14. Maami

Iya ni wura

A true mother is in worth of precious gold 

When I got in the University, we moved on more happily. She had this pile of yams, oil, Maggi, soap, Cowbell…that I would pack into the black Bagco bag, so heavy but she was happy that I raided her shop for everything I needed. 

I remembered my first school fees in the University. She has given me N1,535 before she left for work and also added my weekly allowance. 

I just obtained my Dad’s leather wallet and I neatly put me in school fees. Just on my way to school, after passing Gate, got to  Dugbe and about to board the Abeokuta bus, I found out that my wallet was missing. Someone has stolen my school fees. Chai. I did my best to trace the bus, the money was lost. 

My mum found me home, disbelieving that this just happened. She had to borrow another school fees, I needed to go the next day. 
That’s how we kept on, bouncing affection against one another. She would visit me at least once in a month, packing food and anything from her retail shop. She stopped this till an event, accepting that I was a grown up.

A riot happened in our University. I don’t think in the history of UNAAB, anything can compare to the crisis of that day. There has been pent up anger among students as the exams approached and also about the MTN mast in the Unversity that the Students’ Union felt they were not carried along. 

There were arguments that such a mast in the midst of the school portends health hazard and the school should shut it down. The VC, Professor Adu, won’t accept. He was not ready to listen and he just wanted students to do their worst. His will won’t be tested but that day, it was tested. 

Students led by Wole Aluta and Versace, had this protes. It was epic. It degenerated into violence. Lecturers were stoned with water, gates were smashed, cars were destroyed. Before we knew it, Nigerian Police was already in the school, firing tear gas, rounding up students. Never had such happened. 
I was unfortunate not to be in school that day. Yeah, I felt unfortunate. The activism in me wanted to be there, to experience it all.

My mum heard it on radio in Ibadan. Schools had been shut, students arrested. She could not rule out I was there. She called my number. It was not going. I had did scrap phone, 7 inches tall with large keypads. She did all she could. It did not go through. 

She found her way to Abeokuta. She arrived at my house. She didn’t meet me. She asked all my neighbors 

“Nibo ni Seun wa” 

No one could give her a coherent answer. They knew I was possibly with friends but where exactly, they could not tell. 

Wow. She could not sleep, counting the irregular squares of the ceiling board. She could not eat. My phones were not going through as I was with my friends, far into a lone house in Eleweran. 

After my neighbours had exhausted all the arguments assuring her I was alive and not in the police cell, she left for Ibadan. 

She was still perplexed till I called her and she sounded so angry. I found the next bus to Ibadan. Met her at home, looking at my with indifference. 

If she could bring back those days, I would kneeling down raising my hands. 

She had it in her, the love of a mother. Even till date, I still remain her boy. Once worried about every step I take but now she has accepted someone had the power to protect and keep me safe on the shining path.

That’s God. God bless her and keep healthy for me and my siblings. 

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