One of the most remarkable autobiographies I've read (in SS3) was "The Upstairs Room" by Johanna Reiss.

It tells the dreary escapades of a young Jewish girl who spent WWII escaping the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question". She spent 3 years hidden in an attic; "Upstairs Room".

Odimegwu Gabriel Odimegwu Gabriel, You and I, in SS2/3, bonded over this book, Angels and Demons, Second Class Citizen, Joys of Motherhood and few others. You were a motivating and stimulating mind.

Lest I forget, Marist Brothers Juniorate, Uturu, had an outstanding library. I spent quality time there reading "non-academic books"; autobiographies, war accounts and historical books that I'm yet to [easily] see in local markets. One of such was "Militant Islam" by G.H. Jansen. I read till I had migraines.

I've never been one for formal, institutional learning. Perhaps, never been one to be in any box. From experience, I've realised I have a thing against monotonous formalities and education. I, however, have always been one for knowledge and open learning platforms.

Lectures, more or less, have always been wonderful avenues for me to read novels or socialise. I couldn’t help it — since many lecturers were not adept in the art of pedagogy or were perpetuating "tyranny of the classroom" — thereby repressing liberal learning. Again, I prefer to read than listen. So if it were up to me, without consequences, I would hardly attend lectures.

In my final year, my ICT Law lecturer then always complained about my [mis]demeanor to the point I felt unduly targeted. I hated to copy notes and she was not having it. I used that time to read novels or personal research on global/national politics and this further infuriated her. Albeit sometimes, I took scanty notes with my phone just so she doesn't "disturb"my peace. Nevertheless, she expressed her displeasure of me taking notes with my phone and frankly, I didn't quite understand her qualms because it was an "ICT" Law class!

In University, I spent most of my 4th and 5th year lectures reading novels [or not coming to class at all]. I tried to divide my attention; 50% to the novel and 40% (or less) to the lecturer and 10% to the goons at the "House of Lords". The only lectures I recall giving 100% attention were Human Rights Law and Public International Law. Thanks to Dr. Hilary Okoeguale 's style of teaching. I also gave quality attention to borrowed courses relating to politics/governance, history, philosophy and literature - thanks to Dr. Olumide Olugbemi-Gabriel too.

Throughout my 5 years in University, Barr. Chigbo's Land Law in 4th year was my cumulative lowest grades. Had C both semesters. My colleagues reading this would understand why. Making 8/20 in his test makes you a stuff of legend! Coupled with other personal and academic challenges that year.

In Law school, the story is quite similar. I spent many lecture periods reading "Why We Struck" and other non-academic books - two of which were gifts from Rev. Fr. Victor who was a coursemate; and Raphael, an old pal. When we returned from Externship to face the Bar Exam, I totally abandoned classes to read alone in my room/hostel - since I couldn't do the overnight study most people subscribe to. Also, I have a short attention span that is maximised just after a nap. So I read every morning and every evening when I have a siesta.

This story is cut and joined here and there, but in the end, the crux, perhaps, is that I managed to strike a balance between my zealous quest for "knowledge" and the necessity to pass my exams and retain important academic principles that would foster my career.

Oh, this story is also a premium product of vicious boredom!

To God be the Glory!




Law and Development | Transitional Justice. Staff Attorney, Connected Development [CODE].

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Charles E. Uche Esq.

Charles E. Uche Esq.

Law and Development | Transitional Justice. Staff Attorney, Connected Development [CODE].

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