Written By Abdullahi Yunusa ProfWills
“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination”.
– Tommy Lasorda
Nasir had all the excusable reasons to remain unlettered, but he thought differently. Even while he wheeled his wares around our neighbourhood to earn legitimate income, the burning desire to acquire western education was alive in his bossom. He didn’t see his humble background as a stumbling block capable of denying him the opportunity to be literate.
My relationship with Nasir dates back to my junior secondary school days in Abuja. My childhood friend and classmate, Andrew Iwuan, was the linkman.
While Andrew and I were busy pursuing our education, Nasir hawked items such as biscuits, sweets and other petty stuffs to earn a living. Unknown to us, Nasir’s eyes were on us and he always wished to be like us, as he later recounted. He wasn’t just comfortable with his status as ‘Mai Sweet”, sweet seller, he wanted a change in status and profession.
It was Andrew who later told me of Nasir’s desire to begin his secondary education having obtained a first school leaving certificate in his home state of Katsina long time ago. I instantly dismissed Andrew’s statement as a mere joke. But the young man wasn’t kidding.
To prepare himself for secondary education, Nasir had commenced a home lesson class. Having improved in his writing and spoken English, he then began to make arrangements to enrol in a nearby secondary school. By this time Andrew and I had graduated from secondary and were ready to proceed to the university.
The next time I heard from Nasir was to tell me that he was preparing for his junior WAEC! I was stunned and pleasantly surprised. I had thought the young man had long perished the idea of furthering his education. I was wrong.
His years as a senior secondary student were quite challenging as he had to combine his studies and business to make ends meet. He needed income from his petty business to remain in school, so there was no way he could have abandoned his trade. His weak grades while in SS 2 so troubled him that I had to personally put a call to one of my teachers to arrange extra class sessions for him. The strategy worked like magic as reflected in his SS 3 mock exams. He was able to get himself registered for both WAEC and NECO exams at the same time. Thankfully, he came out in flying colours in both examinations.
Nasir wasn’t done with education yet. He wants to proceed to the university. My major concern for him was funding, given his background, but Nasir was optimistic and was ready to fly. He got a JAMB form and applied to study Law at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna state. Luckily for him, he passed and was offered admission to study Civil Law.
It came as cheering news to us, especially Andrew and I. How he was able to raise money to run his programme remains a mystery to me. He never appeared beggarly even when he had nothing. I admire his resilience and confidence. He’s very hardworking and imaginative. He endured all the pains and hard times throughout his stay in Zaria and later headed for the Nigerian Law School in Kano.
Having successfully written and passed his Bar Final Examinations, Malam Nasir Muazu Mato was among the over 1000 new wigs inducted into the nation’s legal firmament yesterday in Abuja. The ‘sweet seller’ of yesterday has transformed into a proud lawyer and ready to blaze the trail. With a Law degree in the kitty, Barrister Nasir is fully prepared for the future.
This is but a hasty recollection of Barrister Nasir Muazu Mato’s inspiring story in celebration of this rare accomplishment. I am indeed encouraged by Nasir’s rock-solid determination to pursue his dream even when all the odds were stacked against him. For Barrister Nasir, this is just the beginning of a great and promising future. Congratulations. To God alone be the glory. Cheers.