By Kingsley Obom-Egbulem
Suicide is definitely the last thing that comes to your mind whenever you think about university admission in Nigeria.
But after my meeting with Bidemi (surname withheld) recently, I now know better. Bidemi is one of the reasons I’m not just organising the *INGENIUM Summit* but hoping to rescue as many young persons as possible from the cycle of doom created by our educational system and this misplaced quest for certificates.
I met Bidemi as guest speaker at her church’s youth conference and stayed in touch afterwards. She was indeed enterprising. At just 20, she was wardrobe manager for the youth choir and curated the costumes most of the performing groups wore at that conference. Ahead of gaining admission into the university to study law, Bidemi enrolled into a fashion school. “I don’t want to depend on my father to provide all my needs on campus, so if I can make clothes and mend dresses for students, I’ll charge them and use it to augment whatever my father would send”. Those were her plans.
But JAMB had a different plan.
As at the time we were having this conversation, she had written UTME there times. And was going to see a lecturer at the University of Lagos to “help her” secure admission to study political science.
“I thought your initial choice was law?” I reminded her. “Yes sir” she responded. “But it’s looking like the cut off is too high and there are too many people applying to study law”, she said.
“So, is political science an alternative for law or you just want to gain admission and get a degree?” I pressed further.
“Sir, I’m confused sef…as I am now, I don’t even know what I want to do with my life, all my mates have gained admission, the more I think of it the more something keeps telling me to just kukuma commit suicide and go”, she lamented.
“Did I hear you say suicide?” I retorted. That question brought her back to her senses. Apparently she didn’t know when she uttered those words. But it came from within her.
“I thought you are a fashion designer?” I reminded her, just in case she’s forgotten.
By the time she wrote her third UTME, she was done with learning dress making and given her enterprising spirit, creativity and dedication, her boss offered her a job which she reluctantly accepted.
“Since you’re already a fashion designer, why not apply to study fashion designing in Yaba Tech, Auchi Poly or University of Abuja?” I counseled.
“Sir, God forbid, my mother must not hear of it” she responded.
Bidemi, obviously doesn’t have what it takes to practice law. And I made this clear to her. “If you were my daughter, I won’t spend a dime for you to read Law, but I would definitely send you anywhere to study fashion designing and be the best at least in Nigeria” I told her.
I’m still waiting for her call so we can conclude this discussion. I’m hoping she’ll be able to make up her mind after listening to all our speakers (especially that of *Timi Purdie*) at INGENIUM SUMMIT 2023. Timi is an award winning film maker and director who found himself studying Chemistry even when it was obvious that he missed his way to that department. His story is a lesson for every young person and student in secondary school.