I was raised to be proper. Join the queue, never jump the queue; I was taught to not raise my voice, to keep a low profile. Very good lessons but...
I succeeded because I took the challenge and dared my fears.
It was way past noon and I had barely made it out of the gates of the polytechnic, as I negotiated to park by the curb, I got a call. I stepped out of the car and picked the call. It sounded so formal.
“Charles, where are you?” the female voice asked
“I am just outside the gate”, I retorted.
“Please can you come to the boardroom now?” She asked.
I quickly made a turn and headed back into the campus. As I drove back I wondered what had happened. Was there an issue with my result? Were my credentials faulty? What exactly would warrant me being summoned to the boardroom?
I stepped into the boardroom and was instantly in the midst of grim-faced staff in a serious meeting. I was motioned to come forward. I walked with a bit of trepidation until a smile broke from one of their faces. I didn’t smile back but I relaxed. Then the chairman greeted me and proceeded to tell me the reason I was called upon.
“We have been deliberating and based on the decision of the management we would like to conduct the forthcoming Post UTM examinations using computers, is that possible?”, he asked. I didn’t have to think to say yes. He then went ahead to ask if I could advise them on how to go about it; I was now a bit jumpy since I wasn’t prepared for this yet, I knew all the answers were in my head. I gave them a direction and how it could be done. They then asked me to come up with a sample and I told them in two weeks they would have it. I walked away feeling important.
The next two weeks was a nice one, I went through options and in the next presentation I had something good or so I thought. The moment the representative saw it, he couldn’t hide his approval. I was glad it was this simple. Then he asked the first question and the next, then another and all my answers were the same: “this package can’t handle that”. To say the least, we were back where we started. We had no ready package!
The next few weeks was a serious research, I read up all I could find on e-tests, online assessments, I called friends and asked questions. Finally I got one package I knew it was robust and deep to configure, but deep has never been impossible for me. I set to work and having corresponded frequently with the committee, we set a date for our first run. I wanted to prove to them that this package could do all they wanted but I had an opposition in the committee, one member had personal interests and had another package which he wanted to push. I didn’t know.
The battle for supremacy was silent but I noticed he stood against all my efforts rather than supporting them. I wasn’t happy but I didn’t want a confrontation.
My sample run was set and I was asked how much my fee would cost and out of fear of the package failing I told them not to bother about the money and lets focus on getting the package to run.
My plea for resources for the computers and the servers went unheard due to the silent war between me and the schemer. I however agreed to test using the machines they had on ground.
It was no surprise that the package crashed on login and I disappointed over 200 people who came to test the software, I wasn’t happy but I knew my onions and I threw caution to the wind. I wrote a 7-page memo on why the package failed and dared them to give me resources. I made high demands but necessary ones.
They obliged me and boycotted the schemer and in the next one week, I had put about 350 computers in order, ready to run. I called in 15 of my students and we worked tirelessly. It was a most trying time.
The 2015 post UTME was not just successful, it was smooth, we cleared over 6000 students in 5 days, hitch-free and results were ready on the spot. The school grossed over 9.5 million naira in earnings and my boys gained priceless experience. I was logically not paid because I was full of fear, fear of failure but that singular act broke me loose in my mind.
I succeeded because I took the challenge and dared my fears. I had always dreamed of a challenge and this was a big one, I became an instant celebrity but only few people, which includes you, know that I am a dreamer who broke away from the fear that held me bound.
Onuoha Enyinnaya Charles is an avid thinker who loves to challenge conventions and push boundaries, a computer enthusiast having cut his teeth in programming, engineering and web design. His creative writing is in a style of its own. He has been published by Today’s Lifeline and Rekindle magazines. He is married with a son.
Twitter handle: @icon4x