Friday, May 23, 2014

University Drop-outs, Drop-ins and Drive-by Schoolings by BabaWilly

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I come from Nigeria where we love to see letters before and after our names. The problem is that letters come from Universities and study is both time consuming and mentally tasking. Why read when you can Azonto? Pepper souping, point and killing, shacking Gulder and watching Barcelona FC are much more relaxing in the tropical heat abi?

Give lazy and creative people a task and consider it done. Voila, we have invented the solutions namely;

a. Drive by schooling (Honorary certificates from Bitterleaf League Colleges)

b. Creative CV writing AKA lying.

c. Exaggeration (you drove past the gates of Unilag and a Doctorate in Philosophy flew into the back seat with your name written on it AKA your miracle will locate you).

d. Grab your copy! Just e-mail a bogus university on line, pay the fee and grab your Doctorate AKA if you cannot make it, Fake it).

All the above are examples of University drop-ins. Gate crashers to the party of the intellectually gifted.

Now for someone who has been called Doctor since 1987, some might say I have forgotten what it is like to have no title. That is true. I am indeed a titled man and perhaps I lack empathy with those which a strong desire for titles (every Nigerian). I for one know that there is a price to pay for my title and it also comes with prestige and responsibilities.

However, since prestige is sweet, many want the pleasantness of prestige but do not what to pay the intellectual prize. Reading old Nigerian newspapers can be an eye opener. In the 1970s almost everyone was a Mr or Mrs apart from the clergy and members of the armed forces. In today’s print media everyone has a title. Dr Gala, Prof Gala, Ambassador Gala, Otunba Gala, Chief Gala, Engineer Gala, Mechanic Gala, Rev Gala, Street Beggar Gala, First Lady Gala, and then you get the crazy combos- Prof, Engineer, Snorer, Millionaire, Otunba, Double Chief, BMW owner, Senator, Aspiring Billionaire Gala. Fitting names and titles onto business cards has become an art form.

My friends tell me of a time they sat pepper souping at a bar and one of them was bitten by a mosquito. The victim slapped hard at his forearm but missed. He looked sad about this for he felt cheated of his precious blood. ‘That stupid mosquito escaped’ he lamented. My friends all swear that the mosquito on hearing the insult flew back and began to shout at the victim thus, ‘I no blame you. Na me suck your nonsense blood nau. See your dirty mouth. Do you know who I am? Never you call me mosquito in your life again. I am Elder Mosquito Esquire. Next time address me correctly. Nonsense’!

So you see my predicament when I am confronted with people who are University drop-outs. I just cannot get my head around it. Nigerians are so desperate for University drop ins and that is what I am used to. In my university days you couldn’t even approach your parents to ask to take a year off talk less of dropping out. Now, it has become alarmingly common to drop out.

Dropping out is made somewhat acceptable in the eyes of some when they consider the men of substance who dropped out of Universities and went on to make a name for themselves. They name Bill Gates (Harvard drop-out and Microsoft founder), Mark Zuckerberg (Harvard drop out and Facebook founder), Jan Koum (San Jose University drop out and WhatsApp Co-founder), Steve Jobs (Reed College dropout  and Apple Co-founder) and Larry Ellison (Double chief o! University of Illinois drop out and then later a Chicago University drop-out. CEO of Oracle Corporation).

However these are clever people who knew more than their teachers. Unfortunately Olodos (dunces) who presume rather erroneously that they know more than their teachers and parents are opting to drop out of education. Hunger will teach them a lesson they will permanently remember!

The above listed five are what can be called the modern day founding fathers of successful drop-outism. I would briefly mention a few things about them so that we all understand in simple terms what they did. A kind of why we struck vibe from the Five Majors.

Bill Gates worked on his school’s computers from the eighth grade (1968) and was exempted from Maths classes to give him more time. He worked many long hours on codes. By the time Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard he had been programming nonstop for seven consecutive years. He had formed a Microsoft University in his mind and graduated from it with flying colours, so there was no need for Harvard and more. His parents were supportive of his plans (and so we can safely assume they were not Nigerian).

Mark Zuckerberg worked hard on his dream of setting up Facebook. He also dropped out of Harvard to do his own mission. He worked much harder and longer than any student would and it all paid off.

Jan Koum left University when he no longer could combine it with working for Yahoo as an infrastructural engineer. He left Yahoo and later worked extremely had to make a success of Whatsapp.

Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College due to a lack of funds. He stayed back however to attend lectures while sleeping on the floors of fellow students (squatting in Uniben parlance). He kept on working hard and never stopped.

Larry Ellison dropped out of the University of Illinois due to a family bereavement. He subsequently got a job and put in the hard graft required.

In summary, as it was with the frog doing an impression of Usain Bolt in broad day light so it was for the five majors. They were either being chased by something big or they were chasing something great. Bill Gates and  Mark Zuckerberg were chasing a dream, while Jan Koum, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison were being chased by circumstances and home troubles. In the end they all left university and worked long and very hard persistently.

Now back to Naija. We also have five founding fathers and mothers  of University drop –inism and drive by scholarism. Bogus, cash for honorary etc etc. But no bi mai mouth you go hear say Oba no brush im teeth. Please do yua own research and find out as I no wan enta gbege for free. To put you in the right direction study Politicians and some lecturers.

Rumours abound that as their wives pile up enormous make up on their faces to the point of ojuju-fication, the Politicians also Mary Kay up their CVs to make them look like US Senators. The problem is when these people are exposed to have fake certificates that actually match their fake hair, fake accents, fake completion and fake integrity, nothing is done. They have no shame and the electorate has no memory as election season cash induces amnesia in Naija.

There is another dimension to University drop-inism and that is simply longa-throat. Those who graduate tend to have their graduation pictures splashed everywhere in the family home and might receive gifts almost akin to what one would expect on a wedding day. There are so many examples of stingy Nigerian Uncles who would suddenly get ‘delivered’ of severe thrift and dish out large monetary gifts when they hear a relative achieved a First-class.

They go, ‘First class ke!? Ah-ah. Where is my cheque -book. Well done my daughter. Where is that champagne I have been saving. Ah, John, go and switch on the generator!’. The graduate gets attention and we all what attention. Some of us will seek that attention via legitimate means but some have no patience. They want the glory so they embellish their pali (certificate). The oju-kokoro practitioners observe keenly the traits, skills and qualities that gain the admiration from on lookers in society and mimic those qualities.

You know the type, born dark skinned but become light skinned over night because of their perception that many men like light skinned women (Abeg help me ask dem weda dem wan marry many men able one man wey laik dia market? Wen man grab woman by 2am for darkness, how the skin colour wan help matrimonial bedroom action??Most people no dey open eye for prayer meeting and for love meeting).

These greedy people want what others have gained either by the blessing of genetics or through hard work. Unfortunately they lack the genetics and will not do the work. Such people are never satisfied with themselves. The funny thing is you could have ten Phds on your CV but when you sit to talk, your words will expose you as a fraud for we don’t talk to CVs, we talk to human beings and if notin dey brain, notin go commot, CV or no CV.

It is like having an air brushed picture on Facebook to cover all the craw craw and when we meet you we cannot recognize you at the party because your display picture on social media no resemble you. Abeg wear your pimples with pride and stop falsifying your facial certificate joor.

So in summary, if you are a special talent, a one in a Billion brain with opportunities to fulfil your dream and are willing to work fifteen hour days for five years straight, you can drop out. If you are Naija and you love titles, go back to school or pay for a Chieftaincy title. If however you love to Azonto once in a while and are not willing to put in too much hard work, please stay in school. Do not leave because you are bored. I promised you, an empty stomach is much more boring. Dats all


Dr Wilson Orhiunu

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