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October 15, 2023

When I was just aged 15, my mother Magdalene, got terribly sick and died. Before her death, she was just recently promoted to the position of “Director on Collection and Planning” at the Board of Internal Revenue, Lafia Nasarawa state. She was getting to the top of her career. However, death struck a hard blow and took her away. I was a high school student when she died.

After her death, things were not as smooth as they used to be while she was alive. I would not say I lacked the things I needed as a child but you know there are things that you get from your mother that you cannot get from your father. It’s mother’s love.

My dad was a very busy man but he provided for me and my step siblings and made sure we had all we needed.

However, 5 years later, at the age of 20, death struck again and took my father away. Suddenly things were not as rosy as they were. Of course, I was loved by the people who surrounded me but at this time I was in my 3rd year at University and as you would imagine, there were things I could no longer afford or have. The loss of my parents made me an orphan.

I saw things I wished I had. I saw other people buy things they loved but I was at a point where the loss of my parents made having some things be a distant dream. I was conscious that despite the loss of my parents, I was better than many other people but I was also worse off compared to many other people. It was a period that stole my smile.

It was around the same time that I won my first scholarship as an undergraduate where I was awarded 150k Naira every session. Ohh! That money changed my life and I could all of a sudden afford some of the things I wished I had. I bought my first laptop and my first suit.😀

From then on, I knew that I had to keep up the drive in applying for scholarships to fund my studies. It was clear to me that if I wanted to secure a Masters and a PhD, my parents were not there to fund it. I re-channelled the pain that came with the loss of my parents and kept pushing through life. Of course, I had help from family and friends.

Through scholarships, I have completed a Masters and at the final stages of a PhD.

I look back today and my life and trajectory seem like a rumour because I could say that the smile I lost many years ago when I lost my parents has returned.

AAP and the smile

Your story may be more painful than mine.

You may be going through some pain now.

Things may appear impossible but perhaps a little more push will introduce the light back to you.

If you are reading this and have lost your smile, I encourage you today to wake up daily and take baby steps. For me, my baby steps were about channelling my energy into applying for scholarships. Yours may be something else. I recognise it is easy for me to say now because I am not aware of how hard your situation is but I guess it’s worth trying. What do you lose by trying? You only lose when you do not try.

Many years back, if you ever told me, I would go ahead to win multiple scholarships and awards, I would not agree but here we are.

Today, my experience through the rough paths I went through has helped me assist many people in winning multiple scholarships and opportunities around the world. My smile has returned.

As humans, your pain may weigh you down today but if you can wake up daily and show up, YOUR SMILE WILL RETURN.

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