This piece is written to particularly acknowledge and remember efforts of those people whom I came across in my educational pursuit. However, for the purpose of this piece, emphasis shall be placed on those I came around during my University hostel days for now.
Sometimes, we need a push, sometimes a nod, sometimes a pat, whichever one we need, when given at the right time, works wonders.
My journey in the University of Lagos, Nigeria started at the cyber cafe…… haaaa, God is wonderful. Initially, I chose Ahmadu Bello University and Usman Dan Fodio University as first and second choice respectively, but the server failed to submit my request, that was Friday.
On Monday, accompanied to the cafe with my brother, since he was well accustomed to the internet than myself, while discussing, he asked rather jokingly; why not Unilag and Lasu. As if programme with a remote control, we edited my forms, filled in details for Unilag and Lasu as first and second choice respectively, and this time, the request was submitted to the then Jamb site.
That marked my first and only step towards seeking admission into a university via direct entry after prior acquisition of the Nigerian Certificate in Education. Soon, someone that matters my senior colleague; Mathew Owolola was most helpful for his useful updates and affirmative statements.
Then came admission, of course accompanied by so many processes of registration to include screening, biometrics, data capture among others. Thank God, I scaled through. During this period marked my first day of going home so late, I got home around 11:25pm that very day of rigorous screening, ooooh, so much stories.
Eventually, I crossed the hurdle of admission and registration. Next was that of accommodation. Now, the story begins.
Ofcourse, everything was computerized; online this, online that. Hmmmm, I missed the online hostel allocation exercise, meaning clearly, no accommodation. Then my saving grace, MSSN, Unilag came as at when I needed her, all thanks to Bro. Mathew Owolola and Bro Mautin, the then welfare secretay of the society. Thus, the mosque became my home away from home. While staying in the mosque, I saw my senior colleague then during my college days, Bro Abdulahmeed Olatunbosun, through him, I linked Bro Mustapha Kelani, also from my college days. Fortunately, he had been offered accommodation at the prestigious King Jaja Hall, the hall of gentlemen as it is fondly called, he accepted my request to move in with him without collecting a dime, may Allah (SWT) reward you.
Hence, I became a Jaja inmate, and those belonged to the category called Squatters. Our room was RM 007 wing A, adjacent to the barber’s shop, directly opposite the hostel kitchen at wing C, and bounded by the toilet in front. You can only imagine how the room smells early in the morning, when all residents bonafide or otherwise go empty their bowels. The room was indeed spacious and housed so many categories of residents ranging from landlords to squatters to floaters and of course hangers. Each category has its unique features, not for this discuss though.
My landlord, Kelani Mustapha studied Business Administration. Thus, it explains why my wing was dominated by Biz admin students as they call themselves. Our direct bunkee i.e bunk mate Nelson Mafolabomi served as Doyin’s landlord, our sidee i.e. direct opposite bunk mate had Mark Fatoye, David’s landlord and their immediate bunkie; Abideen Mohammed, Danjuma and Udoka’s landlord, our best cook and walking library. At the other wing of the room, housed, a rather unusual category of students who could have qualified as musical icons. They include Okoilu Prudence popularly called trigger or bullet, whatever that means, the duo Habeeb and Femi, thanks goodness they formed a music group called STV with another unusual guy, though not from RM007. Then the engineers, Dare and his friend, those two were constantly writing reports about some lab works and always mentioning Mowete, an engineering don. Not to mention the VIP himself, Systems as we fondly called him, possibly because he studied systems engineering, that guy taught me how to clean iron with candle…. that method is risky though. Occassionally, we had visitors like Govi, Mohammed amongst others, those guys added more fun.
My year three witnessed my stay in a rather far environment. Far away from King Jaja but sharing boundary with the Faculty of Education and a direct neighbour to Madam Kofo Hall. This hostel has Saburi Biobaku as its name and as such we called it Biobaku for short. My room this time was at the topmost floor, Rm310, the extreme room and ofcourse very close to the toilet. Here, my Landlord Olaguro Modiu, a colleague from college, rather unusual person who keeps on finding x, wonders if he would ever find it, was into the recharge card business, cant forget that late banging on the room door that day around 1:00am, an unusual customer coming to buy recharge card, the noisy room suddenly became a grave yard. This room had wonderful creatures. Mostly creatures from Faculty of Education and Social Science.
I stayed in the lower bunk with my landlord, I had so many bunkees, the initial occupant, Awari was replaced with the cousin and his friend. Those two, wonderful creatures indeed, a Doctor and a Dentist. Dr. Taofeek set the sleeping record in the hostel for sleeping for over sixteen hours, haaa, that guy reads more than the library, then his friend, the dentist, manages his time, but mostly spends it at home. Then came Arinze, the Ezegburugburu of Biobaku hall, gentle, friendly and easy going. My sidee, Modiu’s course mate, Egbon Segun as he calls him, a quite, easy going young man had a bicycle which infact almost served all inmates in RM 310. Then on this day, a unique one, Egbon bought a printer, then the room became a famous business center. Directly opposite my bunk was Oboh Francis, an HKHE student who seldom visited the pitch, leaves in the second mile, i hope demolition never gets there, just kidding. His bunkee Akinmola Kenneth, a rather unusual personality, talks seldomly, gets himself busy with his Fifa, always humming and ooh my God, you dont want to know. Then, there sidee, top bunk Igbason a good questioning machine, always generating well constructed and brain tasking questions. His co-bunk mate, Gbolabo, spends adequate time on his clothes, never wore a pair without startching and his method of hailing people, you just can’t imaging himself and Kenneth, though both studying Educational Administration. One of those days, he was even advised to stop schooling and start a cloth starching outlet. But of course as an academic gizmo, that never moved him. Then, their bunkee, Aloba and Ashaolu, an unsual pair. Aloba might infact be Asaolu future inlaw, ooh, just kidding. Aloba studied Educational Administration while Asa as we call Asaolu studied Urban and Regional Planning or just say URP. Those two attended same secondary school back then, Aloba was a senior colleague to him. Asa was our cook in the room, so long as the ingredients were available, Asa is always on point, but never joke around him with Pes 2012, that football game that compensated us on weekends. Then, there is this quite young man, Asa’s friend, Saka Ahmed from science, that guy, so multi talented, has the voice for music, a very sweet one, but you dare not merge music with science, unless you want to find your GP in the lagoon. He cooks randomly, but with a special touch and indeed his dishes were mouth watering. Then, extra hangers, Tunde and his brother, those two were diploma students, over engaged with fashion. Tunde has the height of an iroko tree and when you see him, you cant but just look again.
Indeed, RM310 qualified for a business center, than a room or an hostel. So many business activities from printing, to recharge cards, to starching and of course arguments. Arguments upon arguments. One of those memorable arguments was when our visitor/customer who later became Mr Biobaku claimed that the Bible is an Holy Spirit, after losing his argument. Also, that between myself and Modiu on the appropriate Faculty position to vie for, I owe you a lot for that great discuss.
Oooooh, almost forgot our celebrity, Okon, Okolipapa as we called him, Aloba’s childhood friend, our friend from club uno. That guy indeed a character, he has controls, you can only imagine. Then, there is steam up, our neighbour, always coming to steam up. Thanks to Modiu’s lipton yellow label tea, haa, that tea does wonders.
In my final year, I found my self in RM113, same Saburi Biobaku hall this time not a squatter but as a bonafide. Along with myself was Modiu, then Kenneth, and also Ahmed and then Emmanuel, special squatters, hangers and floaters, haaa, the list is endless. This new room housed the elites, filled with what the yorubas call Afobaje. My bunk mate was supposed to be Vincent, but somehow it became Asa, the same Asaolu from RM310. A bonafide somehow, thus he brought Bityoung Bryakura Lehwot. This time around, Asa was obsessed with internet browsing; Henri Carr, Amina and even new hall wifi on the go, but ofcus never jokes with his tommy and Fifa.
By my side housed top bunk, a rather contradicting pair, Dennis Akinyelure and Kade, a direct opposite of one another. While the earlier is gentle, the later restless, though from same ethnic group. Dennis, ‘Lure Silas,’ an unusual person, talented, loves public speaking, but sometimes needs a push, doing great with RYTE initiative, thumbs up bro. Kade, a walking library, loves junks. Under bunk was occupied by a microbiologist, a former Welfare Secratary of ULSSA. I enjoyed his conversation on health issues and analysis of digestion of beans.When paired with Ahmed, the discussion seems unending.
My direct opposite bunkee housed Hussein, the chief landlord, a final year student of Quantity Surveying, so fun to be with, my supplier of Indian movies, oooh, I love Indian films, then his co-bed mate, Femi. Femi has got swags, the fine guy with a cute ride, ladies dream guy, seldom talk, only when he feels like. Their direct bunk mate was Oto Ubangbha, the president personal assistant and defender, even when the president is at fault, he sees nothing wrong, has a good number of shoes, so obsessed with fashion. Then his diploma friend from secondary school, Sunny spends all day making sure his hair looks radiant. Back to Bityoung from Asa, that guy has great skills in graphics designing and photoshopping, no wonder he became Modiu’s teacher, cant stop laughing whenever I remember the chase he gave Oto and Sunny off the bunk to the floor. Anyway, guys love arranging beds on the floor while sleeping.
Their sidee housed at top bunk an English professor and internet guru, Abdussalam Amoo, Bumlala, the then General Secretary of NUESA, a rather walking dictionary, does all my proof readings, ooh, that guy is so talented, he is a bomb. I miss the smell of his favorite meal “beans.” He could browse while sleeping, no wonder he works online as an online editor, now a site expert. Below his bunk housed Baba Toshiba, name he got from his laptop from Modiu, Asa’s colleague from URP, Hon. Seyi Olabisi Asiwaju. A gentle, easy going gentleman, and ofcus Modiu’s playing toy as he picks all form of disturbance with him, sometimes you cant but pity him.
Now, missing you guys, NYSC at hand, moving up, never staying static, thats the rule of life.
Happy reading, cheers.