How Much Does Your Certificate Owe You?

Until, 2014, my year of internship, I used to think that life was JUST about graduating with a good result from the only indigenous University in Nigeria.

For you see, I was a good student of all my teachers. I had stopped lending notes to some course mates, because one returned it after the exam.

My project supervisor took pride in reading my work.  After the eighth read, she ‘abandoned’ me in the hands of an external supervisor, who took me from my comfort zone to the land of clinical pharmacology.

“Why did you use Cimetidine?”
“What did you think made the alcohol group develop deeper ulcers?”
“I see you have also written in the embryology of the stomach, would the dopamine content from this extract…”
“Why use Aspirin as negative controls? Why not Indomethacin alone?”

Defence, turned me into a ‘Daniel’. I survived enough to earn a handshake from my examiner.


2014 arrives:
So, I walk around with certificates looking for a place of internship. Ask another man in this profession about the tragedies of internship interviews…

Until, I find a system in this country, once headed by Cdr. O. R. Ochagu; where excellence was not exchanged for ‘Nna, put my guy in your list na?’ or ‘See me in my hotel room.’

I still carry the passion and the bitter-sweet experiences, from a system that made me. If I had worked where I wanted, maybe they would not have taught me the nitty-gritty of quality assurance, give me the full access to a computerized information management system; or learned me the importance of mortality and morbidity meetings and how to stand in front of uniformed men to make presentations. Believe me, there’s order even in military presentations and a unique style for taking minutes of meetings. That is why we are called B-L-O-O-D-Y C-I-V-I-L-L-I-A-N-S.

For once Oga Ochagu takes you on, he will disturb you until you bring his deliverables: worksheets, SOPs, presentations, Workload monitoring, Levey-Jenning’s chart, Occurrence reports, Root-Cause Analysis etc.


In that environment, refusing to run controls before running a test was a mortal sin. You could go to confessions to get your sins forgiven! Your penance was an ROB (Remain on Board). Your ‘born-again’ or ‘born-against’ was measured by bench-work proficiency. If you observed the patient’s sample closely during the procedure, you would find Omenụkọ there.

I also learnt that a system worked better if the core team collaborated to render the outside competition irrelevant.


Believe me again: nothing brings down a system like an unhealthy competition between teammates.  It is like all the players in a football team trying to score goals to impress the coach. Could this be the reason why I was made to draft an SOP on Conflicts of Interests?




Recession. Start-ups and Small businesses are booming. No one needs your plenty certificates…

But. Hey. That’s not it!

“I have a first class in Accounting!”

Gịnị mezia? Come and use the Sage Accounting software let us see?

“I have been selling ganja.”

Ngwanụ, explain the conversion rate in your ‘smarketing funnel’. How many strangers did you turn to loyalists?

For the first time in my life, this year, I had an interview, where I’d be tested for 1 hour on pure laboratory practicals. Who your grammar help, Chidindu?

“These are the tests you are expected to run in sixty minutes…” Mr. said to me….


Do not throw away your certificate o! I never said so in this post. You can use it to vie for a position as a local government council

Mmmh! One day, one day, you can use it to become the governor of Imo state, a town crier in Lake Chad or even a whistle blower in Ndjamena.

But we must know, that one of the keys to earning a fulfilled life, is summed up in these words by Bishop David Oyedepo:

‘Knowledge is not marketable. It is skill that you market. Skill is not a function of the papers you carry, It is a function of the tactics and strategies you engage in handling your assignment.’


I don’t know about you, but


Or, wait o!

Maybe we should owe it by owning up to it

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