A Brief History Of Mr. George. {3}

There are kings
and there are pawns.

Who takes the glory

when the war is done?”

  • an unknown poet.
    My name is Folarin George. I am a Part 3 student of the department of History, Obafemi Awolowo University. I am a Christian. And I will be eighteen years old in two months time.

It was our third class in the HOD’s room and Peter was standing behind his sofa. As though we had been told, we had maintained our first day sitting position. The girls sat on a sofa, Jerry and Peter on one and I took the smallest sofa. Now, Peter was standing like a dummy behind his sofa, facing the HOD where he stood by Shola, his arms 1folded. He had just asked Peter a simple question and Peter could not answer intelligently. I knew this day was coming and I was scared for him. The last time we met, the HOD had engaged Jerry and Shola in an interesting discussion on the Slave Trade. Because time did not permit us, we – Peter, the unknown girl and I – could not talk. Today was our day and the HOD had started with Peter.

“I asked you a simple question, Peter,” the man began, “and you disappointed. Now, I’m going to ask you again. What are the primary reasons for the end of the Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery itself.”

Peter was distraught, I could see it. He did not seem to know where he was missing it but it was all clear. He had failed to realise that this was not the typical class where you would read a textbook and pour out everything for the lecturer. The HOD was no ordinary lecturer. Again, he repeated his answer.

“As time went by, the Whites began to realise that they were being unjust by enslaving their fellow humans and some of them began to feel even guilty. Gradually, there was an uprising and -”

“What is the difference between the Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery in America?” The HOD asked, cutting in.

Peter blinked twice. His face was blank. ‘Sir, I did not get your -”

“I see, Mr. Peter that you’re not prepared for this class. And I am not happy. The reason you are here and not in some West African History class is because you are smart, or at least I think you are. Don’t make me have a rethink please. I want a five-page paper on Monday as an answer to the question which you have failed to answer here. You can have your seat.”

There was silence. Jerry was pressing his phone. Shola was looking at her shoes. She was on heels today. The unknown girl was scribbling something in her note. Peter was looking shameful and embarrassed on his seat. Then the HOD called me.

“Mr. George, do you think you can help us with that question?”

I cleared my throat and began slowly. They all followed with rapt attention and Peter and the unknown girl took notes.

“Of course what everyone will tell you is that the Whites became religious and that good men like Abraham Lincoln arose and fought against slavery and then we became free. But how about we look at how the events played out and see the flaw in this wonderful ‘religious’ narrative? First, the Americans had always been religious. America itself was started by English Christians who fled Europe for religious freedom. The Declaration of Independence, the Mayflower Compact and other documents make it obvious that the Americans had always been religious. Therefore, they did not suddenly become religious in the 19th century and then decided to end slavery. Of course their religion is a reason but not the major reason. The major reasons are the Industrial Revolution and the eventual colonization of Africa…”

I went on for more than fifteen minutes. When I finished, I sighed and took my seat. There was silence for a while and the HOD broke it.

“That was brilliant, George. Let’s have you Bimpe.”

I turned to the girls sofa and saw the unknown girl get up. Bimpe, a nice name.

That night, I got a message from Jerry on WhatsApp.

“Yo!” He sent. I smiled and shook my head and sent him “Hello”. And then we chatted about class and the unknown girl.

“She sounds good,” Jerry sent.

“Yeah. And she seems pretty brilliant.”

“Yeah. More than Peter. And beautiful, too. But you wouldn’t notice that. You have your eyes on a bigger prize: Shola. (Winks)’

I ignored the jape about Shola and typed, ” Yeah, better than Peter.”

“That guy needs help.”

“What do you think?” I asked.

“I dunno. If he doesn’t submit a convincing paper to Prof. Badero and does not perform well in the next class, the HOD might have a rethink about his acceptance into the class.”

I was a little disturbed and typed hurriedly: “You mean the HOD can dismiss someone from the class?”

“Yes. He’s done it before. You just ask around.”

I swallowed. We had only had three classes together but I had gotten used to Peter already. His baggy trousers, his ever moving pen, his phone which was always recording. He was a hardworker and I admired him for that. That was something neither Jerry nor I had. We were not hardworkers. We only had smart brains and read the right books. We never read for 7hours at a stretch. We never recorded Prof. Badero’s thick voice. We never asked many questions in class. It was Peter who did all these. He was the hard worker, the one who strived to remain up. It was like a royal setting. He was the slave trying to be a prince and he was making some progress. We were the princes, born into royalty. We never struggled. If anyone deserved the kind of knowledge that the HOD dished out in his large room, it was him.

“We gotta help him,’ I sent to Jerry

” Yeah! Make sure you see his paper before he submits.”

“Yeah. I will ”

“You coming for OAU Idol tonight?”

“No, I gotta get some sleep.”

“Okay. Catch you later.”

I sat up on my bed and thought about Peter again. He needed help. I glanced at my roommate’s bed. Stephen had gone out since morning. Bored, I called Shola.

“Hey George!”

“Shola, how’re you?” I asked and then I told her about Peter. She asked her usual question again. How the hell did Peter make it to the class? And then we talked about other things for so many minutes. I was saying goodbye when she cut in.

“George, what are your plans for tonight?”

“Tonight? No plan. Dinner and sleep.”

“Come on, it’s Friday. You should relax a little. How about we meet tonight?”

“Oh…that’s cool. Thanks for the offer ”

“I’ll call you,” she said and cut the call. I locked my phone and lay on my phone. I was thinking of Shola and her smooth legs when I slept off.

OAU Idol never happened that night. Shola and I never got to see that night. That night, the SUG crisis began. I was on my bed waiting for Shola’s call when Stephen ran into the room as though he was being chased. I looked at my wrist watch and I knew something was wrong. This was not the time  Stephen returned from his night reading classes. I sat up and looked at him closely. He was sweating profusely. Panting heavily, his right hand on his chest, his left to the closed door.

“Alu…Aluta! Aluta in SUB!” He cried. Immediately  I heard Aluta, I knew what he meant. There is a verse in OAU school anthem that says, “for learning and culture, sports and struggle…” Even those who composed the anthem knew struggle was part of the things this school was known for. And we were at it again.

I opened my WhatsApp that night and three messages struck me. The first was from my departmental group. It said that as a result of the disturbance caused by the Student Union Government and in a bid to restore peace  on campus, the school administration had declared a one-week semester break and we were to be in our father’s house before 12pm the next day.

The second was from the HOD. It was short and simple: “Heard of the crisis on campus. Hope you guys are good? Stay safe.” By “you guys”, he meant the five of us.

The third was from Shola. It was shorter than the HOD’s and the shortness of it and what it meant  filled me with dread. It read: ” They are in our hostel! “


PS. It’s like I’m going prophetic. I wrote this yesterday night and tonight, something similar is happening in OAU. Coincidence?

11 thoughts on “A Brief History Of Mr. George. {3}

  1. Another interesting read. Nice job Mike. My own is sha that if Shola doesn’t hook up with George, I’ll break ya head.

  2. This is getting quite interesting prophet Micheal,pray we finally have that strike though. (Help Peter oo,make him no commit suicide)

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