It is difficult being a bookworm in Nigeria jare. Burning the midnight candle, trying not to feel like a misfit but not being able to help it. The truth deep down is that I like book!
You want to know the most awkward part, when you ‘like book’ but you don’t really ‘know book’ like that. My answer to that? I stayed in the library even more, researching one thing or the other. But when results come out, na so so 58%, 62%. It was not bad but never good enough.
You see, I heard all the whispers behind my back, and some to my face. Some people said I drank too much coconut water as a child. Ouch! Others invited me to their fellowships to cast and bind the spirit of ‘almost there’. Don’t get me started on village people and family members.
However, it has never been about being the best graduating student for me, I just really enjoy learning, discovering and solving a problem using all that I have acquired on that subject. Research is my life, it’s who I am! But you need money na? Books will not solve everything. Yes, I realize that….
I had been dragging my feet on my research work for a while since my retiree father is incapable of continuing to sponsor my interests. I didn’t mind, but I had lost the zeal to continue. Most of the scholarships or grants were either out of Nigeria or set unnecessary hurdles that. So I stopped ‘bothering’.
All that changed a month ago! For the first time in a long while, it felt amazing to be the ‘smart’ one in the room. I heard about The Academic Research Development & Innovation Challenge (ARDIC) by MTN Nigeria. And my money-deprived heart thudded when I found out that a million Naira would be attached to the winning research.
This bookworm still stood a chance to get funding for her research, one that I had been slaving over for a while! I was ready and I sent in my work since it fit the criteria to a tee.
By Thursday, November 28, 2019, the finalists will be announced at a launch in Abuja and I’m more excited about that than anything. I want the money, but I don’t even have to be a finalist. I’m ecstatic that hundreds of people that have devoted their time and sweat to analysing data and researching solutions are being recognized. It doesn’t happen often.
So, I stand with every young researcher that has met an obstacle as they have moved along through this maze of life, and I’m proud for whoever gets that money. We work too hard not to doff our hats at each other.
– Adesewa Bankole is a researcher from Abeokuta, Ogun State.