Someone will say, what is special about his PhD? Is he the first and only person that will receive PhD degree? I say to them, nothing is special about receiving a PhD degree. In fact, millions, if not billions of people have received PhD and am not going to be the last person to receive PhD.
However, a lot of things are special about this PhD degree of mine. First, it was a PhD that was never meant to happen. It was a Journey of 3years to turn 6years. Forces from my previous employer tried everything humanly possible to make sure I am never awarded the degree. But trust me, I have faced different tribulations from the devil in the past, and through the help of God and God alone, I have always been the victor. I always know and believe that devil is and will always be a sore loser.
I finished my masters degree in 2007 form University of Cape Town’s computer science department. And after finishing my MBA from MANCOSA, I started my PhD in 2011. Now, take note of my mistake. The mistake I made was very simple. I was excited. And I display my excitement in front of my colleagues. Four of us at that time were sharing the same office and I was the only black among us. “Guys, its official, I started my PhD today”. That was what I said. ” Hmmm, you are lucky, Masters, MBA and now PhD. Its as if its only you”, said one of my colleagues in office. There and then, the warfare started. Truth is some people are not ready for your dream yet. Your dream is too big to for some people to comprehend. So keep quiet on your dream, at least for sometime and hold on to them. Let the result of your dream make noise on your behalf. This is my honest advice to you.
I began to face strong criticisms among them. One of them told me clearly towards the end of 2011 and I quote “I will make sure you are sacked from here”. I told him “Good luck”, during an argument that lasted for almost 30 minutes. What’s more painful was the fact that when it became evident that they will not be able to achieve their aims and get away with their plans, they employ the service of fellow black employee to perpetuate their evil plans.
Fast forward to 2014, the year I was suppose to hand in my PhD thesis for examination, a disciplinary hearing was orchestrated from no where. I was then advised to resign gently to avoid the embarrassment of being sacked, to which I responded ” Nigerians don’t resign”. I stated further with confidence, “When some of us fight, we fight until the end”. Finally, in June of 2014, God granted their wish. I was fired. I was dismissed from work. I was told to refund all the monies that have been spent on my PhD going forward, which I never did and I made it clear that I will never do. All mercenaries was put in place to stop me from completing my PhD. They all proved abortive. I must confess, the support I received from my supervisor was immense. And am forever grateful for this.
Then the legal battle started, while I slowly continued with me PhD. I took my former employer to court. The court battle lasted for exactly one year. All efforts to salvage the process and to discourage my determination to achieve justice by my former employer proved abortive. I was determined more than ever to embarrass them. I never hired a lawyer. I represented myself. I have always been a lone ranger. I believe with God on my side, I will win the case. They hired one of the best lawyers in South Africa, whose fee was almost R100K a day.
Exactly on July 15 2015, I won the case and was awarded a compensation. I refused to and never signed any nondisclosure agreement. I collected my compensation and I was happy. Then I walked away. I have been vindicated. I have managed to turn the supposed embarrassment to glory and victory. Now let me go and face my abandoned PhD.
Oh wait, more tribulations were to come. On October 15, 2015, the day I was suppose to submit my final thesis and sign a scholarship form for post doctoral degree, I was arrested for shoplifting in Cape Town, an offence that I did not commit. I was deserted by my very own Pastor in Cape Town (This is a story for another day). Therefore, I missed out on the submission as well as on the scholarship. But life continues.
However, in all of these, all the plans and effort of the devil and devilish people were thwarted. I defeated the devil, all glory, adoration and thanks be to God. Baba loke noni.
In this month of July, the University of Cape Town, the best University in Africa and one of the top 200 in the world will officially confer on one of the finest Nigerian, the degree of PhD, a title that has been used by many to qualify me for a long time.
Praise God with me…. We shall not be intimidated by the forces of darkness.
Written By: Olalekan Samuel.