From our Inbox;
My name is Jackson Ogbonna, a 300level student of economics, University of Ibadan. I am a concerned student and a friend of Dami.
This is a passionate appeal to my fellow students, my mummies and daddies in management, and the general public. I am concerned about my friend, Dami, a 100level student of Philosophy, University of Ibadan. I fear for her wellbeing. I fear for her life.
I believe she needs help. Dami is barely 17years old. She’s a young lady with a bright future ahead of her. But I’m afraid she and is being influenced by some malicious elements.
In my opinion, Dami is passing through a stage in her life that is characterized by a high level of youthful exuberance. Everyone passes through this phase at one time or the other. For some, it comes quite early in life (before teenagehood) and for others (like Dami) it comes later in life.
Lemme tell you a story. I too was a victim of youthful exuberance. Among the many manifestations of such exuberance was theft. And I was very good at it. And quite frankly, I enjoyed it. I felt I was living large. I was beginning to see a life of theft as an ideal lfe. But my story changed on that very day I was caught by my neighbour. It was in the morning. I still remember the “dirty slaps” and flogging I received that day. My parents weren’t even around.
Someone would have thought that at my age, I should have known right from wrong. But what happens when one believes that wrong is right and right is wrong? Even Shakespeare said it that there is nothing right or wrong. Only thinking madng right or wrong. Only thinking made it so.
One of the reasons I overcame this challenge was because the first set of people to discipline me were also the first to counsel me. Indeed, I am a living product of the proverb that says that when elders use their right hand to beat a child, they should use the left to correct that child. My Aunt left Ikoji every weekend for about 3 months just to come and check up on me. This was the same Aunty that slapped me on that fateful morning and my nose started bleeding. I admit, it was really difficult to change. There were times I nearly fell back into the hole. But I didn’t. Not because I was perfect. But because I had people around me. People that never gave up on me. People that were on my matter 24/7
Look at me now. If I could change, I believe Dami can too. But she can’t do it alone. She needs our help. Gossiping about her, or casting aspersions at her will not help.
I remember Imabong (May her loving soul rest in perfect peace). She was a student of Law at the same Univeristy as Dami, in the same level as Dami, and in the same age bracket as Dami. Imabong died because of the same peer pressure and malignant influence. She would have been alive if we were quick to read the signs and come to her aid. But we weren’t and now she’s gone. We cannot rewrite the past. But we can make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself. It’s not too late to save my friend, to save Dami. I believe this is God’s work in motion. I can’t imagine what would have happened to Mary Magdalene had Jesus condemned her too. He wants us to save Dami. He doesn’t her to die before her time. He doesn’t want another 100level student of UI to die again because we chose to ignore her in her darkest hour. He has a bright plan for her future.
To my fellow students, let us rally round her. Not in contempt, but in love. Let us show her that we care. Let us show her that we are one family (the UI family). Let us check up on her frequently. Let us offer benign advice. Let us help Dami during this dark moment in her life.
To our mummies and daddies in management, Dami needs you more than ever. There is an African saying that goes thus, “A child has more than one father and one mother” I believe she need more parental guidance and counselling than punishment (suspension/rustication/SDC) at the moment.
To the general public, let us put Dami in our prayers. For it is only God that can touch her heart.
Thank you for reading.