Back in 2014, I received a request from Mrs. Ajibola's office, the Executive Director of the Advancement Office at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. My Alma Mater, GREAT IFE, where I had completed my Undergraduate degree 26 years prior. WOW how time flies! The request was to speak to the graduating students at the Pre-Alumni Workshop about Life Beyond Road 1. Road 1 being the main road leading to and from the beautiful University campus. I felt honored. And so on March 24, 2015, I had the opportunity to join Engr. Abiodun Fijabi at Oduduwa Hall to speak to hundreds of students about "Life Beyond Road 1". As I made my way to Ile-Ife from Ibadan that morning, I learned two lessons about "Life Beyond Road 1", 26 years later after leaving Campus!
My plan that morning was to fuel the car as we were heading to Ife. I did not envisage the problem of a fuel shortage. Very long lines and very few stations open along the highway. Worse still, we didn't have enough fuel in the car to take us to Ife. Arriving late or not arriving in Ife at all due to fuel scarcity was NOT an option for me! So, what did I do? I kicked off my 3.5inch high heels, slipped into flip-flops, jumped out of the car, dashed to a nearby car park and chatered a taxi cab to Ife. On arriving at Ife, the taxi developed a fault and the driver begged me not to be angry because he was unable to drop me at my destination on campus. Angry? Are you kidding? I was so thankful the fault developed in Ife and not on the way to Ife. I jumped out of his cab and ran to take one of the Danfo shuttle buses plying the campus and in no time was dropped in front of Oduduwa Hall. Just in time!
The two lesssons learned 1. Be prepared for the unexpected and 2. Learn to think quickly on your feet. Nigeria is a country chock full of unpredictable occurrences. Most of them can be pretty frustrating. The frustration can either make you a "complainer", leave you defeated or make you defiant and determined to succeed despite the obstacles. My hope is that the Graduating Students of Great Ife will always opt for the 3rd option - defiant and determined to succeed despite the obstacles. Congratulations to all the Graduands and wishing you much success ahead.