23.  20 years ago

To say I ever knew I was brilliant as a kid, I would be lying. Even recently when I get great compliments, I still wonder, am I the one involved here?

When I got in Primary six, my parents were confronted with the decision if it was financially sound to complete my primary education in a private school since we would only spend two terms before we write the ‘Common Entrance’ exams. I will also not need the exams as I gotten admission into a prime secondary school in Lagos.

My mum withdrew me to a public school  – Queens of Apostles Primary School -, where I completed my primary school. My mum was a teacher and interestingly, after going round few schools, today, she is there as an Assistant Head Mistress. I had that touch of class, that ‘Omo teacher’ special feel. 

She came around that I needed to represent the school for a competition. That was the “School of the Gifted, Suleja”. We were told it is a free special school for the brightest students.  It was a qualification exam that we would do first from the local government, then proceed to state level before we got admitted. 

I remembered I sat firmly in that class with other students who represented their schools. I did not get some questions right. I submitted and went back home to find out answers, learning from our neighbours. 

Few days later, another tall man came and asked that I retake the same test again. That’s awkward. They were not sure I took the test. The assumed that since the school I attended was the local government center, teachers could have helped me. I was trembling but the questions were familiar. When I submitted the English papers, and he checked through before I proceeded to Maths. He told me to stop. He got it. I wrote those papers myself. My mum was so excited, so proud of me. 

We did the state qualification exams and we didn’t get results. People started asking us who do we know at the Ministry of Education as we need a ‘long leg’ if I want that privilege. The results never came. 

Life moved on after the early euphoria. However, my mum had a silent challenge. I was nearly 10 and I was still bedwetting, something not happening to my younger siblings. It would be 11 till this stopped, till I found out that I would wake up during the night and find the toilet. What suddenly started waking me up and stopped this shame of waking up soaked in urine, running to cover the drenched mattress and changing my trousers so early in the morning just to appear in denial, I did not know. 

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