I left Dr. Udofia’s office to hear that a departmental congress had been scheduled for the next day. Departmental congress was usually a time where both lecturers and students of the department gathered together to address issues affecting either and both of them. An idea popped into my head and I rushed to the lecture room to meet Diana and tell her of my plan.

“I can’t do it oh! Please ask someone else to do it or you do it yourself. You want Prof to notice me and deal with me?” Diana asked.

“Please Diana, this is my one chance to be free from Prof’s clutches. Please do it for me as a friend,” I pleaded.

“Don’t you have mouth? Can’t you talk? Why are you sending me to stand up in front of the whole department and suggest your idea?”

“Please Diana. If I do it myself, Prof may suspect that I’m referring to him indirectly. Please.”

She placed her left elbow on the desk she was sitting on and rested her head on her left palms.

“Diana, please say something na,” I nudged at her.

“I’m really scarred o. You know that many people know that we are close friends. It will be easy for Prof to know that you sent me. And you know walls have ears. We are discussing this inside a lecture room. What if someone hears us?” Diana asked turning to look round the hall.

There was no one sitting close by and I tried to assure her that no one had heard us. She finally agreed after I persisted and wouldn’t let go. Will my plan work in getting Prof out of my way?

RELATED: THE HOTEL ROOM

*********

I sat far away from Diana at the departmental congress. She sat on the second row while I sat at the last row in the hall assigned for the meeting. There was a table in front of the hall and the HOD and other lecturers sat in front of the hall facing the students who sat opposite them.

The items on the agenda for the congress included opening prayer, opening remarks by the HOD, introduction of lecturers and matters arising. The lecturers were given a chance first to bring up an issue they had with students and the department in general. Some lecturers complained that students boycotted lectures and others came late for lectures.  Another lecturer complained of students not reading and whiling away their time on frivolities.

The HOD addressed all the lecturers’ complaints before he gave opportunity to students to bring up theirs. I was nervous as this was the right time for Diana to hatch our proposed plan. The lecturer who was moderating asked students who had complaints to raise up their hands as numbers would be assigned to only those whose hands were raised. I stretched my neck to see if Diana had raised her hands but she hadn’t. The moderator was counting hands and I almost gave up when Diana raised her hands. The moderator counted her and said she would be the last person as he wasn’t taking any more complaints. I was glad she raised her hand before he stopped counting. Today was my lucky day, or so I hope.

RELATED: IN A DILEMMA

When it was Diana’s turn to state her complaint, she rose with an air of confidence, collected the microphone from the moderator courteously and greeted the HOD, the lecturers and the rest of the students. Unlike me who was shy, Diana was more courageous and could face anybody in the face. She was just perfect for this task I requested of her.

She continued by thanking the lecturers for their efforts and contributions to the students of the department. Then she began her main talk, “I don’t really have a complaint but a suggestion and a request. Sir, I suggest and kindly request that one course be allocated to more than one lecturer. As at now, most courses are taught by only one lecturer and that lecturer may even handle it for years. Sometimes, some students may not understand the way a lecturer explains his course. And this causes those students to fail. And then they repeat the course only to fail again. But if a course is taught by two or three lecturers, if as a student I don’t understand what lecturer one teaches I will be able to make up with what the other lecturer teaches.”

RELATED: BACK TO SCHOOL

Students began to clap and hailed Diana for her suggestion.

“Yes sir. We concur,” they echoed.

I sat quietly on my seat. This was my idea but I didn’t want Prof to suspect that I was looking for a way to ensure that he didn’t succeed in victimizing me. The HOD wrote down Diana’s suggestion and request and assured her that he would consider it.

When the departmental congress ended, I waited till Diana got back to the hostel before I thanked her for her boldness and willingness to help. The HOD kept to his word and by the next week there was a new lecturer assigned to teach PSY 320 alongside Prof Ime. Guess who the new lecturer was? Dr. Udofia, the most friendly and approachable female lecturer in my department. Since Prof. Ime had been teaching us since the beginning of the semester, the HOD asked him to step aside for Dr. Udofia to take over the remaining topics for the semester. She also gave another test and I was so certain that I wouldn’t just pass the test but pass the final exams at the end of the semester. There was no longer any need to go to Prof’s office to sign attendance or even go to his hotel room to meet him. I had found my escape route, thanks to God for giving me the idea and thanks to Diana for being a friend indeed.

END NOTE: This is a fiction story series and episode 14 of #UduakObongStorySeries