students) children. Every lesson with father, no matter how many times you have heard them, is always a new experience. Frankly speaking, although at times, it could drag endlessly, but father was a master at giving pep talks.

“I want you to know that we all love you very much and know that you would certainly do us proud wherever you are,” father continued.

“Yes, father,” Now he wants to make me cry.

“I believe in you….,”

I hugged him then. “Don’t worry father. I know. And I would never let you down. I promise.”


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