THE RCOMMENDED JAMB NOVEL FOR 2021
The Life Changer
They were waiting for Daddy.
I paused outside their door.
The laughter was cheerful. It was also infectious. It began as a silent chuckle, then slowly it turned into a mirthful but stilted giggle. Now, it had finally transformed into a full-fledged chortle. I stopped awhile to listen. My plan was not to eavesdrop. God forbid that I should be that kind of mother who surreptitiously listened on her children’s private conversation. But there was something about the laughter that was compelling and arresting.
Bint, my five-year-old daughter, appeared to be the narrative voice. She was telling her two sisters the story of her classroom encounter with their meddlesome Social Studies teacher the previous week. The narration was so vivid you could actually visualize what transpired. The teacher believed he knew a little bit about every subject under the sun, especially French which most of the students found strange. Bint herself was new in the school.
French was an optional subject even at this level of primary school education. We however encouraged her to take the option since we believed that language acquisition at an early age came relatively easy and with minimal effort. And, in any case, French was second to English in the ranking of international languages, we reckoned.
So it was that the first question the teacher asked was, “Who can tell me how to say Good Morning in French?”
Everybody was silent in the classroom.
“You mean none of you knows how to say Good Morning
Hesitatingly, not without trepidation, Bint raised her hand.
“Yes?” he pointed at her.
Slowly, she stood up.
“What is your name?” the teacher asked. “My name is Bint.”
The Life Changer
“So, tell us, Bint, how do you say Good Morning in French?”
“Bonjour,” Bint said.
“That’s very good,” the teacher said, speaking English. “And how do you say that’s very good in French, teacher?” Bint asked innocently.
“What?” The teacher jerked his head off as if stung by a bee. Then, within a flash, he bolted out of the classroom only to come back a few minutes later with the French Mistress of the senior classes.
“Ask her,” he told Bint simply.
“How do you say that’s very good in French, Aunty?” Bint asked reverentially.
“C’est tres bien,” the French Mistress replied. “C’est tres bien,” Bint repeated confidently.
The class began clapping and laughing at the same time. The class teacher followed the French Mistress out and didn’t come
back till after the break.
Meanwhile the whole class as one surrounded Bint and started clapping and singing going round her in cheer and joy. They seemed to have known instinctively that Bint was destined for bigger things. Who else but a genius would ask a question the teacher could not answer?
“I got them. I really got them,” Bint was saying excitedly to her I found myself laughing silently. Before I got carried away, I let
myself unobtrusively into the room. They were used to my impromptu barging. One reason I used to go in unannounced was to keep them on their toes where issues of personal hygiene were concerned. The second reason was that we were used to keeping each other company. These formed the rationale for my periodic checking of their room to ensure that they learned the basic norms of maintaining the cleanliness of their room at an early age and to get used to my presence. My own grandmother used to tell us when we were young that what you teach a child is like writing on a rock and when dried, it would be difficult to erase. I seldom miss an opportunity to make them see the lesson in an experience. They learned to respect my opinion over most of their matters and I tried not to be unnecessarily didactic when it came to correction or giving instructions. This cemented our mutual trust.
“I am so proud of you, Bint,” I said as I wedged myself between Bint and Jamila, her immediate elder sister. They were all seated by the edge of the bed and looked up at me as if my intrusion had all along been anticipated.
“Thank you, mummy.” Bint said as she nestled even closer to me. She was my last child and consequently the darling of the entire family. My first child was Omar. He was the first child and only male. Between Omar and Bint there is such great affinity that no one dared frown at her intransigence, no matter how great, if he was around.
And all of them called me mummy. They didn’t call me Mama, a title every child in my community used for their mother. They couldn’t call me Ummi, which was my name at home, which incidentally also meant mummy. It actually translated to My Mother in Arabic, because I was named after my paternal grandmother. So I was Ummi to everybody else, and Mummy to my children and their friends. Except Omar who insisted on calling me Mum. I was never particular about how I was addressed. What I always insisted was respect for each other, and for one another.
Listen, young girls, all Mallam Salihu was trying to do was to practice his small French thereby trying to perfect it. You should give him a break. Moreover, he is humble enough to accept that he does not know. Another teacher would frown his face and tell you au revoir means welcome whether you like it or not. Your knowledge to the contrary would mean nothing to him.
“But au revoir means ‘goodbye until we meet again’, mummy.”
Bint was quick to point out.
“I know my dear, but if the teacher is angry he can tell you any word means whatever he wants it to mean.”
“That would not be fair.”
“It is also not fair to push your teachers beyond what they know.”
“They are the ones who act as if they know everything, mummy.” When our conversation got that animated, my children seemed to
forget that I was also a teacher. I never bothered reminding them. The spontaneity of the discussion was what made it interesting. And if you attempted to interrupt, you would destroy the flow of the discussion.
Teemah, my second child, opened her mouth to say something and
Just then, there was this loud knock on the door. Before he was asked to come in, Omar pushed open the door and
jumped on me.
“I made it, mum, I made it!”
His sisters all stood up as one and began asking, “What did you make?”
“I made it to the university, dears. Bint, your big brother is a university student.”
They screamed and shouted and ululated.
The news came as a pleasant surprise to them. And especially to me. Nobody knew where Omar was going when he left home earlier that morning. To say the truth, he was looking rather anxious when he came to greet me in the morning. He was dressed in blue jeans and white shirt. His skin cut hair style contrasted beautifully with his side burns which he kept clean and trim. He had always been a precocious child. To look at him, you would think he was well into his twenties. But Omar was just eighteen. My singular thrill with Omar was that he was always decently dressed and clean. This pleased me beyond measure.
Now, I was even more pleased when he thrust the admission letter from Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board to me. The Board was popularly known by its acronym, JAMB. Indeed, even at my time it was not inconceivable that there were some undergraduate students who never knew what the acronym stood for. Let alone now. Anyhow, I took the letter and read it. My son was given admission to study Law at the Kongo Campus of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
This was exhilarating.
This was all his father dreamt of.
My husband had wanted to read Law himself but providence
dictated he read accounting.
“Big Bros, what course did they give you?” Teemah, my first daughter, and therefore Omar’s immediate younger sister asked. “Look here, young lady, call me with respect. To you, and
everybody in this house, except mum and dad of course, all of you should
now call me My Learned Brother. In the school we call each other My
Learned Colleague. So, since you are not my colleagues you call me My Learned Brother!”
“Indeed! This is called running before learning to crawl!” Teemah
“Can you hear yourself?” Jamila said to her brother.
“Just call yourself Omar Esquire,” Teemah said.
“Mum, your daughters are plain jealous.” “Indeed,” Teemah managed to muster all the affectionate sarcasm
in that single word.
“Big Bros, congratulations,” Bint said, turning to her brother to give him a hug.
“Thank you, my dear. For you there is an exception. Call me whatever you want. But those belligerent sisters of yours… let me just catch them calling my name anyhow. We will take them to court.”
They all burst into laughter.
“Wow, I am really so happy for you. Let your father come home. There would be a grand celebration today,” I said tactlessly.
I knew my utterance was tactless because as soon as I said that, my
face was besieged by eight expectant ears, all wanting to know what I had in mind and how the celebration was going to be and when.
“First, let us wait for your father’s return. He closes at five o’clock in the evening and arrives home later. You know that his is the only bank in this community.”
“It’s okay, mum. But tell your children, especially that blabbermouth called Teemah, that nobody should tell Dad about this admission before. me,” Omar said.
“Why is that?” I asked.
“He promised to upgrade my torchlight phone to a smart android
“That’s not true, mum,” Teemah said. “There’s no way Daddy would promise him smart phone while he leaves us with this torch light
phone!” Teemah’s protest elicited such laughter that for a moment I forgot
what the bickering was about. “Mum, you see plain jealousy. Envy. That’s what’s stopping Teemah from growing tall.”
I allowed them to chastise one another a while before ruling that whatever their father’s decision would be, either on the celebration or on the purported phone purchase, would have to wait till the owner of the house arrived.
“All I asked is that nobody should rush to tell him before hand,”
Omar repeated his request.
“Okay,” I said. “Nobody would be the one to tell him first. As soon as he arrives, you would go and tell him the good news yourself.”
“Thank you, mum.”
“You are welcome, Omar.”
The room was getting stuffy because we did not turn on the fan. What was I saying? We did not have light for two days now and the generator was in need of repairs.
“Let’s go outside and sit under the mango tree in the courtyard,” Jamila said, wrenching the words out of my mouth, “it is very hot in here.”
We trooped out and went to the courtyard. White plastic chairs were already there and Bint and Jamila began dusting them with an old piece of clothing.
“Yes, Bint. What is it?” “I want to drink zobo.”
“I can buy that for everybody,” Omar said. “Teemah, bring five
bottles of zobo.”
“Bring the money first.”
Omar turned to look balefully at me. “You see, mum. Teemah does
not even trust me.’ I just sat there smiling.
“When it comes to money, Omar,” Teemah said, “do you, even you,
do you trust yourself?”
“I sure do.”
“How many times did you take my zobo without paying?”
“That was different. I was not an undergraduate then. Now, you are talking to a potential lawyer. See, young girl? You’d better watch it. You could be in trouble one day and your only brother here would be called upon to defend you. I would remind you of this day, believe me.”
“Teemah, go and get the zobo,” I said, “I would pay.”
“Thank you, mum.”
By this time Bint and Jamila were done cleaning the chairs. We sat as close to each other as the white plastic chairs would allow
and waited for Teemah to bring the zobo. There was a very joyous atmosphere in the air and nobody wanted to spoil it. Then all of a sudden Bint said, “Mummy, tell us a story?”
Before I could answer, Teemah was back with five bottles of zobo
on a plastic tray and squatted to serve us.
That got me thinking. Bint wanted me to tell them a story. But it was a different story that came to my mind. Omar was going to a new environment. Until now, he had been ensconced in this Lafayette
community of ours. He was going to town. The university was a civilized community, different from ours. And with so much freedom one didn’t know what to do with it. May be I should tell them about my experiences in the university. But how interesting could that be? My life before marriage had always been one dreary thing after another. That surely was not the kind of story someone like Bint, or the remaining children for that matter, would want to hear. It certainly was not the kind of story my exuberant son would like to hear. I decided not to bother about any story. Let the story, whatever its angle or angles, come naturally or not at all. I knew though that since my marriage coincided with my entry into the university, and so much drama was witnessed then, my children may have a peep into that life. Like I said, however, I would not make a deliberate effort at personal narration.
We still had like two or three hours before their father returned from work. Me? The joy of a teacher was that as long as the school was over, she too was free to rest till the next day. I had time. I would ask Omar about his admission first. How did he go about getting it when no one raised a finger to help him?
“You see, mum,” Omar told me even as his siblings listened. “There is always a silver lining in the cloud. After I passed SSCE examinations, by no means a small feat, even if I am saying it…” “What do you mean by that immodest remark? By no means a small
feat! Well done William Shakespeare.” That was Teemah, always looking
for her brother’s trouble, as they say. “Mum, tell this big mouth to stop interrupting a lawyer when he is speaking.” Then he turned to address Teemah herself. “Don’t you know how many of my colleagues had their exams sat for? Don’t you know how many parents paid big money to these so called Miracle Centres where no candidate fails their exams? Don’t you think I have a right to boast of my achievement when I scored seven credits including English and Mathematics at the very first attempt in my WAEC examination? It is by no
means a small feat, my dear sister. Don’t let me curse your efforts, you hear? I would say yours is soon coming and I would see what you
Teemah sensed Omar was slightly hurt. She stopped taunting him. And he went on with his story.
“After the WAEC results were out, we purchased the JAMB form, filled it online and submitted. While people were running helter-skelter from one school to another looking for whom to assist them with their children’s admission, I prayed that I should pass the matriculation exams well. I scored two hundred and thirty out of four hundred.”
“We know that too. And we never slept the day the result was
announced.” That was from Jamila.
Omar ignored her.
“Two days ago my friends called and advised me to check the admission online,” he paused to look empathically at me.
I braced up, knowing what was coming.
“Mum, you see why smart phones are important? Most of my friends knew of their admissions from the comfort of their bedrooms by simply browsing on their phones. Me? I had to wait two days. So let Daddy know that. Anyhow, it was worth the wait. I went to the internet café today to check on my admission status and found my name among the successful candidates. The experience was really thrilling. But it would have been
better still if I just browsed and saw my name in the comfort of my room.” “It is okay, my son,” I said. “We would see about that phone when
Daddy comes back.”
“Meanwhile, do you know the implication of this admission in your
“Sure. It means I have arrived. It means I am at one with members
of the intelligentsia.”
I smiled at my son’s naivety. Just an admission letter and he had already become a member of the intelligentsia. The young, mhm. “Listen, my son. This admission is a life changer for you.
“What does that mean, Mum?”
“It means it changes your life” Teemah said.
“It means more than that, my dear. It means it also changes you.’
“How can it change me?”
“Well, I may not be able to categorically tell you how it can change you. But I know how my admission changed me.” “How, mum?”
The Life Changer
It was a bright sunny day and all the people of Lafayette were happy that their daughter, Ummi, was going to the university. That was more than twenty years ago. My father agreed on the condition that I got married before I graduated. That was another story. My husband, your father, agreed we should marry even before I went for my registration. So for me and members of the community, it was double celebration of sorts.
I didn’t know how right my husband was until I set foot into the university. The first thing that struck me was the carefree attitude of the people there. Everybody was going about their business without apparent care in the world. What was even more striking was that it was difficult to tell who was a student and who was a teacher. I mean, in my secondary school we all had uniforms as students. Only the teachers were allowed to come in their private dresses.
“Wait, mum. You mean I would not be required to wear uniforms again.”
“Sadly, not for you, my learned friend. You people at the Faculty of Law have what they call dress code which comprises black trousers, white shirts and black neckties for boys and ditto for girls except that in place of trousers, the girls wear skirts. But even that is during classes only.”
“It is not so bad after all.”
“No, it isn’t. And, really, it makes you kind of stand out of the crowd. It
makes you special in a sense.”
“Then what happened, mummy?” Jamila asked.
“What happened where?”
“After you noticed that students and staff were not dressed differently.” “My dear Jamila, I didn’t say they were not dressed differently. I said the students were not required to wear uniforms. As for difference in dressing, that was one of the first things you would notice. And, Omar, you’d better pay attention here. The way the girls in the university dress leaves very little to the imagination.”
“What does that mean,” Bint asked.
“It means they dress almost naked.”
“This is very serious, mum. And the university allows that? In my school
for just wearing the wrong colour of sandals you would be sent home.”
“Bint, your school is a primary school now. You cannot compare it to the
“I know Bint is wondering, discipline and decency should be permanent
aspects of human character. They should not be limited to a certain level or category of schooling,” Omar said. “This interruption would not help us, children. I thought I was telling you
about my reaction to this freedom of dressing when I first entered the university. No
more interference, please. Let me tell you guys our experience with Salma.”
Salma was a fair complexioned girl, tall, slim and rather busty. That last was obvious to see even to some of us who were recently married. The tight-fitting clothes she wore made you wonder how long it took her to wiggle herself into them. She had on very dark sunshades which accentuated her formidable appearance. The young men around were openly ogling her while the few of us ladies belonging to the old school even then, pretended not to notice her.
We were at the Faculty registration office. The lecturer in charge had taken ages to come and when he did he was taking eternity to start. No one entered the office after him and we stood in the queue for like an hour without movement.
This Salma of a girl had come barely fifteen minutes and she was all over the place grumbling about the ineptitude of the registration officers, the so called university lecturers. “They are, all of them, inconsiderate,” she declared. “They are so heartless it is hard to imagine they have children at home.”
She was last on the queue but would not stay at her place. One young man addressed her politely and said, “Young lady, some of these people have been here for far longer than you have been and are patient enough to wait for the lecturer to get ready so they could all proceed to the next level of the registration exercise.”
“You don’t know these people as I do,” Salma said. “If you wait here that is how they would keep you till dusk doing nothing. They have nothing to do but to frustrate you.
They are like the policeman at the checkpoint. If they stop you with unnecessary queries, it is not so much because they want bribe, this is a given, but sometimes they want to delay you as long as possible to keep them company till the next vehicle arrives. It can be so lonely manning the road as a policeman.”
“You mean there is no difference between your lecturers and the policemen on the road?” the young man asked.
“They are all the same. In fact you are better off with the policeman because at once you know where you are with him. Whether you are right or wrong, just grease his palms and he would allow you to pass. With lecturers you do not even know where you stand. As a boy they would ask you for money; as a girl they would ask you for a date.”
“Just like that?”
“What do you mean just like that? Of course, it is in return for a favour desired. Like the monkey in this office, whoever he is… I mean, you cannot just leave people standing on the queue while you are inside doing nothing. So if I have the opportunity, I would just go in, give him two or three thousand naira to pocket and he would attend to me.”
“You are sure about that, my dear?”
“Sure. But why are you asking me so many questions?” Salma removed her sunshades and looked intently at the young man interrogating her. “I just find your allegation a trifle sweeping. Too general, if you ask me.” “You don’t know these lecturers as I do. This is not my first university, you
“I can imagine,” the man said.
“Just now, you were saying if we allow you to go in you could influence the man to get the registration process started?”
“Yes, please. Money moves mountains,” Salma said. “I thought it was faith, in the original.”
“Never mind,” Salma said, putting her glasses back on.
The man cleared his throat and addressed us, “Ladies and gentlemen, can we please allow this… What is your name?” He turned to Salma.
“Ladies and gentlemen, can we please allow Salma Mohammed here to precede us to see the lecturer so that the registration can get started?”
“Yes.” We all answered in unison. Just then, the lecturer’s door opened and the man inside came out with wet duster in his hand. He turned and locked the office.
We all kept quiet. Baffled.
“The office is ready now, sir,” the man said, turning to address no other
person than the young man who had been engaging Salma in conversation.
I did not understand what was happening at first. No one did. Meanwhile,
Salma had removed her glasses for the second time and was looking at the young
man strangely. Speechlessly.
Comprehension dawned on us almost at once.
Everybody kept quiet.
The man with the duster stretched out his hand and gave the young man
the office key.
“Thank you, John,” the young man said.
“Is there anything more you want me to do, sir?” “No, John. Just try to be faster with the cleaning job. It is not good to keep
our new students waiting, you know.”
“I am sorry, sir. I am sorry, my dear students.” John turned and hurriedly walked away from the scene.
All eyes were now on the young lecturer who had all along been staying with us and was enduring what we were going through as his office was being
As for Salma, she just stood there shivering like some rain drenched
The man calmly walked by us, opened his office and before he entered said, “Please be orderly. We would soon be done with the screening exercise. Maintain the first come, first served order. Thank you.”
He disappeared into the office.
All eyes now turned to Salma.
She was suddenly bereft of words. She was fidgeting and was busy looking at the design of her shoes all the remaining period till my turn came and I entered to be screened.
Within a very short time I was done and I proceeded to the department for my matriculation number and other matters. I did not see Salma again till some few months into the semester.
“Wow. That was thrilling.” Teemah was beside herself with laughter.
“Just wait till I tell you what happened during my departmental
“What happened, Mum?” Omar asked.
I was not to know what transpired before I came to departmental office. The secretary was busy hitting away at her computer. She was visibly a woman of few words. She raised her head, assessed that I was a new student and asked what she could do for me.
I said I was there for my matric number.
She just nodded towards the door beside her. On it was written HOD. I knocked timidly at the door and waited.
“Come in,” came the rasp reply.
I went in and was shocked to find that the HOD here was also a very young person. He sat resplendent behind his mighty desk and was scribbling away on some paper as I entered. He stopped writing and looked up. I saw at once that he had tribal marks
which were rare in these times. They betrayed his ancestral origin. He was
obviously an Igala person or Yoruba. I had no doubt about that. The crucifix
dangling across his chest from the necklace he wore told me his religious
inclination. I was instantly filled with apprehension without knowing why.
“Yes, young lady, what can I do for you?” he asked. “I am a new student, sir. I came for my matric number.” I was still
“Sit down, my dear.”
I sat down.
I know that I would always pass a test on etiquette. You are in a person’s office, you never sit down even if there are a hundred other unoccupied seats until you are invited to sit. For some reason, I found his endearing salutation slightly discomforting. You do not just go about calling everybody your dear.
Unless he meant something. I was immediately on my guard. The kind of things I heard Salma say about university lecturers filled me with foreboding. Of course the young lecturer who talked to her was humble and nice. That ought to have dispelled my doubts. But it did not. I still had some reservations.
The name pennon on his desk said simply, SAMUEL JOHNSON, PhD. “You are among the first to report for registration,” he said.
“Yes, sir.” I responded, wishing he would just assign me my number and get done with it.
“What is your name?” he asked as he pulled a file towards himself. We were still analogue then. But I do not think a lot of things have changed since my schooling days, concerning record keeping, I mean.
“My name is Ummi Ahmad,” I said.
He nodded into his file then casually asked me if I needed something to
“No, thank you sir,” I said rather too quickly.
Suddenly the office was becoming oppressive. I developed an instant, irrepressible feeling of claustrophobia. Why would your Head of Department offer you a drink just because you went for registration? This was how it got started. I decided to tell him I was married but I quickly changed my mind. One thing I learnt in life is never to volunteer information unless specifically asked.
“You look beautiful and decent in your attire,” he said as he stood up to come and sit on the sofa near the visitor’s chair, where I was seated.
This was too much, I thought. Why would he be trying to make conversation with me when all I wanted was the matric number? Suddenly the image of Salma loomed over my face. I could hear her saying all lecturers are the same. If you are a boy they ask you for money, and if you are a girl they ask you for a date.
Surely this man would not be trying to make a pass at me. What was his business with my attire? I knew I was not wearing my hijab, but I was dressed in such a way that even those wearing the hijab would wish they were that covered. Of course my entire face was exposed. I did not think there was anything wrong with
that. Indeed, my husband and I had since come to the conclusion that the recalcitrant male would always misbehave irrespective of what the woman wears. This put me on my guard.
“Our students should emulate your style of dressing. I hope you are as intelligent upstairs as you are decent in appearance. You are better than I imagined.” Something was wrong either with my hearing or with the man seated beside me on the sofa. He looked every inch responsible. Yet I could not make head
or tail of what he was blabbering about.
All I wanted was to get out of that office.
You are better than I imagined. What the hell was the meaning of that? “Sir, please can I have my matric number now? I am pressed.” That last was a lie. I just wanted him to let me go. His response shocked me.
“No problem, my dear, you can use my toilet.”
“No, sir. It is not allowed,”
“Who disallowed it? This is my office, remember?”
“Unless of course if you were not pressed in the first place.” “No, I was…I am. Ok. Thank you, sir.” I was totally confused. I knew it was improper what I said. And now I was committed. He stood up and went and sat behind his desk, perchance to give me room to manoeuvre and enter the toilet.
I mustered enough courage and entered the toilet.
I came out a few moments later after flushing the toilet. It made a satisfactory gurgling noise which to my ear convinced the man that I must have discharged something. Still the feeling was uncomfortable. Indeed it was very embarrassing. I am not sure if I would be able to face the man again.
He was buried in the file before him. I told myself that I had enough embarrassment for one day. With or without the number I was leaving.
“Here is your matric number,” he said, as if reading my thoughts. “You are UG0001. I pray as you are the first here, you would be the first in everything.” For some reason I was genuinely angry with this surreptitious overture. “Thank you,” I said almost rudely and made my way out of the office. He still found it necessary to send his secretary after me to inform me that I
had to proceed to the 100 Level Coordinator for further registration.
I distinctly remember seeing him smile as I left his office. I was too angry to make anything of the smile at the time.
“But why were you angry, mummy?” Bint asked curiously.
“To tell you the truth I really didn’t know then. With knowledge of hindsight now, I think I was angrier at myself than I was at him because, really he didn’t say or do anything rude that would warrant such reaction.”
“So what happened after you saw the Coordinator.”
My registration went on smoothly from that moment on and by the end of
the day, that was around four o’clock in the evening, I was thoroughly exhausted.
I took a tricycle home.
“And what is a tricycle, mummy?” Bint asked.
“Keke Napep.” Teemah replied her curtly. “Continue, mummy.”
By the time I got home your father was not yet back from the office. hurriedly prepared his dinner which he normally took early and had my bath.
When he returned, I waited for him to eat and rest and I was about to start narrating the story of my first day in the university when he said, “You just can’t be too sure with people these days.”
“Yes, dear. What happened?”
“Mhm. It is a long story. It has to do with our neighbour.”
“Which of them?”
“The quiet one.”
“The quiet one? That man cannot harm a fly?”
“You never know with people, my dear.” Suddenly, that expression reminded me of my experience at the office of the HOD earlier.
Yes,” I said, “You never know with people. Imagine what happened to me in school today?” He seemed to suddenly remember.
“I am sorry, sweetheart, what happened in the school? Please forgive me. I forgot to ask.”
I told him nothing much happened. Then I went ahead to narrate my registration experience that morning. From the long queue at the first registration point, to the Salma incident and down to the HOD’s office. I left nothing out. Indeed as I told him about the HOD I supplied additional commentary on the incident. I did not bother hiding my anger.
My husband was listening to me with a bemused expression on his face.
I didn’t quite understand his facial expression.
“What is his name?” my husband asked.
“I cannot really remember, dear. Why?”
“Is it Dr. Samuel Johnson?”
I was shocked.
“Yes,” I said, simply.
“Is his face scarified?”
I looked blankly at him.
“I mean, does he have tribal marks on his face?” “Yes, he has. He looks like an Igala or a Yoruba man. Do you know him?”
My husband doubled up in feats of laughter, he almost fell out of his chair. Then he got hold of himself and affected a seriousness which I knew he did not feel
and looked almost pitifully at me.
“He is Yoruba,” he said. “That is Dr. Samjohn, alright. He is my friend.”
I stared open-mouthed at my husband.
He saw the surprise on my face and added, “Actually, he was the one who
assisted me with your admission