I was not ashamed to do masonry work, others to increase tuition fees, accommodation costs -Maduadichie, final year student of poly
Cyprian Maduadichie, a final year student at Oko Federal Polytechnic in Anambra state, who recently completed his final exams, has become an internet sensation after revealing he has held several menial jobs to sponsor themselves at school. He shares his triumphs with TOBI AWRINDE
Can you talk about yourself
I was born on September 17, 1995. I am from Ezeagu, in the Orumba South Local Government Area of ââAnambra State. I am the third of my parents’ seven children. I am a final year student of mass communication at Federal Polytechnic in Oko, Anambra State. I just finished my final exams.
Why did you choose to study Mass Communication?
The first career choice I made was to become a priest. After my primary studies, I took the entrance exam to the Seminary of Saint Dominic of the Savior, Akpu, I passed and I was admitted. I entered JS1 in 2008 and continued the seminary process and training until 2014 when I took my West Africa high school certificate exam. According to the seminary program, after secondary education, we leave for a year of apostolic service, which I did. But I couldn’t enter the spiritual year, which is another year of studying philosophy after the apostolic year.
What motivated you to go to the seminar?
As a child, I joined the servants of the mass, that is to say those who help the priest at the altar. From there, I fueled the interest of going to the seminary. I just wanted to serve God by helping in the ministry.
Do you think you can still do this after you graduate?
When I was in ND1, the interest was still there. But now I don’t think so. The time is no longer for me to return to seminary. With my good demeanor and character, I can serve God without being a priest. Being a priest is not a prerequisite for someone to serve God and minister to people.
You gained popularity online because you posted that you did menial work as a student. What kind of menial work were you doing?
I did a lot of menial jobs like packing sand into bags and selling it. I also did palm oil processing. I wrote homework for people at school and was able to use it to pay the rent on my house. If I had 5,000 N, that would go towards the rent of my house; I would give it to the owner. With this I was able to complete the rent. I used a hoe to make mud for people and got paid. I have also worked on construction sites, hauling blocks and mixing concrete. It was very stressful, but it was for good.
Why was it important for you to take these jobs?
My father is a farmer who has no profession. My mother is a civil servant and I am not the only child she is training. My family basically survives on my mother’s small salary, and when I asked my mother for money, she complained and so I felt bad. So I just had to do whatever I could to make sure I had something in my pocket to support my studies.
Has your father always been a farmer?
When I was a child my father worked for Orpet Nigeria Ltd. I was very young then, so I don’t know exactly what happened. I think armed robbers attacked their business and he was the manager. With this, they stole some of the company’s money. He lost his job and since then he has not had a suitable job.
When did you start doing odd jobs?
I started doing odd jobs as soon as I was in seminary. During the holidays I would come home, pick up my shovel and trimmer head, look for a job site, and ask for manual labor. If they accepted me, I would work and get my money back at the end of the day. Over time, it became a habit. On weekends, I would look for jobs, do them, and use the money to support myself during the week. I started doing odd jobs when I was in JS2 or JS3. I worked weekends and during the holidays. During those weeks or months before we started another semester, I would just go to the village to do some menial work.
How much were you paid for the work?
When I was in JS2 or JS3, being a worker earned me 1,500 N per day. Currently I am paid 2,500 N. For concrete work it depends on the number of floors in the building. There are some who pay N700 per bag. If it’s German flooring, they pay N500 or N600 per bag, depending on how many bags you can mix.
How much were your tuition and other expenses at school?
At the Polytechnic my tuition fees were N 22,000 per year. During my ND program, I shared rooms. It was not an “independent” apartment, but a single room, which I shared with someone. The rent was 50,000 N per year, so we paid 25,000 N each.
Were you able to save money?
(Laughs) Save? I couldn’t save. There were times when all I had for an entire week was only N100. I would go from my dressing room to school for lectures and then come back. But I had food. If I could find garri I would buy N20 sugar and eat it to support myself. It was normal campus life. It was not easy.
What other sacrifices have you made?
I wasn’t interested in wearing flashy or designer clothes. Some of my friends had them and wore them, but I kept cleaning the few clothes I had. The main thing I had in mind was to make sure I dress well and look good.
It must have been difficult to balance your education with the odd jobs you did on a regular basis. How did you manage to do it?
I read every day and did my homework. I took quizzes and exams, and I was doing fine. I studied on my own and programmed myself to draw a reading schedule. With that, I managed to do my studies well.
Do you think your performance would have been better if your education had been fully sponsored and you could fully concentrate on your studies?
Yes, I think so, because there were textbooks that I didn’t buy and they had exercise books. But because I didn’t have any money for them, I was losing points for those notebooks and homework. If I had had these manuals and workbooks, even if it was 30 points, my scores would have been higher.
Did you have a hard time in the last year, considering that you had to do your project in addition to your classes?
Honestly, I struggled. But I have this friend, Chibuzor Nnadi, who has become a brother. Since my second semester of HND1 which started in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, we have become very close. He began to support me, buying me textbooks with his. Chibuzor, Ekene Okonkwo and I are best friends. Chibuzor is the one who takes care of Ekene and me, even until now. I took him as my blood, no longer just as a friend.
Have you ever felt embarrassed about odd jobs?
If I had felt embarrassed, I wouldn’t have posted these photos on my Facebook page. I’m not ashamed of everything I know I’m getting something from. I’m not ashamed of anything that puts food on the table or makes me grow financially.
Did people laugh at you?
Ah! A lot of people laughed at me. I was called village boy, local boy and “a week a garment”. As someone who works in cement, my palms were callused, so if I squeezed someone’s hand, they would laugh at me and say, âYour hand is not soft. In fact, if I wanted to talk to some girls, they would say, âThis is not my class. But all the same, we thank God.
What do you think of the idea that young Nigerians are lazy?
Young Nigerians are not lazy. If you investigate, young Nigerians, especially here in the East, are struggling to cope. If you go to Onitsha (Anambra) or other cities in Nigeria including Enugu (Enugu State) and Owerri (Imo State), boys have a hard time getting by. Some join construction companies and some do these menial jobs. I don’t think young Nigerians are lazy. It’s just that most of them haven’t had the privilege of going to school, so people see them as people who have nothing to offer society. Most of them want to do things, but the capital to establish what they have in mind is not there. After all, they won’t do it with their bare hands. When they don’t have money, they don’t steal. Instead of stealing, they will be alone and people will think they are lazy. They are not lazy.
Have you ever been tempted to get into crime to make easy money?
When I was doing my computer science, seeing my classmates driving flashy cars, I wanted to ask them to teach me yahoo-yahoo. But I thought if I started to do yahoo-yahoo and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission chose me, wouldn’t I be in trouble? So, I decided not to do it. If I am making money and not leading a straightforward life, it will lead to an early journey to the grave. Imagine someone telling you to bring your mother’s or sister’s head. I believe it’s best to keep your hands clean and be straight and with the grace of God no matter what, you will excel in life.
Your parents must be very proud of you. How did they react to the news that you had completed your final exams?
I didn’t let my mom know in advance when I would be finishing my final year exams. So I called her that day, but she was at church so she didn’t answer. Later, she called back my call and I told her that I had completed my exams. She and my younger siblings were very happy. She said, ‘We will now have a graduate in this family.’ I will be the first graduate in my family.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Over the next 10 years, I hope I will be married and reach financial heights in life.
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