In 2011, I was invited to take the UBA aptitude test thanks to my uncle who worked there for informing me of the vacancies. He was a highly disciplined and meticulous person, and he sent me detailed instructions on how to get to his house in Ikorodu. He emphasized that I should use the pedestrian bridge to cross the road at Ojota, even though he knew I was from Port Harcourt and not a village. He explained that I could be arrested and fined 5,000-10,000 naira for crossing the road without using the bridge.
On the day of the exam, I dressed in my seldom-worn convocation gown and followed my uncle to his office. We were taken to an amphitheater for the exam, which was the most difficult test I had ever taken. I couldn’t even do well in the English section, let alone the Maths and General Paper sections. The words they asked for synonyms and antonyms of were words I had never seen before. That was the day I realized that I had merely graduated from university and needed to learn more about life in general.
After the exam, I called my uncle and told him that if I passed, it was probably because he was there. I asked him if all UBA staff in their various branches had to pass the same exam to be employed. He intelligently told me that I needed to pass that exam to be employed from the headquarters, and that he could only speak for me if I passed.
Needless to say, I didn’t pass the exam. UBA sent me a message a few days later informing me that I was unsuccessful and wishing me the best in my future endeavors. I forwarded the message to my uncle and told him when he came home from work later that night. He encouraged me to sit for the O-level Maths exam that I didn’t have and try again. I did come back to Lagos eventually, but to do a course in broadcast journalism at the FRCN Training School, now the Broadcast Academy.
Recently, I was in Lagos and visited CMS market. As I was leaving the market, I saw the UBA headquarters building behind me. It was the same building where I had taken the exam 12 years ago. I couldn’t help but smile, remembering the experience.
Charles Ogili is a broadcast journalist, On-Air Personality and Compère.