“My CGPA Remains Unbeaten” – Professor who Suspended Schooling for N1000

-“My CGPA has Not Been Beaten” says Professor who Suspended Schooling –
“You cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs. Throughout the world, there is no paean without pain.”

Those were the words of  Tai Solarin (1922-1944) in an article entitled “May Your Road Be Rough”, which he wrote for the Daily Times newspaper on the 1st of January 1964. Tai Solarin added in that article that:

“Life, if it is going to be abundant, must have plenty of hills and vales. It must have plenty of sunshine and rough weather.”

In other words, it is necessary to suffer or work hard in order to succeed or make progress in life. This fact is exemplified in the life of Professor Francis Angrey, visiting Professor at the University of Lafia and former Head of Department of Modern Languages at the University of Calabar.


Professor Francis Angrey

Although he emerged as the best graduating student in his set during his undergraduate programme at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, he told me during an informal conversation that N1,000.00 (one thousand naira) temporarily frustrated him out of school.

He said: “In my third year, they said we should pay one thousand naira as deposit before we travel out. 

At Nsukka, normally in year three, students of Modern Languages go abroad for one year, as part of the course work. I didn’t have the one thousand naira that was required in my set.

I went to the village, looked round for one thousand naira, everybody told me they didn’t have. So, I went back to school. I just went and wrote an application for voluntary withdrawal. I withdrew and came back to Calabar where I was teaching in a secondary school.”

“I was using NCE certificate to teach. I came back to Calabar and got reabsorbed. I taught for one year during that period that I withdrew from the university. I struggled and struggled to have that one thousand naira.

The moment that I saw that I had gathered more than enough, I went and paid. I lost one session. After that, I went back to school. We had to go abroad, as required. That one thousand naira sustained me abroad for one year.”

Professor Angrey explained that he made sure that he excelled in school while abroad, due to what he experienced, “as a result of one thousand naira”. He said:

“I told myself that I had to read. Although I lost one session, I made sure that I made up for it. While abroad, I made ‘A’ in all my courses. When I came back to Nsukka for year 4, I also had ‘A’ in all my courses. Nobody could tamper with my grades. My CGPA remains unbeaten till today.”

He added that: “Others who had First Class in my set organized an evening for me, on their own. Of course, I gave the valedictory speech during our convocation ceremony. That is the same one thousand naira that I spend today in drinking a bottle of ‘Luma’ at a sitting.”

Like Tai Solarin wrote, all that is noble and laudable in life can be achieved “only through difficulties and trials and tears and dangers”.

Cornelius Ellah
Twitter: @lin_cornellah
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