By Abdullah Tijani
The university management has just reiterated its commitment to implement its 75 per cent attendance policy. This impliedly means that a student who fails to meet up with this requirement will be disillusioned on the exam day. This story portrays the experience of a sick student as he struggles to meet up with this requirement. ABDULLAH TIJANI reports…
The whole room was rowdy. The slapping sounds of slippers in and outside Muhammad Adamu’s room were enough to wake up every sleeping numb. Outside the room was glittering yellow sunlight. A lot of people — mainly men — were seen moving back and forth. Restless. Everybody was busy with one thing or another — either holding bottled water going to the toilet or holding a bucket full of water. and heading towards the bathroom. The atmosphere was easy to note that they were preparing for something. But, Muhammad Adamu was still lying on a bed in an eight-occupant room in Jubril Aminu block.
It was Monday morning on March 2nd, and the hustle and bustle of the students have started. Majority of them have lectures by 8:00 am, and most others 10 am. Adamu falls in the latter category — lecture by 10. If it is just 10 am to 12 pm, he would not be concerned but the lectures as designed in the timetable gives them no mercy. There are three lectures on Monday, it starts at 10 in the morning, and ends by 4 pm in the afternoon.
This is not the first time he is going for Monday lectures or leaving hostel from dawn to dusk, but the lectures on that very day, to him is frivolous and did not think of capable of going.
He was still lying on his bed when his colleagues got dressed and noticed he has not changed his status quo. He did know we have lectures today, they said as they were perturbed on what may be happening. They knew he has been sick, but did not think it can reach the extent of sacrificing the lecture of the day.
They were all surprised because they know nobody should miss the lecture. The university management has just reiterated its commitment to implement its 75 per cent attendance policy. This impliedly means that a student that fails to meet up with this requirement will be disillusioned on the exam day.
At Nine o’clock, they were set and ready to move. They called Adamu to come and take his meal but he ignored the invitation. This was where suspicion arouses as to what sickness would denied their friends of eating. Adamu can joke with anything but sacrificing his portion of food.
When his colleagues started eating, they have already partitioned his portion, because, now that their friend is sick, he will need food to regain his strength, something they will later discover will not work.
Before they could finish eating, Adamu made his first statement for the day. “You guys better help me prepare pap,” he said softly. This sounds relieving. Apart from the fact that he is just talking after a long time, all Adamu’s friends know his love for pap is incontestable.
When they were leaving the room, they left a meal prepared with beans — a considerable amount to satisfy a hungry man — and hot millet pap with evaporative steam. Another thing they left was their friend who was lying on his bed, helpless. They left without further preaching as to why he must be strong or act strong so that he would not miss the class. He has decided not to go to class, they say as they move away.
Adamu in class, slumbering
When Adamu’s friends got to class, it was about time for the lecture to commence. Should they inform the class representative of his sickness; this, they know do not always work to gain attendance.
The time is getting closer and they have to make a decision. It will not cost anything if the class representative is aware, they finally concluded to push his case forward, but before they could do this, surprisingly, the passive man they left on the hostel bed appear in the faculty of law.
He walks to the class like a tired camel, he looks pale and his face protrudes a blank expression. He finds a seat at the back, rests his back against the back-side of the foam chair and looks in no specific direction. Indeed, readings from his face, it is easy for anyone to presume he had risked his life coming for the lecture.
The lecturer finally entered and everybody was seated.
Before one hour would pass out of the two hours lecture, Adamu’s head was already on the back partition of his front seat designed as a table. Anybody that looks back will always see him this way. Not as if it is legal or legitimate to be sleeping while the lecture is in progress, but the class comprising of two combined level (UG4 and UG5) may be easy to act in such a way without attention from the lecturer. It is better for him that way, though the next two hours would be very decisive.
It is some minutes to twelve noon, but for Adamu, the first lecture is just going to an end. It is high time he stood up because the purpose of risking his life is about to occur. In the meantime, the lecturer called attendance and he (Adamu) summoned his strength and said from the back, “present sir”.
The Decisive Point
The first lecture has ended, but it was also the beginning of tumultuous ordeals for Adamu. His friends moved persuasively to escort him to the clinic. But he could not conjure the courage of doing so. “Are you mad, see how you are. You are not even listening to lectures,” one of his friends burst out. But this does nothing to freak him.
“I’m not with my clinic ID card,” he responded.
“How could you leave that in the hostel when you know you are sick?”
“Time was against me, I couldn’t remember.”
Before Adamu would go to the clinic, he has to go back to the hostel and take his clinic ID card. “In this condition?!”
A lecture just finished, though another one is coming, they think it is better to send themselves back to the hostel to take their friend’s clinic ID.
When they got to the hostel it was their surprise that Adamu did not eat anything before leaving for class. The beans and the hot pap (now cold) still maintained their former position. This sickness is seriously serious, they thought.
On getting back to school, the lecturer was already in class. And Adamu sat, as expected, in the back, laying his head on the table.
The whole two-hour-period was as if one was a journey to an endless end. It seems as if the lecture will not finish. But when it eventually did, the hope of going to the clinic was about to crash.
“Adamu, let’s go to the clinic the lecturer has left,” his friends woke him up where he had placed his head.
“How many lectures remain now,” he asked, raising his eyebrows to make gestures.
“I think it’s better I wait for the last one.”
It is a pity that Adamu has everything it takes to go to the clinic and get himself treated, but the fear of missing attendance is hooking him up to class where he listens to no lectures.
After hectic hours of pain and suffering, Adamu finally got his way back to the clinic, feeling for himself a sense of relief after being attended to by the doctor in charge. Going back to the hostel with some medicine, it is hard for him to recount the ordeals he had encountered since he has been unconscious.