At about 10:15 am on Monday morning Owobale Community High School was experiencing recess. This is the time when the fourth period is about to begin. Just as the vigour of the teachers were winding off like a mechanically powered torch light, a motor bike cycled in. Disembarking was a bearded Alfa man looking like an Afghan Ayatollah. Alfa graduated from Owobale Community High some 27 years ago, 1985 to be precise. He walked to the principal’s office and demanded that he wanted to have his WAEC certificate. Requests like this, was news that make principals with underhand motive excited. My principal being one of such salivated with hope that extra cash for fuelling his car has come. Clearing his throat he asked, “Why haven’t you come since to collect your result?” before Ayatollah could answer, my principal interjects amidst his suffocated response, “well your fee for late collection is 3500 naira”. Mr Ayatollah tried to question the reason for the charge but seeing that my principal wouldn’t budge he began to plead with the principal for due consideration. He stated flimsy reasons like “I found it difficult to locate the school; it had changed a lot since I left”. A joyous thrill danced in my principal’s belly as he knew, “this one would drop at least 1000 naira” he thought. Before my principal would rejoice for his ‘kill’, he went to verify the particulars of Alfa and alas! Like a choice lamb taken for sacrifice only to be tagged unclean, Alfa was an old student of the school but had flunked his WAEC exam I think he had F parallel. When the news of his performance was relayed to him, Alfa almost slumped. He needed the result to execute a small government contract he just won. The result was supposed to be a minimal competence requirement to execute the job.
Going back home after the close of the day, my principal relayed the story to me and was bitter that he missed an opportunity to make 1000 naira. I played the story over and over again in my head trying to figure the level of fool hardiness that would make one not to bother about the fruit of his labour until it was 27 years overdue! Alfa clearly didn’t plan on making it in life with his certificate but the
needlessness of a certificate doesn’t eradicate the need for education. Maybe in his heart he wanted to seek alternative ways to succeed without conventional education, but I am sure the need for the WAEC certificate would have popped up once or twice and he ignored it or silenced his inner voice. He didn’t even collect a statement of result. To me, he didn’t deserve success. Alfa symbolised people who give up on preparation too soon either because they are too impatient to wait for the right opportunity that gives their preparation maximum expression or the simple lack of foresight. Foresight which is a combination of insight and hindsight is critical to making use of opportunities. Alfa had too much hindsight but lacked insight. He secretly wished things would stay the way they were, but they never did. Success is not all about the attainment of goals what brings fulfilment is its pursuit and to stay enlivened, this pursuit has to be continuous. There is utterly no use for opportunity when the requisite preparation is not in place. So the challenge is that there is a dearth of preparation not opportunities, thus making success elusive for majority of people. So no matter how long it takes for opportunities to manifest, one should not be weary of preparation. To the extent one prepares for success, is to that extent the level of success is scaled and handed to him by God.
Alfa came to school in high expectations but could barely mount his motor cycle. I am sure the ride home for him that day would be his longest.