I dropped out from UNN in 2012… I didn’t drop out in grand style like Onyeka Nwelue or Mark Zuckerberg. Mine was more like Steve Jobs. Yeah! Steve Jobs, William Shakespeare and Leonardo Da Vinci are my role models. And as ironic as it may sound, this is the truth – gospel or no gospel: dropping out of UNN is my greatest move in life so far. 

Why the hell did I drop out? At 20 I couldn’t tell what I wanted to do with my life. But I was sure I wanted better than carrying files all around, putting on suit in Nigerian hot weather, tying myself up like a goat looking for a job or getting stuck to a job I don’t like. And I was lazy and had a large dump of inferiority complex. But I was bookish. I was careful enough not to use the word intelligent coz it has been highly misinterpreted. But yeah, I was so bookish that I had covered my department’s syllables by the end of my second year. I don’t mean back to back, I mean the parts that interested me. I read the Greek classics, the Soyinkas, Arthur Miller, Samuel Becket, Shakespeare, any serious thing I saw on film history and theory and more. I only didn’t touch the ones written by my lecturers and their friends. So in my 3rd year, I couldn’t tell what more UNN could do for me. They wanted my money but couldn’t give me the education I was paying for. Knowing I wouldn’t need a certificate, I felt I was wasting my time and my mom’s money there. So, against all great advice from family, friends and well wishers, I left for Lagos, broke, with no social skills and no body…

In Lagos, I understood that I wasn’t really born poor. At least my parents could afford to pay for my school fees and feed us. In Lagos, I saw poverty, swam in it , cried in it and fought it. Aside that, I discovered I wasn’t as good as I thought I was. I wrote scripts after scripts and bet me I now understand the meaning of rejection slip. It’s not the kind you get from a bank, it’s sending a script to someone who doesn’t bother to even get back to you. You know something worse? It’s listening to someone tell you a story you wrote after watching a movie with a title you can’t relate to. Coz someone you mailed your script used a large part of it. And you never got as much as ‘Thanks’… And that wasn’t the saddest part of the story. In Lagos, I served tables, worked as a security personnel in a guest house, carried goods for people in Alaba, packaged DVDs in the same market, joined the laborers who built the KFC in Gbagada and the ones who renovated the MTN’s office in Oshodi. I also slept inside a container in Ikoyi for months. And day after day, I would sit up at night thinking of a story, love, the meaning of life and how to be successful. And that was the greatest school I ever attended. Coz in the street of Lagos, everyone and everything I met and saw was my teacher. And everything I did was a lecture.

So, in 2014, after winning the Homevida Award, I got my first TV job. It was through Frances who won in another category of the award. Then I had already quit the laboring job. I was out to hop into Nollywood as deep as I could. So, I would go to Alaba once in a while to buy movies and TV series. And I would spend my night, watching, reading and or writing. I even became nocturnal in the process. And gradually, I started getting an understanding of story telling. I started discovering what made films sell and why some TV series get cancelled after the first season and why some never made it past the pilot. I went through periods when I thought I was the current day Shakespeare and moments when I felt I couldn’t even write to save my life. There were moments when I felt I had figured out everything. And there were moments when I felt like I was just a kid with no knowledge of anything. Sometimes, I stay up all day trying to crack the codes, sometimes, I would just shut my eyes and say ‘Fuck Everything’. But all through, I was learning things they don’t teach even in UCLA or Harvard. I was learning why people watch films, how pictures speak to people and how people sing with shots and how to get a story from watching a dog give itself a blow job. Tell me where they teach that!

It’s 2016. I would have been a graduate by now and at least have a certificate. But this is what I have now, a dream, a story and myself. I am never going to graduate till I die. And I don’t want to coz school goes against my philosophy of life. School teaches you you can either be this or that. But I’ve never met someone who is not a politician, an artist or a scientist. In school, people study only proven theories but the greatest theories are yet to be proven. And every lecturer I’ve met worship those in the field and wish they could be brave enough to hop into the field. In school, we are instructed to follow instructions but life is for those who follow their heart. And when you leave, you are certified with a paper that defines you. But the greatest certificate you can ever get is from yourself and the greatest definition of yourself should be ‘You’… 

I dropped out of school because I learnt that no one can educate me more than I can educate myself through persistent studies. I dropped out of school to educate myself through life. And that education continues as I never let school end my education with a convocation gown…



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