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The Fourth of September 2015, was another normal Sunday. I and my sister were making up, tying our head ties and talking about how late we already were when someone knocked. It was Chenemi. Ojochenemi.
She is one of the most resilient and focused persons I know. I met her in J.S.S. One B, of the Demonstration Secondary School in Zaria. With her neatly ironed white short sleeved shirt, blue pencil skirt, a beret perched atop one corner of her head, her determination to hold her own, write her notes and even draw her own diagrams despite her constantly shaking hands drew my respect and affection as well as that of other class mates.
Over the years, she has progressed, reading books, writing exams like the unchallenged children and getting into the university at almost the same time we did. She is indeed a NIGERIAN STAR. Hers is a case of Polio.
The vaccine which had been used to immunize her in infancy had been among the infinitesimal number which make up the statistic of vaccine failure. It left her movements slow, jerky and uncoordinated as well as her speech. But, she was undaunted.
Beautiful in face as well as heart, she opted to study Sociology at the Ahmadu Bello University of Nigeria to better understand and assist people like her and ease their condition in society. Halfway through her course, disaster struck.
Her grade point average was too low. It had gotten mixed up with that of another student and as she had been seriously ill for the larger part of the session, she was placed on probation. Her efforts to straighten out the result brouhaha lead to nothing but more problems. She was asked to withdraw.
Seeing no possible solution for the problem in the near future, Chenemi sought advice and bought another Jamb form. She sat for the examination, passed, gained admission and began again from two hundred level in another department. The Department of Library and Information Science. She had gotten a diploma in it earlier while she waited to get admitted to study sociology. Now, she decided to continue with it using the direct entry admission forum.
Through all this, she held her chin up. Focused on what she wanted to achieve. Never allowing depression to get to her permanently. She struggled through challenges at home, being taken for granted, loss of friends, shaken faith…. Two of her younger siblings worked up the ranks, attaining and surpassing her in academic prowess but she held her own.
After all, not all fingers are equal and everyone had their own destiny and time. She would often say: “I know that God will help me. I am confident that I will get there in His own time”.
That time had come. Or at least, one of those times. “Hey! I have finished A.B.U oh! I graduated from A.B.U yesterday!” Chenemi screamed as soon as she entered the room I shared with my sister.
I turned sharply from the mirror and hugged her, shouting: “Jesus! Congratulations oh. Thank God. Ah ahn! Jesus….” My sister dabbed at her eyes as she came forward to shake Chenemi’s hand and congratulate her. She also knew the long road Chenemi had had to take to obtain a degree. “Graduate! The newest graduate in town!”
When we were done hugging and congratulating her, Chenemi picked up perfume and sprayed herself then limped out of the room. “Don’t forget o. Next week Saturday, four in the evening but of course you’ll come early. Let me get back to Church” she said as her church was only a few metres away from our house. “We are late ourselves” I said smiling while she left. I was so proud of her.
She had come a long way, from 2005 to 2015, using ten years to pursue and achieve her dream of getting a degree. What remained for her was to find love. I vowed to commit that to God in prayer while in church and smiled again thinking of the party she was going to have.
I KNOW A NIGERIAN STAR and it is Ojochenemi. I can only pray that she gets the job, postgraduate degree and family she wants with less of a struggle than she got the first.
Yerima Dina is a Postgraduate student, of the Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka Enugu state.
A very touching and inspiring story. It really goes to show that one can truly achieve whatever one sets out to achieve with the right drive, push, determination and a positive spirit. Ojochenemi Omata is indeed a true Nigerian star.
I remember the last time I saw Chenemi Omata on campus ( Ahmadu Bello Uni Zaria) and she told me she is a graduate, I was ecstatic, I could not express all I felt at that moment. Chenemi’s life or will I say story Is remarkable. Indeed, Chenemi Omata is a true Nigerian Star.
Yeah! Chenemi Omata is truly a Nigerian star. She has shown the world that there is an ability in every disability.
I remember Chenemi Omata back then in sociology Class UO7SG hard working lady. But she had to leave us seeing her back on campus with the struggle was great. Chenemi’s story Is remarkable. Indeed, Chenemi Omata is a true Nigerian Star.
inspiring… may she find greater strength in achieving other dreams with ease in Jesus name.
Beautiful and very inspiring
I remember this Star in ABU… Her temperament never suggests she’s going through struggle of any sort…. Congratulations Ojochenemi (name sake). .Heights await you
I always pass her by through her days in Demonstration Sec. School and undergraduate days… never knew she went through this much… congrats chenemi am glad you never gave up and finally made it. I pray He gives you more strength to keep up the fight. God bless you
Chenemi is indeed a star!! I never knew she has gone through so much ordeal since graduating from secondary school. Thumbs up to a heroine of our generation!!!
I don’t know this ‘Chenemi but I feel the pains she went through, thanks to Dina’s skillful telling nay writing of her story. ‘Chenemi, whoever you are and wherever you are, maintain your place in the galaxy.
Hmmmnnnn…. Today we can look back and smIle cos Ojochenemi was strong through God’s grace. I’ll call a woman of substance!
Hmmmnnnn…. Today we can look back and smIle cos Ojochenemi was strong through God’s grace. I’ll call her a woman of substance!
Known her for two years, never got to hear her story.
She’s definitely a Nigerian star!
More grace to this star.
Every Abusit is trained on hw to fight a crocodie wit a bear hand,all my yrs in ABU as an Abusit I neva kno u bt I strongly belive and am well convience that u re a correct material
Wow, congrats dear, greater heights and glory i pray in Jesus name.
The write-up is quite interesting. I like her dogged determination to succeed in life. She is really a role model to today’s youths.
Chenemi was my sit mate back then in department of library and information science. Despite her physical challenges her performance in class was ten times better than some students that has every resources @ their disposal……..
Waoh!!! I salute your FAITH dearie. You came, saw and conquered gallantly. U never gave up, Sooo Proud of you Chenemi. Beautiful piece Dina dear!
Olochenemi Omata’s story is touching and inspiring, I pray her other aspirations come through in Jesus name.
Dina Yerima your narration was superb, like your style.
Wish you all the best.
Olochenemi’s story reminds me of the triumph of the water lillies over waters which surround it; it would rather smile brightly atop than sink at the bottom, amazing!
Back in school, she really was different but unpertubed, it’s unusual and amazing.
Kudos to the writer!
…this is just incredible!
A star indeed.
great job Dina
Beautiful piece Dina….keep up the good writing
wow! this is grace story..she was so good and kind to all who knew her; for me I’ll say God has got her hand.
Chenemi was my course mates during diploma,indeed she is vry determinant am so proud of you dearie.
Wowoowowow!!!!! Olochenemi Omata is a superstar!!!! Continue with your dogged spirit,faith,prayers,cos God is TOO faithful to fail you,He’s TOO decent to lie to you! He’d perfect ALL that concerns you-He’d heal you totally and you’d become a source of hope to many generations beginning from Nigeria,Sub-Saharan Africa and the World @ large,In Jesus Matchless Name-Amen!!!! #MoreInkToYourPenDinadearie
lovely and touching writeup. she was my coursemate in dept. of sociology ABU. i feel nostalgic after reading this. Thanks for writing this. i really hope it with.
i mean i really hope it wins
Dis brought tears to my eyes. Neva realy checked on how she was doing since she left us in Sociology dpt. Chenemi, indeed u’r a star.
Chenemi is indeed a great woman. This is just the beginning.
great woman more strength Ijn.