Short Story: The Adventure of a Mathematics Teacher by Michael Chukwudi Ikegwu

I have come to Dutse to reside after Secondary School. I heard from people that came back from the North about the myriad of opportunities there. This is because the inhabitants were uneducated and could not do these white-collar-jobs.

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I arrived and got a one room apartment in the street of Yalwawa. I was also told that life is simple and things cheap in the North. After a day, I neatly got dressed in a plain trouser, tucked the white shirt with blue stripes in. The tie I wore was as long as a horse’s penis which responded to the whirlwind of Dutse. The buttons are all glittering; in fact, they were shining like the blazing sun of Jigawa.

I have packaged my Curriculum Vitae, WASCE Result and an Application Letter I have copied from the online. Do I know anything like plagiarism? This WASCE Result I managed to pass from one of the Miracle Centers in Onitsha. Made an A1 in mathematics. I got to the main road, flagged down an Achaba man (bike man). The bike was even as the same height as I was. I wonder how one climbs this mountain of Dutse in form of bike.

‘Please, can you take me to a nearby private secondary school?’ I said to him.
‘Baa English,’ he replied gazing at me to speak Hausa.
‘Baa Hausa,’ I said. I was very quick to learn that the first day I arrived.

I walked to a young man who stood, arms crossed across his chest, asked him if he understands English. He nodded in affirmation. I heaved a heavy sigh of relief. I took him to the Achaba man, he then interpreted.

Soon enough, we arrived to a beautiful private school painted blue. The gate man only understood the principal from the whole sentences from my mouth. In this part of the country, English language is not recognized.

I got into the principal’s office who requested for my credentials. He took a cursory glance at them as he flipped from paper to paper.

‘Wow!’ he shouted. ‘You must be a genius in mathematics?’ he said giving me a befitting smile.
‘Yes,’ I said with a deceptive smile.
‘You’re going to take the students on mathematics then,’ he concluded.

I had no option than to accept the offer. I started school the next day as a reputable mathematics teacher. I walked into an S.S3 Class. It’s pertinent to recall that while in the East, I learnt that the Hausas are academically bankrupt, that’s to say, the White’s man education is not for them.

My first day in class, we solved about eight mathematics equations. I proved the answers from the textbooks wrong. The students were struck by amazement at my mastery of this subject. I was happy that none of them could stand to prove me wrong. I taught wrong equations with the utmost alacrity and courage.

I have stayed in this school for three weeks or thereabouts. One day, I gave the students an assignment. They were S.S2 students. They submitted the assignment hopping they obtain a good mark from me. Their answers were not the same with the ones I got, I cancelled all.

That afternoon, I was in the staff room with the other teachers. I sat solving a mathematics question from the textbook. The office was very hot from the blazing sun of Jigawa. This sun can roast out the skin from the bony skeleton. I shouted on top of my voice,

‘Oh! The answers in this text are all wrong.’

My fellow teachers were all amazed as they gazed at me in awed, shaking their heads at the level I knew mathematics.

I was still solving while I was disturbed by a thunderous voice that roared at the door-mouth. The echoe from the voice cracks a wall and leaves holes on it.

‘Who’s that mathematics teacher?’ the voice barked.

I stood from my seat, made my way to the door to see the person that spoke to the erudite mathematician in that boldness. I came out, aghast at the sight because the owner of the voice was smaller than I was. Very close to the earth. This sexagenarian was almost dark to a charcoal point. He could look-at-a-sky-length while looking at me. I was just average in height. What if Mallam
Ibrahim, the Iroko of the school was the one? He’d need a ladder for communication.

‘Are you the mathematics teacher?’ he yelled at me, pointing his dark-skinned-finger at me. Of a truth, he was blue on the face and boils like a jollof rice.

‘Yes, and what do you want?’ I replied courageously.

He flipped through the pages of the exercise book he held, asked why I gave his son zero when he got the answers to the questions right. I was flabbagasted, demanded to know what gave him the impetus, the audacity and the courage to come to me with that cock and bull story. Perhaps, I learnt the Hausas are all illitrates.

‘Tell me, did you see the four walls of education let alone studying mathematics to know a wrong answer when you see one,’ I said.

Professor, Alhaji Nura Musa had studied mathematics in a prestigious institution, Stanford University and graduated the best. Did his master’s and Doctorate degree in the same school under scholarship. He had won many internationally recognized awards in mathematics. The Dean, Faculty of Science, Federal University Dutse. I have just looked down on him as an ordinary aboki.
Where will I find myself in the next few minutes? That’s is left for you to brainstorm.

Note:This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.


Michael Chukwudi Ikegwu hails from Ezza North in Ebonyi State, Nigeria but was raised in Anambra State. He graduated with a First Class from the Department of Applied Biology, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki, Nigeria. His writing includes poems, fictions, essays and short stories; he plans to venture into academic writings in the future time. His poem was published in the 2018, Shishir and Water Anthology, India and on the 2019 Brave Voices Poetry Journal 60. He’s the winner, 2019 Boldscholar World Poetry Day Social Media Contest.

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