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Toby Nwazor: My Fast Food Graduation Speech

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Fine! Let me confess, I like fast food. Who doesn’t? God bless all the nutrition experts in the house o. But how on earth do you expect me to eat apple or cucumber after spending three hours without AC in Lagos traffic? Mba! Abeg give me one cold LaCasera and gala jor.

Talking about graduation speeches, I had my convocation ceremony a few years ago. Unfortunately, I was not the best graduating student in my school. I say it is unfortunate because it denied me the opportunity of giving a graduation speech just like oyibo people.

It would not have been the regular ‘I thank-my-lecturers-and-project-supervisor’ kind of speech. Rather, my speech would have been a very sincere speech where I will take time to really thank the main people who God used to make sure that I stayed in school, and graduated without dying of hunger.

So here goes what I call my Fast Food Graduation Speech:

Your Excellency . . . and all dignitaries here present. It is with great joy that I stand before you today to receive this I-don-graduate Award. First of all I want to thank the Almighty God for making this day a reality. And of course, I appreciate my wonderful family who supported me all through my stay in school.

Next, I want to specially thank all the women that usually come to my hostel in the morning shouting, “Okpa di oku”. They were the people Baba God used to ensure that I didn’t go for lectures on an empty stomach.

I equally want to use this medium to acknowledge the manufacturers of that delicious Goodwill Bread sold at Unizik junction. These guys were always there to answer us in times of midnight hunger. You know that kain hunger wey dey come around 1am when you are studying for a quiz?

That hunger get masters degree, walahi! If you no chop, you no fit understand any other thing wey you dey read. You fit read for 30 minutes o, but you go still dey one paragraph. Goodwill Bread, and other bread makers, God go bless una nyafu nyafu.

My honourable dignitaries, I cannot help but appreciate those wonderful girls that come to the entrance of my street around 6pm to sell frenchies (fried yam, potatoes, plantain, bread, akara, and akamu).

Sirs, I cannot count the number of times they rescued me from the plight of going to bed hungry. Add a little onions stew to the frenchies and you will just smack your lips till the last bite.

Don’t get me wrong Sirs. It is not like we didn’t cook as students. Far from it! We cooked a lot, especially noodles. My roommate and I were two of the major reasons why Indomie didn’t go out of business back then. We ate Indomie so much that if you were to cut any of us, instead of blood, we’d bleed Indomie.

At this juncture, I wish to acknowledge and appreciate the genius that invented that wonderful meal called garri. I mean the always-available, easy-to-prepare fast food that answers whenever you call. We equally called it G-flakes, Oto, or Asoki.

Your Excellencies, my roommate was an ajebo pikin. I still remember the day he told me he doesn’t drink garri. I was surprised, but I didn’t blame him because he didn’t go to a boarding school.

It was very funny when I found out he had changed his ‘principle’. I saw him drinking garri one day and I exclaimed, “Guy shebi you talk say you no dey drink garri?” We both burst into laughter.

And to my fellow graduates I ask, how can you not drink garri? If you have never drunk garri with cold water, milk, sugar and groundnut (or coconut) eh, then you are missing one of life’s pleasures. Yummy!

And who said that garri is just for students or poor people? Mtchew, Rubbish. Mr Chancellor, please permit me to elaborate.

You see, a friend of mine came to see me a few weeks ago. By the way my fellow graduates, if a guy visits you, don’t bother asking him if he wants to eat, unless he’s married. (I don’t know why, but guys are always hungry. Even if they say they are not, ignore them. They are either pretending or shy and trying to impress you, or both).

Back to the story sir. I asked my guy if he will eat garri or fufu, because I had just prepared one dangerous looking very delicious okro soup. Immediately my guy heard ‘garri’, he quickly brought out a water-proof bag filled with groundnuts. Without wasting time, we had a fresh garri-drinking festival.

In conclusion distinguished ladies and gentlemen, this I-don-graduate speech will not be complete until I specially recognize and thank Mummy Grace. She is the lovely woman that sells rice, beans and plantain, eba, akpu, snacks and minerals directly opposite the school gate. What about Mummy Linda that sells beans and roasted plantain just before you get to old Law Faculty?

I wish to thank them and all other women like them. It was because of them that some of us didn’t faint as first year students.

Back then we used to trek from Utility building to Bakassi, then to Warehouse, Multi-purpose hall, and back to engineering hall for a day’s lectures. And if it was one of those Physics/Chemistry practical days, we would still go to Science village ON FOOT.

In spite of all the stress, we never gave up. We never fainted, because at every corner, there was always a Mummy Esther or Mummy Gift selling cold minerals, cold pure water and snacks. May God bless them all.

God bless you all my distinguished ladies and gentlemen. God bless the Faculty of Engineering, God bless Unizik, God bless the Ministry of Education, and God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you (bows and waves hands like politicians)

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Jason Stitt 

Toby Nwazor is a free lance writer and motivational speaker who believes that life is meant to be lived and not just existed in. He is equally an entrepreneur with a lot of hands-on experience in business start-ups, marketing, and customer service. He passionately writes every Monday and Wednesday on www.mystartupceo.com about helping entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs build successful start-ups

39 Comments

  1. Lonely Girl...

    November 13, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    So on point. I remember Unilag days and how Risky burger in front of Moremi saved us then. Especially when my “crew” and I were studying at Engineering dept.

    And then how chicken and chips were the order of the day when we just received pocket money or one dude wanted to take us on a stroll 🙂

    Kai remember how my friends and I would trek (didn’t like free rides after we watched how some girls where humiliated)from Amina hall down to Nepa to eat something non yoruba…Banga and starch 🙂 If we were lucky we take palmie…

    And God bless the ever efficient “Any work” women who where ready to go an extra mile to get me Amala and Ewedu at white house with good Fuku (now am salivating)

    Seven years has passed… Memories linger.???

    • Rolake

      November 13, 2015 at 7:36 pm

      “Sexy hot doughnut”- Makama Hall
      Madam Tinubu’s Cafe food
      There was this joint at the back of CITS, their pounded yam ehn #na to go bed
      Risky burger- New Hall
      Jesus Embassy – opposite Faculty of social sciences
      Chinese restaurant – New Hall #toasting levels
      Huskies – New Hall #big madam levels
      Unilag pure water- Trust me, real life saver especially when there was no water to baff
      Unilag agege bread – sweet with Moremi ewa goyin
      Sharwarma and barbeque joint – In front of ozone
      Mama NEPA – opposite jaja hall

      The list is endless….#covers face….God bless you all. Unilag days were fun…..the good ,bad and stressful. #nostalgic

    • Titilope

      November 14, 2015 at 12:58 am

      How come i never heard about mama nepa… everything you just listed makes me wanna cry…. ohhhhh akoka! 3years don waka like that…..

  2. Ada

    November 13, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    So many people here cannot identify with this article o! But I CAN! My own sincere shout out goes to those people who popped corn with butter behind Management Sciences/Mass Comm. building. Not only were you people life savers, your pop-corn was really delish! In fact we once heard (probably a lie) that Prof. Ilochi Okafor SAN himself sent for your Popcorn every afternoon to wind mouth with.

    Greatest Zikites!

    • Chizzy

      June 30, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      my dear, I graduated from Faculty of Engineering and I can totally relate to this. Toby you forgot to mention Madonna Cuisine. that was where year 1 Engineering chyking began. trekking to science management and back with your drawing board. Abeg, I don graduate.

  3. Kbebe

    November 13, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    This got me all cracked up. It was a lovely read and I can relate. Hail Naija Universities! What doesn’t kill you…

  4. Mbaks

    November 13, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Oh my, swit memorariz

  5. o

    November 13, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    A big thank you to QSS chicken and chips. Here’s not forgetting the aboki’s that sold special suya at the car park opposite Moremi Hall. The combo of special suya and Indomie was made in food heaven….lol. Last but not least, dat amala joint along d bush path near newest hall/amina hall. Boldly written that “if you don’t eat pepper, ask for pepperless stew”. They made my stay in Unilag a ‘flavourable’ one. Nice article, Tony

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 13, 2015 at 9:39 pm

      Suya and indomie? Oh boy see combination. Lwkm

  6. anonymous

    November 13, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    cracks me up ‘water-proof bag filled with groundnuts.’ thank you for this

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 13, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      As in eh. e be like say the guy dey waka about dey look for opportunity to drink garri. lmao

  7. chinenye

    November 13, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    REALITY! you got me cracked up God bless you.

  8. mywifeisfiiiiiiine

    November 13, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Me wey think day I sabi, how come I just dey learn day person fit chop Oto with coconut, all hail the makers of Ijebu garri, without which drinking garri will never make sense.

  9. Puzzles

    November 13, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    To the mishai guys at June 12 in UNIBEN, to mama delta and others at the buka, God bless you!!!

  10. Proud_Giant

    November 13, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    I know I’m in school when by 6am I’m awaken by the sound of ‘Ooookpaaa di Oku, odi hot’. I doff my hat for those temp-site Okpa sellers,their okpa can make you forget whatever diet you on, sometimes I sleep in temp-site just to buy it.
    How on earth can you end this graduation speech without acknowledging Mama Abu that sells beans & plaintain opp. Ifite gate and that pop-corn woman too.
    Yessoo God bless Unizik,
    God bless Faculty of Engineering,
    and God bless IFITE.

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 13, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      Proud giant I acknowledge her o. As for that popcorn, it still blows my mind. In my opinion, the one at engineering bus stand is the best. You fit chop the popcorn and then trek back home happily.

    • Chizzy

      June 30, 2016 at 4:48 pm

      Aha Engineering bus stand popcorn can make you break your fast

  11. ify

    November 13, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Shout out to all lions and lioness of the great UNN, okpa our local delicacy saving saving lives, oh I remb how my room mates teased me that they will send it where ever I’m posted for youth service, (agharagha, achicha,abacha ) mechaii those aboki made us feel fly , we even buy keep it ,warm later wheww dinner is ready, oh my the memories

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 13, 2015 at 9:47 pm

      Correct, Ify. Absolutely right. okpa di oku has saved more than we can imagine. But the lives that has been saved by garri is uncountable sha

  12. Jay

    November 13, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Where do i start from with my own speech now???
    In truth i used to cook o in uni but there were times when mama stella and Iya ghana, just at the back of school would butter my bread by adding extra to my food @ BIU if i didnt want to cook. I remember one babe Victoria, she was our recharge card vendor on my hall floor, she came into stella’s to eat. she ordered 3 pieces of meat with her amala.

    As she started mixing the ewedu with the stew, she noticed 4 pieces of meat and am sure in her mind was quite thankful they had put extra meat for her.. she finished all the food o, you know that kind of amala they serve in deep bowls and put the soup in the middle, she ate meat 1, 2, 3 food so sweet mehn and as she was about to pick meat 4, she noticed it looked like a roach!! immediately vicky screamed ooo! she don chop cockroach stew ke? you need to see the way we all dumped our food and filed out, who wan chop cockroach. Thank God for Jellof.. Ok i digressed kai..

    Mat-ice icecream and Prest club sandwich were our favorite once my bestie or my parents sent our pocket money…
    Thanks Igwe, the stout, muscular igbo mini trader at the right hand of the school gate opposite peniel chapel.. God bless you sir! u saved students even at 12 midnight seeking for noodles to buy, where ever u sir are sir, the class of 07! thank you.

    Warm regards,
    jayjazzy.blogspot.com

  13. Ephi

    November 13, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    You are sooo funny Toby: “G-flakes” , that got me laughing, plus the “dangerous-looking” okro soup hahaha!

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 13, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      Ephi if you see that okro soup you go know say na egwu a n’agba aburo egwu umuaka (the dance wey we dance no be small pikin dance). i use knife amputate the okro like say I dey cut abacha. But the soup sha sweet. Lol

  14. Odididi

    November 13, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Ehn!! The makers of beloxxi ceackers, fibre active digestive biscuit! And all those below 50naira biscuits that are usually more than 2 in a pack which you can eat, drink water and sleep soundly. My till day break readings would have been useless if not for them! … Wait wait..how can I forget fries sold at SUB area, Okpa sold at social sciences, abi the agharagha ji sold infront of awolowo/aja hall!.. UNN… Forget.. Naija uni life hardddd. Lmaooo

    • Toby Nwazor

      November 13, 2015 at 9:45 pm

      Odididi chop knuckle jare. Fibre biscuit, saving lives since 1864. Lols. two of it and one purewater and you can march off to St Joseph the Worker or Garba square for TDB (till day break) reading. Lolz

    • Chinenye

      November 13, 2015 at 10:49 pm

      Aja & Awo Hall okpa was the best. I stayed at Isa Kaita hall, but was always inAja hall in the morning just to buy okpa di oku. Choi, I miss UNN okpa mehnnnnnnnnnnnnnn. LOL

  15. Tosin

    November 13, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    Y’all want to hear the Yankee version? Aww menn, our dedicated Egyptian chef (Mohammed, from Mariott Hospitality/Hotels) at our hotel-style female-only dorm at Howard. Yes, Lord! Thank you Lordie.

    I can also relate with the Naija stuff sha, lived/worked on four campuses so far. Love the food.

    • Tosin

      November 13, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      or five.
      seems like I’m often on a campus, just like I always dreamed.

  16. temi

    November 13, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    I want to specially thank the ewa-G woman at the end of caff 1 for that delicious ewa-G , may God kontinu to bless you. Also I cannot forget the bread and a Akara woman just in front of caff 1, especially when I was broke 50 bread and 50 Akara made me feel alright.
    And how can I forget Bashan (when pocket money just land ) and that pepper rice man in front of Caff 2. Only God can bless u pipu.
    Lastly may God specially embarrass with blessings the person that came up with the idea of bringing food to hall buttery. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!.
    Long live Covenant University! !!!!!

  17. chyco

    November 13, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    You remained of the good day the engineering boys make fun of girls “if belle na show glass this girls chop okpa with asoki dis morning come class”

  18. Toby Nwazor

    November 13, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Great! Ada I don’t know how I managed to forget that buttered popcorn, especially the one sold at engineering bus stand. chai, that pop corn sweet die. Daalu for the reminder jare

  19. o

    November 13, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    10yrs after I left Unilag, I still eat suya and Indomie. Infact, we had it on sun night. When the noodles is almost ready, pour in the suya and mix. You’ll come back and thank me….lol

  20. Martha Ako

    November 14, 2015 at 3:06 am

    Wow. Well written. Oh. Garry remains the best life saver. Any time. Any day

  21. Eb

    November 14, 2015 at 5:41 am

    a very big shout out to Iya Shola, you saved many great Igbinedion students, Meeshai indomie joint, Mamacass and the rest, I survived okada with your help

  22. DD

    November 14, 2015 at 7:05 am

    Lovely article. Memories!!

  23. Ginny

    November 14, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Funny piece. Well written Tobs. We cooked though but then beloxi biscuit and nutri c did the rest.

  24. HOUSE OF ZINO

    November 15, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Seems only UNILAG graduates can relate…RME…..pple that graduated from that Local Secondary called NASARAWA STATE UNI KEFFI have no fun memory…sometimes i wish i can go back to uni again…May be UNILAG, OAU or UNIABJ…but 5yrs gone….?

  25. beauty

    November 16, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Yh, I remember my SUB days in Unilag, Jesus Embassy (both when allowance has been paid,lol) Husky days, CITS amala days (very small oh), for Oha and eba complex opposite Jaja hostel, Chinese days (for maga that wants to pay), then inside that big cafeteria in new hall, Iya Joe… I never ever ate in that Mr Biggs in Unilag Shuttle carpark, dunno why…

  26. Dimma

    April 11, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Lol…I can relate jare though I spent roughly 2yrs in Unizik…but those garri sha saved a lot of souls from sec schl jare….

  27. chinny

    April 12, 2016 at 9:54 am

    Toby that beans & plantain became my everyday meal at some point. Kai. Nice one tobs

    1

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