There are exceptionally things that can put a smile on the face of attendants of a program and one of them is the 13th item. It is more like a magnet because it has consumed as well as engulfed the thoughts of students and can be the only persuasive tool to enforce students to do something regardless of whether the action to be perpetrated is right or not. A seminar worth transforming the negative status quo is currently on the advertisement board but does not attract the majority in the University. What is causing students to ignore a seminar of such importance? It is the omission of an Item 13. The president of the College of Arts and Social Sciences meets students before a lecture to inform them about a workshop or gathering that will add value to their education and the majority of students do nothing but murmur in anger. A sudden smile and outburst of joy erupts at the end of the announcement. What caused the sudden joy? It is the proclamation of the phrase “item 13 is assured“.
There is certainly a question of what an item 13 is, from any individual who is not familiar with the jargon. An item 13 is an extra treat. It can be seen as a bonus material. It normally comes in the form of the refreshments of drinks and pastries. The power of an item 13 is so strong that if one is not provided at a funeral ceremony in Africa, chaos might be the order of the day. There are people who usually go to every funeral service, wedding and naming ceremony, ignoring whether or not an invitation was granted to them just because of the assurance placed on the 13th item. At a funeral, it will be sad that one is dead, but to the item 13 lover, there is always joy in his heart when he gets an awareness about someone’s demise. Wanlov the Kubolor and M3nsa (FOKN Bois) depicted this in their pidgen musical film, Coz Ov Moni 2: The Fokn Revenge. There is no problem with that when it has already been done outside the spheres of the university but when this happens in the university, shame must be the tag on every student who exemplifies the act. This is because, the university is the nursery bed for the world’s farm of innovation, productivity and development. People normally link maturity to the university and if you are part of it, you are assured of a respect regardless of your performance in academia. Maturity is knowing what is perfect and imperfect, what is black or white, what is beneficial and what is time wasting. In fact, maturity is what will cause a student to go for a seminar worth more than an item 13.
I have not been to all universities across Africa, but my presence in one of the best universities in the continent, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology has given me enough information to know how students cling to bonuses rather than focusing on the worth of the actual product. This is also common at other institutions like the University of Ghana, University of Professional Studies, University of Capa Coast and many more. It is undoubtedly difficult for students to attend any well organised event without them knowing an item 13 is assured. Even, the assurance of the item qualifies a program as a well organised event in the eyes of many. Should it be so? The simplest act of logic can give the answer. Children are the ones lured with gifts to do something, not adults. That even only happens to children because they are not matured enough to scrutinize the action people need them to do.
No one is against appreciation in the form of gifts but the aim of breeding the best of the youth to redeem Africa is against the motive and condition of a bonus material placed on occassions. Its very childish and wrong. The 13th item can not just be the condition if we want quality in the human resource to lead later. This is what happens, a student will go for a time wasting event with a pastry as a force of encouragement and will ignore another important event just because item 13 was not assured. Let us take note of this. The best things in the world can not be bought. The idea one might acquire at a seminar may change lives, make the world a better place and even build a billonaire. But what will that soft drink do to you other than give your tongue an unnecessary pleasure for a few seconds. Who knows? Health issues might spring up later just because you consumed that drink. The time is now. We have to change our mindset. We have to follow value rather than following negativity with an unrealistic value used as a decoration to lure people into it. To my colleague students, please leave that childish act for children. They can no longer stand your competition.
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