I was about 14 and had been chosen to represent my school in a local debate competition holding in the all Boys Secondary in my locality. I was quite excited and took my time to comb my hair, wear my best pair of socks and iron my school uniform perfectly. I was looking very smart and excited when I stepped out of my house that great October morning.
When I got to the school, we waited for over 4 hours before the event eventually started but when it did, the pace was very fast. The next thing I heard was 'Anthonia Bokesh, representing...' 'oh my gosh, that's me. I got up and flashed my well practiced smile even though there were so many butterflies flying all around my stomach and my heart was pounding louder than ever.
The topic was 'Is Nigeria Ripe Enough for a Female President?' Christ, please help me remember all the great females that have made history in the world, I prayed.
I climbed the podium and represented my school in my tiny shrill voice, naming all the great women like they were my aunties and sisters. The fear disappeared immediately I started and I made a wonderful presentation.
At the end of it, I had became the hero, the pride of my school, the brightest child as I was greeted with a resounding ovation.
I was all smiles as the presents were presented to me as the school's representative. At the time I took my prize and started walking home, it was quite late and about 10 boys were fighting to walk with me. Eventually, one of them who was most respected and feared (I think he was a prefect) walked me home. I didn't say much to him because in as much as I could represent on a stage, I was very shy of boys.
About 20 minutes from my house, I suddenly saw my Aunt walking towards me, oh my gosh! I'm done for was all I could think but really, I wasn't expecting the slaps and kicks that followed as she cried and kept screaming 'Onayimi, you won't kill me! I've been very worried, waiting and now on my way to look for you in that school and here you her frolicking with a boy'!. Of course, before I could say jack, the boy had ran away and left me to the mercy of my Aunt.
I'd never been more embarrassed all my life. All my attempt to explain to her that the event started and ended late and that I didn't even know the guy walking me home fell on deaf ears. It was a huge anti climax for me and it was made worse when I got to school the next day and discovered that the news already got to school. Till date, I don't know how people got to know in school but I was teased about it for a long time.