Until we met that fateful Friday on the serene campus of the University of Professional Studies, Accra, I held the perception that he was one of the guys who never saw the value of schooling and by tether, education. Though our elders say “an inquisitive monkey always has a bullet on his face”, I decided to be inquisitive.
“What are you doing here”? I asked
“I am here to pray and go back to class.” He responded confidently.
“Remedial class at Ideal College.” He responded again.
After that interlocution, I found out that he had moved from Nima to Madina estate so that he could escape the enticements from friends in order to fully concentrate on his academic studies. I then revised my notes on him since then. And he has moved on steadily.
Mubarak Iddrisu is the subject matter of discussion today. He completed Mrs. Adu Sam’s New Nation School in Nima in 2007 and moved to O’ Reilly Senior High School that same year to study General Science. After a year of rigorous studies, he did not fare well in the science course and decided to move to Business. He therefore joined the new entrants thus repeating a year. Like many Nima guys presently, he lost his soul to worldly pursuits and started as Mr. Kwabla Kuwornu will say “showing himself randomly’” in school. In his own words, he had this to say “Maazi, there is no club in Accra that I have not frequented. Roxbury, Vienna, Glens, Aponkye, Container etc.” and other clubs that are not discoverable to my puritan mind.“Maazi, if even I went to school those days, it was due to the unwavering cajolements from my parents. My dad who is shy of me usually begs me to go to school. My weekends begin on Thursdays when together with friends, I go for rendezvous in one of the boiling points in Accra. I sometimes go to school red-eyed and full of sleep and wish a teacher will just query me on anything. That query alone gives me a ‘carte blanche’ to move away from school usually with friends to endless parties in my house, restaurants etc.” In the end, Mubarak failed terribly and miserably in his WASSSCE examinations. HE PERFORMED DISMALLY AND ABYSMALLY.That did not raise any hackle on his skin because after all he was rich and could afford anything he wanted. He therefore continued his Parisian life with untold impunity.
There is a particular stamping ground in Nima called Los Angeles. That is where we usually sit together into the wee hours of the night ‘analyzing’ topics ranging from archaeology to zoology. These analyses usually end up in noisy, charged arguments with each party screaming his lungs out to have his point stated. However, we had sane and most often intellectually-stimulating discussions. The discussions sometimes required thorough research before we came to a conclusion. Through these numerous discussions, Mubarak popularly called Shushu, who is one of the strong discussants realized he has a natural predilection for learning that he dropped. He decided to go pick it up. That was the beginning of the volte face!
Mubarak enrolled at the Ideal College, hid his face from friends and in his own words “married his books profoundly.” Days before the results came out; he told me he will never go back to school again if he fails this time around again. Never! He was never to fail again! Allah stated emphatically in the Holy book of Islam, specifically in Chapter 18:30 “…… Indeed, We will not allow to be lost, the reward of any who did well in deeds.” Mubarak stamped his authority in the examinations by coming out with straight A’s with two B’s. As I put pen to paper, Mubarak is a student of the University of Cape Coast studying BSc. Mathematics with Business.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu painted this picture well for us “There is no situation that is not transformable. There is no person who is hopeless. There is no set of circumstances that cannot be turned about by human beings and their natural capacity for the love of the deepest sort.”
To all Nima boys and girls, no one owes us a living. We make our own destinies. You make your own life. You can choose to waste it and you can choose to make the most out of it. I see great potentialities in us that we waste on frivolities, banalities and unproductive ventures. We must persevere. We must persist in the face of turbulences and pestilences. We must persist to put our heads above the troubling waters. Persistence indeed conquers.
Calvin Coolidge should perhaps advise us:
“Nothing in this world will take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
NB: The writer is a student of Tafsiliyya School for Training and Education.
Mubarak celebrated his birthday on 16th September, 2014. A birthday is just the beginning of another 365-days journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip!