By Paul Olayemi
On Friday, March 10, 2019, just two days to her birthday, seven-year-old Success Adegor was sent home from school for not paying N900 examination fee.
“I was angry. It was not the first time and my favourite subject mathematics was about to commence then”, little Success, a pupil of Okotie Eboh Primary School, Sapele, Delta State, who featured in the short video, Dem go flog dem go tire, that went viral on social media, told Sunday Vanguard immediately we arrived the family house in the Urban area of the town last week when we visited her family.
“I left the school premises and I was complaining when l met an auntie (neighbour) whose son had been sent home too.
“She now said she could take me back to school to plead on my behalf but l refused. Bitter about being sent home and complaining, the neighbour kept pointing her phone at me while I kept expressing how angry I was”, she said.
The video of how Success was angry went viral.
Stephanie Idolor, the lady/neighbour who did the recording, recalled how she saw the little girl grumbling.
“She was acting funny. She was a neighbour’s daughter and I recorded her with my phone”, Stephanie told Sunday Vanguard.
“I never thought it (video) would go viral. I knew the video was funny, so I shared it on WhatsApp and the next thing it was on Facebook and Twitter and calls started coming in”.
The mother of Success, Mr Vera Adegor, also spoke to Sunday Vanguard, saying that after her daughter’s video went viral, it was as if the whole world was looking for her (girl).
“AY called. Mr Jollof came to see us from Warri. And before we knew it, the (Sapele) local government chairman, Chief Eugene Inoaghan, and Hon Ayemidejor came. Now we can’t sleep, or rest without our phones ringing or somebody knocking on our door”, the mother said.
Mr Godwin Adegor, the father of Success, who lives with the family, said he had not stopped asking “if this is real”.
He added, “Mr Jollof took Success to a private school, enrolled her and bought books and bags for her but Success can’t attend the private school. The local government chairman has advised us to leave her at Okotie Eboh Primary School as Success is now like an ambassador of the school. Please let the public also know that apart from Mr Jollof who came, the story that my daughter got five scholarships is not true. Being in a public school needs no scholarship because you do not pay school fees as government has said “.
But little Success would not let her father finish before saying loudly, “I don’t want to attend that school. I prefer a private school. Even if they renovate it (Okotie Eboh Primary School), I want to attend a private school”.
The mother reacted calmly to the defiant girl: “No. I know her. What I can tell you about her is that she has always been bold about herself and what she wants. Success would walk up to you and bare her mind and that is not stubbornness. Success would do whatever you ask her to do but tell you if she is not happy about it”.
Ataine Akpome, a neighbour of the Adegors, who said they had lived together for years, told Sunday Vanguard that Success had always been noted for baring her mind at her tender age.
“I recall the day she came to buy pencil in my shop and when my kids didn’t attend to her in time, she went to the other shop to buy. When I asked her why she did so, she bluntly told me ‘I no get time’. Success is just different”, Akpome said
Another Sapele resident, Madam Ruth Tivere, who has a provision shop close to Okotie Eboh Primary School, said she never had doubt about the little girl’s ability to speak out.
“Each time she came here with her friends, she was always the spokesperson for the group. She is never the type you will convince to accept one thing for another. If she tells you she wants to buy a certain thing and you don’t have it, she leaves, unlike other kids you will convince to buy another product. She is just different”, the woman, popularly known as Mama Onome, said.
To those who know Success, her undying love for her books is no secret.
In Primary 3 when her mates’ love for biscuit and sweet is legendary, she saves money to buy books especially novels. When Sunday Vanguard asked her what novels were her favorite, she replied, “Oge and the Golden Ring, and I like listening to Christian music too”.
Meanwhile, the little girl’s video has continued to generate reactions as Delta State government, on Monday, through Mr Chinedu Ebie, the state Commissioner for Basic Education, visited Okotie Eboh Primary School, Sapele and suspended the head teacher over alleged illegal fee collection.
And Success’ rejection of her being sent out of school for lack of payment of examination fee that Friday morning has brought exposure, not only to the state of public primary schools but also illegal collection of examination fee has attracted tongue lashing from Nigerians.
Okotie Eboh Primary School Sapele is now being rehabilitated and other schools have been lined up for same too.
The girl everyone now refers to as an agent of change told Sunday Vanguard, “I am happy. I want to thank everyone who came to see me. I want to thank AY, Mr Jollof and the local government chairman especially.”
The Primary Three girl, who came first in her class in last term examination, added that she wants to be a lawyer.
“I like the way they (lawyers) dress and how they speak”.
The little girl further narrated her story in a sit down interview lasting about six minutes:
VANGUARD: What happened that day when you were coming back from school?
Success: That day, I forgot to tell my daddy about the money they had asked us to bring to school before he went to work. I now told my mummy, and my mummy now said she did not have money, that on Monday she will go our school and beg. But that day (Friday) when I got to school, they drove me and others who had not paid out. I was very angry and I began to grumble on my way home. I started from school. So the neighbour saw me and by coincidence they had driven her child too. She asked me to follow her to back to school to go and beg but I said no, that I will go and tell my mummy. I didn’t know the neighbour was videoing me
VANGUARD: How do you feel now that everybody is coming to your place? You have suddenly become somebody everybody wants to see.
Success: I am so excited. I thank God for his mercy towards me
VANGUARD: How do they treat you now? l mean your friends in school and your teachers.
Success: They treat me very nice
VANGUARD: Did they treat you like that before?
Success: Yes, they treated me like that.
VANGUARD: So have you been able to pay the money you were owing that made them drive you from school?
Success: I have paid the money
VANGUARD: So how many scholarships have you got?
Success: Five scholarships
VANGUARD: Wow! That’s on the high side. Do you remember everyone that came?
Success: No, I can’t remember everyone.
VANGUARD: What are your siblings’ names? I mean your brother, your sister.
Success: They are Marvellous and Gift
VANGUARD: What do you say to those people who are watching you out there?
Success: I say thank you for coming to visit me.
VANGUARD: So what will you tell your friends at school and those in your compound?
Success: I want to tell them that they should go to school; they should pray and always keep the Ten Commandments.
In the video that went viral and lasting 28 seconds, Success appears with a frowning face as she is being interviewed by the lady/neighbour. The following conversation ensues:
Lady: You never pay (examination fee) na
Success: No be say I no go pay o. Dem go de pursue person instead of them to flog person; dem go de pursue person.
Lady: Eh better now make dem flog you or make you go tell your mummy make dem…
Success: Make dem flog me, make dem flog me, dem go de flog me eh, the canning go tire, dem go flog flog so tay, the flog go tire dem. As dem say dem stubborn,I go tell dem say I stubborn pass dem (2x)