….after long hours of intense reading through the night, Audu closed his books and decided to get some sleep. Before doing that, he sat quietly on his bed and stared outside his window for some minutes. He sniffled as his eyes got teary and said, “God, I really hope you will come through for me this time. I want this to be the last time I’ll do this. I can’t imagine myself doing this again. Never!” Then, he wiped his face and went to bed.
It was the last day of WASSCE examination and the students had begun writing the last paper. Audu would scribble for some minutes and stare at his paper for a long time, trying to remember what he has read. This continued untilthe two hours of exam went by.
Pencils up! Now submit your papers! We have come to the end of this year’s WASSCE examination. I wish you all the best!” the invigilator screamed as he collected answer booklets from the students. Audu submitted his papers reluctantly with a long look on his face. His friend sitting close to him noticed and asked,
“Audu, you sure say you dey okay like this? How was the exam na? you just dey write and write, Chai! Scholar! Na you o.”
Audu turned to his friend and shook his head. “You really don’t know what is going on. Well, I did my best and I hope things would be different this time.” Audu replied.
“Don’t worry, just be prayerful and hope for the best. I know it will be a different story this time.” His friend replied.
Two months passed and the WASSCE results were released. On hearing the news, Audu hurriedly got on his computer to check his results. After surfing the internet for few minutes, Audu’s results popped on his computer screen and he exclaimed, “Oh my God!” Audu ran out of his room to the living room. He saw his parents watching TV. “Audu what’s going on?” his father asked. Audu was mute and then ran out of the house. His father got up and chased after him, calling his name. Confused and agitated, Audu’s mother ran into his room and saw the computer screen. “Oh no!” she exclaimed.
The rain was pouring heavily but Audu kept running. Then, he stopped at Mr. Adeniran’s store. Mr. Adeniran is a friend to Audu’s father and he sells farm equipment including insecticides. Audu barged into the store, panting and said, “Good afternoon, sir. My dad asked me to get a bottle of sniper. He said he’ll pay you when you visit tomorrow.”
“Audu, how are you? Why are you soaked? Well, your father came here last week to get this month’s supplies and he got a bottle of sniper too. Why does he need another one now?” Mr. Adeniran replied.
“Errrm errm, he misplaced it”, Audu stalled. After exchanging few words, Mr. Adeniran gave Audu a bottle of sniper reluctantly. Then, Audu sped off.
Audu ran towards an uncompleted building and he looked around to see if anyone was looking. When he realized he was alone, he jumped in through the window. Then, he sat in one of the rooms and cried softly. He opened the sniper bottle, closed his eyes tight and raised the bottle to ingest the content. As he was about pouring the poison into his mouth, someone shouted “stop!!!!!” Audu panicked and dropped the bottle.
An old, raggedy looking man had been watching Audu since he entered the building. He rushed in through the front door and picked up the bottle and threw it out the window.
“Why do you want to do this? Are you alright? Why on earth would you want to kill yourself?” The old man asked.
“Well, I don’t deserve to live. Just look at me, Good for nothing, useless. I have been writing WAEC exam for 5 years now and I keep failing. All my mates are progressing, some are even done with their university education while I’m here, wasting away. What is my purpose in life? I honestly cannot live like this anymore.”
The old man busted into laughter and sat on the floor.
“Do you think this is funny?” Audu asked.
“Yes, it is funny and sad at the same time. So, you want to kill yourself because you failed an exam? You want to throw your family and friends into anguish because of an exam? You want to die because of a problem that has solution? Just look at me. I’m homeless. Do you think I love my situation? No. Will I kill myself because I’m homeless? God forbid. Look, I am a professor. I used to have everything. I had houses, cars, friends and family. But one day, I was travelling with my family and we had an accident. My wife and two children died on the spot. I had brain injuries which affected my career. I couldn’t teach anymore so I was suspended. My payments stopped coming in. I sold all my properties so I can pay for my treatment. Even though I got better, I had lost everything. My friends and immediate family left me. I had no place to go. So, I have been homeless for a year. So tell me, are your problems greater than mine? Certainly not and I’m not trying to kill myself. I am hopeful that my story would change one day. I’ve been looking for other jobs to do and I’m making the little I can for now to survive.
Education is key but it should not be a yardstick to your existence. Have you ever thought about why you keep failing?” The old man asked.
“Well, I never liked science. I have always had interest in arts. But my parents want me to be a doctor so bad and I was forced into science.” Audu replied.
“Just imagine. You want to kill yourself because of your parent’s mistakes. You have lots of options. First, divert to arts and do what you love. Second, try and get a skill pending the time you would pass that exam. Third, see every failure as a blessing in disguise. See it as an opportunity to be a better person. Suicide should never be an option.” The old man replied. “Thank you so much sir for stopping me from making this huge mistake. I wish you all the best.” Audu got up and went back home.
…….Making an effort to deal with problems can make us aware of how strong we really are. Life’s challenges don’t exist only to upset us—they exist so that we understand ourselves better and get to know who we really are…….. #saynotosuicide