Olanike, my friend, feels just like yesterday……
I had arrived UI a neophyte straight from Secondary school, newbie in Ibadan.
I remember our first trip, Mumsie and I, we came by bolekaja (almost unbelievable, right?).
We came to find out what was needed to become a student as I had been offered admission.
Events after then remain blurred in my mind in a flurry of travelling to get my results from Jos, travelling back via Kaduna, in order to save the flight money.
Getting to UI with days before matriculation and being told the result I had was not the one UI required. Heading straight to WAEC in Lagos, being told that I could not get the result and ending up on the stairs, tears pouring from my eyes and the angel that decided I was worth the trouble, who went in search of my result, sealed and stamped it and handed it to me.
The elation when I returned and got my ‘Authority to pay’ and sitting to check the money I had to see I had just enough to pay and then go back home.
I returned with my clothes ready for classes just after winning some shady 'Miss Lagos' contest like that and waiving my rights to continue in the competition cos school was more important for me (and I was right!).
Heading out that first morning, I didn’t know where to go and walked in the direction of Admissions Office which was the only building I was familiar with. I hung around NISER park and looked at all those scurrying about very sure of where they were headed and despaired that perhaps, I should pack it in and return to my father’s farm where I was not an unknown quantity.
She came into my view looking as unsure as I was and my inner alarm bells went off. I followed her at a distance at first, then closer and finally, I asked, ‘where are you going?’. ‘Class’ she responded gaily and I again quickly asked, ‘prelim?’ and she answered, ‘yes’. Bold now, I asked, ‘Science?’ and she answered ‘yes’. I was doing cartwheels inside me and tried not to show too much excitement as I said, ‘me too’.
It would be the start of a friendship that has lasted since that day sometime in last quarter of 1988 till date.
We have lived through quite a bit and we have laughed and cried and done the most unbelievable things together and stayed friends.
I wish one could print pictures from one’s mind, I would show you pictures of our early days but the memories are ours to treasure forever.
It is Olanike’s forty-somethingth birthday today (a lady never tells jor!) and I am so grateful to God for her.
If anything, she has taught me to love unconditionally, to just serve love. And I am so glad I call her friend.
She is a woman, a mother, a business person, a diligent worker, God’s child, awesome friend, boldly bearing the marks of years of bearing the burdens of being a human being, authentic and unwilling to quit.
I am overcome with emotion just recalling some of what Nike has been through and how gracious her smile is.
Baby girl, years from now, we will still be giggling like we did this morning.
This here is me saying unashamedly how much I love you. Be well, my darling!