Ojediran Itunuoluwa Emily is an outstanding woman.
With her own efforts, she managed to get rid of the shackles of her destiny and finally completed the education she had always dreamed of.
Growing up for me wasn’t as easy as it ought to be. I can’t imagine anything as challenging as growing up without a shoulder to cry on neither a hearing hear to listen to you. Living without a mother’s love or support is what I’ve learnt to live with over the years, though it hasn’t been easy on me but my believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel kept me moving. Growing up without a dad or mom has really gotten me into different experiences with living with people, both family and outsider.
I lost my dad early 2001 and my mom hasn’t been there for me right since I was born in 1996. I lived with my grandmother in a village in Edo state. There, I started my basic education to basic 5 when one of my aunt in the city of Ibadan, Nigeria later told my grandmother to let me start living with her, I wasn’t happy with my stay at Ibadan because I was addicted to my grandmother but I had no say; so it left me with no choice than to do exactly as I was told. I was enrolled into a primary school to finish my primary Education, I wrote my common entrance examination in 2007 and I started secondary school late that year also. My aunt and I later relocated to Port-Harcourt in late 2008 to meet her husband. I spent a year at home without going to school because school in Port-Harcourt is expensive and my aunt and her husband weren’t financially stable then. Late 2009 I enrolled into government technical college in Port-Harcourt, I didn’t have a school bag or school sandals in the first few months I spent in the school. I’d wear slippers to school and put my books under my armpit until my aunt could afford a school bag and a school sandal.
But things got bad for me when my aunt husband started molesting me. I couldn’t tell my aunt because I didn’t want to ruin her family and I had no one to talk to than to keep it to myself. My aunt later got to know and I explained everything to her, she confronted her husband but he denied it and beat the hell out of me. This is a major problem affecting African youths, when we encounter sexual abuse, we tend to keep it to ourselves because we know people aren’t going to believe us. We mostly live with it and made it eat us up because if we share it with people they stigmatize us. My aunt later accused me of wanting to snatch her husband and took me back to Ibadan. I was later took in by an aunt of mine related to my grandmother. There, I needed money to continue my education and for the first time in my life I had to call my mom for financial support but I got disappointment from her as she turned me down that she has no money. I later started living with some couples who were in need of someone to help them do their domestic works because I wanted to get back to school as soon as possible. But luck seems to turn its back on me as I couldn’t get to school as early as expected.
Schools were rejecting me saying ‘we don’t accept grade 9 student as senior secondary school entrance examination is approaching and the students names has been taken to the ministry of education’. After unending search of six months, looking for a school to take me into ninth grade, I enrolled into Mount Olivet Grammer School as an eighth grader. Being in grade 8 for the third time was a bad thing for me as my mates were in their first year in senior secondary school. But no one is too old to be learned and no knowledge is a waste was my motivational words then and I believed strongly in the saying that ‘whatever will be will be’. Before going to school each morning, I’d sweep the floor, mop the floor and get the children ready for school. Sometimes, I’d trek to school if I’m unable to finish my chores before the children driver arrives. After school each day, I’d do the laundry which was never anything less than a laundry basket full. I kept pushing this daily routine through until my junior WAEC was approaching. I got tired of everything and decided to leave and go back to my family members.
Life at home too was nothing better either as my school was far from my aunt’s place and they couldn’t afford giving me transportation fare. A friend of mine at school later told me that her mom’s friend was in need of a housemaid, I decided to try my luck with her. As at that time, she had two kids and she was running her PH.D programme in the prestigious university of Ibadan. As an educationist, she thought me a lot. She would get me novels on every trip she goes for, there, I developed my reading habit and I started aspiring to become a writer someday. After she rounded up her programme, we moved to Abuja where she was before she came for PH.D at the University of Ibadan to meet her husband in 2013. Things went smoothly for me in Abuja as she enrolled me in Government secondary school Kubwa immediately I arrived in Abuja. I sat for NECO (National Examination Council), WEAC (West African Examination Council) and JAMB (joint admission matriculation board) examination respectively in 2015. I came out in flying colours in my result and I was overjoyed because of my success. The success gave me hope that there sure is light at the end of the tunnel and that with a little more effort and patient I’d get to my destination. After my examination success, she told me to go back to my family and continue my education in Ibadan.
I was giving series of admission that year but I couldn’t take up the offer as there was no financial support. I believe as a youth with vision to build a stronger nation that I shouldn’t give up just yet. I started teaching in a primary school where I was been given a token of five thousand naira per month. This salary couldn’t cover my expenses because it was too small so I started working as a bagger in a pure water factory. There I was earning nine thousand naira as salary but two month into the job, I had a fatal accident which I had fractures in the leg, from my thigh to my knee. I spent three months in the hospital before I could stand back on my feet. I enrolled in Gateway polytechnic after I was discharged in late 2016. I started a national diploma programme in mass communication as I wish to become a communicator. Going to school without a supporter isn’t anything easy for me. My first year in tertiary institution wasn’t as easy as what I always dreamt of. When I was younger, I believe students in tertiary institution enjoy the most but my instinct was wrong as I met myself in that position. I couldn’t afford the text books required or house rent. My aunt whom I stayed with in Port Harcourt gave me part of the money I needed for enrollment. I squatted with a guy when I first got to school. I later moved to a friend place when the guy’s place wasn’t accommodating any longer. I made and sold snacks during my first year in school as a means to support myself financially in school but it didn’t last long as I fell sick and I was told that the stress I was going through was too much for my system that I wasn’t resting enough.
My first semester examination was fast approaching and I haven’t gotten my tuition fee, I later gave up the hope of going to school as exam was fast approaching and I haven’t gotten my school fees. But luck seems to smile on me as my friend called me and told me to take my tuition fee and pay up that she told her brother about me and he asked her to give me my tuition fee. My joy knew no bound that day as my hope got renewed. I did my exam and my result came out bright. My results gave me hope that I’m sure going to get to the peak of success. I’m now in my second year running my national diploma and the experiences over the years hasn’t been easy, sometimes I go to school on an empty stomach and sometimes I had to trek to school just to attend lectures. The experiences I’ve had as a person can be averted if I was in a stronger nation where schooling isn’t made difficult. Schooling shouldn’t be a problem in our African countries but it is in most African countries because our leaders are self centered and not mindful of the less priviledge. African countries hasn’t really being helpful towards having a strong youth, most youths out there gave up their dream of becoming successful in life because of one thing or the other. Some parents force their children into early marriage especially in the northern part in Nigeria because they couldn’t afford to cater for them anymore. Most children are deprived of western education in because of their financial status. Youth should be given access to free education.
My experiences over the years had not only made me a strong youth but has also made me a strong youth aspiring to build a strong nation where youths learn to hold on to their dreams and never give up on it no matter the challenges they may face. My country’s president says we the youths are lazy but we aren’t, how can he really know what we are capable of doing if we aren’t given the chance to make a change in our little way. Over the years past, Nigeria hasn’t gotten a female as a president and I believe with more patient and hard work I can be the first female president in Nigeria, who will give youths a say in the society, providing all essentials for every child to have access to western education. I believe in the next five years, I should be a successful youth impacting other youths life with my success story. I’m working on my first novel which I believe the success of it will take me places and help youths like me out there never to give up on their dream. Life isn’t a bed full of roses as people claim it to be, I’d say life is a bed full of thorns which turn roses only if one become successful. To be a strong youth, you have to be creative, smart, intelligent, having a leadership spirit and being an entrepreneur. Only a strong youth can build a strong nation because only a strong youth will hold on if a plan-A to build a strong nation fails and come up with a plan-B. A strong youth will never relent until he sees his nation getting stronger in peace, unity, love and success. Youths in African countries should be giving a chance to use their initiatives, employment opportunities should be provided for youths and they should be allowed to use their creativity to change the business interface. I believed we can achieve having a strong youth and strong nation only if our youths are given the chance to acquire a position by their hard work and not connection. There are lot of wasted talent out there in our society because the individuals with the talent had no motivator or supporter to advise them and help them through the stormy times just like me. Living with people had really helped me a lot and it has thought me to aspire to be successful in life so that most youth wouldn’t have to pass through all I passed through to be successful in life. Being strong for myself and my country as a whole is what has kept me going over the years and I believe I can make a change in the world.
Ojediran Itunuoluwa Emily
My name is Ojediran Itunuoluwa Emily; I’m from Oyo state in Nigeria. I’m twenty-two years old, I’m a year two mass communication student at the Gateway Polytechnic Saapade in Ogun State, I’m a Christian and music is my life.
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