HOW MY SUPERVISOR ROASTED ME

I had always promised to write about the fire I passed through under my supervisor while doing my degree project. Here we are, but, it’s been three years, and most of the anger is gone. This is mostly comedy, told by pictures in the Zikoko format. It’s something most people who did project in Ahmadu Bello University English Department, most especially the literature section, can relate to.

1, When I thought I will finish my project in three weeks

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We shall see.

2, When the list of supervisors came out and I got the dreaded SJ.

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I am not crying. It’s onion enter my eyes.

3, Mary Morah when she saw that she got one of the few kind lecturers in English Department.

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Eshe ghan

4, Me and my fellow supervisees under SJ.

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Help us oh Lord.

5, Then they selected me to be the first to take my work to him. “Kingsley, you know you are bold.”

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I am not bold again.

6, Met Herr Supervisor and he said, “I’m around but not available.”

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Chim o.

7, When he finally saw me and said “Your topic is overflogged.”

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I am not angry sir. That is how my face look like.

8, I finally dropped a topic I had been caressing for three years. Now what?

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9, Then I settled for Barack Obama’s autobiographies. But when I told my supervisor, he hadn’t read them.

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They were published last week sir.

10, Obama’s autobiographies do not represent the fulcrum of any shared literary conundrum of our elevated monologue.

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I said it. He hasn’t read the books.

11, But he was in a hurry so he asked me to submit a proposal on “Your Obama”. But my mates were in chapter two.

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No hurry in life.

12, There were more than three hundred corrections in a two-hundred word proposal

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I can’t take this

12, People who thought I will be the first to finish when they say, How project?

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We bless God.

14, I was still in chapter one when Tina came to me and said, “I don’t like this my conclusion. Please help me go through it.”

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OK ma.

15, When I saw my mates with their projects bound and ready for submission

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All fingers are not equal.

16, Half of my mates were at home and even forgot all about having done projects. But I and my fellow supervisees are in school, not knowing where to go, what to do and how to do it, nor who to run to. Then, one day, the supervisor started abusing one of us, “It’s like you didn’t do primary school.”

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I am not laughing. This is not my real face o.

17, Fathers Sunday caught me in school. I went to the chapel and saw my supervisor dancing

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God, shebi you are watching.

18, I sweated, toiled and tore. It began to look like I will not go NYSC with my mates. Then, my supervisor got bored and said “Go and bind your project.”

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Pardin. What did you say sir?

19, “Are you deaf? Go and bind your project!”

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Yes oh!

20, On my way to bind I saw my guy, under the same supervisor, still in chapter one

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Nothing to Say.

21, Next Sunday I went to church for Thanksgiving.

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I am very very grateful.

22, The devil when I wrote in the acknowledgement that my supervisor was like a father to me.

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He was a fada indeed.

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FINAL PAPER

I came to the exam hall premises on the day of my final paper, a deaf-mute. You know how it works, you know that state when you have crammed so much that you fear that you will forget everything by muttering as little as ‘good morning’; and you just can’t wait to enter the exam hall and pour your head out? You familiar with it? This was the state I was this morning. When I got to the venue of the exam, I stayed a thousand yards from my course mates. I didn’t want their green greetings today, this cunning group. While I was cursing ASUU during the strike, they were busy studying; now they come for the exam well-read and nourished with ideas, come to intimidate me. I was too wise for them. I didn’t say ‘hi’ to any of them. I had ‘sense’.

After waiting for what appeared to be one long year, which in fact was mere fifteen minutes, the invigilators arrived and began to check the students into the insatiable belly of the exam hall. While we were trooping in like Chinese prisoners on a work camp, Tina’s eyes caught mine and she winked at me. I ignored her. Tina was one of my ‘too-close-for-comfort’ friends. But if I winked back, or nodded, or smiled at her, I would forget all I had crammed. So, I ignored her. Simple.

All the questions were cheap but I didn’t want to commit the blunder of the paper before in which I answered six questions instead of three, so I made sure to answer just three questions. I started with number one. A really cheap question. It was on the novel The Great Gatsby, on something about satire, American Dream and all those boredom lecturers set as questions. The lecturer tried to make it hard, but it couldn’t stand my high-tech cram-work. I didn’t answer the question, I ate it up in twenty-five minutes, with clinical finesse. As I had over two and half an hour to go, I decided to cross-check my answer closely. I was on this when I heard my name.

‘Who is Kingsley Okechukwu?’

My heart missed a beat. I looked up to see two giant fellows standing on either side of the invigilator. My heart jumped into my mouth. Who were these men and what did they want with poor me?

‘WHO IS KINGSLEY OKECHUKWU!?’

I shot automatically to my feet as though propelled by an electric switch.

The gorilla who spoke came and stood before me, his swarthy face ugly with brutality. I thought he would hit me. ‘You are Kingsley Okechukwu?’ he demanded.

The whole hall stood still. The fall of a bird feather would have crashed on the floor.

‘Answer me!’

I almost spat into the gorilla’s face. I nodded.

‘Follow us! You are needed at the security office!’

 

It was at this stage that my heart sank. ‘I—I—I haven’t f-fi-nished my p-paper…’ I began but no one paid attention to me. So like a blind lamb held around the neck with a leash, I followed them; with wobbly legs, I dragged after them.

I began to turn in my heart what I might have done wrong. I racked and racked my brain but to no avail. I had been really washed up by this exam, and my behaviour was highly avoidable. I mean, I hardly talked to people these days. In fact, I never looked at anybody! How then would I have broken any law when I didn’t even see people? Or did I break the law in my dream? Or where they arresting me for man’s inhumanity to books? Did I manhandle my books, is excessive reading now illegal? Questions, questions, questions. No answers.

I was on my one thousandth rhetorical question when we entered the cobweb-infested ‘reception’ hall of the security office. I say reception for want of better adjectives; it is no real ‘reception’; when you get into this stuffy room, the security men (and women) won’t give you ‘reception’, they abuse you thoroughly. I sat in a bed-bugs infested cushion that went back Abacha days. The men who arrested men walked into the inner office, into the deeper hole.

My course mates wouldn’t wait for me! They were writing their paper without care. Oh God, what temptation! I tasted salt water around my mouth but I refused to believe the salt came from my eye. The devil is a lie; he couldn’t get me, not on my last paper!

After what seemed like two minutes (as I wished time crawled) which in fact was nearly two hours, after I had soaked my hankie with two litres of tears (I didn’t believe came from my eyes), a thin, broken security woman came into the reception—‘reception’, I mean.

‘What have I done wrong?’ I implored.

‘Where were you last night?’ the woman fired

‘I was in my room reading.’

She laughed a patronising laugh, then shook her corn head with righteous pity. ‘Reading indeed.’

‘I have an exam going on,’ I cried.

‘Forget the exam, you will be expelled.’

‘WHAT!’ I didn’t hear well. My heart was now melting on the floor.
Expelled? Me? Why? What have I done?

‘We are actually waiting for the police to take you over to their headquarters in Kaduna. The case is too big for us to handle…’

What on earth was the woman saying?

‘Surrender your ID card,’ the woman ordered.

The nightmare was gathering storm; with shaky hand I handed over my ID card, like a coup plotter would hand over his gun before the lethal arrest.

The woman frowned at the plastic of my identity card. ‘What is your name?’ she asked, stupid.

‘Kingsley Okechukwu.’

‘English Department?’

I nodded.

‘Oh my God,’ she swore. ‘There has been a mistake. We don’t want you! I sent those idiots to go arrest Kennedy Ugochukwu form French department! Not Kingsley Okechukwu!’

My eyes hit the clock over the silly woman’s mountain head. Fifteen minutes to the end of my exam! I fired to my feet.

‘… We are sorry for the inconvenience, Mr Okechukwu…’

But I wasn’t listening. I was running out of the evil compound, mad, running towards my faculty, crazy. I was crying with anger and hatred and frustration; I was shouting, ‘Examiner, please wait for me… please wait for me!… Wait for me!’

I was so blinded with rage I didn’t see the lorry speeding towards me!

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dangerful lorry