Because St Paul’s was a new Secondary School, the authorities decided that the first sets of students would undergo a six year course to be properly grounded for the West African School Certificate examinations. So 1959 was our final year. By that 1959 the incidence of my being sent home for school fees had faded from memory. Indeed since my return from my one month holiday in Ndikelionwu my school fees, thirty three pounds, came in regularly each term. I even had the luxury of spending the 1957 long holidays in Kaduna in the home of Mr Okeke-ifi, my father’s friend. So the onus was on me to study hard and pass my School Certificate examinations. We had to choose subjects and I omitted English Literature for the reason that I did not get on with the teacher!
During the years following my long vacation in my home town I developed a habit for copious correspondence with all and sundry, in particular, with two of my town’s people whom I had met during those holidays. One was Joy Ike, the junior sister of Chukwuemeka Ike, with whom I was infatuated even though she was my cousin. The other was Obinani Okoli, a student of St Augustine’s Grammar School, Nkwerre. These were active members of Ndikelionwu Student’s Union and kept me briefed on all happenings at home. And prior to our final examinations these two wrote me wonderful letters of encouragement and Obinani was particularly interested in what I would be in future, a doctor or an accountant. I also corresponded with many other people.
In my class I had two close friends, both smallish like myself, Charles Okonkwo, a boy from Eziowele in Eastern Nigeria. He was simply brilliant and topped the class every term till we left school. The other was Latifu Salami, brilliant in Mathematics and an all-rounder in science. Then there was Emmanuel Spencer whom I mentioned in an earlier post as having got me interested in reading by giving me a detective magazine by Erle Stanley Gardner.

I was quite active in sport. I was the Table Tennis captain and played for the school first eleven football team off and on. I was a House Prefect and a school dispenser in the dispensary run by Mrs Douglas. I was also the editor of the House, (Crowther House) magazine.
About September we had our mock school certificate examinations which was an internal examination by the School under the West African Examination Council’s examination conditions to prepare us for the actual examinations. The actual examinations took place in November/December. We were then issued testimonials and I was particularly happy at being rated `of above average intelligence’ by the Principal. And that was the end of school!
The end of 1959 was the period of relocation for my family. Uncle Cyril had relocated to Ndikelionwu years ago. My ailing father who had retired from the Railways went home to Ndikelionwu. My brother, Moses, who was just finishing Primary School also travelled to Ndikelionwu. I moved to Kaduna, about fifty miles further south. So, ten years after I arrived Zaria in the cold harmattan I left it during the harmattan to Kaduna, a bit warmer but still under the harmattan, to look for a job and await my results.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *