By: Emelife Uc, 200l MELL

Mubarak’s pattern of begging has not only christened him a name (Ayaga), but has made him thrive in the midst of most students. The humour he brings along in wherever he goes to beg, is enough to tag him a light bearer.

When this reporter took to the field to interview students of UDUS on their thoughts on Mubarak, he learnt that a two-third majority had stories to tell of their personal encounters with him and how he made them smile afterward. A minority however called out Mubarak and his antics. Others too were eager to share other commendable actions done by Mubarak.


PC: Muneer Yakub

The sapphire eyes of Ahmad Yusuf who is a 200l student of Literature were completely dimmed the minute it encountered the questions for an exam held at PTF hall sometime ago. The horror the questions commanded was a general tragedy, because the faces he saw around – those of his course mates – beared the near snarl that summarised his expression. Ahmad kept looking at his answer booklet as though the answers would magically appear. Even the invigilators were strangely quiet. If it were night, he would’ve heard the eerily sounds of crickets.

Then from nowhere without anyone noticing, Mubarak walked into the class. ‘Ayaga yaga!!!…’ He clamored, and the entire hall erupted in laughter. Students and lecturers alike.

“It didn’t change the difficulty of the questions that were before me, but that laugh Ayaga caused, reduced the tension and made me feel more relaxed.” Ahmad Yusuf shared.

In the case of Gabriel Ochiba, a 300l student of Zoology it was a lecture that Mubarak interrupted with his mantra.

“A lecture was going on. From nowhere, everyone heard ‘Ayaga  yaga!!!’ and we knew who had decided to join us that day for a lecture. Everyone started laughing.”

Mary Yunusa, a 300l student of Agriculture told PEN PRESS UDUS that Mubarak brings along a joyful aura wherever he goes to.

“There is this happy feeling Ayaga comes with. It is difficult to not smile after he comes to you screaming those words of his. Truth be told, he makes me smile.”

Similarly, Hauwa Bello, a 200l student of English Language, called Mubarak a break to her reading hours.

“Whenever I’ve been reading for hours during the day in school, especially A classes, Ayaga walks into the class, does his thing and gets everyone laughing. Everytime he does that, it is a well enjoyed break for me.”

Achiloko Onyowo Veronica, a 400l student of Agriculture, had a different tale to tell altogether of Mubarak. One involving her sister, a bench, an almost tumble, and a grin.

“I and my Sister were discussing on a bench at the school’s minimart. Ayaga crept from behind, flashing his teeth at my sister and it freaked her out, so much that she almost fell off the bench. At first we were annoyed, then began laughing at ourselves when ayaga continued on his way, maybe smiling mischievously as if he had done nothing.”

Emmanuella Donatus, a 200l student of Forestry, shared a very hilarious tale about one of Mubarak’s exploits.

“One day at Hashimu’s (a roadside shop in UDUS) he spat on a lady’s doughnut, I don’t know if it was intentional or not cause she was insulting him. You should have seen her face, ha, disgust was clearly written on her forehead. So she was like, how will she make him pay? Before she knew it, he snatched the half-eaten doughnut, said, ‘Ayaga’ and hurriedly limped away. It was so funny. Everyone including the lady started laughing.” She narrated.

Paul thinks Mubarak fakes it. His speech defect as well as his deformity, and so feels indifferent toward him. Paul Okpaloaka is a 200l student of Computer Science who according to him had taken cognizance of Mubarak’s overly dramatic, recurring pattern of begging, and has come to the conclusion that he isn’t entirely genuine with his defects.

“Explain why he utters only three sounds?
Why has the tone of the ‘Ayaga’ this semester, suddenly become more spontaneous?
I’m not calling him a fraud, but at least, don’t worsen your condition just to lure people to help you.” Paul thundered.

Like how the most colorful roses still have thorns somewhere, students’ reactions to Mubarak aren’t all fun and games. He has endured a fair amount of shades of ill-treatments done by students of UDUS, owing to his raggedy looks and the commitment he puts in announcing his arrival.

Gabriel Ochiba, who witnessed an unfair treatment done to Mubarak, narrated to PEN PRESS UDUS how Mubarak was yelled at and insulted by another student even before he had began begging.

“Ayaga came to me first, shouting his usual ‘Ayaga…’ I had no money on me for him, so I politely pointed at another direction for him to go to, something that everyone does when they’ve no money for him. He followed the direction of my hand, and went to another student. Immediately this student saw him approaching, he yelled at Ayaga hurling insults upon insults on him. I felt really bad for him.”

Emmanuella Donatus made known an awful scene she had witnessed, of how Mubarak was shoved fiercely by a student, and how he almost hit his head on a door as a result.

“There was this one time in MH2 just before the lecture commenced, ‘Ayaga’ was by the door and this student coming in roughly shoved him. It was just a few centimeters that prevented his face to be dented in the door. The student said something along the line of, ‘You imbecile will not stop coming close to normal people unless they deal with you.’ “

Then there are also mild cases of how students find him irritating, disgusting, or scary and as such pinch their noses when he approaches them, or make attempts to run away. These reactions however was learnt to have been highlighted in students’ first meetings with Mubarak.

This unpopular treatment of Mubarak extends to how Yaro boys and Yarinya girls (Children laborers/hawkers) perceive him.

Ayaga and other out of school kids at UDUS, colleagues? Rivals?

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