Author: Kalu Ndubuisi
Student at University of Port Harcourt; CEO at Global Medical Concepts
“You are hereby sentenced to twenty-five years imprisonment with hard labour” were the final words of the judge’s verdict. Of course I was guilty and probably deserved more than twenty-five years but then I pleaded for mercy but got judgement. My inability to control my vices in the form of temperament had landed me in the last place I never dreamt of.
I could only expect a Nelson Mandelan miracle to occur while I served my punishment. Haa!,I couldn’t believe it but it was true; reality dawned on me. The beautiful dream of having big houses, flashy cars, a happily wedded life with lovely kids and a good job has been jeopardized. I made the wrong move; I didn’t think before playing my card and that for me, ended the game too early.
The disappointment on dad’s face clearly depicted the extent to which I had failed him. Tears rolling down mum’s eyes as she cried in the court room tore my soul apart. I had become a failure. That was it, the major fragment of my life had been sent to GAOL. Well, its a long story.
My growing up as a kid was no different from that of a typical, average Nigerian child – from a Christian home, and with little affluence I was brought up. I was a bright kid with a promising future. You might find it difficult to believe that I never came second during my primary and secondary school days. Pictures of my secondary school’s Valedictory Service are still drawn fresh in my memory.
“The award for the most outstanding performance and the Best graduating student goes to ….!!”. Your guess was right, my name was called and I gallantly stood up, walked majestically and climbed the podium to claim my prize.
With Mr. Dayo, the school’s principal at my right and my beautiful mum at the left, I stood in front of the audience, smiling proudly with my award in my hand and posing at the camera. For the sixth time I was the BS (best student) of Ajayi Dansi Baptist secondary school.
Back at home boasting was my hobby. I showed off my collection of awards to friends from other schools. They would marvel whenever I told them about my prowess in Physics, Chemistry and Biology and yet my best subject was Literature. My parents were always proud of their daughter.
After an attempt in UTME with high scores, I was admitted into the University of Ibadan to study Biomedical technology. Hold on, were you expecting that I would apply for medicine and surgery like most other bright kids? Of course not; you got it wrong. I had a passion for science. I wanted to be a laboratory scientist. That was my choice and BMT seemed to be the way forward.
My days in the University were no different. My academic performance flourished like a palm tree. The first year wasn’t half way over when I became friends with majority of my lecturers due to my excellence in academics. My course mates too were not left out in the vicious cycle of my ability. I helped them with assignments as well as free tutorials on topics I understood better. I had a big heart and I derived joy in helping them. All seemed to be going well until it happened.
My roomie; my precious but envious roommate Efemena didn’t make our stay a wonderful one as such. Her envy for my success in school was so obvious that whenever each semester’s result were released, I could easily define her treacherous smile for my good grades. I couldn’t even teach her. She neither cared to learn from me anyways. She saw me as an “I-too-know” and would call me okachamara (I’m yet to know the exact meaning of that word but it’s something along the “I-too-know” line). Despite our differences in character, I still coalesced well with my roommate.
Final year was upon us and different foreign scholarship opportunities that would change our lives forever were coming in. The big one was the famous ERWIN CHARGAFF’S HUMAN GENOME PROJECT in the University of Manitoba, Canada. Everyone could imagine the free feeding scheme, free housing, weekly allowance and lots of freebies that are offered while the project lasted. Of course, no one was ready to be daunted by the unemployment story that faces the corrupt economy of our dear beloved country so we all applied for it.
As expected, the list of students shortlisted for the project was released a week after the test screening. I was shortlisted just as you guessed. This good news didn’t go well with my roommate as she wasn’t shortlisted and as such, couldn’t stand the joy that radiated from my pimpled face that evening. Again, she was jealous and this time around, her attitude changed. Staying with her became unbearable and this made me pass my nights at different places because I couldn’t stand her new and wicked lifestyle. I will prefer not go deep into that. Her jealousy at this point quelled our short-lasting friendship.
The tickets and Visas for the trip to Manitoba had been dispatched the previous day through the post office while I was away but mine was nowhere to be found.
I was running out of time as the trip was scheduled for a week from that present day. Hurriedly, I took off to the post office and on getting there, I was told that my parcel had been delivered to my house and was received by a man that evening. Coincidentally, Efemena’s boyfriend visited her so he probably signed it off. Of course Efemena could have had her way with my parcel, so I thought. This was her best shot at making sure I missed this life-changing opportunity.
I left the post office and headed straight for my apartment. “If she doesn’t vomit my visa today, she better be ready to get the beating of her life”, I said to myself on my way home. I was filled with so much fury and hatred at this point and I couldn’t hold it in anymore. And soon as I got home, I exploded. “You had the audacity to hide my ticket to Canada after receiving it right? This is the height of your jealousy!” These words were accompanied by a slap on her left cheek. She retaliated and the fight began.
I screamed as I fought back but she had me exactly where she wanted. With my last strength I pushed her off myself, hit my leg against hers and watched her lose balance. She staggered in a very uncontrollable manner, and as she fell, the tiles tore deep into her head. Blood gushed from her wounded head as she shacked profusely on the ground.
The neighbors quickly came in after hearing the noise we made only to find Efemena lifeless. That was the climax.
“It was not my fault, I had no intention of killing her”, I explained but the neighbors turned deaf ears and got me arrested.
The news that reached me after I was arrested and accused of manslaughter was that EFEMENA was never aware of my ticket and visa. I had accused her wrongly. Don’t try guessing ,it wasn’t her boyfriend either.
Here I am suffering in pains for what could have been avoided if not for the security man’s carelessness. Saheed had received the parcel that evening and forgot to deliver it to me that same day.