One time in 2015, I turned down an opportunity to work with the United Nations Women Office, Abuja. I had applied for an internship position at the time I was putting finishing touches to my Masters degree program at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. You had to be a postgraduate student of International Affairs and Diplomacy or courses related to that in order to be qualified.
I was ecstatic when I got their mail to appear for a written test and interview at their Maitama office.
If you know me very well, you’d know that for a strange reason, I kind of love interviews. I don’t like tests. I may have failed CHM 222 and MTH courses in school o but nna mehn, there are some areas where I can wield my muscle too. I have the uncanny ability to turn every interview session to an interesting conversation. I wrote the test and had the interview same day.
So, this UN interview should be my best and most unique so far.
Because I was interviewed by a PANEL comprising of a white woman(I’ve forgotten her country now), an African and one or two Nigerians.
I was “shook” when I went in.
Only two of us were invited. I and a guy. I went in first.
They asked me some interesting international questions, advocacy questions, my interests. To be honest, the questions were very thick. Too loaded. But I answered as much as I could.
They nodded many times. Their faces showed their affirmation. I knew I was already taken when we talked about the next thing. Money. It was to be an unpaid internship. Gbagaun!!
“Where do you stay?”, The man asked
“How will you be coming here even though we won’t pay?
The only thing is, you have a chance of being considered for employment if we recruit around that time.
It’s an 8-6.
Toh. The last time I did an 8-6 was in Lagos and they were feeding me lunch till I left. They were even paying. And we ate a lot of chocolate and drank cocoa drink. Mehn, I balled the entire year I worked there.
I would have taken it still. That was not the first time I would work without pay. I did while at the Nigerian Compass where I met and worked with Jonathan Eze. Although, initially, it wasn’t stated that I’d not be paid. I got to know after I resumed.
So, I told Mr Banji about UN, to know if he would be helping me with tfare and he told me not to take it. You will soon get a better job(at the appeal court😁).
Apart from him, I reasoned it out. It would cost me a lot of money per day to get to the office. You have to pay a cab to take you there. I had to let it go and it was very painful. I was broke.
I sat at home moping for a long time.
Prior to that time, precisely 2014. I had gone to the bank with someone to buy forms for ABU postgraduate program. I had just forfeited my postgraduate admission at the University of Lagos in 2013 after passing the entrance exam and got the admission to study international affairs. Why did I forfeit it? I was moving to Abuja to join Mr Banji. I threw away a UNILAG postgraduate admission that was highly sought after. The University of first choice😀😁
I had read for that exam like mad. Not mad really. It was current affairs. They even asked me questions about the London Olympics which I wrote with Jonathan Eze on the features desk at Compass.
We wrote that exam at the main hall. The main hall could not contain us and I was moved along with others to another hall. When I checked the site and saw my name weeks after, I wasn’t as elated as my dad. He was so happy. I quickly used that opportunity to ask him for money and he gave me sharp sharp.
But, I threw the admission away for the unknown.
That day, after walking out of the bank in Garki, I moved with the someone to a side of the road and began to cry. I shed hot tears and my eyes were red. Not because of the lost unilag admission or because I just got forms for another. No.
It was because everything was not working few years after school. I felt life was against me. I didn’t even have an accommodation in Abuja. I was squatting with a friend’s friend in Apo. I had squatted in Mararaba. It was while in Mararaba that i spoke with my buddy in US, FGchubby and he called a friend for me. I moved out of the slums of Mararaba the next day. And I haven’t stepped my foot there since then. Well, until I went for training organised by the office at one hotel in the area sometimes last month or so after all these years.
So, I was crying because I was broke, jobless and homeless. Yes, dad was in town but I couldn’t move in with him. We never lived together in Abuja. But I never told him my struggles anyways. I told him I was living with a friend. He even came to know the house 😀. I could not go back home. I was ashamed. I was in pains.
So I went to ABU and wrote the exam. I begged God to let it work. I passed.
This is 2019. My court has moved to its permanent site. I remembered that the bank where I bought my PG forms in 2014 was around the new office area but that was all.
One day, I erroneously did something on my account and I needed to get it sorted at the bank.
So I walked there from my office. As I was walking back to the office after finishing at the bank, fiam!!!
The memories came flooding back and I saw myself, five years earlier, crying at that same junction with swollen red eyes and runny nose. Crying because I could not fend for myself and was homeless.
I stopped in my tracks. I looked around me. The road was deserted except for moving cars.
Now, is it a coincidence that my office is located exactly where I cried? I never imagined I would get a job where I am now. No, it wasn’t part of the plan. I never even imagined it. Dad’s driver then, Mr Dare, used to drive me in dad’s Hilux to drop me at the junction in that area so that I would go back to airport road where I lived. One day, he pointed at the uncompleted building from afar, “that’s our office under construction”. It looked small and ugly from afar.
But today, I’m sitting in that office and it’s a giant edifice.
I have a house where I’m paying my own rent😀😁😂. It’s a big deal to be paying rent in Abuja without a sugar daddy😀😁😂.
One day, last month, someone wanted to visit me from church. He got to my area and went to stand confidently close to an ugly house thinking I would come out from that street. Lol, lol.
I peeped out from my tarred street and saw him standing afar off. I waved at him to come. He had to trek down and leave the ugly area😀😁
He was just looking around.
“This is your house?”
“Obviously…or why I’m I here😀”. Take note that we were still outside.
Boda now entered and was shocked. He sat for a little bit and then took his leave. He has never come back. Not even when I was sick and couldn’t go to church.
What is the moral of this story? I don’t know too.
But I know that everything good will always come.