Connect with us


Matilda Chikere: Fond Memories of Writing Igbo Language & CRK at WAEC



If you ever passed through the 6-3-3-4 system, wave your hand and say “Yea yea!” Before we take off on our ride, let’s pray biko.

Dear God, please reward and bless abundantly the person that initiated the idea of writing Igbo Language and Bible Knowledge as the last papers in junior and senior WAEC exams. Bless them very well. In fact that person is declared a billionaire. Yes, yes, receive it. Hmm. Mimo mimo.

That prayer was not a joke o, it came from the very bottom of my heart. I owe the person a great deal, I will explain. Imagine having two big chunks of chicken at the end of an already delicious meal.

Before ‘adulting’ invaded my privacy, life was very simple and uncomplicated. Studying for exams sef was a very nice something, the fact that you could finish up your note and dash out for you favourite and sensational super story. Although junior high was relatively easy, that was when the confusion started. What was I going to do with learning the different species of cows such as muturu, ndama and red bororo, aren’t they all meat?

I remember having to carry my school locker and chair all the way from my classroom in JSS3 to the school hall, which also served as the refectory. By the way, kudos to anyone who ever went to a boarding school. The smell from those refectories eh, was definitely capable of changing the shape of one’s nose. Preparing for junior WAEC exams was easy. Even though I was studying, I still had time to watch Nigerian movies.

Each day after the exams, I would run home, eat, rest and then bury myself in my revision notes, keys points, and past question booklets. Thank God for mumsy who understood that I was writing exams and did not need house chores to distract me. My sister on the other hand, wasn’t quite as understanding. The bad eye she was giving me all through eh!

As I left the exam hall a day before the last paper, I realized was no longer in a hurry to go home and prepare for the next day’s paper which we called Igbo-BK at the time. Instead, I was literally dragging my feet home. I equally had to drag myself to study, to no avail. You know how your eyes are open and looking through a book, but your brain is not processing anything? Over an hour later, I was still on the same topic, actually, same page. All the fire with which I started the exams had somehow developed wings and flown away. The determination that was capable of keeping me awake way beyond midnight, and made me use our rusty kerosene lamp if the rechargeable lamp went dim had vanished.

Thank God it was Igbo-BK. I mean, despite not reading as much the previous night, I was still able to answer the exam questions. After all, the story of Apostle Paul’s conversion as told in Key Points and Sunday School was the same, plus, in my house, we spoke Igbo everyday. So results came out, and I passed.

When it was time to sit for the senior WAEC exams, something similar happened as our last papers were also Igbo Language and Christian Religious Knowledge, but again, I escaped.

By the way, the day I finally catch the person that made Mathematics compulsory in WAEC, not even the police would be able to break up our fight. How do you ask someone to look for X that went about his own business as if X is a kid? Abi which life problem has Almighty Formula solved for me?

Few years later, I found myself in the university. Things were totally different there. Nobody told me that the influence of the good Samaritan whose idea it was to schedule Igbo-BK had expired in secondary school. In fact, it was the other way round. From my first year, I started seeing pepper. All the easy General Studies (GS) courses were arranged in front. I even wrote mine weeks before the main exams started.

Losing the zeal to revise was not even an option. In those days, you would finish first semester exams, and bounce out like you had just given the lecturer his own marking scheme only for results to show otherwise and leave you begging for a Second Class. Final year was the worst. Just when I thought I had escaped the mostly irrelevant courses, I was introduced to even more hardcore ones. Talk about courses that were invented in Germany and written originally in Greek before getting translated to Hebrew. As if that was not enough, project work arrived. With it came a list of requirements only similar to the one Imo folks give when you want to marry their daughter. I could have had a heart attack!

In the end, all of that makes up memories I am fond of, and feel very nostalgic about. That’s not to say there aren’t days when I wish I could turn back the hands of time and gather the courage to give that one annoying lecturer a piece of my mind… or maybe even confess to a course-mate that I have a crush on them.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime