UZOAMAKA WRITES,‘This is my fifth JAMB’, I thought in my mind as I sold akara (beans cakes) to a customer who just alighted from a jeep. He was an old customer and bought akara from us as though he were programmed- never a minute later than 8am.
“Put N400 akara for me and add little pepper”, he instructed.
“Yes sir.” I replied.
“You did not put enough jara for me. If it were your mother she would.” He whined.
I always wondered why the man ever asked for jara, he seemed ‘too rich’ for such. He used to have a driver who came down to buy the akara for him but I never saw him again few months after the present administration took over.
“Perhaps the recession hit him too”, my mother said when we were having one of our ‘packing-up-to-go-home’ chats.
“I have put sir”, I said while handing over the nylon to him.
The jara I put would have sold for N70, quite generous of me I must commend.
I thanked the man for his patronage as he paid and walked back to his car.
I scored 135 and 180 respectively the first and second time I sat for JAMB exam. But I was not qualified to sit for Post-UTME as the school I applied for set its cut-off mark at 180 and 200 the respective years. The third and fourth years saw me qualified for post-UTME, but not admission. I got 198 in my exam this year and my mother was so bitter; more bitter than I was. She borrowed the money for the JAMB form from a friend and had to pay with interest. She was not even done making the payment. I knew how heart-broken she was to know that her effort was in vain. I was no better than Teresa who got 150. I would have felt better if I got 160 or anything not quite close to 200.
“They should have just dashed you two marks. What is ordinary two marks that they cannot give someone’s child”, she thought out loud when I showed her the result print-out.
I cried myself to sleep most nights after I saw my result. I recounted all the customers I put jara for and wondered why I could not get jara from JAMB. Perhaps JAMB has not recognized me as a customer yet, I thought. I wonder how many years more I had to sit for JAMB before they would acknowledge me as a customer and add some marks for me if I did not perform well enough. Till then, I would have to enrol for JAMB again and be sure not to give too much money for offering or ‘sowing of seed’, keeping in mind what I saw in one of the newspapers I used to wrap potatoes for a customer.
It was the latest compilation of Forbes richest men. Three Nigerian pastors made it to the list and only last Sunday, our pastor said he had a vision that one of us would make it to the Forbes list. If it is to be him, it will not be with my money biko.