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Of Sharon and How Not to Pay Gratitude -By Zayd Ibn Isah

And your parents, what would they say? How would they feel, seeing the very children they struggled to pay school fees for attributing their successes to examination malpractice and sex-for-grades? God, abeg o.

A final year student of Federal Polytechnic, Nekede stirred up a hornet’s nest of indignation after she uploaded a now viral TikTok video of herself thanking God and her p**sy for her successful graduation.

It appears that the young lady could not contain her excitement after defending her National Diploma project and as such, she decided to let the cat out of the bag. “Omo, today is the final day. Nekede bye bye, this stress ends today. Finally, I’m now a graduate of Federal Polytechnic, Nekede. It can only be God o! It can only be God and my p**sy,” she had said in the video, smiling with glee.

Unsurprisingly, this damning allegation of sex-for-grades did not go down well with the authorities of Federal Polytechnic, Nedeke. A few hours after the video went viral on social media platforms, blogs and news sites, the school management issued a statement, revealing that it had launched an investigation into the young lady’s claim. The school’s Rector also promised that heads would roll if her allegations were found to be true, otherwise she would be made to face the consequences of her action. She went on to describe the lady’s claim as not only blasphemous, but a smear against the moral standards of the institution.

Without a doubt, Sharon has by now fully understood the dire consequences of her action, especially in regards to what she stands to lose in the eventuality that her former school concludes their investigation and finds her wanting. There are already many who are eager to see her punished for holding the revered image of Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, up to public ridicule.

In a letter to the institution written by her lawyer, Ikechukwu Nwaopara, Mrs. Okoroafor said she was carried away by the euphoria of the moment, and that she didn’t know when she said, “It can only be God and my p**sy”, instead of “popsy.”

If I were Sharon, I wouldn’t have stressed myself too much by getting a lawyer to craft a flaky defence for my actions. Rather, I would simply appear before the panel and attribute it to my mother tongue. In my dialect, we pronounce ‘o’ as ‘u’. What happened to the second ‘p’ in Popsy? It’s as silent as the ‘p’ in “Psychology”. Shikenan. “Magana Ya Kare’’ It’s now left for the school management to temper justice with mercy.

Whether it was a slip of tongue or mother tongue, the sad reality is that Sharon was only confirming to us what we already knew. Sex-for-grades has become very rampant in our tertiary institutions over the years. In fact, almost every female student that has passed through the academic spaces of our tertiary institutions have horrible stories to tell about this menace. In Sharon’s case, she may not exactly have been compelled by her randy lecturers to sleep with them in order to pass exams. But then, the way and manner in which she openly thanked God and her private part shows that she probably sees nothing wrong with using what God has given her to get what she wants. After all, na her body; nothing too spoil.

The menace of sex-for-grades in our universities is aptly captured in Naked Abuse by the one-time spokesman to former President Umaru Musa Yar’adua — Olusegun Adeniyi. In Naked Abuse, Olusegun Adeniyi gave damning accounts of how students who were in school to study ended up becoming objects of sexual harassment by predatory lecturers. The sad tales are the same all over the continent, and only few lecturers who abused their positions in such a disgusting manner are ever brought to book. The rest only continue to carry out their despicable acts with brash impunity.

Now, away from all of that to the primary issue at hand, this is not the first time a graduating student has openly indicted his or herself of committing one heinous crime or the other. Sometime in July, 2021, a graduating student of Microbiology, University of Benin, Peace Ufuoma got tongues wagging after she was done writing what seemed like her final paper. While other final year students were writing captions like “Finally a graduate” or “Tell Daddy and Mummy I made it”, and other beautiful inscriptions on their pristine white T-shirts, Peace Ufuoma chose to be different. She did this by putting “Aggressive Malpractice Brought Me This Far’ boldly on her own T-shirt, and further amplified her bold claim by making a video of it for the whole world to see. After a lot of backlash and scorn from all quarters of the Internet, the University of Benin would go after her in the same way the management of Federal Polytechnic, Nekede are now going after Sharon.

The rest, as they often say, is history.

But one has to wonder what these final year students stand to gain by stupidly implicating themselves all in the name of celebration. Popularity? Which sane human being would want to be popular at the expense of his or her reputation? More specifically, which student would risk throwing away four years worth of toil just for recognition on social media? Why wouldn’t such a person think of the long-term implications of their actions before going on to expose themselves before the eyes of the world? Imagine appearing for a job interview, well-dressed and brimming with confidence, only for one of the interviewers to say, “Wait a minute. Aren’t you the girl in a Tik Tok video that thanked God and your p**sy for a successful graduation?” What would you say at that point? Who would you blame — God, your private part, your basket mouth or your village people?

And your parents, what would they say? How would they feel, seeing the very children they struggled to pay school fees for attributing their successes to examination malpractice and sex-for-grades? God, abeg o.

Strangely, it even appears that Sharon is enjoying the brief celebrity status her self-damaging video has now conferred on her. In a recent video which she posted on her social media handle, she said that she was aware the Rector of her former school had placed a price tag of ₦500,000 on her head. In a show of “cruise”, Sharon said that she would be open to business. And that whoever is ready should reach out to her for negotiations.

“Fifty-fifty,” she said. No more, no less.

To think that this may have been the rationale for her actions from the very beginning. Probably, Sharon must have planned this with her friends long before the D-day. If that sounds like too much of a reach to be true, the actual mentality of most youths, particularly those constantly hooked to social media, is way more shocking and incredulous. The sobering truth and reality is that in a mad rush to become social media influencers, many young Nigerians are actually reckless enough to throw caution to the winds.

Where is our collective morality in all of this? And where is the hope for much younger people in this country, when youths and elders alike are dedicated to being anything other than role models for society?

The painful thing about Sharon’s shameless display of stupidity is that it only serves to cast and perpetuate a list of harmful stereotypes about young ladies in Nigeria. And it is never easy to divorce many Nigerians from skewed beliefs about femininity; as such, Sharon’s display of inanity should make all of us bow our heads in shame.

Where do we go from here?

Zayd Ibn Isah writes from Abuja via [email protected]



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