FIVE MARKS (SHORT STORY)
With the story below, I wish UNN students the best in their exams commencing this week. I extend the same good wishes to all young people in other schools as they pursue their studies.
I also dedicate the story to my colleagues- lecturers and teachers everywhere.
Mrs. Chidinma Ikeuno’s confidence was growing by the minute. Since she came to her daughter’s fiancé, Dr. Obinna Ezeji’s office 50 minutes earlier, he had been nothing but charming. She could see why her daughter, Nneka, loved him.
She didn’t notice the uber-strictness Nneka had said he exhibited. He was very gracious and friendly to the three students who came with a request for material to write their term papers with. He briefly discussed their various topics with them although the term papers were for courses taught by other lecturers in his department – Linguistics. He even personally picked out five books from his shelves for them.
As he attended to the students, Chidinma appraised his physical features. Obinna was plump and about 1.78m (5 ft. 10) in height. He smiled a lot which made him look younger than his 31 years. Chidinma also liked his complexion – he was fair like her. He could easily pass for the son she never had. She imagined that her grandchildren would be cute.
Before the students interrupted their conversation, they had swapped family stories which confirmed the report her family got when they inquired about his roots. He came from a Christian home. His father, a headmaster, and his mother, a seamstress, provided a stable and loving home for him and his siblings.
As soon as the students left, Chidinma declined Obinna’s offer to take her to lunch and launched into the reason for her visit.
“Nneka told me that she failed your course,” she intoned.
Obinna confirmed that with his ever-present smile on. “Yes, the course is Computational Methods for Linguists.”
“You have to pass her. She cannot be failing a course you are teaching when she’s practically your wife,” Chidinma, the wealthy business woman used to having her way, demanded.
Obinna did not lose his cool. He patiently explained to Chidinma as he would to a child that lecturers are not supposed to let their personal relationships influence their teaching and grading of students.
Chidinma sarcastically asked him which lecturers he meant. “The ones in heaven or on earth?”
“Lecturers change grades all the time and they do it for personal reasons,” she insisted.
Obinna laughed and leaned back in his chair. “Wow, I didn’t know you had such a poor view of lecturers,” he responded.
“How many marks are we even talking of? Five marks, ordinary five marks. Just find five marks to make her pass.”
Obinna, still smiling, began to open the drawers in his desk and rummage through them one after the other.
“What are you doing?”
“Searching for the five marks as you instructed me.” When he noticed the dismay on Chidinma’s face, he burst into laughter.
“What sort of demonic laughter is that?” she queried him.
He was still shaking with laughter but managed to respond, “My laughter is demonic? I suppose your request by contrast is angelic.”
Chidinma was changing her view of her prospective son-in-law fast. He was not only refusing her request, he was having fun doing it. She felt his responses so far revealed an underlying psychopathology. But she didn’t want to give up yet.
“I’m not asking for an A or B. Just let her pass. Another carryover will give her an extra year in school,” she pleaded.
“No can do,” Obinna maintained. “If she works harder next time, she will certainly pass the course.”
Chidinma’s massive bosom was heaving with anger. As she gingerly picked her Hermès handbag from his desk and stood up, she expected Obinna to beg her to stay. The least he could do was apologise for hurting her feelings even if he wouldn’t grant her request, she thought.
But he did nothing like that. Instead, he accompanied her to her 2021 Honda CR-V EX parked in front of the Chinua Achebe Building some 30 metres away, making small talk and laughing all the way with his colleague going in the same direction.
Chidinma did not join in the banter because she had made up her mind that there was no way she would allow Nneka to marry such a “twisted” human being.
“It is one thing to be wicked,” she told herself, “but it is more sinister to do so with smiles and laughter. Obinna is sick and I’m glad I found out before the traditional rites of marriage were done.”
Ⓒ Edith Ugochi Ohaja
Hope you enjoyed the story. Let’s chat.
***Do you think Obinna should have granted Chidinma’s request?
***Do you think he’s sick as she claims?
***If you were Nneka, how would you react to what transpired between your mum and your fiancé?
This story was first published on my Facebook page, Aunty Edith, on April 1, 2023.
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My mum was headmistress/principal at my school all through my primary and secondary school days. If you failed, the teachers would personally bring you to her office. She’d also make sure she dealt with you at home too. We never thought her wicked….rather we strived to make better grades. Fiancé or not, Nneka should do better to pass his course. How can other students trust his capabilities if his own wife-to-be keeps failing his course? I have to applaud Obinna on how he handled the conversation with his would be mother-in-law, shows real maturity. Back to my books….
Wow, so amazing ma.
I support that the lecturer did the right thing because if you continue giving unmerited grades to students, they won’t take the course and the lecturer very serious. I pray for success in our exams. Our labour shall yield success.
It takes a great deal of discipline to not let one’s emotions or personal relationships override our sense of moral rectitude and this we must learn.
Insightful piece, ma.
Well I really enjoy the story . It was very funny. I must say I obinna should have not grant his fiancée mother request . I believe you don’t give up your principles for someone . But I also think he should have explained better knowing fully well that his finacee mother is used to having her way. Well nenka knew her finacee very well she should have put in more effort to pass the course . Chidinma must have known that her future son -in-law is very principles .She just wanted to try her luck .for I would want my daughter to marry him because this days it’s hard to fine a principles man.
“Lecturers are not suppose to let their personal relationships influence their teaching and grading of student”. The above statement said it all, we should learn to differentiate between work ethics and personal relationship, work hard and depend on nobody for the result manufacturing. If only we all becomes like Dr. Obinna Ezeji, our country and the world at large would be better again. DO THE RIGHT THING. Thanks ma’m, really educative. God bless you…!
Thank you for the exam wish, i really appreciate, and thank you ma for the story it is a very funny story it really made my day.
I think Obinna did the right thing for not listening to his mother-in-law,on her request to add more mark for her daughter, his wife all because she failed her course that Obinna, the husband is teaching.No matter how related a person is to any individual, the right thing is still the right thing, I will not because she or he is related to me I should therefore
compromised, No. Nneka is a student just like the rest, even though she’s married to a lecturer, that does not make her different from the rest.
In as much he did the right, the manner of approach which he used in reacting to that manner was quite insulting to his mother-in-law, I felt he could have just explained to her the reasons for not doing such rather than just laughing continually and irritating her.
Obinna is a man of integrity. Now the mother understands why Nneka said her fiancé is a strict man .Haha but I must admit I wouldn’t go on with the marriage if I were Nneka, there’s just something unpleasant about Mr Obinna’s toughness.. almost as if he doesn’t love Nneka enough to do whatever to make her happy
Wow, you want a man to do whatever his woman asks to make her happy, even when it’s something wrong? That is a narcissistic way for a woman to seek her happiness and a treacherous foundation to build a marriage on.
This is timely, it pushes one to do their best, rather than relying on the pre-existing relationship they have with the lecturer to get good grades.
Obinna actually did the right thing but he should have reconsidered his personal relationship with Nneka after Chidimma’s appeal. I can’t marry a man who would do such to me. No way!
You have a long way to go, my dear! The kind of man you’re looking for could put you in trouble with his wrong conduct someday.
* What Obinna did was the right thing to do..
* He isn’t sick..I believe he was just following his work ethics..there shouldn’t be preferential treatment, not minding who the person is.
* I’ll let things go because what he did was the right thing to do knowing fully well what my mom asked for was wrong .
I think what he did was good.so Nneka will have to work hard for her grades.
A didactic piece
Lolz. This is soooo nice
I don’t think Obinna is wicked though
He is just a person with principles
Second, I wouldn’t have failed if I were Nneka, lol. But I would have certainly understood him and what he stood for.
So, it most likely wouldn’t get in the way of our relationship.
Good to hear!
For this type of discussion, Obinna should have declined her request Politely. How can you make jokes in a serious conversation like this, especially when it’s with an elderly woman? There are ways to turn down requests without making fool of the other party.
To me, it is shameful for Chidinma to request for marks for her daughter in the name of marriage engagement. It seems she’s encouraging Nneka’s lackadaisical attitudes towards her education. I like the fact Obinna maintains his dignity and respectfully or rather, humbly rejects Chidinma request. This is an interesting piece. Thank you ma.
In order to avoid repeating courses, students should work extremely hard.
I think we should not use obstacles as excuse for failure
Obinna is not sick.
He did well
He did the right thing
Thank you for the exam wish ma, This story is indeed timely.
I love the story very amusing . I support obinna in his decision and also I’m against chidinma for trying to make her daughters fiancée to compromise his principles . If I am chidinma I would be more proud to have him as my son-in- law .
The story is educating Mr obinna is a principled Youngman and Nneka just wanted to take advantage of his office, she didn’t expect that side of him. As students let’s work hard and avoid carryovers.
The man is right.
Every student should study hard to pass exam and not depend on any lecturer to award unmerited marks.
People tends to take advantage of relationship just because obinna is her son in-law doesn’t make him obligated to give her daughter free marks. She should work harder so she can pass. Obinna is a man with integrity.
Thanks a bunch for the wishes Ma’am!
This story depicts how we tend to capitalize on our relationship to people in high positions to get favours we are unworthy of.
It makes for an interesting read.
I believe she’s entitled and as such believes he owes her something and when he refused, she’s sees him differently. I believe it could have been the same even if it was a different request.
However, it might hurt her not to get what she wanted because entitled people tend to be hurt when they don’t get what they want especially when they don’t deserve it. I believe he shouldn’t have made a joke out of it and rather taken a much more serious stance.
LoL I know that on a normal,most mothers would behave as nneka’mum did,and it takes a well disciplined and principled man to do what obinna did,nneka is his fiancee and ofcourse is actually somehow allowing your fiance to fail your own course,if I’m to be nneka or the mother I will definitely not be happy about it but that is not a reason to stop nneka and obinna from getting married..He actually did the right thing.
This is really nice ma. Thank you so much for the exam wish. This is a wonderful story. It is indeed timely.
In the end, it’s far more honourable to be committed to studying and placing hopes in God for the best.
Giving an ethical response under this circumstance and not letting emotions becloud him is an admirable quality from Dr. Obinna.
He did the right thing… As a lecturer’s fiancee, one shouldn’t even fail a course in the first place, because she has easier access to him… But if the lady is truly virtuous, she would understand him and be humble enough to rewrite the course..
Thank you so much Ma
Placing due process over sentiments is a very tough scenario to be in but doing the right thing is always the best decision.
I support obinna in his decision.
Very interesting story and the timing is great.
This is quite a read, it has an exquisite change and an adhesive lesson.
For one, I do not agree with the statement that Obinna has a twisted mindset. He is just principled and would rather enjoy teaching you through it than help you wallow in the wrong path.
Obinna did the right thing as a husband to be and as a lecturer, he has a responsibility to maintain academic integrity and treat all students fairly, regardless of personal relationships or outside pressures. Changing a student’s grade for personal reasons would be unethical and could compromise the integrity of the entire academic system.
Well I understand obinna, and I like the fact he did not give 5 marks as Nnekas mum requested.
Somehow I also think he didn’t treat the response well, yes she asked him to look for 5 marks, he could have just said there is nothing he can do and end it there, but instead he started looking for the mark in his drawers, somehow seems like he was mocking the woman.
Yes maybe somehow some will say, she deserves it, but she is a mother, most mothers will want to go out of their ways to assist their children in ways they can.
I feel obinna was a bit rude in is answers towards his fiancé’s mum.
The man isn’t sick. When has laughter become sickness?
Chidinma should be happy, having a man who doesn’t compromise for relationship as a son-in-law.
I enjoy the story, funny title.
Thank you Ma. This piece is really helpful.
It will help in pushing students to read more instead of relying for help.
I think some lecturers need to learn from obinna. Not only lecturers, even public servant. Standing for what is right is very important as someone who is working in the public service
I’m enjoying this blog ma’am, I read it whenever I have the opportunity to.
Very inspiring blog
Thank you and God bless you splendidly for the commendation.
Very nice story ma. Obinna did the right thing. If he continues to add marks for her, Nneka will continue to fail and always hoping for extra marks. Obinna is really disciplined.