28-year-old Ogechi Okoroafor is the graduating female student of the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri, Imo State, seen in a viral video in which she is believed to have credited God and her private parts for the successful completion of her academic programme at the institution. In this interview with CHIDIEBUBE OKEOMA, she responds to the widespread controversy generated by the video
What course did you study at the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri, Imo State?
I studied Business Administration for the National Diploma and Higher National Diploma. I am a graduating student.
In a recent viral video, you attributed your successful completion of the programme to the help of God and your private parts. Can you explain exactly what you meant by that?
No. The whole thing was blown out of proportion. I never meant to say God and my pu**y made me a graduate. It was a mistake, a slip of the tongue. I was carried away by the euphoria of the moment; the joy of becoming a graduate after years in the school. I spoke out of excitement and gratitude to God, my family and everybody who supported me in the academic adventure. What I intended saying was that God and my popsy (slang for father) made me graduate. My father and God are the major influences in my life. As my father’s only daughter and the last child, I am too fond of him. We are very close. He is so dear to me. My intention was to say God and my daddy, which we call popsy, made me a graduate. I don’t know why people, especially journalists, are blowing it out of proportion.
Have you slept with any lecturer or staff of the polytechnic in exchange for grades or academic favours?
How can I? Never! Who doesn’t know that Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Owerri, is one of the best polytechnics in Nigeria in terms of academic excellence and strict adherence to moral standards? Our rector is a priest of the Anglican Church and a moralist. Our lecturers are intellectually and morally strict. You are a journalist; take your investigative journalism to my school and department and ask questions about me. I am a very serious student. I attended lectures, I did my independent assignments and participated fully in group assignments. I was a serious students. I am not a wayward girl.
Have you been summoned by the polytechnic management over your claims?
Yes, I was summoned this week. I appeared before a panel in the school. The video was played to me and I was asked to react. I told them it was a mistake and that I was deeply sorry by whatever my mistake had caused the school. I apologised to them and I believe they saw how remorseful I was. It was never my intention to do anything that would impeach the integrity of the school. I know products of our school are respected all over the world and I wouldn’t do anything that would tarnish the hard-earned integrity of the institution.
Are you willing to resit your exams if the school decides on that route?
It hasn’t got to that point and I pray it doesn’t get to that point. I have apologised to the school and I pray they find a place in their heart to forgive me. This is a father and daughter issue and I hope it would be settled that way. Let me say that I am ready to undertake any punishment by the polytechnic in order to show them how genuinely remorseful I am. Even it means coming everyday to sweep the school compound and any other punishment; I will do it just to prove how remorseful I am. I am a very serious student of the school. I finished with a Cumulative Grade Point Average of 2.8 in my ND programme. I am a very serious student. I just pray that the school management forgive me. I know I messed up and everybody is free to condemn me but let it be known that I am genuinely remorseful.
Will you seek legal redress if the school decides not to allow you graduate?
For what? It won’t get to that point. I don’t have plans and contacts to go to court. The lawyer, who is speaking on my behalf, is like a big brother to me. I believe that the polytechnic will forgive me. We can settle it amicably. There is no reason to go to court. I pray I am forgiven.
What kind of home are you from?
I am from a responsible family. I am from Umueze Umuhu community in the Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of Imo State. My parents are alive but not strong, in terms of health. I have three elder brothers. I am the last child and the only daughter. I am 28 years old.
How are your parents taking this whole situation?
My parents are not aware of it. My parents are in the village. My father is not too healthy; likewise my mother. My mother doesn’t walk well. The school management called my mother and requested her presence but the truth is that my mother has issues with her knees and can’t walk to a reasonable distance. She called me and told me that the school requested her presence and asked me to handle it. My oldest brother called me on this issue and asked me to be very careful. I am from a very responsible family. I regret this whole drama. I am going into depression. My name is flying around for the wrong reasons. Please help me beg the school to forgive me. I am truly remorseful.