Over two decades ago, as a young girl in Holy Child College, Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria specifically in SS1D, I engaged in a spirited discussion with my friends about our futures. Each of us shared our aspirations and plans, recounting connections to universities through siblings or first cousins. Amidst these dreams, my younger self expressed a desire to become an accountant, though my thoughts were clouded with uncertainty.
After our conversation, I found myself standing by the balcony outside our classroom, silently shedding tears. I questioned how I, the daughter of a rice seller who hawked leafy cooked rice after school, could aspire to such lofty goals. The bell for the next class brought me back to reality.
On a Saturday, after my second round of hawking, while washing dishes in my mother’s shop, I noticed her satisfaction with my efforts. At that moment, I gathered the courage to ask, “Mum, will I go to the university?” She looked at me, her gaze filled with assurance, and replied, “Lagbara Olohun, Gbogboyin le ma di graduate.” She inquired about my inquiry, and I explained that I felt she didn’t have the financial means. She smiled and reassured me not to worry, outlining three things for me: 1. Face my studies and consistently achieve good grades. 2. Hawk diligently to ensure increased sales for our business. 3. Avoid negative influences, maintain good friendships, and continue praying to Allah.
Her words became my guiding light, lifting my spirits and strengthening my resolve. From S.S.1 until graduation, I consistently ranked among the top students in my class. I became her best seller, earning nicknames such as “Alaba Oniresi” and “Ramo to taa.” I became selective in choosing friends and devoted myself to prayer.
Today, that once worried young girl stands as a proud graduate of the University of Derby, United Kingdom. I have achieved the following milestones: – Diploma – Advanced Diploma – Bachelor of Science – Masters in Business Administration – Master of Science
Alhamdulillah. My mother, Idayat Olamide Oshoala, is alive to witness and celebrate this moment. She is not just my mother but also my inspiration—the woman who believed in me unwaveringly. While I may not have reached my ultimate destination, I congratulate myself on these significant achievements. It is indeed a moment of great joy.
Yet, as I stand here in the UK, I cannot help but miss her physical presence. Today, my heart aches for the unavoidable absence of the one who has been my pillar of support. I shed tears, not of sorrow, but of longing and gratitude for the woman whose love and encouragement have fueled my journey.
Dear Allah, I am grateful for the unwavering support and love of my parents, Olamide Idayat Oshoala and Oshoala Musbaudeen Olamilekan Oshoala. Bless them with health, happiness, and fulfillment. Aameen.
Rahmot Oshoala writes from UK.