Here it is
My name is Agacheta Stephen Rowland.
I didn’t have a nickname even if there were hilarious attempts by comic trolls like Ejiro Igbodudu who threw names like ‘Froggy’ because of the grandness my eyeballs (lol)…..others went as far as calling P. Wemba or Papa Wemba and I can’t recall how that even came about!!
I was born in February 20, 1982 in suburban Lagos, Ojota to be precise. Fourth child out of five.
I am self conscious (in new environments), curious and was always questioning and challenging status quo even as a child.
Being an introvert didn’t deter me from regular boyish activities at the time as my childhood days were filled with lots of physical outdoor games from Catcher, Suwe, football (in all its local variants from “One touch” to “Paralo” )
When there was “light” I would be glued to the Family’s four legged Sanyo Black and White TV, that type that had shutters and a key but my parents weren’t the strict type in that regards so we had free access.
I remember my favourite childhood shows were Fraggle Rock, Voltron, Super Ted and later on Victor and Hugo then Marmalade Atkins, Dr Who and Robin hood.
Attended Maryland Convent Private School for all my nursery and primary school then did JSS and SSS in Comprehensive.
Then YabaTech to study Food science and technology, then Unilag for building.
How I ended up in MCSS
I desired boarding school life even though I heard about bullying seniors and watery beans and forced siestas…
My dream school was Federal Government College Ijanikin and I made a very decent score of over 500 points out of 600 but didn’t make the cut off marks for my state of Origin being Imo.
It was one of the most painful day for me because i felt robbed even as a pre-teen based on quota system It didn’t make sense and still doesn’t.
We were advised to check Kings college being my second choice and the same scenario played out as I saw other kids make the list despite scoring way lower.
So that was how I found myself bringing broom and cutlass to Maryland Comprehensive as part of the registration requirements.
Maryland Comprehensive was a sought of consolation prize because I didn’t like Immaculate High as much.
I quickly settled in before long I was happily playing foursome “Table Tennis” (General, Major, Sergeant and Recruit😃😃😃 the boys will know) on the Sewage Slab under that Pride of Barbados tree near the staff room of Miss Yaya the mathematics Teacher
Pals in JSS
I am not one that moved with circles but I made a number of acquaintances like Temitope Akano for his collected mien, one Folorunsho for his smile ( he had lost of his front teeth so they called Enyin Iku) and he was always speaking plenty Yoruba in class with people like Shadia which was a kinda of a culture shock coming from Convent school were English was the Lingua Franca.
The classroom were dirty, no ceiling so it was always hot and on some Mondays we were greeted with human faeces at the back of the classroom
Then their was the Idowus who were clearly preppys. I remember Ademide for a reason I wouid rather gloss over.
Then there was the fair skinned Bankole, Femi who we felt spoke like Gomez in the rested Soap( can’t recollect the name)..then of course there is the amiable funny guy Big Timer (‘at the same time’…I remember him for this slang ( at the same time)
Yeah I remember Chigoziri Oliver for looking smaller back then and being so innocent and for saying he wanted to be a Catholic priest but today he is mini gangster lol.
By JSS 3 I had my stable circle in Taiwo Oshodi,Kayode Odusanya, Emmanuel Uddin, Chigozie Maurice, Emeka Valentine, Chinedu and Okechuwu Nnodim, with whom I usually trek home via a plank bridge down Ajose street.
Woe betide you if you have spent or lost your toll gate money. You will have to turn back and trek under the main bridge!!!
Then there was Kemi Abraham, the first girl then made me realise that inter-gender adolescent attraction is real lol.
I met Raji for the first time at the prototype building explaining some physics problems in Force and acceleration and also factorisation of exponential equation in further maths yeah that memory still clear …mehn e shock me cos we haven’t even been alloted in classes and I had no idea of physics at the time as my siblings were all Art and Commercial students
To catch up I joined the ring of eficcos like the competitive Dotun Osisami ( I remember him harrassing me one Monday morning to define Newton law of cooling and me was “this guy”!!)
There was Ibukun Awobade who had the talent of touching the tip of his nose with his tongue…then Ejiro who had a made nickname too for each of us. He would call Taiwo Oshodi for “Pharaoh” for having a pronounced Chin…then he will call Senator Samson , “Hanger”, because he had broad shoulders. Samson Hundeyin is someone I liked for for his way of speaking and behaving(we had a personal episode which laughed about just last year) …for want of space I wouldn’t go through the litany of funny nicknames he created😃😃😃.
Then there was Chike who we felt looked like Teacher Chike character in another soap back then.
Taiwo Oshodi was a very rounded personality, not your regular science student. I could actually say he was my closest and favourite person as our closeness survived the valedictory service…
Ogechi, Marian, Sandra,Chineye and Amaka were sitting just in front of us so we got along as friends and study partners particularly Ogeh who I liked for being dainty and her taste for music back then.
Would be stepping out each year in JSS to receive one prize or the other…each time it was a shock because I never aimed at it and I was never really academically competitive.I only studied enough so as to avoid staring blank at the ceiling during exams.
I am eternally grateful to the bookworms of friends that kept me on my toes… especially Kayode Odusanya with Quizzes he organised and even gave cash prizes. Then to Segun Ogunlana and Jerry Agbontaen for introducing me to chess.
Some events that shaped my life in MCSS
Writing to Mrs Farinu the principal then stating why I must not be dropped from the prefects’ shortlist and I was reinstated
Another was “Badging” into the staff room in SS 1 to tell the teachers organising the prize giving day award for Junior WAEC that I was omitted from the awardees….
Looking back I think speaking up in the face of error or what one judges as injustice was something that spurred and still spurs me.
This two episodes made me realise that keeping quiet in the face misnomers isn’t a virtue.
That when you speak up, when you take action rather than whine in one corner or justifying your inaction with funny excuses rooted in fear leads to psychological dwarfism and life long regrets
What people do not know of me???
I think it was I had an non bookish side.
I was into all manner of music back then in MCSS from Tupac and Bone thugs to Jodeci to 112 and even now…..
Infact one of my favourite musicians is Haruna Ishola and my favourite Track is Soyoyo aka Opon apala ti Sun finally
What do I do for a living?
After school I ran my parents’ school for like three years…then joined my brother in his PR start up where I got exposed to publishing, copy writing, graphic designing.
Then went ahead and started a small business into school supplies particularly craft papers and production of instructional materials.
I take on branding and printing projects for individuals and corporates
*Where I see myself in the next five years…
I see myself either in government trying to make needed difference or neck deep in private sector organising crowd funding structures for the development of business ideas particular in ICT to the continental markets.
I love playing chess, listening to music and watching Crime movies.
Who is my personal hero?
If I weren’t a Christian my favourite person would still be jesus of Nazareth because of his take on leadership as a humble service which is against that we have in our world today plus his stand on the value and dignity of the human person.
If I could change the world…
Religious tolerance and proper redistribution of wealth…
For the Alumni….
I thank present Regime as Emeka would say, for their selfless service to the Alumni
I would like to see the alumni upgraded to a networking hub that will harness and leverage on our numbers to deliver economic dividends to members and value to society at large.