Monday, 17 April 2017

Meet Vivian, The Pretty Groundnut & Banana Seller and an Undergraduate of N.O.U.N

I lost my smartphone last week Thursday, and my Laptop developed a fault on Saturday, so I had gone to the University of Ibadan (U.I) to see if I could get on the Internet at a Cyber Cafe. Most of the ones I was directed to were closed, and then on my way to a barber shop, I saw this neatly arranged tray of Bananas and Groundnut. I looked up at the person selling them, and there was something about the girl that made me believe she had a story people would love to hear.

After getting the haircut, I walked up to her and bought groundnut and then told her I wanted to write about her. She agreed to give me audience, and then I found out she had been helping her mom out with the trade since she was in Secondary school, and now she more or less handled it herself. She got into the National Open University of Nigeria, Ibadan campus to study Theology in 2013/2014 session, and continued with the banana and groundnut business.

She told me she would go for lectures three times a week, and then come to her normal spot (where we were seated) opposite Sultan Bello Hall in U.I to sell groundnuts, coconuts, banana, and oranges (during the season). Her story kind of reminded me of Linda Ikeji, and how Linda used to sell at beer Sheraton Hotel to support herself during her time at University of Lagos. The fact that this girl decided to be independent and make money from selling fruits in the time when young girls like her would rather depend on men to take care of them made me write this article. I felt her story needed to be shared with the world.

Her name is Vivian Okpara, and she is in her final year at the Nigerian Open University in Ibadan. Although she grew up in Ibadan and can speak Yoruba fluently, she is from Ogu Opa in Enugu state. Vivian is in her mid twenties, and would be rounding up her studies at N.O.U.N early next year. When I asked her what she wanted to do after school, she said she would like to open a big fruits store, and do business on a large scale in this area. The way she spoke about it with passion was so captivating.

In the Nigeria of today, we need more young people like Vivian. I am calling on anyone with the means to do so to assist this young girl actualize her dreams. And even if you can't do that, support her in the little way you can right now. When next you find yourself at the University of Ibadan, go to her spot opposite Sultan Bello Hall, and buy some of the things she sells.

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