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MY SOJOURN AT BRISTOW – By Orjime Igbakura

And no afternoon passed without its sound! Hated by nearly all subordinate students as it pierced deeply into our ears when rang. Hardly will you complete your ‘chinga alev‘ (rice and beans) meal at the dining hall than, the bell would draw your attention.

As you ran from the dinning to the ‘Assembly Ground‘, there always stood a tall, black and energic young Amos Atindiga, looking serious with his ‘business’. Two (2) minutes were too long a period of grace! Late comers voluntarily descended to the earth on their kneels as he would stand without much talk, creating a demarcation between the early and late comers.

SSS 2 students ate in the same plate with JSS 1. ‘General beating‘ soon became a normal slogan and ‘Headboy gba sha ambi!’ was a usual offence, particularly of JSS 1 and 2 responsible for the cleanliness of the convenience facilities.

Mercy‘ was no word in the dictionary as a teenage student, Atseah Terhemba once requested; “Senior have mercy!” in the course of receiving his share of the ‘cake‘ but got none!

A bucket of water gotten from our open and far-located borehole was golden even as only quarter would get to your use, having dispensed to ‘kpandegh‘ by seniors. Many would sanitize the legs, hands and face as the bell rang, signifying ‘go to school‘ and arrival of prefects with canes was expectant and inevitable. Soon, rashes (kpesa) became a phenomenon.

But gradually, Amos Atindiga doused down and a chilled water status he maintained, as WAEC roared at them. The teenage students had gotten acclimatized somehow, only to be ushered into another era tantamount to Pharoah’s – The Mad Man Set. Henry Ugese, his real name, had gone extinct! Fair in complexion, possessing an average height, no good weight; his unbalanced posture allowed him somewhat a staggering step as he went about tormenting the teenagers.

His wrath once fell on me as I visited our convenience facilities. Inside, was this ‘ruler‘ but my knock (on the toilet door) had fallen on deaf ears. A hard push of the door, suffered his forehead! I became his victim, obeying his command; wait for me, let me finish. Soon, what had sent me down the toilets vanished within my system. I wished I had not visited the convenience zone. By his wish, I found myself in Room 5, Makurdi House, only to be rewarded with the mightiest iron bucket in the male hostel at that time, owed by Asongu Ternenge. “Go and fetch water for me” was an extension of his garrison power. With fear of the unknow, I heaved towards the borehole. Mighty though was the bucket, I had just left the yam farm for school and heading back with water in it was not a puzzle.

As I approached the hostel, another senior, Clement Augustine, a year ahead of the mighty Henry was astonished as he sought to know who had given me such a heinous task. My revelation infuriated him, hence, he sent for ‘Mad Man’ who had vanished into thin air, as he sensed a threat from a higher ‘general‘ – for he was a year behind Clement. My second encounter with the ‘garrison commander‘ came after the set ahead of him had gone finally.

I had developed a cyst and was not frightened any longer. His big bucket to me this time, had turned a reservoir in my cupboard. Its shape had gone diagonal as it was bigger than the cupboard. He kept surveillance on the person he had sent but, in my presence, he mistook Terungwa Igbalagh for me. For we had somewhat a semblance of one another, especially our complexion, height, general physique and gigantic head. For me, he questioned; “Tar wuogh ka hana?”. I replied; “Ka Mbayion” and in addendum, he asked; “Ve u vihi or er ka myongum nahan yer? Ka mbayion mba yange Kokoiwen Adugu na ve ambi ne ga?”. He had disgraced me thus far! Not sooner than I passed this, that the pendulum swung to my primary school seat mate, Apeeh Terungwa, with whom I had passed the Common Entrance Exam. He got even a better taste of the meal!

As if we would have only one ‘Mad Man’, some other seniors’ behaviour would even send tremendous phobia into your spines!

Top among the list were; Ortyom Mom, Orfega Uzer, Terseer Ikparen (one clique), Ipav (Castro Cuba), Isreal Itodo, Terwase Gbande (with so much power), Monica Msuega, etc., all of ’96 Set. They devoured us during the Headboy’s Speech – an event usually organized to restore an allegedly lost discipline in the school. It cannot be forgotten in a haste.

Aondowase Nyiyongu, Demvihin Tule, Saasha Tswam, Terver Leva, Dooyum Adaaku, Orseer Ibashwa (a bit better anyway), Terver Abelagi, mighty hearted Terlumun Atetan (10 years), etc., all of ’97 Set;

Liambee Dzahan, Ahangba Tyochivir, Dantala Makurdi, etc., all of ’98 Set; Steven Yina, Akere Terkimbi, Vihimga Faajir, Enoch Dagba, Orshi Toryima, etc., all of ’99 Set. These ‘gentlemen‘ saw, conquered, ruled, devoured and asserted authority to their satisfaction.

Of a particular interest was Dooyum Adaaku and Ahangba Tyochivir. Adaaku, a day student who had resumed in the boarding house barely two weeks, was appointed a prefect. Even before his appointment, he had become a prayer point as junior students petitioned God against his prefectship. His behaviour had already signaled a terrible premonition. However, he made the list on this faithful Friday. Imagining what Saturday Inspection would look like, I found myself in Tsekucha, my house. I returned on Monday morning, only to hear Baba Igba (J.S Igbalagh – Principal) at assembly that Adaaku was de-robed of his prefectship. A wild euphoria greeted the announcement. I heaved a sigh of relief for I had escaped the clutches of a dreaded oppressor. He had given Ahangba Tyochivir a good portion of the ‘meal‘.

Unimaginably, Ahangba mastered the teachings of his trainer. He unleashed cruelty and exerted a despicable control of his subordinate students when he was eventually crowned a prefect. He became a thorn in students’ flesh. What a world!

In their hands, we had even another turbulent moment. Steven Yina, et al, were far from human imagination of immediate seniors. But sooner than expected, our freedom arrived, only limited by preparations for WAEC and NECO. We were already on the exit door. Before that Thursday, 13/7/2000, I had gotten a wonderful experience, lovely classmates, intelligent teachers, and good academic background that has shaped my life. The acts committed against me by my seniors have since been considered youthful exuberance. I’m proud to have sojourned through BRISTOW, The Citadel of Academic Excellence!

4 Responses

  1. Avatar photo
    ORJIME Igbakura

    Lovely, interesting and encouraging!

    This will encourage us to reel out some experiences at our alma mater, Bristow which have shaped our lives. I most sincerely commend the handlers of this site, even for the editing. In the second to the last sentence, I had used “being” instead of “been” and became worried when I learnt the write up had gone on the website. But I have seen that it has been edited and the write thing inserted.

  2. Avatar photo
    ORJIME Igbakura

    Lovely, interesting and encouraging!

    I equally commend the handlers of the site, including the editing done on my write up. This will encourage us to reel out some experiences at our alma mater, Bristow which have shaped our lives.

    Kudos!

  3. Avatar photo

    This is awesome from the writer; Orjjime Igbakura my set coordinator. (We use to call him Kpatu during our school days) Our experiences at Bristow was one of a kind. We learnt a lot and we strive everywhere we go. I commend the site handlers for doing such great job. Go Bristow
    Akpesuwe Murphy Aondoaver
    BAA 2000
    5833

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