Adeolu C. Alupogun-Iran
He quietly opened my door and snuggled up to me in bed; my eyes remained closed but I knew it could only be one person, Olubunmi, my favourite nephew. He pretended as if he wanted to catch up with sleep, but it wasn’t long before his cover was blown up. He tapped me and never waited for my response. He hit the nail on the head, Uncle, I just can’t sleep, I have my mind preoccupied. Still sleeping but I heard him well, so I asked him what the problem was.
He opened up: “Hmm, Mum said I must study law but I have a strong passion for journalism. She said we need a lawyer in the family. She pointed out, how Omowunmi made the family proud when she concluded her medicine study two years ago and now is my turn. Uncle, I am confused.” By this time he had succeeded in wrestling sleep away from me.
I became stiff, perhaps, startled can best describe my reaction to what Olubunmi just told me. I managed to keep my shock away from him. I drew him closer, thinking frantically about the best approach in communicating to him. I understood perfectly what he was passing through, because I was once a victim of career imposition but due to my stubbornness I got the career of my choice, not without a price though. Apparently, I wouldn’t want him to pass through what I went through.
Very early in life, I felt the pangs of parents’ vendetta against their own children because I dared disobey them on their choice of career for me. To me, I had learnt from experience and preventing my little nephew from such a traumatic experience was of utmost importance to me. I sat him down to really ascertain where his interest really lay.
“Why do you want to study journalism,” I asked him.
“I want to keep my society informed, and knowing I’m doing something for them will make me happy.” That’s his view of the profession. Though, I knew he would do well in any of the professions, yet a reassurance from him wasn’t a bad idea. “This is a difficult issue,’ I thought. A terrain I never imagined I would tread ever again!
I knew my sister; Olubunmi’s Mum was never in my support throughout those periods; in fact, she made sure all persuasions from well meaning people to my parents were fruitless because she was indeed very close to them. These memories came back fresh as I was trying to persuade Olubunmi that things will fall into place, but deep inside I didn’t know how. One thing was clear; his mother won’t ever listen to me. In order to make him happy I proposed he would go out with me later in the day, though I never intended to as I planned to stay in-doors and close out some official tasks during the weekend, I simply had to accommodate him.
As he stepped out of my room, my mobile phone rang; on the other end of the line was a good buddy of mine. Johnson was God-sent to me during my trying times; he called to invite me for their family reunion activities. He said I could bring my family members and the line went dead. My girlfriend was not in town so I thought of who to invite. Reluctantly, I sold the idea to my sister on phone and she bought it surprisingly.
Johnson’s family reunion was a three-day event, but we couldn’t get to attend until the last day. The family was quite warm and accommodating; we were shown the table and we sat among them. While we were settling down, a young man came on the small platform that had been neatly arranged to signal the commencement of the programme. He gave a short but concise history of the family: “In line with the tradition of the family, which strongly believes that the best way to learn and get more wisdom in life is by learning through other people’s experiences, he said.
“Today, our special guest will inspire you; his life experience will drill the depth of emotion from you. I know for sure most of us will leave this year’s reunion with changed perception on the issues his story would evolve round.” I was looking around to see who the speaker would be, when out of the blues I was introduced as one.
I was startled and visibly shaken, I didn’t know whether to stand or remain seated, before I could decide on what to do, two beautiful young ladies appeared beside me, obviously to usher me to the stage. By the time I stepped on stage, I had regained my composure.
I narrated my ordeal as a 14-year-old boy, how my parents disowned me because I refused against their wish to study medicine, how I enrolled to take West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for accounting and commerce to qualify me for a degree in accountancy. The frustrating role my sister seated in their midst played to ensure I never achieved my dream of becoming a chartered accountant at age 19. But all weapons mounted against me failed because of two persons: GOD and Johnson, my dear friend.
Today, I did not only achieve my dream of becoming a chartered accountant at 19, I also became a doctor of accounting with specialization in statistics and data analysis at 25. My parents never thought I could survive those dark hours and eventually rescind their stand and took me back after my first degree.”
As I rounded off every soul at that gathering was on their feet, heavily laden with emotions. I couldn’t move from the very spot I stood, I was equally overwhelmed. My sister obviously could not control her emotion, she was drenched in tears as she walked through the people to usher me back to my seat. All through the reunion programme she was visibly quiet despite various hilarious activities that formed part of the event.
Two weeks later I got a mail from Olubunmi, that journalism, his choice of career, had been approved by his parents. Evidently, Johnson’s family reunion event had performed the magic.