The memories of myself as a teenage boy setting foot on campus in the University of Abuja in 2012 remains fresh. As a little boy, I had always wanted to be everything great. But as I grew in age and reasoning, I narrowed my ambitions to becoming a lawyer. But that wasn’t to be for me. Somehow, my life Compass navigated in a direction I least expected.
Rather than be in the bench as expected, I was to be trained to become a custodian of wealth of information and knowledge. I was to be trained to become a repository of cobwebs of old stories from which mysteries and current puzzles were to find answers. I was to undergo a training that puts me in a position to relate with the entire course of humanity and world civilizations. I was to be equipped with a critical and analytical mind with a troubleshooting capacity without boundaries whatsoever. Yes! I was to be trained in the elitist field of History.
Naturally, fear and uncertainty gripped me, especially with the discouragements, ill comments I got from critics, party spoilers and wet blankets around me. Coming from a typical Nigerian background where the importance of historical consciousness and scholarship is not appreciated, regrettably at a time in human civilization when the rest of the world especially the technologically advanced nations are getting more passionate and quizzical about their trajectories and histories as they go about nation building.
Too bad, the study of History had been dis-articulated from the pre-tertiary education curriculum all thanks to myopia and recklessness. As a nation we have been paying so dearly for this. We have fared badly in nation building, economy, politics, social cohesion and unity, plagued with various forms of identity crisis. Remember Bakassi peninsula! (story for another day)
I came in empty-bellied and ravenous for success as I needed to prove a point. I wanted to inscribe my name in gold! So I came off quickly the shock and anxiety of my new found fate (chuckles). I put my back into it, gave in a lot of energy, commitment and prayers and it was yielding so much benefits and making sense. I finished top of my class, as an excellent student admired by fellow students and my lecturers.
I can wax lyrical in saying I got refined at the end of the trek. I was refined in character and in Learning. I discovered I got better. Better positioned to contribute my bit to society and nation building, I became a better citizen, I became more responsible and accountable.
My judgement and reasoning got more sound. I could handle multiple tax independently with excellent delivery, I could relate better with phenomenon and situations, I could relate effectively with my environment, I could love and even think of others more than I think of myself. My confidence and esteem grew, I could engage members of the society objectively, I understood the importance of freedom of conscience and reasoning, how every man should be free to follow his conscience especially in matters of religion and politics and that I should respect them.
Academically, I was so refined. I could independently engage academic questions, I could do some engaging research work, write and present papers, critique with constructive sense, engage in elucidative conversations, I could at a sitting exhaust over 20 pages in expression. Grammatically, I was bettered.
I could speak simple and correct English, express myself unambiguously, teach and help others learn and understand my perspective. I could argue values objectively without fighting, I could listen, understand, respect and accept other people’s view point where necessary, more receptive to criticism and corrections than before.
I learnt to appreciate people, their knowledge, skills and uniqueness as all humans are equally important in various dimensions. I don’t give up easily, my passion got more fired up. I became creative and innovative, I could develop an idea. I became dependable and reliable. I became a bunch of value refined at the esteemed trek! I became a better person indeed!