Running splash of rust and gold
Flung and scattered among seven Hills
Like broken china in the sun.
– Ibadan, J. P. Clark
If anyone had told me prior to writing my first JAMB examination that I was going to end up in the University of Ibadan somewhere in Oyo State, I would have frowned at the person and prayed about it.
Didn’t need such negativity.
My dream school was the UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, NSUKKA (UNN). My best friend who was two years my senior was already there and all I wanted to do was be with her. So you can imagine the disappointment I felt when after my first JAMB with a score of 245 I was rejected by UNN. I remember shedding a tear or two.
It was time for the second JAMB examination, my parents and I were confused about what school to fill – my dad was already against UNN. I really do not know how but all of a sudden my father mentioned that I had an in-law who worked with the University of Ibadan and maybe it could be a good idea, although he kept hammering and mentioning the long distance.
JAMB examination came, POST-UME came, I had the same 245 in JAMB and my father who could be the leader of anything pessimistic told me I should consider my Third JAMB – I mean, if UNN didn’t consider me, why would the GREAT UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN?
Fortunately for me, I was invited for the POST-UME and I had 74%. A week letter my name was out on the list –
YOU HAVE BEEN ADMITTED TO STUDY LAW AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN!
JOY. NOTHING BUT JOY 🙂
My first year experience came with a fat share of CULTURE SHOCK. The Hijab wearing girls who covered every single part of their body. I remember not entering same cabs with them. The “thing” they called soup – it broke me. The special broom for ewedu soup. The surprise in realizing that some people had no idea what Isam (Periwinkle) was. The wonder on their faces when they saw your pot of soup with plenty traffic : Kpomo, okporoko, meat, fish.
The shock of saying “Thank you” three times to show that you’re really grateful.
First day : AUNTY THANK YOU
Second day : AUNTY THANK YOU FOR YESTERDAY
Third day : AUNTY THANK YOU FOR THE OTHER DAY
The way elderly people called you Aunty at the hair salons or in shops. The “Ahhhhhhh” and the “Ahhhhhssssss” when talking.
Ibadan was a different world. Different from anywhere across the Niger. The six years of my life I spent at the boarding school in Umuahia didn’t prepare me for IBADAN!
Fast forward to 2016, I say Thank you three times. I bend my knees while greeting. But I have not tasted ewedu soup and I don’t think I ever will.
It is Ibadan that would give me love and it is Ibadan that will give me heartbreak. It is Ibadan that would make me thirsty for my “history”. Ibadan would bring out the Igbo In me.
Ibadan would open my heart to Wole Soyinka, Chris Okigbo and Chinua Achebe in a more intellectual way – to think that they walked these grounds.
Ibadan would teach me Public Speaking. Ibadan would give me Chinelo and Chiamaka.
IBADAN would be the very last place I would hug my best friend, Chioma, at the entrance of the Chapel of Resurrection.
Ibadan would break me. Ibadan would stretch me. Never to be the same.
Ibadan ; the place I found me.
Ibadan is indeed a very unique and beautiful city. I love the blend of ancient and modern, I love that you can be walking through some really “ancient” streets and next thing you’re In front of a mall.
Ibadan is quiet, calm and peaceful. It gives what Lagos doesn’t offer. Although I like to think most of the times that the University of Ibadan plays a major role in bringing the town to life.
Ibadan is a very organized city. The markets – Bodija for food stuff and maybe the little Songo market; Aleshilonye for fabrics and shoes etc. I love how the tomatoes and peppers stand boldly on the trays, calling on you with their bright red colors.
What I love most in the Bodija Market is how the Igbo market women have their section, they all stay together and sell any Igbo food item you want. Maybe it’s because the Easterners are known for travelling upandan.
So if you’re from across the Niger and you crave oha soup and nsala and ofe aku, ogbono, achi, okporoko trust me, the Bodija market has got you covered.
Ibadan is also a city of intellectuals and book nerds, a city of art collectors and good eccentric people, a city of writers, a city filled with brilliant and amazing students finding these corners of Arts and book shops.
These “art centres and book shops” are basically what I’ll be writing about on Ibadan insider. I’ll also write about my personal experiences.
This I’ll do with grace. I’ll write about this place”.
Watchout for Episode 1 and a lot more coming after that. 🙂