“The Last Days at Forcados High School” by Ayobami Hanif Mohammed is a must read for all Candidates preparing for the 2016 UTME (Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination) by the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB. (www.nigeriaschool.com.ng).
The last days at Forcados high school questions and answers at the end of this post.
We have already published summary of the last days at forcados high school. Which you can find here:-> http://www.nigeriaschool.com.ng/2015/01/summary-of-the-last-days-at-forcados-high-school-for-jamb-2015-utme.html
About the Author of Last Days at Forcados High School:
Ayobami Hanif Mohammed was born in Lagos, Nigeria.
He obtained his medical degree from the University of Lagos and is currently a junior resident doctor at Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH.
The Last Days at Forcados High is his first book.
Below you will find the chapter 1 to 3 of the Last Days at Forcados High School.
It was early in the morning and still dark when Jimi Solade woke up to someone shaking him roughly. He groaned and mumbled to himself, half asleep.
‘Jimi!’ He jerked fully awake at the sound of that familiar voice, it was is his brother.
‘Wole!’ Jimi said in surprise.
‘Yes , it’s me’ and his brother smiled in a way that showed only his upper teeth. (copied from www.nigeriaschool.com.ng)
‘Man! What…?’ Jimi began. They stared at each other, delighted.
‘No greeting , little bro?’ Wole smiled again.
‘Sorry, but does anyone know you’re here? Does Daddy…?’
Jimi did not complete the sentence; instead he embraced his brother tightly,’I’ve missed you!’
Wole was thinner. Jimi could feel it.
‘Mum knows I’m here,” Wole said. He too did not mention their father. Just then, the alarm clock sounded. It was time for Jimi to get up, and he released his brother.
‘Go on, get ready for school,’ Wole said, stretching on the bed. ‘At least you seem happy to see me.’ He looked round the room at the carelessly flung shirts, jeans and boxer shorts over the chair, to the poster of the Manchester United football team on the wall above Jimi’s bed.
A typical boy’s room. Another worn‐out poster of Tupac Shakur was pasted on the opposite wall.
‘I didn’t remove it even though it’s an eyesore,’ Jimi said, grinning. ‘Everything’s is just as you left it.’
Wole squeezed Jimi’s arm lightly. He picked up something on the bedside table beside Jimi’s music CDs, chemistry and mathematics textbooks. ‘Man, this is some watch. Must have cost a mountain. You always get all the nicest things, why…?’
‘Wole, don’t touch my watch.’
‘What’s your problem? Can’t look at a watch?’
‘I’m sorry bro,’ Jimi muttered. ‘I’m glad to see you back – really – but,, you know…’
‘My cute, spoiled little brother… You grow taller every time I see you.’ Wole got up walked towards the door. ‘Don’t worry about the old bear. Better get ready for school. Er‐ I took some cash from your drawers, hope you don’t mind. Sighing, Jimi plodded to the bathroom.
Trust his brother to always collect things, but he was happy he was back. It was a new day and the beginning of his final school year. Like his brother, he was as tall and long‐limbed as an athlete, though, unlike his brother, he had dimples when he smiled. www.nigeriaschool.com.ng
He was sixteen years old and he was already sprouting a beard. He flexed his right arm noting that he had developed muscles.
He whistled as he took his shower, refusing to think about the morning’s surprise. The reason why was long story; too long to think about on a brand new day.
As Jimi ate his breakfast of moin‐moin and brown pap, Wole sat on the sofa watching early morning cartoons on television. Their mother was in kitchen with Riskat, their househelp.
It was like any other morning – peaceful, almost as if Wole had never left. Then Mr. Solade came out of his bedroom, yawning. He was a tall and well‐built man with a head shaved bald.www.nigeriaschool.com.ng
He wore a loose caftan over his bulging tummy.
‘Kemi…’ he began and then stopped short and rubbed his eyes, and rubbed them again just to make sure.
‘Good morning, papa,’ Wole said and, as if as an afterthought, prostrated himself. He sounded as if he was enjoying himself.
‘What are you doing here?’ his father said in a strangled voice.
Mrs Solade came running out of the kitchen. ‘Good morning, dear. Just relax and let me explain
But Jimi knew his father wouldn’t listen.
‘What is this good‐for nothing doing in my house?’ his father roared. ‘Didn’t I tell you never to set foot in here again? Get out before I call the police!’
‘Kola!’ Mrs Solade shouted – if her high, thin voice could be called a shout. ‘its too early in the morning for this. And he is your son! You cannot treat him like this! You must not go on like this! She knelt down.
‘It’s you!’ Mr Solade turned on her. ‘You cannot treat him like this! You must not go on like this!’ She knelt down.
It’s you!’ Mr Solade turned on her. ‘You spoiled the boy! He has brought shame and disgrace on this family and you still beg for him. All your children are bad!
Jimi jumped down from the dinning and knelt down too, beside his mother and brother.
‘Papa, forgive him.’
Mr Solade stood still, his chest heaving, and said very quietly, ‘You are not welcome here,’
and turned back to his room. Mrs Solade collapsed onto a chair, but when Wole stood up, he was grinning widely.
‘You can laugh,’ his mother said, ‘It’s not funny, You saw how he reacted. We shall have to see Uncle Kazeem and maybe Uncle Shola. They will talk to him.’
‘He’s not a serious man,’ Wole said grinning.
‘Ah, Wole!’ his mother protested. ‘He’s your father!’
Jimi picked up his schoolbag and slung it over his shoulder.
‘Yov’ve not finished eating,’ his mother said anxiously.
‘I’m not hungry. Bro, stay cool.’ He was annoyed as he walked downstairs, but he didn’t know exactly why.
Papa and his temper, Jimi thought. Outside the gate, he stood for a moment and listened to the distant sounds of the buses and shouts of the bus conductors on the main road. A cock crowed in the distance. Someone called his name. It was his next door‐neighbour and schoolmate, Ansa Izaegbegbe running towards him. A short, thin boy who hardly reached Jimi’s shoulders.
‘Heard you arrived back from your trip yesterday,’ Ansa said, slightly out of breath. ‘Was waiting for you.’
‘Hey Ansaboy! Sorry, My mind was somewhere else.’ Jimi smiled delightedly and threw Ansa a friendly punch.
Ansa snorted noisily. ‘Well, it’s nice to see you back.’
Jimi and Ansa got to school just before assembly was due to start. Jimi left to join the other prefects. Morning assembly took place in the large hall that stood in the center of the school and students lined up according to their classes.
The school b and, looking smart as always, had positioned itself in one corner and was already beating drums softly in practice.
A few teachers were waiting outside the hall, ready to punish latecomers by asking them to kneel down.
At eight o’clock, Seyi Lawal, the head boy, stood up on the stage. He was fat and smooth-cheeked from the holidays and, with his hand on his chest, he smiled with faint smugness. He loved his job.
‘Attention everybody!’ he called out. ‘The National Anthem.’
The school band struck up the tune drums beating and the students raggedly joined in. The juniors were eager and enthusiastic, the seniors uninterested.
All the students of Forcados High School were excited to be back after the long summer break.
The school held an unofficial place of pride among all the other schools in the area: it had the largest football field and the best layout.
Bright purple and orange bougainvillea had been carefully planted along the fences. The school buildings were arranged in small one – and two‐storey blocks, with rows of hibiscus plants forming small hedges between each class.
Others often said that Forcados students were ‘artificial,’ but the school took pride in the fact it always defeated other schools in regional quizzes and sports matches.
After the national anthem and assembly prayers, Mr Mallum, the principal, gave a brief talk welcoming everyone. He was a small, wiry man with an odd accent, as if he spoke through his nose. The students loved imitating him.
‘It’s a pleasure to have all of you back. It is very important, however, that we face up to the responsibilities of this new term‐ particularly our final year students who have WAEC exams.
This is an important watershed…’
When assembly was over, the students – boys in white shirts, black ties and black trousers, and girls in black pinafores over white shirts – crowded into the hallways and corridors of the school, chatting. Some people greeted Ansa, but many more crowded around Jimi.
‘Jimi, where have you been?’
Jimi was soon lost in laughter and chatter. Forgotten, Ansa looked around glumly. The first days of term were always the worst. Back to further maths and physics, and everyone talking in the latest slang about what they’d been up to and what new music was out, while he had nothing to say.www.nigeriaschool.com.ng
He saw that some students wore their ties in odd knots and had chains on their trousers, showing off watches and shoes.
American bling‐bling. Some also carried the latest Nokia or Samsung cell phoens even though students weren’t allowed to use phones.
There were the same old people: the gorilla‐like Okoro, a miserable bully; Teacher Bade, who students called ‘cane’; he was always waiting for the next hapless kid who would fall into his trap; the Rhymers – a group of five boys who composed hip‐hop lyrics after school, hoping to become the next Nigerian sensation; Eze, the bright spark who was in an unspoken contest with Jimi over their Chemistry results; and finally, gum‐chewing Caro (Jimi’s Caro, or the other way round), the Queen Bee with her perpetually disdainful expression. Ansa could never understand what his friend saw in her.
Jimi was the best student in chemistry and a whiz in other subjects. He had won prizes and laurels for the school in science and debate competitions. He was also the health prefect, athletic club captain and the best footballer.
What’s more, all the girls thought he was good-looking. If there was anyone whou could be described as an all‐rounder, it was Jimi Solade.
Some people have all the luck, though Ansa, but Jimi was such a friendly, likeable person that people were hardly envious of him.
It had always been like that. For instance, Mama Silifat who sold puff‐puff and akara outside the school premises would always give Jimi the largest pieces, smiling and calling him by his full name, Akinjimi, or omo mi (my child).
Jimi had been Ansa’s here since primary school because he was good at so many things, while the only thing Ansa know how to do was paint. There had never been two friends who were more different.
A plump girl with short plaits framing her round, gentle face came over. It was Nene Ekpo.
She lived on the same street as Jimi and Ansa and she was one of their oldest friends. Ansa was genuinely glad to see her. She had the sweetest smile.
‘Hi Ansa!’ she said in her light, pretty voice. ‘Glad to see you. Look at Jims, when did he get back?’
‘He came back yesterday.’
‘I could hear his voice from a distance, rowdy and full of fun as usual,’ said Nene, laughing.
‘By the way, do you remember anyone called Efua? She’s a relative of Mrs Alli who live on Balogun Street, not too far from us.’
Ansa wrinkled his forehead. ‘No, I can’t.’
‘Neither can I – not very well. But she was at our primary school for a while and she’s coming here to join us.’
‘I think she had to leave her former school – at least that’s what her aunt told my mother. Her aunt asked me – us rather – to help her settle down and get used to things. How were your holidays?’
‘Oh boring. But I did get the opportunity to go to an art workshop for one week.’
‘Sounds like fun.’ She turned toward Jimi. ‘Jims! Hello!’
After school, Jimi walked behind a clock of classrooms. It was empty there and closest to the back wall of the school. Several huge Casuarina trees loomed here and, except for the occasional rustling of a lizard against leaves or the soft cooing of a laughing dove, all was quite.
Jimi put on his earphones and turned on his iPod until loud hip‐hop music filled his ears. They hadn’t done much schoolwork today, but he and the other prefects had had to mobilize the students, mostly juniors, to pick leaves and do other chores, and he now wanted to be alone.
It was rare for Jimi to be or want to be alone, but he had a lot of things on his mind.
Wole had returned. There was a time when he and his brother had been very close, standing together against the savage bullying of their oldest brother, Femi, but Wole had changed.
He had been expelled from two different schools and kicked out of university for reasons Jimi didn’t full understand.
The last time Wole had been home he had falsified his father’s signature and made away with a lot of money. That was something Papa Solade could never forgive‐ never.
He had been so furious when he discovered Jimi and Wole still saw each other secretly that he had even sent Jimi away to Ibadan for the holidays. He said he didn’t want Jimi under Wole’s bad influence.
Now, his father was increasingly in a bad mood, growling at everyone and blaming Mrs Solade for spoiling them‐ as if Jimi had ever done anything bad; not like Wole anyway. His mother too seemed tired and harassed all the time.
‘I’m just no feeling too good, but it’s nothing to worry about, really,’ she’d say.
But Jimi had decided nothing was going to bother him again. It was time for school and he was going to keep on being the brightest student, getting the best results in WAEC, while still partying, playing football and enjoying the admiration of lots of girls.
A sudden movement startled him. It was the head boy, Seyi.
‘Jims, we have a prefect meeting with Mr Mallum, now.’
As they got to the office, two people came out. One of them was a middle‐aged woman dressed in an expensive iro and buba.
Her head tie was huge! The two boys had to bend their heads slightly to avoid bumping it. She wore dark sunglasses and her mouth was tightly pursed in a grim, forbidding manner.
The other was a girl who was not wearing a school uniform. It was a bit difficult to tell what she looked like because she had an odd expression on her face, as if she was going to be sick.
‘Who are they?’ Seyi asked Jimi.
Jimi shrugged, ‘Don’t know.
The girl sat quietly in the rickety, jerky taxi.
‘Ugh!’ her mother said irritably to the driver. ‘This car is so slow—and dirty as well.’ She turned to her daughter. ‘Efua, sit straight, you’re looking dead.’
Efua ignored her mother, knowing it would irritate her further.
‘Well, I trust we’ve found a place where even you will find it difficult to get into trouble,’ her mother said, eyes glittering.
The car stopped in front of a grey building. A small, round woman wearing a gold wig and bright red lipstick was standing by the gate.
‘Fumi! Efua!’ the woman shrieked.
Her mother smiled. ‘Moni, this is Efua.’ Efua’s aunt embraced her. Efua stood a little stiffly, somewhat embarrassed at her aunt’s warmth. She smelt of a queer but not unpleasant mixture of strong perfume and oranges.
‘Such a long time. You remember me? You—’
‘All right,’ her mother interrupted. ‘I’ll be off.’
‘So soon? You’re not getting down? My girl prepared egusi soup and—’
‘I have a plane to catch. I’ll write you a cheque. Efua, bye‐bye and be a good girl. Don’t give Aunty Moni any trouble.’
The taxi sped off and Efua helped her aunt carry her bags inside. Her aunt kept chatting in a high‐pitched voice. ‘Forcados is a nice school. They always have excellent results every year.
Such a pity you were exp—er, had to leave your former school. I told a few people you were coming.
‘Remember Nene Ekpo? Her father is Pastor Ekpo and she’s such a sweet girl…’
Later that day, as Efua was in her room unpacking, she heard her aunt calling shrilly, ‘Efua, come out and meet someone!’
Oh dear, Efua thought. She took a deep breath and went out. Nene and her mother had dropped by.
‘Nene, this is my niece Efua Coker,’ Aunt Moni said. ‘Efua, this is Mrs Ekpo and her daughter, Nene.’
Nene stared at Efua. She’d had a hazy memory of her and she had been expecting—well, she wasn’t sure what she had been expecting, but certainly not the girl standing in front of her.
Efua was tall and slender, with large eyes and long eyelashes. Her hair fell in tangled plaits across her shoulders. She had a delicate, mysterious beauty that made Nene think of a freshly blossoming flower. She certainly didn’t look like someone capable of being expelled.
‘Good afternoon,’ Efua greeted her visitors, curtseying a little. She had a surprisingly deep, almost masculine voice.
‘Come here, you pretty child,’ Mrs Ekpo sang out. ‘I hear you will be going to the same school as my daughter.’
‘Hello,’ Nene said, feeling a little awkward. ‘I don’t think you’ll remember me; I’m afraid I don’t much remember you.’
‘Why don’t you both step outside and talk?’ Aunt Moni suggested.
The girls stepped out to the balcony.
‘I’m a commercial student,’ Nene began. ‘What class do you attend?’
‘Oh, you’re a brainy one. Well, I suppose it doesn’t matter whether we’re in different classes.
Let me tell you a little about our school. Morning assembly starts by eight, so I’ll come over at seven‐thirty, if you like. You must plait your hair in the week’s style. I’ll show you where I do mine.’
‘I’d like that very much, thank you.’
‘So tell me about your former school. Girls only, wasn’t it?
Forcados is mixed – it may come as a shock.’
‘I hope not,’ said Efua. They both laughed, suddenly discovering they liked each other.
Nene continued, ‘Do you remember two boys called Ansa and Jimi?’
Efua frowned, ‘I think I do. Very troublesome boys, am I right?’
‘Only one of them was.’ They laughed again.
‘Hope you’ll like it here’ Nene said.
The next day, as the students * stood in front of the hall laughing and talking just before assembly, Jimi joined the other prefects trying to organise everybody into lines.
‘No more chains on trousers or dangling earrings for the girls. There will be an inspection of fingernails and socks during assembly. Principal’s orders,’ he said. Then he noticed Nene standing with an unfamiliar girl.
Efua clung close to Nene. She felt queasy, the object of curious stares.
Jimi moved over to Ansa. ‘Who’s that girl, the one with Nene?’
‘Oh, that must be the new girl she was telling me about yesterday,’ Ansa said.
‘A new student joining us?’
‘Strange isn’t it? Nene said she once attended our primary school, so she might recognize us.
Ef—something, um—yes, Efua.’
Efua. Jimi had never heard of her, but she looked rather nice—not bright, though. She had probably failed at her former school. Well, Jimi Solade to the rescue.
‘Come on,’ he said, half dragging Ansa. ‘Let Nene introduce us.’ Ansa sighed; he knew Jimi very well.
‘Hello Nene,’ said Jimi.
‘Efua, these are the boys I was telling you about. Jimi and Ansa,’ Nene said. ‘Boys, this is Efua Coker.’
Ansa murmured awkwardly; he always felt shy around girls. Jimi just stared, his mouth open a little, until Nene prodded him.
‘Oh, I’m sorry,’ he said. He stretched to his full height, flashed his brightest Mr Cool smile and extended his hand. ‘I’m Jimi Solade. Nice to meet you, although we’re supposed to have met before.’
Efua stared at him, not taking his hand. ‘I remember you,’ she said frostily. ‘You once put a dead lizard on my table.’ ‘Oh,’ Jimi was flustered. ‘I don’t recall … ’
‘Yes—but you were just kids,’ said Efua. She turned to Nene. ‘Can you show me round a bit?’
They both walked off, and Ansa decided he didn’t like her at all. Snooty, just who did she think she was? But Jimi still had that dazed expression on his face. At that moment, the bell rang.
After classes at the end of the day, Efua walked slowly to the principal’s office. It had not been a pleasant day.
In the first class, the teacher, a Mr Bade, came in and stopped short at the sight of her.
‘Who are you?’ he barked.
She stood up and said, ‘I’m Efua Coker, sir,’ in her best lady‐like manner, the way girls at her former school were taught to speak.
‘What are you doing here?’
‘What—excuse me sir, I don’t understand.’
‘Are you supposed to be in this class? A new student in SS3?’
‘Ye—es.’ He gave a snort and ignored her for the rest of the lesson.
Each teacher kept saying the same thing:
‘What is your name?’ and ‘You are new in a senior class?’ until she thought she would scream.
The maths teacher, a A.H. Mohammed portly middle‐aged woman added, ‘I suppose you know what being in this class is all about?’
They didn’t like her because new students didn’t normally come into school at the senior class. They thought she might lower their results. They must have thought she was a bird-brain who had managed to buy her way in.
What could she answer to that?
The students giggled or whispered and nudged each other. Now, she was supposed to meet the principal and she wasn’t looking forward to what he had to say.
Mr Mallum was seated behind his table piled with bulky but neat files. He wore small glasses.
‘Miss Coker, you know why you are here?’ he began abruptly.
Yes, because my mother gave this school an endowment, she said to herself.
‘It was difficult for us to accept you and register you for this final year, but we took some factors into consideration.
You are a straight‐A student and your former headmistress gave you a glowing recommendation, even though she had to expel you after you ran away from school.’ Efua bowed her head a little.
‘I find it difficult to believe an obviously intelligent young girl like you could …’
Efua knew where this conversation was going and decided to take drastic action.
‘Oh sir,’ she said quietly.
She tried to make her voice as meek as possible.
‘I’m not a bad girl. I’m really not. I was going through a rebellious phase. I promise you I’ll never do anything to make you regret taking me here.’ She sniffed a little, hoping it sounded real.
The principal stared at Efua. There was something that was not quite right about her, but he could not decide what it was.
‘You are under probation for this term. We will be watching your marks closely to know if you can cope and you are to meet the guidance counsellor once a week. Good luck in Forcados.’
‘Thank you,’ Efua said and went out.
Once outside, she dropped the meek act. She found a shady spot beneath a mango tree and leaned against the rough bark.
The school grounds were deserted now and a small flock of grey and black pigeons strutted and fed on the grass not far from where she stood.
Mr Mallum hadn’t been too bad, though she would never have thought he would speak to Mrs Obange, her former principal. She thought of Mrs Obange, a large woman, with a gruff, friendly voice so different from thin, stuffy Mr Mallum. The principal hadn’t wanted to expel her.
‘What is wrong, Efua? Why did you run away?’ Mrs Obange had asked after Efua had been brought back to the school. But Efua hadn’t been ready to open up.
‘You can tell me to leave if you want,’ she had replied, defiant. Mrs. Obange had had flared at that.
‘Very well, if you want to leave, then leave you shall.’
She had got what she wanted, hadn’t she? She had left Abuja; she was away from her mother and stepfather, and all of them.
Suddenly, she couldn’t help thinking of her former school, St Catherine’s, an all‐girls boarding school. She thought of all her friends and clubs, and the busy life she used to lead. At this moment, she thought, the girls would be on their way to the dining hall, forming a long row of blue in their school uniforms…
I was a fool, she thought. I only hurt myself. A tear trickled down her face and, suddenly overcome by regret, she burst into tears. The pigeons, startled by the noise, took to the air in a flurry of flapping wings.
ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS
Note: The answers to some of the questions are not contained in Chapters 1‐3, ignore such questions. The answers should be posted as a comment here or on our facebook page.
DAYS AT FORCADOS COLLEGE.
1. Jimi family is made up of how many people? Name them 2. Why was Mr. Kola angry at the sight of Wole?
3. Who was the headboy at Forcados High School?
4. What is the name of the Forcados High School principal?
5. What colour was the School Uniform at the Forcados school and St. Catherine School respectively
6. Who competed with Jimi in chemistry.
7. Who is mama silifat.
8. ……………, Jimi, ………………… and Nene attended the same primary school.
9. Why did Efua join Forcados high school.
10. Who is rat‐face?
11. Mr. Vann taught what subject in Forcados?
12. Who was the smallest boy in Jimi’s class.?
13. Mrs Solade died of which ailment?
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