By OSA AMADI, Arts Editor
After writing another Joint Matriculation Exam that year, 1989, I became confident that I had passed and on my way to Ife. I had filled OAU as my first, second, and third choices of university. I waited.
During that waiting period, I stopped attending lectures in education courses, but I continued to take music courses from the department since I was going to continue with music at Ife. This aroused the suspicion of my classmates. They knew that something was afoot but could not put their fingers at it. How could someone who had been scoring “As” in education courses suddenly stop attending lectures in education?
When the 1989 JME results were released I did not even bother to go and check my scores. I was stubbornly and arrogantly certain that the admission letter will come to me. And it came.
One morning in September 1989, I came back from my morning jogging routine and my roommates started behaving strangely towards me. They were looking at me as if I was a stranger. Then one of them, Williams, a Physical & Health Education student, told me that there was something under my pillow. When I removed the pillow I saw a letter with the heading: JAMB dated 22-09-89 and titled: Offer of Provisional Admission to First Degree Programmes:
I am pleased to inform you that you have been offered provisional admission to OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY, ILE-IFE to pursue a first degree programme. Faculty: Arts. Department: Music. Degree: B.A. Duration of Course: 4 years.
…Accept my congratulations on your admission…
“This is my admission letter. Who brought it?” I said quietly to my roommates who had been watching me as I read the letter.
“Just like that?” William asked in amazement “No jumping up, no screaming, no excitement? You are something else! Anyway, a boy called Mathew brought it.” Mathew was my cousin.
“I am not surprised. I’ve been expecting it. I would have been surprised rather if it had not come,” I told them.
That was how I moved to Ife to continue my training as a musician.
At Ife, while my course mates and friends like Isaac Udoh (now PhD, music) took their electives from departments like Religion and Sociology, I went to Philosophy and Psychology. As soon as I started raiding those two departments, carting away all the ‘A’s, two lecturers, Dr. Osaghere and another Doctor (whom I won’t mention his name because I am going to tell an uncomplimentary story about him) came to know me. One day in the Philosophy class, Dr. Osaghere said:
“Who is this Amadi?”
I stood up.
“Where do you come from?”
“Music Department sir.”
“Music?” He was surprised. Turning to Philosophy major students he said: “So you allowed someone from music to come here and beat all of you?”
After my first semester in Philosophy and Psychology, I came to have a lot of female friends from those departments. One particular female student of philosophy (let me not embarrass her by mentioning her name) followed me up and down the whole campus. Unknown to me, the Doctor I don’t want to mention his name – let me just call him Dr. O – was interested in her. In the exam hall one day, we were writing a paper in philosophy course and the girl sat close to me. I noticed she was constantly looking into my paper, but I did not know she copied word-for-word everything I wrote. When we returned for another semester Dr. O invited the girl and me into his office. My exam script and the girl’s script lay side-by-side on his table. Dr. O showed me my script. “Amadi, I want you to look at this script well. Is it yours?”
I took it from him and carefully checked it. “Yes sir. It is the paper I wrote in the last exam,” I said.
He conducted the same identification procedure on the girl’s paper and asked her the same question. “Yes sir, it’s my paper,” the girl confirmed.
“Good. Now I am going to read from these two exam scripts.”
Dr. O began to read. For about 10 minutes, he read sentences from my script and also read exactly the same sentences from the girl’s paper. After he had read enough, he stopped and asked: “So who copied from whom?”
I was shocked that the girl copied everything I wrote, but I was not angry with her because I liked her. We just sat silently before Dr. O, looking stupid.
“If you won’t tell me who copied from whom I will have no option but to fail you both in this course,” Dr. O said.
It dawned on me that we’ve committed a punishable offence and that no amount of begging could rectify the situation. “We are very sorry sir. I promise it won’t happen again,” I said standing up. The girl stood up too and told Dr. O that she was sorry.
To my greatest horror, as we were leaving the office the girl held my hand. When Dr. O released the result I was surprised that he was magnanimous enough to leave 52% for me. But he failed the girl so that she had to repeat the course. Later, the girl told me that Dr. O had been trying to have sex with her since she came to the department. I realised I had inadvertently interfered with a sex-for-marks opportunity for Dr. O.
Many of my friends in the departments of philosophy and psychology believed I was going to leave Ife with a first class. But they did not know I was not equally doing well in music, my major. The only music courses I did well in were those in history and literature of music. But I was able to muster enough grades that helped me to graduate, left Ife, and came to Lagos, the main theatre of the actions, in 1994 in search of employment. Stay tuned. The main story in this narrative titled The Piano Teacher is about to begin.