The beginning of a new year, the demise of a previous one. 2017 left, ushering in 2018. The previous year was one of mixed feelings, anxieties and reactions. 2017 was indeed one which tested courage, determination, loyalty, and alas a test of faith. The year also ushered in good bounties, redefined relationships, amongst others. Daily Diets started, an avenue to keep in touch with students and well-wishers.

2017 was solely shared between family, friends and academia. Olaguro Modiu, Vincent Ibikunle, were my major key-players for the year. We argued, criticized, played games, ate together, amongst other things, watched Queen of Katwe together. Each moment we shared together kindles into laughter. The duo made my year remarkable and worthy.

At the inception of 2017, the direction to head was a little unclear, the world of academics seems so rigorous. Delays, result issues, project deadlines, articles for publication, papers and the likes, all seem out of place. The early part of the year, was more of a continuation of the previous year. Exams had to be concluded in ways that man may find difficult to decipher. Eventually, exams were over, then the ultimate research work. Schools had to be consulted. Works had to be in line with the session’s scheme of work. At some point, delays had to be welcomed.

The field work was faced with series of hitches, ranging from issues of time, finance, resources, facilitators, brainstorming and the likes. Schools’ cooperation must be prayed for, teachers’ collaboration must be sought, and students’ readiness must be assured. Then comes the issues of deadline, a time schedule must be drawn up. Time schedule were edited periodically to suit the needs of the occasion, after all, the school never sent the researcher on track.

Series of hurdles, shuffling between home and school, monies were spent, calls were made, around this rather hectic period, Grandma had to visit her elders in the world beyond. It was Grandma’s time to visit her grave. First, it was so dearly losing you. Grandma passed away in the commencement of Ramadan, May Allah grant her Aljannah Firdausi.  I will always remember the last moments we had together, the stories you told, the praises you sang, how you poured water on the beautiful iyawo from Ibadan, alas Grandma had to go. A lot was said, but Grandma left, the vacuum still remains still tomorrow. No one to call those names and orikis, your memories remain intact in me.

Then came yet another shocking but good news, a close pal was headed for her matrimony. Happiness found her, dressed in her Islamic garment, she was led into her new home. A future every lady dreams of, a future with a partner one can truly call a friend. She was indeed happy. The journey to becoming a Mrs had started.

Fieldwork was on as at this period, had to balance both sides, psychological readiness as well as mental alertness. Both must not interfere with one another. Fieldwork fully took off in September, the commencement of the new academic session. Had to meet deadlines with writing articles for publications, gradually skills were acquired in research writings.

Then came contender’s wedding, a ceremony I wished to attend, but deadlines with fieldwork and defence had to be met, conference was already beckoning, thanks goodness, she is a friend, a real friend, she understood my situation. Lovely couples, being together for almost a decade, goodness God, the knot was tied. Hope to come for the child naming soon. My one and only contender, you know thy self.

Attending the Global Education Network Conference at Ibadan alongside my supervisor, Dr. Mrs Babajide Veronica was indeed an eye opener, a conference full of great minds, ideas shared, works criticize, better version established. Knowledge was not limited to the classroom alone, we learn everywhere. Upon returning from the conference, Project defence was slated for December. Deadlines had to be met, corrects had to be effected. Project had to be ready. Ibeji was indeed a helper, Professor Mrs was also wonderful. Ibeji had to work on my slides despite the fact he had deadlines to meet in his office. Guess the Kenyan weather is favorable. Come home soon.

Back from conference, I had to face series of editing, projects had to be ready, corrections had to be done. This periods brought me various categories of people. While some feel the need to have you around, others only need you for their personal issues. Mrs Amucha, Mr Ilyasu Ibrahim, Mrs Echi, Mr Folarin, Miss Temitope Fabunmi, Mr. Akin-Oluyomi Taiwo, Vincent Ibikunle, George Nyoho and a whole lot of others. This could not have been possible without people like you.

Aunty Temitope Arike was always available, no matter how busy she was, she always had time to respond to my messages, this means a lot to me. Elvis Boniface of Edugist, the realities of your programs means a lot. Mr Adams, of Ascension College, Mr and Mrs Onyemuze, Master Dominic, your efforts in making my research work a success cannot be underestimated. Your contributions in ways you may never understand mattered a lot.

Baa two, as we call him in service year, already welcomed his second baby earlier in 2017, then yet again, another loader, my NYSC colleague, my two eye see, put to bed, she is now Mummy girls. Fine, adorable looking girls, elegant and gorgeous. May the good God we serve strengthen you and your family, give you the courage to overcome challenges and hurdles, above all, always give you reasons to celebrate.

Then the special one came in handy, the Dubai Princess as I call her, being friends now, loves eating biscuits like kilode, I’m sure she has a share already in the biscuit company. Spending the later parts of 2017 with you was indeed a privilege. Came home for a friend’s wedding, God bless Nigeria, fuel scarcity kept her, now she journeys back to her citadel of learning. May God Almighty guide you aright and purify your ways, endeavor to work on your research work while eating biscuits oo.

Significantly, what 2017 taught me was never to lose hope; dedication is key; sometimes, we lose what we think is the most valuable only to receive something far better. With determination, one can surely accomplish his dreams. 2017 bade toodle-oo hours ago, the contents of 2018 solely lie in our deeds, actions and encounters with people. What is imperative is always creating and finding reasons for others to smile, once we do, we are part of the solution towards making the world a better place. May the blessings and good bounties of 2018 accompany each and everyone.

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