Words alone are not enough to quantify my gratitude to God Almighty for the gift of men, family and friends. My name is Eluh Maximillian Matthew. This is my testimony.
My journey to self-discovery began in 2016, when I gained admission into the university. Before then, I had completed my Senior Secondary School Education at the prestigious Oshodi Comprehensive Senior High School (OCSHS), Bolade, Oshodi, Lagos, where I ranked among the top three best graduating students of OCSHS in the 2015 session, with 9 distinctions (5As and 4Bs) in the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
While in school, I was devoted in my service to the good Lord, and was also committed to my studies. The excellent spirit bestowed upon Daniel in the Bible was evident in my life. Back then, my friends and I represented the school in so many competitions including debate, Olympiad, Spelling bee, Quiz, JETS, Essay and lots more, where we won many and brought prizes for the school. All we wanted was to keep the flag flying and to make Mrs. Adenike Sonola, who was our Principal at that time, proud. She had turned mother to many, served as our role model,aught us never to accept defeat, always believe in ourselves and never give up. Mummy Sonola was a true definition of a quintessential leader and a strong willed personality. OCSHS provided me with the best teachers one could ever have asked for.
The following year after my graduation was very challenging as things never went as planned. I had to sit back home for a full year without writing the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) which was required for admission into Nigerian Universities. I decided to take up a menial job at Chivita in Ajao-Estate where I worked as a casual staff in the Quality Assurance section. With the money I realized, I purchased the JAMB form. My elder sister, Eluh Loretta Chidinma, also wrote the examination and luckily for us, we both got admission into the university.
I could not hold back my tears when it dawned on us that we might lose the admission due to financial constraints as things were not funny for my dad financially. Thoughts of rewriting the examination, losing my admission, and the whole lot of stress involved ran through my mind. I became mentally ill and depressed. In fact, that was the worst day of my life.
I went on my knees to the Lord in prayer and remembered my maker of how I passed my WASSCE and UTME at one sitting, and that I would not want to lose my admission. Immediately, Mrs. Sonola came to my mind. She had always inquired from my younger sister to know how I fared and if I had entered the university.
Luck smiled on me the very day I met her and narrated my story. On the spot, she called an alumnus of my school who turned out to be Mr. Martins Odigbo and told him everything. I collected the phone to speak with Mr. Martins telling how my sister and I had gotten admission and that we were on the verge of losing it. Tears of joy rolled down my eyes when Mr. Martins Odigbo told me not to worry and that we should come over to see him. Those words gave me strength and instilled hope. “You have heard what he said, take your credentials including your admission letter to meet him. He will be travelling to the U.K tomorrow.” Those were the words of Mummy Sonola as I took my leave after I had thanked her. My Mathematics teacher, Mrs. Ehima was in the office that very day. She added to the t-fare which had been given to me by Mrs. Sonola.
My sister and I embarked on the journey to meeting Mr. Martins. On getting there we were marveled at the God-fearing man we saw. He checked our credentials to be sure we had gotten the admission. He promised to pay our fees and encouraged us with his story of how he sold sachet water at the airport.
“Serve God while on campus. Join the campus fellowship; be serious with your academics. I will be monitoring you on Facebook and other social media platform.” Those words from Mr. Martins struck my heart and I knew I was in for a serious business. I had given my life to Christ, way back at Deeper life Bible Church on the 13th day of September in 2006, but my encounter with Mr. Martins drew me closer to God. All I witnessed that very day was an angel in human form, who was passionate about touching lives.
My parents were marveled at Mr. Martins’ generosity and willingness to sponsor my stay in the university when we told them. They could not believe their eyes when the inflow of one hundred thousand (N100,000) naira came into my account. They were so grateful to God for such blessing, and to Mr. Martins who was the channel of blessing. They thought that would be the end, but there continuous in flow of cash from Martins till the end of my stay in the university. That day was the most memorable day of my life.
On getting to the university, we commenced registration, paid all necessary fees and started lectures. I vowed never to disappoint my sponsor. God was on my side all through my stay in the university. I never relented in my studies. My holidays were never complete without having to meet Mrs. Adedoyin Odigbo. A selfless, virtuous, God-fearing and extraordinary woman, whose lifestyle has affected all her children I participated actively in both academics and extra-curricular activities. I represented the university at the Biotechnology Society of Nigeria (BSN) international conference held at Covenant University in 2018 and the 33rd BSN-AEFUNAI International conference, 2021 and my team emerged winners of the debate and quiz competition respectively. I maintained a CGPA of above 4.5 which was a first class result from my 100 level till final year. I had 5.0 GPA three consecutive times and will be graduating as the best student in the department of Biotechnology, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu Alike (AEFUNA), Ikwo, Ebonyi State.
Loretta is currently in 500level. My friend and I broke the spell as we became the only first class graduates the department has ever produced since its inception. This feat would not have been achievable without what I call, God’s gift of men like Mr. Martins Odigbo and Mrs. Adenike Sonola. How can I ever repay such kindness?
I am ever grateful for the experience I received. I can only imagine what it feels to invest in the lives of people. No wonder greatness they say, is not measured by the amount of wealth one has amassed, but by the number of lives one has affected. Eluh Maximillian.