By Samuel Fasanmi, PhD.
The crowd was huge as everyone was jostling for a slot to be selected for the ad-hoc job of the Nigeria Identity Card Commission. School leavers, artisans, and civil servants thronged Saint Benedicts Primary School, Ido-Ekiti, the Local Government Headquarters of Ido/Osi in Ekiti State. The NICC was shouldered with the responsibility of training ad-hoc staff that would register citizens at various designated centres across the nation. The exercise was during Olusegun Obasanjo first term in office in 2002, I was a supervisor and my duties were to train and select those who would be posted to various centres in Ido-Osi Local Government Area. The job requirements were high literacy level, good handwriting, computer literacy, and smartness.
I was actively involved in training the applicants and in ensuring that the best candidates emerged. Three events defined the exercise that would last for a life time in the memories of the participants. In one of my lectures, I wanted to weed off the applicants to a manageable size. I gave a one-paragraph dictation and collected their scripts. I scanned through the scripts and reduced the class to almost half immediately! My niece was among those I yanked off. I simply told the class that I am sorry; my niece too could not make the cut! We continued with the training. Few hours later, a wife of a politician from my community who was among the people I sent away came with a letter. I stopped my lecture, greeted her, scanned through her letter, and politely told her that the job is meant for only those who had met the requirements! During the payment, the battle for maintaining sanity shifted to the NICC staff. We found out that all the ad hoc staff was underpaid. After gotten our information from other LGAs, I challenged the NICC officials. I led the battle and ensured that everyone got the right payment. Little did I know that these three daring melodrama would define my adventure in the memories of the participants.
Dayo Adamolekun was among those who were in my class during the training; he was selected for the programme on merit. I never knew him; we never had one on one interaction during the training. He was posted to Usi-Ekiti, his home town. Part of my schedules was routine visit to Ilogbo-Ekiti and Usi-Ekiti Centres. Dayo Adamolekun and Joke Ajibade were among those that performed excellently at Usi Centre. The two of them were secondary school leavers seeking for university admission. I had followed their career progress since then up till date. I bonded with them, interacted with them, and socialized with them. They represent integrity, forthrightness, competence, and hard work. Their knack to bring sanity to Nigeria system is unparalleled. Joke and Dayo shone like stars in their universities. While Joke led her set in Industrial Chemistry at Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Dayo was among the best students in the Faculty of Law at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. The two of them are thriving in their careers.
Today, February 8, 2020, Dayo is 40 years old! It marvels me that he is just 40 years because he radiates the wisdom of a 70 year old man and a look of 20 year old boy! He is deep, meticulous, full of wisdom, and a fashionista. He is no longer a friend to me but a family. We rock life together whenever I am in Lagos. He is an astute barrister with guts. He is a community man and well respected for his honesty and incandescence integrity. He is sociable, well mannered, and well-nurtured.
Dayo is my lawyer, and he is always available for free legal counsel. He will only tell me I paid the price long time ago with my daring adventure during the NICC training exercise! Sow goodness now, it is a seed. It grows even when you cannot see it. It brings forth fruits of which you may be lucky to have a taste. Such fruits may nurture you and bring you happiness when your soul desires it. My journey with Dayo Adams is an example.
Fasanmi is a Senior Lecturer at Federal University, Gashua, Yobe State.