Entry 39 – My mother – Abubakar Abdulhafiz Adeiza

ABUBAKAR ABDULHAFIZ ADEIZA
(A graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, passionate about problem solving, creative writing/thinking)
No. 3 Nagazi-eba New Layout, Adavi Local Government Area of Kogi State.

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INTRODUCTION

In the central part of the Nigerian state of Kogi, lies the town OKENE, the town is based in a Local Government Area of the same name. Okene is part of what constitutes ebiraland, and is home to a large number of ebira people, who are known to be hardworking and courageous people with a very rich cultural heritage, the principal occupation of Ebiras is Agriculture, they cultivate maize, yams, cassava and vegetables. Ebiras are also known for their weaving and crafts. Okene is the home town of a boy named Adeiza the son of Abubakar. His father, who is now late was a well-respected and an upstanding member of the society who instilled in his children Islamic values and moral standards, Adeiza is the second born and first son in a family of five, he has two sisters and two brothers, all of whom are very intelligent including himself, in fact one could argue that he is the most intelligent of them all. He has a tall and strong build, and takes after his father with regards to looks, every one who knew his father always told him he is the carbon copy of his father.
Adeiza had just finished his secondary school, he attended NIOMP staff secondary school and graduated as the overall best student. He however had one problem, he doesn’t wish to continue his education, he doesn’t want to attend the university and get a degree like everyone else. This came as a surprise to everyone, most of all his mother, a hardworking woman who has raised him and the rest of his siblings, she has high hopes for all of them and is ready to do whatever she can to see them all through university, She then sent for his uncles and aunties from far and near to help talk some senses into him, this yielded no positive result, Adeiza remained obstinate and would not succumb to reason, he was unwavering in his resolve not to attend university. You do not just have your fathers looks; you have his stubbornness as well she would often remark, but she would not relent, she kept pushing, she never stopped praying for her son, she would perform tahajjud (Muslim night prayer) to ask Allah to change his mind. One time she called him aside and had a heart to heart discussion with him, my son she said, I have friends who’s children have graduated from the university and are doing very well, some are medical doctors, some are accountants, I want to have those too from among my children, you are supposed to be the father of this house, to set good examples for your younger ones, what do you think will happen when they decide they want to follow in your footsteps? Tell me why don’t you want to have a university degree? Adeiza who had been waiting for a chance to tell the reason for his decision jumped in immediately to answer his mother, he went, I don’t need a degree to be successful, I don’t feel I need to attend the university I would rather be a farmer and a business man. You see my son, schooling doesn’t stop anyone from doing business, Dr Omeiza, your uncle, is a medical doctor, yet he is a very successful farmer, he owns farmlands, a big poultry and several fish ponds, schooling didn’t stop him from achieving all that, you are very intelligent my son, please think about it. It was his bed time, he stood up and told her good night promising to think about it, as he turned to leave, she called him back and told him, sleep on it son, and he replied Onyami maawu (mother, I have heard you).

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Adeiza found himself as an undergraduate student at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria studying pharmacy, only he was the opposite of himself, academically poor, failing not just one, two but four courses. What is wrong with me? I finished secondary school a celebrity, shattering the school records, but here I am disgracing my ancestors, he sat down attempting to think and find solution to his problem, do I need to cut down on my garri (cassava flakes) intake? He said to himself.
Adeiza is notorious when it comes to drinking garri, when going to school he would carry his travel bag, his back pack most of the time, whatever food stuff he needed, he always bought them in school because he hates carrying too much load while traveling, but one thing he never failed to carry is a sack of garri. He would say to his mother, onyami garri in the north, most often than not tastes like chalk and she would cringe and say, little wonder they don’t like drinking garri, don’t worry ohinoyi ami (my king) as he is fondly called by his mother, I would get you special garri to take to school. Once his siblings asked him how he always manages to finish the large sack of garri mother gives to him to take to school, and he told them of an incident that happened between him and his roommates, adeiza had four nice and hospitable roommates, they occupied a very nice room in a boys only hostel in the university, whenever adeiza returns from night class after reading for hours, he would always pull out a clear glass bowl get his ingredients including cold sachet water, akaretupa (groundnut cake) and serve his middle belt a well prepared bowl of garri. They always made gest of him; they called his bowl of garri a sleep portion as he always seemed to fall asleep right after emptying the bowl of garri in his belly.
One night he arrived the room from class with the usual ingredients, as sson as he was done preparing his clear bowl of garri, his roommates who always stayed awake to witness his daily ritual decided to have a taste, they offered to share in his garri, he smiled and nodded, giving them the go ahead to come have a taste, 1 minute later, adeiza had a surprise look on his face, you see, they just wanted to have a taste, but they ended up finishing the garri with him, each of them drank a larger quantity than him, the organizer. The news soon reached their friends from neighbouring hostel blocks, they learnt his recipe (garri soaked in cold water, sugar, akaretupa or groundnut and milk, which is to be poured in the bowl when the garri is almost finished), before the mid semester break, they had successfully emptied the very large sack of garri. When he finished narrating to them, they all burst into laughter and called him and his friends “garri gang”.
Adeiza was still seated thinking when it dawned on him to find the owner of the registration number that always seems to top the class, the only first class student in his class, he found the person and to his greatest surprise, the person is a she who happens to also come from his hometown, her name, Ahuoiza daughter of Abdulmumin. He immediately asked her to tutor him, which she agreed to do on the condition that he joined others she was already teaching and not a one on one tutorial, he agreed. She is a beautiful girl, beauty with brains, a tall brown skin girl, she has beautiful long fingers, her friends would often tell her “you have a hand fan”. He liked her instantly, he decided to tell her about his feelings after weeks of keeping it to himself. She didn’t make it for him at first, she reminded him of the reason for which they started talking, she asked him to focus on his studies, he reasoned with her and decided to quiet down the voices in his head telling him to push further and fight for his feelings. A few weeks later he decided to try again, this time more serious and convincing, she didn’t accept still, but Adeiza is not one to give up easily so he kept on pressing. She stopped talking to him after their classes as she would usually do, she stopped answering her calls either, he’d get her friend’s number to call and ask to speak with her but she always refused.

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It got to a point where she started to pity him and to actually admire his resilience and persistence, so she decided to give him a chance, he is after all good looking, hardworking and has a good character. this was in their penultimate year in the university. They got together and fell in love, theirs was like a deep well of love with slippery walls, since they fell in, neither of them could climb out, whatever any of them did to anger the other was quickly forgotten, and with every reconciliation they’d fall deeper in love. His scores improved, he passed his carryover courses and improved on his cumulative grade point average while she maintained his first-class status.
Soon after resuming for their final year, they started talking about marriage, they were so in love that there was no reason at to delay, he would often remind her of the saying of the prophet (peace be upon him) that the best thing for two who love each other is marriage, they agreed to settle down. Then came the problem, the big masquerade that scares lovers and push them apart forcefully, Genotype. She with the AS genotype, a carrier of the sickle cell gene, he had checked his too before resuming school as he had to submit a medical report during registration, his was also found to be AS. This is terrible he let out a burst, how could this be? They were both devastated, she would cry for hours and Adeiza would go for days without attending lectures, he couldn’t bring himself to think about anything else, but how he was going to be deprived of the chance to marry the love of his life. Luckily, he believes in the power of prayers, he read a saying of the prophet once where he said that nothing can change the divine decree except dua (supplications), he prayed hard for Allah’s intervention.
One morning he decided to visit the school hospital and check his genotype again, he explained his ordeal to the laboratory scientist, he felt pity for him, he drew his blood and asked him to check back in two days. For that waiting period he was restless, he would say to himself, the school hospital has better equipment they should be able to find the truth, I will accept whatever I find and live with the pain, he would repeat this same line whenever the thought crossed his mind, and it always crossed his mind. It was on a Friday, the time has come to find out what the test result has shown, he went to the hospital and got his result, he went to a nearby mosque, performed ablution, prayed two units of salat (Muslim prayer) and called on Allah one more time before opening the stapled result slip. When he was done, he opened it with one eye closed, the result says he is AA, he couldn’t believe his eyes, he ran straight to the hospital, back to the lab and requested another test, when the result came out it read the same thing, AA, he was so happy, in jubilation he jumped up and landed on the FLOOR, he had fallen from the bed, Adeiza had been dreaming. He couldn’t believe what had happened so he rushed to his mother who was on her prayer mat and has just finished her predawn commitments, he said to her onyami, I must go to the university, as if to say I must find my ahuoyza.
She was so happy hearing this from her son, Allah answered her prayers, she prostrated and gave thanks to Allah for the good news she had received. When it was daybreak, she gave everyone the good news and they were all very happy. He wrote JAMB afterwards and passed, he gained admission into the college of medicine, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to study MBBS, he later became a professor of medicine, highly sought after from the world over, he would often tell his students “my mother’s prayers got me to where I am today, I am forever grateful to Allah for giving me my mother”.

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