THE SUCCESSFUL FELLOW
When Paul was in senior secondary three (SS3), it was second term and he decided to spend his mid-term break with his father’s younger sister who lived in Lagos with her family. As he was going back to school, he boarded a bus only to find Victor already seated in that bus. After the initial greetings, Victor then asked Paul how he was preparing for JAMB examination and which courses and universities he applied to. “My brother, I don’t even know anymore. My aunt just told me that my dad, who had been on half salary for the past six months, was relieved of his job last month amongst others due to their bank’s re-organization. So even if I pass, I may not go because there will be no money to pay the fees”, Paul said, regrettably. Victor was full of pity for Paul and wished there was something he could do to help. Then he remembered.
“Hey! My dad bought entrance examination form into a university in the United Kingdom (UK) for me and they are giving scholarship to the best ten students in the examination. If only you can get one of those scholarships…” Victor said, reassuringly. Paul liked the idea but his next problem was how to raise the money to register for the examination,
At the end of the term, he went home for the holiday and the thought of getting a scholarship to study at Brookefield University, UK, was uppermost in his mind; but his parents could not afford the registration fee. Mr. Johnson Okezie explained to his son that the little money available was reserved to make sure he completed his secondary education. Paul decided to do menial jobs to raise the money. He would go out in the morning and come back in the evening. Sometimes, he carried loads at lorry parks, worked as bus conductor and even helped bricklayers at construction sites. He toiled for two whole weeks and made enough money to pay for the form.
The next morning, Paul was so excited that he could not wait to have breakfast but set out early to register for the examination. On getting to the bus stop, there were so many people and a few buses.
As he struggled to enter one of the buses, he did not notice when a motor park boy removed his wallet from his pocket. When it was time to pay his bus fare, Paul put his hand inside his pocket to bring out his wallet, but it was not there: You can imagine his sorrow. He wondered if he could ever be able to go to the university. He had wanted to study Literature in English and eventually become an author. “Does it mean I will end up learning a trade after secondary school as my father suggested?” he wondered. It was just four days to the closing date of the registration for the examination.
Paul was very sad afterwards. He lost the zeal to read and had no appetite for food, but on the third day, his mother’s brother, Mr. Chibueze Chike, came visiting with his family. Mr. Chike had been living in the northern part of the country before Paul was born, but because of the crises in the North, he decided to relocate his family and business to Aba. When Adaola saw them, she sprang forward excitedly to embrace her long lost brother. After the reunion, Mr. Chike asked his sister how they were faring.
“Brother, we are doing well except for financial problems here and there,” Adaola replied.
“How do you mean?” Mr. Chike asked. Adaola then narrated how she had been out of job for three years now and her husband was also relieved of his job two months ago, just when their son was about entering the university. She also told him about the scholarship and then asked him to assist in paying their son’s school fees through the university. Mr. Chike felt sorry for his sister but said he would not be able to pay the school fees because he had six children, who were also of school age. He however, agreed to give Paul the money to register for the Brookefield University examination, hoping that he would study hard and get one of those scholarships. Adaola thanked her brother. ‘When she told Paul later, he was happy and grateful.
Paul went back for third term with new zeal. He studied day and night to ensure that he passed his o’level examinations and also pass the entrance examination enough to merit the scholarship. He did not forget to pray for God’s help as he studied. Eventually when the results came out, he was the best graduating student and also got admitted to study literature in English at Brookefield University, UK, on scholarship. While at Brookefield, he continued to study very hard to maintain the scholarship, which was a yearly affair. After his graduation, he decided to embrace writing as a profession.
WHEN YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON YOU
After Paul had become an author, he published his autobiography as his first book and it fetched him a huge sum of money. He used part of the money to build a house and marry a wife, who was a banker and by name Susan. About a year later, they had a daughter as their first child whom they named Rose and a son afterwards whom they named Macaulay. Rose and Macaulay developed a great love for writing because they frequently sat by their father’s writing desk while he wrote, and helped him by pointing out errors for him. Both Rose and Macaulay, Paul’s own children, had their own different copies of their father’s autobiography.
After his autobiography, Paul wrote many inspirational and helping books, especially for pupils and students, who failed in class, to make them understand that they still had a chance. Due to the kind of books Paul wrote and also for the fact that his children read them, he was able to instill in them the discipline of remaining focused on their studies. They always came back with A+ or A’s and tried to be on top of their classes.
There came a time when Paul’s name was mentioned throughout the world and a lot of people knew about him. Many television stations documented his interviews and sometimes he featured on life shows. He was famous, had great fortune and to add to it, he won the author of the year award from the year his writings were noticed till the year he died; that he even needed a cupboard to keep all his trophies. He also had a library, which contained the books he had written. He also gave as much as he received; he had a foundation that gave prizes and scholarships to students for excellence. Sometimes schools invited him to give talks to the students and some even took their pupils for excursion to his library where they were shown his trophy cupboard. After the building of his library and museum, he built an educational centre, which was called: Educational Centre for Literature in English.
By Onyemere, Ugonna Ekene