Sunday Dec 04, 2022

Inyene Rice Roberts

When I was in 2nd year, University of Abuja for the first time allowed Direct Entry Students. So I got new classmates- Mrs Akanmode (Supermummy), Chogu Ochai, (co-signatory to the Reciprocal Sugarparenting Enforcement Procedure), Chollom Chuntok (CLASFON president), Osahon Seun Osaghede (Who I had talks about Angels and fights about shoprite with). There was Perpetue Akoumba (with whom I practised my “French”) and Pamela Enekebe (who challenged me with her
 knowledge of Rock, Anime and impessive collection of shaded drawings).

And then there was Inyene “rice” Roberts. I will NEVER tell you about the rice incident (and Ope if you say anything I will find you and kill you…until you’re half dead). But I met her at the indoor theatre. There was this sunny day we had a contract lecture, and Barrister Aladeitan had as usual blitzed through Offer and Acceptance. As the lecture ended, we gravitated towards the stage. I’d just finished saying my usual hellos to Kemi Lawani and Grateful Itiowe when unavoidably in my line of sight, My eyes opened and I did behold the lightskinned Nwanyi Ocha.

Me: “Hi”
Her: “are you talking to me?”
 Me: “who else?” Her: **pointing to grateful** “I thought you were talking to her
Me: “I wouldn’t be saying ‘hi’ to her AGAIN would I?”

And she blushed. See, that’s the funny thing- she COULD blush. And yes, over time I did get to talk to her. Talked family, talk school, talked the past.

And that was refreshing. See- I was bored with school back then. I was having a hard time adjusting to the pace of lectures, the increasing demands of my fellowship, my budding musical interests. And the overall effect was to make me feel that I might be better off studying theatre arts. But that Inyene girl had a zest for education. She was like the youngest in class, but she displayed the utmost attention. She ALWAYS had her assignment done on time, and whenever we had to type assignments out, she always had a fancy cover and a cool font with her matriculation number on every
page (so for all of you who wonder why I always did that, I learned that from her).

Oh, and the packaging. If you knew her, you’ll agree that she had to be one of the most packaged people in that class. Her clothes were always neat, always in season and always had the wow factor. And she wore no makeup (Fine, if you want to count SebaMed lipbalm, but I use it too). And you know how girls on natural looks thrill me.

After 2nd year I wasn’t really close to her (I blame it on taking different electives, not my abysmal friendship record) but I think I maintained enough contact to retain the “friend” tag. And I did see her blossom slowly from a slightly shy girl to a confident young woman. Sure we did have the silly moments (you remember the whitener comment, yenski?), and I did have the moments when I did heroic stuff (mostly walking her through campus when she felt self-conscious, lol). And there were the days she helped out with stuff (like her password to electronic Law Reports) and when she helped me get a copy of G.H. Treitel’s book on Contract (the last copy, I remember). I remember once when we tied on our score for the Tort term paper (in 3rd year)- I printed in colour and included photos… we both scored 15.5/30.

Well, that was awesome. I’m half-drifting off (it’s 11:23pm and I have to be in church early tomorrow). But I love to celebrate people with the markings of greatness. I saw Inyene display consistency, zeal, hard work, packaging and an uncanny ability to network with everyone. For being there at the time I needed it, for reading the long texts, for never snapping at me, for remembering what really matters…and for making INI v. FERADO, BRANCA v. COBARRO and MACAURA v. NORTHERN ASSURANCE permanently stick in my brain…

 Happy Birthday.

And by the way, SebaMed did work for my lips.


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