A 60 year old man Mr. Adalabu Seribor may as well be the oldest JSS 11 pupil in Nigeria.
The old man is a student of Izon College, Bomadi-Overside in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State.
He was cornered recently by newsmen wearing his school and he narrated why he decided to go to school at such an old age.
Hear him, “I don’t joke with my studies,” he stated matter-of-factly.
“Why should I anyway, when I am already old? In fact, I cannot afford to repeat a class. I ensure I don’t miss classes and I take my home assignments very seriously. Whenever I don’t understand anything, I ask my teacher after class to help me out. This method has been working out well because all my subject teachers are always ready to help.”
A wheelbarrow pusher, Adalabu, who is fondly called Oyinbo, recounted how he was received by his teachers on his first day in school.
“My first day in school remains memorable. Maybe due to the fact that I am the oldest person in school or because they knew me as a wheelbarrow pusher, my entrance was marked by a rousing welcome. Everyone, including the principal, trooped out to have a glimpse of me. I was dressed in the school uniform—a mint green shirt, a pair of dark green trousers and a beret to match. I had to hang my bag on my back because I am a pupil. I had been interviewed by the principal before my resumption and during our interaction, he considered me for JSS II instead of JSS I. He knew I would cope very well,” he said.
Born of parents who were not literate—his father was a hunter— Seribor dropped out of school in his teenage years.
“I was in primary four when my father said he could no longer afford to pay my school fees. Then, I had lost my mother, who died during child birth when I was a little boy. I was raised by my grandmother but I was later taken to my father when he remarried.”
At a point, he was taken to an uncle, who was a magistrate in Bayelsa State. Seribor said he returned to his father when he could not endure the hardship.
He recalled, “I went through pains and hardship from my early life to adulthood. I went through struggles but I had the opportunity to go to school when a relative, who was a magistrate at Ekeremor in Bayelsa State, took me to his house.
“But because of early morning beatings due to my failure to greet him when rising from bed, I went back to my father. I had no opportunity to go to school since then. I continued to labour for survival in life, which I am still doing.”
But after many years through menial jobs, especially wheelbarrow pushing and waste disposal, which he engaged in order to earn a living on his own, he arranged for a home tutor who taught him both primary five and six syllabus.
He said, “Through that, I sat for the primary school leaving certificate examination and I thank God I passed it very well. I have that certificate already as a first step.”
But he was thirsty for higher studies. The fact that he was a primary school dropout pained him.
“I was not comfortable seeing myself in this modern world as a semi-illiterate when I knew that I am brilliant. Suddenly, something in me told me that it was never too late to go back to school if I so desired and was determined. That was how I enrolled again in secondary school. Luckily for me, education is free in Delta State,” he said.
He is planning to be a teacher.
“I will ensure I further my education after my secondary school to at least, a college of education and obtain the National Certificate in Education, and become a teacher. I just love teaching,” he enthused.
But wouldn’t his going to school disturb the business he has been doing for about five decades? Seribor disagreed. He said he needs the money to foot his bills and, therefore, devised an after-school method.
“Many of my customers are aware of the new development in my life and as a way of supporting me, they wouldn’t mind waiting for my services till I return from school,” he said.
Erasing any feeling of insecurity in a classroom of children he could refer to as his grandchildren, Seribor said he never experienced any dull moment while in school.
“They all call me Papa. Some even call me Daddy and I play with them whenever the need arises. They all love me and we relate very well with one another,” he said.
His class teacher, Mr. Edsemi Anesah, confirmed Seribor’s zeal concerning his studies. Already, he said, the 60-year-old’s performance was very impressive.
“He is determined to graduate from secondary school in five years’ time with good grades. Seribor is not only committed and hard-working; he is also humble and respectful. If he should hold on to his dream and remain committed as he is currently doing, he will definitely become what he wants to become after graduation—a teacher. That is why I see him as an encouragement to many youths and older adults, who had no opportunity of formal education in their early life, to now consider the second-chance option,” Anesah opined.
Interestingly, Seribor is still a bachelor.
At 60, why is he not married when his mates are already grandfathers?
His response was quick: “No woman wants to marry a poor man.”
Despite this, he expressed a desire to get married before completing his secondary education and also raise a family of his own.
“I have been suffering and I had no money to marry. All the women I spoke to despised me. I work hard to earn a living, looking for fortunes with no help from anywhere. I will be living on my own till God gives me a wife.”
With no helpmate, the 60-year-old pupil revealed that he cooks his meals and washes his clothes all alone.
He said, “I can cook well and I’m a good cook. I wash my clothes, including my school uniform(s). I know I will get a wife even though I’m facing challenges currently.”
So, what kind of woman does he desire for a wife?
Painting the picture of his woman, Seribor said, “My ideal wife must be hard-working, very tall and should be dark-complexioned.
I don’t mind any tribe as long as she is humble and resourceful. She should be about 50 years plus—I don’t want a small girl that will bully me in the house.
If I don’t find an older woman to marry, then she should be in her 30s because she must be able to give birth to my children. She should also know how to cook good food and take care of me.”
Are there other qualities he desires in a woman?
“Yes, she must be educated but respectful,” he said.
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