Tales out of Kuje

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If you’re Nigerian and you’re news conscious you’ll primarily relate the word “Kuje” with a prison in Abuja. Big shots like Mohammed Abacha, Tafa Balogun and even Gani Fawehinmi have spent many a nights there. I don’t even know what the god damn prison looks like but I finished up secondary school in Saints Simon and Jude Junior Seminary Kuje, Abuja (SJS). This post originates because I visiting Kuje again for the first time in six years last week to collect my WASSC certificate (your boy made all his papers in one sitting…still baffles me how I pulled that off. Too bad I slacked academically in the university) and as a result I’m rearing to blog.

It’s a known fact that we have a very low maintenance culture in Nigeria. But being that SJS is a private school I didn’t think that would really apply to my alma mater. But I was shocked on my visit. The school looks very shabby. The buildings need painting and refurnishing; the school vehicles are down; the aesthetics has been lost as the grasses, trees, flowers, pathways, orchards are all in a mess. I also heard of staff welfare complaints. I guess money needs to be pumped in. Although they’re getting grants from Rome and lots of goodwill in cash and kind from Catholics in Abuja. Or maybe it’s a case of poor management.

Anyways I still got good memories of SJS Kuje like:
- The religious stuff. Attending mass and saying the rosary every freaking day. And getting double doses of meditation, reflection and retreats. All in all e been good as e keep man pikin from spoiling…fast.
- Living a nice communal life. It was a small school population-wise so we knew each other and generally got on well together.
- Having fun amidst the hustling. E.g.: food palava, visiting days awaiting, outing trips to get to see girls and get stuff.
- Getting the chance of sitting near the altar in 1998 when the late Pope John Paul II made his 2nd trip to Nigeria.
- Spending a week at the National Missionary Seminary of Saint Paul Gwagwalada, Abuja along with my classmates to witness a priestly ordination firsthand (That week was heaven, right then I definitely wanted to be a priest).
- The bullying I got while there (I lost out on being the senior prefect in my final year because I was too damn small…puberty shit) as it toughened me up for life.

Despite these good memories, at the end of my stay in SJS I decided against continuing my priesthood chase. I didn’t feel I had the calling, plus celibacy definitely wasn’t for me! I still meet up with some folks who decided to advance (My own classmates will be ordained priests in about 3-4 years time) and those guys are living large for real! Nigeria is such a religion obsessed country that once you’re on the priesthood train you’re kind of made for life (nonetheless it’s not all bliss as evangelism is not as easy as it seems). Some wise guys realize this and take full advantage. Let me explain. The road to priesthood is like this: 1 year probation working in a Catholic establishment for candidates who didn’t go to a Junior Seminary (or who need to be crossed examined first), 4 years studying philosophy, another 1 year working, 4 years studying theology, being ordained a deacon and if found worthy being ordained a priest. The wise guys enter the fold, enjoy the free education and other benefits and pull out as soon as they get their philosophy degree. Now ain’t that a bitch?

So much for reminiscing, it has left me feeling like Ahmad in his 1994 hit “back in the day”

I miss those days, and so I pout like a grown jerk/
Wishing all I had to do now, was finish homework/

Why can’t my troubles in life be only about finishing my homework?

Picture TRAE as a senior seminarian. This is what it would have looked like…damn!

Comments (12)

Telling you, Trae, you will make a good priest. I can imagine you in a white cassock, holy and solemn, praying for people and counselling them.

I can actually see you as a priest. For real priests in nigerian live the good life oh! Hmm what i saw when i was there, always been invited to the "happening" parties to bless it and partake in the drinks and food. And some of them, wow they did not look like priests at all, infact like young men having a good time.
But all that schooling is tough oh!

I'm thinking the celibacy rule would have presented you with a challenge or two?!

youre sure right about priests in nigeria living the goodlife

Trae,how i wish i can see you in that white stuff spitting,lol,it'll be full of fun,isn't it?

Thanks for this, I enjoyed it...

Bravo!! I love this write up man. Thanks for leaving tha comment on my blog spot. I'll def be here erry-day! Holla!

Trae u a priest?dramatik a Cardinal...can u stay celibate holmes..i dont think so cus i cant,anyways most schools loose they shine after a period,so dont feel bad ur buildings in school are falling down,jus tink of it a Lagos(kidding)

excellent post traezy. I went to Marist Brothers Juniorate (can't even imagine what the skool would look like now). Priesthood wasn't saying nothing.

I suppose the good thing about Catholic and other religious schools is you do well in exams.

Don't mean to cause any trouble - just want to stir up some thinking......why does the 'priesthood' exist in the first place.

To me it doesn't make sense - it just creates false piety and has been a breeding ground for the molestation of young men around the world.

Martin Luther left the monastery, got married and lived a life that touched the lives of millions of people around the world.

Nunneries and Monasteries are man made avenues to piety that will never fulfill that emptiness - very happy for you that you didn't venture down that dangerous path.


it would ave nt been bad lol.

I was going to be a priest too. But look what happened to me.