I Sold Exam Questions To Take Care Of My Family

April 30, 2021

As told to Femi

We hope for easy lives. But life doesn’t always go the way the wish. I spoke to Balo*, a an educational program advisor. We talked about fending for his family when he lost his father and a culture that does now allow men to grieve. We had an interesting chat.


My dad died when I was 16, and everything changed. He passed after a prolonged illness. We’re not quite sure what it was, but he was diabetic. It had been just one month since I resumed university when I received the call to come home. I cried for days but people didn’t let me grieve, constantly urging me to be strong because I was now the man of the house and I had to be strong for my mother and sisters.

He was a government official and we were doing well. He enrolled me in one of the most expensive universities in Nigeria just before he died. I knew him as a protector and provider whom no responsibility was too heavy for. We weren’t very close but I know if he had lived long enough, we would have been buddies. My mother was distraught and slipped into a deep depression because my dad was the sole provider. She was a housewife and it wasn’t until after he died that she tried to get a job.

I was the oldest child. I had two younger sisters who were still in primary school. I wanted to drop out of school because I knew my mother would be unable to keep up with four years of tuition, alongside my siblings’ school fees. However, she made me promise her never to drop out, no matter the circumstances. She intended to collect loans to keep up with my tuition. She asked for loans from almost everyone we knew, including my dad’s friends. They all turned her down. They were worried that people would think they were having an affair with my mother if they gave her money. I’m not sure what she had in mind for handling our finances, seeing as she had no job, but I promised her anyway.

My mom had some money saved up and opened a provisions store but the proceeds weren’t making a dent in our expenses. My dad also left behind a bar which he started up shortly before he died, but it was barely profitable. As the firstborn, I knew I had to step up and fill my dad’s shoes even though I had no idea how. 

After the burial, I went back to school. But my sisters had to stop school for a while. I found that I was unable to study and writing exams were difficult, due to the grief of losing my dad and the troubles on the homefront. To avoid flunking out of school, I decided to attend and focus on classes. I also made the acquaintance of my lecturers and HODs.

In my second year, I met Mr Subomi*, a lecturer in my department. He thought I was a smart guy and pitied my condition.  He started to give me past questions, areas of concentration and potential questions. My grades improved, and I was doing okay. 

22 Signs Your Children Are Way Too Spoiled | Best Life

I knew my mom could not keep up with my school fees. I needed to figure out a way to make some money. I had the idea to use the tips I was getting from my lecturer to draw up potential exam questions and sell these to my classmates. The questions were usually 80% correct. My school had a lot of rich kids who didn’t want to study, so my exam selling business flourished. With this money, I was able to pay my own school fees, send money home for my sister’s school fees and also some money for my mom to invest in the bar business. Even with all the money I was making, I didn’t have a lot of extra money lying around after settling my school fees and my family’s needs.

I sold exam questions for the rest of my stay in school. Mr Subomi would supply me with areas to concentrate on, and I would draft them into potential questions, sell them to my classmates and give him a share of the profit. There were times when I couldn’t make school fees because Mr Subomi would too be scared to pass me exam tips because school inspectors were monitoring the faculty closely. I had to beg for an extension. My dad’s friends ghosted us except for one of them who chipped in from time to time.

Eventually, I grew the bar into a hotel from what I made from selling exam questions and what I made from the bar itself.  My family no longer had to rely on handouts. I could also put my younger sisters through school and that made me really happy and take care of their needs.

My examination question-selling business rounded up when I graduated.  I did not attend my convocation ceremony. Ridden with guilt, I could not bring myself to collect a certificate I obtained doing what I did. If I faced the same circumstances, knowing what I know now, I would take a different path. However, I’m no longer plagued by that feeling. I did what I had to do for my family.

Now, I work for an international academic organisation. It’s a remote job that allows me to run my farm and the hotel.

I’m not where I want to be yet, because most of the money I make goes into paying my sisters’ school fees and other expenses, but I’m certain I’ll get there someday.

Are you a man who would like to be interviewed for a Zikoko article? Fill this form and we’ll be in your inbox quicker than you can say “Man Dem.”

Olufemi Fadahunsi

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

August 26, 2020

Many people seem to have different ideas of what it means to be a man. Here’s our own addition to that list: 1) If you can’t fight off armed robbers. Without any weapon. 2) If you can’t kill a snake. Using only your hands. 3) If you can’t cheat quietly. Why must you always confess […]

September 22, 2020

Let me start off by saying this is not an endorsement of cheating. Some of you might make reference to my name and say “i AM noT sUrpRisEd a fEMi is saYiNg tHis”. Keep quiet. We heard you the first 500 times. Here, I’m not asking men to cheat.  In fact, I hate cheating. All […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

May 10, 2021

Emojis were created to make texting cooler and make conversations a lot more interesting. Since we are ever so kind at Zikoko, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to interpret what some emojis should mean.  1.🙂 This emoji should be called the 40+ emoji, it’s not a smile or a frown? It’s passive-aggressive, very much like […]

May 10, 2021

‘Real men don’t cry’ is one of the top three most stupid and inaccurate things I have ever heard. Men cry, that’s the reality of life and it doesn’t make them less of men. To help illustrate and normalize men crying for normal and silly things, we asked a few men what the weirdest and […]

May 10, 2021

According to the World Health Organisation, one in four Nigerians live with a mental health condition. That’s 50 million Nigerians. Yet, the country is ill-equipped to provide adequate care to the people who need it the most. With only eight federal government-run neuropsychiatric hospitals, there are a ton of people in need of mental health […]

Recommended Quizzes

December 11, 2019

In the past month, we’ve made quizzes that guessed the last time you had sex, how many people you’ve slept with, and just how good you are in bed. For our latest attempt, we will use your taste in Nigerian music from the 2010s to ascertain what you’re like in bed. Take to find out:

November 12, 2019

Are you a single pringle, stuck in a complicated situationship or happily married to the love of your life? This quiz is here to guess your current relationship status, and as you know, Zikoko quizzes are incredibly accurate (don’t quote us). So, give a shot:

November 20, 2019

Last month, we thoughtfully made a quiz telling you guys exactly when you’ll marry, but some of you claimed that your spouse was nowhere to be found. Well, now we’ve created one that’ll tell you exactly who you’ll be dragging down that aisle. Take and start planning that wedding: 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are […]

What are you like in a relationship?
February 7, 2020

Your taste in music can say a lot about you, and this time, it’s going to reveal what you are like in a relationship. So, pick a few of your favourite Nigerian love songs, and we’ll let you know if you’re typically a distant, passionate or unbothered partner. Here you go:

More from Man Dem

May 10, 2021

‘Real men don’t cry’ is one of the top three most stupid and inaccurate things I have ever heard. Men cry, that’s the reality of life and it doesn’t make them less of men. To help illustrate and normalize men crying for normal and silly things, we asked a few men what the weirdest and […]

zikoko- dating advice
May 5, 2021

I am fascinated by the lives of sex workers because I often wonder how they navigate a hypocritical and judgmental country like Nigeria. Over the weekend, I spoke with a few sex workers I personally knew and asked them if their partners would be willing to speak to me for a story on what it […]

April 30, 2021

As told to Femi We hope for easy lives. But life doesn’t always go the way the wish. I spoke to Balo*, a an educational program advisor. We talked about fending for his family when he lost his father and a culture that does now allow men to grieve. We had an interesting chat. My […]

April 26, 2021

I am personally very curious about what the lives of men whose realities are underrepresented look like. Over the weekend, I had a conversation with a friend about his brother who was a single dad and it made me wonder about what it is like being a single dad as a Nigerian man living in […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X