What's Your Own Story?

Quite early in life, I read of an African Proverb that said, ‘To get lost is to find the way’. I never knew the meaning until now.
I have always been a brilliant child so it was no news when in July, 2008, I graduated from secondary school and everything was awesome. I immediately registered and sat for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board’s exam; my score was 236 and I felt I didn’t do well so I started preparing myself to write another JAMB in 2009. I had my fair share of B3s and C4, 5, 6 and of course a D7 in Mathematics and Biology - which was a miracle. I scored above 55 and got admitted into the course of my dreams - LL.B Hons - at Benue State University, Nigeria. I was lucky.
My desire to study law was not because I was in SS3D or because I was an art student and had no other option. When I was about 9 – or 10 years old, I watched a Nigerian movie which informed the decision to become a Barrister. The details are a bit foggy at the moment but I remember that the story was about a young orphan boy who would only be eligible to get his inheritance on his 25th Birthday. The uncle was a mean man who made him go through and a lot and finally started plotting to kill him before his 25th year. The late father’s lawyer fought this case until he won and the little boy got justice. I told my parents there and then about my intentions to study law to advocate for people who were vulnerable; I wanted to be their voice.
I heard about how difficult law was and how one had to pay kin attention to make headway in the department; so I became scared. When my first semester result came out, it was cool or so I thought. I had no carryovers so I relaxed and thought if I continued same way, I might make it eventually. By second semester - year one - my GP wasn’t so good. I had never failed an exam in my entire life so it took a bad toll on me because I didn’t need a soothsayer to tell me that my performance was not up to par. That’s how my struggle began.
My 200 to 500 level semesters are quite blurry at the moment (thankfully my brain has hidden that memory) probably because they were quite uneventful or because everything was bleak, terrifying, frustrating and devastating. I struggled and made all effort to catch up but I could not. Looking back I can’t say if I tried my best or not. Maybe, one day I will have the courage to critically examine where I went wrong.
When I understood that I could no longer complete my law degree, I refused to accept that was the end for me. I refused to let my inability to achieve a goal get to me. I thought to myself,
‘This is not the end and I can prove myself, I can prove that I am not a failure’.
My Dad inquired about National Open University of Nigeria – NOUN – and told me to go and give it a try in 2014. I enrolled for B.Sc Criminology and Security Studies; all these while I was wondering,
‘What on earth will I do?’
In January 2015, I met two middle aged men – they were friends it seemed. Both were interested in me; I was amused. One finally asked for my number. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t have given him but, I was tired of hearing about how uptight I was from friends; so I gave him so I could have a response the next time someone raised that argument. The first day we met, we reached an impasse. He was highly offended that I was going to NOUN and not a ‘conventional’ University; but that did not bother me. What I can’t forget is the question he asked me that night.
“What makes you think you can stand a chance against the graduates that conventional universities churn out yearly?”
That question was the straw that should have broken the camel’s back because I was angry, sad, felt defeated… but, I simply told God to see and hear how I was mocked.

Later that year, I went for QROGA meeting. I listened to a friend talk about how volunteering had helped her. I told her that I wanted to volunteer as well.
She took me to Elohim Development Foundation. It was where I started volunteering in 2016. I cannot say how much I have gained from the experience. It has been a journey of self-discovery and growth. I will forever be thankful to Gift, Victoria Daaor Ph.D and Boss Man. Your contributions to that phase of my life is tremendous; and my parents of course who were always there for me.
When I got selected for the Obama founded leadership training - Young African Leadership Initiative, YALI – the Nigeria Cohort 4, I wasn’t really excited because I was waiting for Mandela Washington Fellowship, MWF and I wasn’t selected. I got to ASCON and I met and mingled with the most wonderful and brilliant minds. I was thrilled. Every day I still ask myself how and why I was selected. This causes me to reflect and think deeply.
Finally, this is my 10th year after graduating from secondary school and these are the lessons I have learnt:
v  Our timelines are different; don’t rush yourself.
v  Be happy about where you are while you are making your best efforts to move forward.
v  Be focused.
v  Sometimes, what you feel is ‘plan B’ may just be the main plan.
I am in my final year in school now. I may not get a first class but second class upper division won’t pass me by – lol!
I have not achieved all I hoped to by now, but I know that if God wills it, I can achieve all of my dreams. I know now what it feels like to fail; this is just to encourage someone out there. You can do whatever you set your mind to. Whatever is going wrong should not be not enough reason to make you feel depressed. Be strong! What makes you stand a chance in this world is your PURPOSE -  find it!

Emmanuella Nguavese Ikomon is a change maker, a development worker, a bookworm and recently started entertaining thoughts of writing. She also review books and a potential Criminologist.
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  1. I know there's more about you. Keep exploring girl

  2. You are a rare gift to our generation, you are a shining star, the world is coming to your rising.
    You are a story that will heal and inspire many.
    You are a model to womanhood.
    Keep pushing...Emanuella ikomon, the litle i know about you is inspiring.

  3. I am encouraged! We seem to have a similar story.
    Blessings Emmanuella!

  4. Well-done Emmanuella.


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