OAU Medics 2001 Set: The Odyssey

Obafemi Awolowo University, Great Ife, indeed Africa’s most beautiful campus. Conscious. Vigilant. Progressive.

This is the story of a group of young idealists who came in with dreams and eyes bright with anticipation. We came, we saw and conquered.

The OAU medics 2001 set started their journey through this citadel of learning on the 14th of December 1992. We had barely settled into the halls of residence, the ladies in the exalted Mozambique hall and the gentlemen into Angola before ASUU struck. This was the rude awakening that would welcome us into the “aluta against all oppression” side of great Ife. We were sent home to resume in March 1993. Still reeling from the rigmarole, ASUU announced another nationwide strike. This commenced on 6th of May 1993 and we spent a whooping 5 months at home to resume in early October 1993.

We were all fired up and ready to go, having heard stories about the almighty white house. We studied hard and resumed all night reading in nooks and crannies, often hiding out at the HSLT AB and C, Ajose, Agric, Archi. Some chose the more chilled atmosphere of the various reading café in Awolowo and Fajuyi halls. Matriculation for our class set was on October 23rd 1993. We finished the first semester of our part 1 in December 1993. One whole year after resumption. The rest of part 1 passed without incidence. However, being a student within the walls of a ‘woke’ university, always at the forefront of the fight for social justice had its down sides.

Our resumption into part 2 was delayed by the aftermath of the June 12 1993 crisis and we did not resume classes in part 2 until November 1994. So, you can imagine, the once bright-eyed innocents were looking a little forlorn by the time resumption rolled by. We were already counting 2 years and we were just about to commence part 2. Our once lofty goals of 6 years and then a doctor was fading away, we learnt quickly about 6+X and X seemed to be getting longer every minute. Yet we held our chins up, we were on a mission.

The first MB, which occurred at the end of part 2, was in early 1996. Time in the crowded MDLs gave much time for bonding and cliques emerged. From the brothers, to the gangsters, to the jokers and the efficos, people tried to find their niche but comradery was sincere. We bunched together, forming reading groups, study buddies. Seldom was there a lone wolf in Medicine, we all needed one another to survive. Lectures droned on and on, from cumulus oophorus to names of organisms in micro/para and formulaes in BCH that we struggled to remember. We were on a mission to conquer.

It was a struggle to lose some mates to repetitions along the way. But we gained some others and we all trudged on. Such was our fate, we were on a mission to conquer. Part 3 was smooth and short. Leaving us to wonder where the time went to because before we could get used to dissections in the cadava room. Suddenly, the almighty Second MB was upon us. In May 1997, we sat for what most medical students believe is the most important examination of their lives.

The first paper of this exam for our class was on May 1 (a public holiday). The end of the examination signaled the end of our journey through the preclinical years. We were weary, we had lost so many, we were almost despondent, time had passed. At this point, we had started hearing stories of family members and friends who had gone to other institutions graduating after their 4-year courses. We were weary, yes, but we were resolute because we were on a mission.

©Boladale Mapayi 2021(Dates provided by Bunmi Lawal and other members of the Reunion committee)

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