What ₦5 Note could do for you in 1992. ( A True Life Story).

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 THE FIVE NAIRA NOTE



The year must have been 1992. While on the assembly ground in Debo Nursery and Primary School, Iju, it was announced that the pupils would visit Obasanjo Farms, Ota on an excursion. The announcement was made by my proprietress Mrs Julianah Adu (aka Mummy Debo), my benefactor, to whom I am forever grateful.


The cost of the excursion for each pupil was five naira. We were all excited by the announcement. My primary school gave us a balanced education. In addition to teachings given predominantly by Ghanaian teachers, we had complementary learnings in fun places in Lagos. My first visits to the National Museum, Onikan, National Theatre, Iganmu, National Stadium, Surulere, Bar Beach et cetera were during excursions in my primary school days. I thank my parents for sending me to Debo Nursery and Primary School, Iju.


While other pupils were still basking in the excitement of the announcement, I reasoned that I might not be opportune to go with them. Five naira was not so easy to come by those days. My mother had been widowed in her early thirties two years earlier, hence, she might not be able to afford the money. I became sad but hopeful.


The days started ticking; I was expectant that I would get the five naira miraculously. My prayers were answered earlier than I thought. On a memorable Sunday, a visitor placed a crisp five naira note in my palm upon her exit. My joy knew no bounds that day. After prostrating at 180 degrees in appreciation of the monetary gift, I quickly ran into the bedroom to hide the treasure inside a sock which I tucked inside the pocket of one of my shorts. I suddenly felt like a wealthy boy. I was worth five naira. Before I started counting my blessings, I discussed with my mum if I could use the five naira note as my excursion fee. She gave an affirmative answer. I hugged her in appreciation. 


I must have gone to school the following day with a bounce. I was a rich boy, so my swagger must have matched my financial status. My visit to Obasanjo Farms had become assured. When it was announced that we should start paying, I felt at peace. The anxiety of previous days had disappeared. The following day, I produced my five naira note. Mr Mends, my class teacher, wrote my name in his fine handwriting on a list of those who had paid. Interestingly, I was among the top ten pupils who paid.


The D-day arrived; we sang all the way to Ota, Ogun State. After entry into the farm, we saw the sculpture of the former Head of State and owner of the farm, Olusegun Obasanjo. He had a hoe swung over his shoulder. The farm manager took us round the farm, narrating many things we found educative and entertaining. We visited one of the coops. It could not have been less than 400 meters long by my estimation. Many workers were picking eggs from the battery cages. It was a noisy place. Unlike us, the birds could not obey a simple instruction to keep quiet. The fish pond also seemed about 100 meters long. The fishes became inpatient when their food arrived. We saw them jumping out of the water in some synchronized fashion. It was a beautiful experience for the pupils and teachers. I still relish the memory till date.


Just recently, I saw a five naira note in my consulting room. I was reminded of the great value it had almost 30 years ago. It was the cost of a beautiful experience I could have missed. I looked at the note with scorn. It had lost its value over the years. Due to respect for the currency, I did not trash it.


May God restore the glorious days to Nigeria, amen!


********

A True Story of Dr. Ademola Orolu.



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