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“Ifunanya, come here. Let me look through your notes. You teacher has been complaining about your grades of late. I need to see what y...

“Ifunanya, come here. Let me look through your notes. You teacher has been complaining about your grades of late. I need to see what you learned in school today,” said Okafor. He was seated in the living watching TV. Ifunanya was his last daughter, who was in secondary school. His wife, Madeline had blamed him for not taking enough interest in Ifunanya’s education as he did earlier with their older children. He was seated by the window overlooking Shehu Shagari Way in Maitama. Ifunanya walked over to her father with a frown on her face and tossed her school bag at him. “If you don’t watch your behavior, I will send you to the village, Ifunanya. Come on, take that bag, open it and politely give me the book that shows what you did in school today,” Okafor ordered. Ifunanya obeyed grudgingly. She dug up her chemistry note and passed it to her father. He flipped through it quickly to find out what they had learned in school for most of the week. “How are you doing in chemistry, Ifunanya?” He asked. “I am one of the hot brains in chemistry, daddy.” “Sure?” “Yes sir.” “So, what is nitrate?” “Oh! That one is easy. Night rate is the opposite of day rate.”

Okafor stared at her angrily with a bemused look on his face. He shook his head pitifully. “Your mother is right. I lost my way with you. After sending you to a supposedly elite secondary school, I expected that you did not need extra help, so I focused on my business with little attention to you. I wonder if you can be redeemed, since you don’t know what is nitrate and you are taking chemistry. Nitrate is a salt of nitrogen,” Okafor explained as he wrote the chemical formula down. “Look here!” He shouted at Ifunanya who was seated beside him. “Now, next in your note is hardness of water. What is hard water?” “Daddy, is that not ice?” Ifunanya asked. “Dummy!!! Hard water is water that cannot lather with soap because of the salts it contains. What salts can cause hardness of water?” “Kitchen salt?” Okafor looked at her in anger again. “I mean minerals, Ifunanya. Some minerals are known to cause water hardness. What are they?” “Oh! Can coke or fanta cause water hardness?” “Efue m (I am in real trouble). My daughter is from a different planet. Ifunanya, water harness is caused by magnesium and calcium salts.” Ifunanya gaped at her father, shaking her head as if she understood him.

“You don’t ever read your note Ifunanya. Look here!!! What type of attractive force or bond holds sodium and chloride together in a molecule of sodium chloride?” Okafor asked. He looked at her intently wishing she had a clue. “Is that not James Bond, daddy?” “Madeline, your daughter is finished. I don’t know where to start?” Okafor called to his wife. “But daddy, that is the sort of thing James Bond does, holding molecules together in his hands,” Ifunanya protested. “Mechie gi onu!!! (Shut up!!!) Since you can’t answer anything from your note, what of the one in the news every day? Some scientists claim that there has been a considerable change in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. What is the reason for the change?” “Maybe carbon dioxide is easily distracted.” “What?” “You said the concentration has changed a lot daddy! People’s concentration change if they are easily distracted.” Madeline was now seating beside her husband to the right. 

“I told you she knows nothing, but you would not listen to me. Ifunanya where is your brain?” “I am afraid we have a real problem on our hands,” Okafor added. Madeline picked up Ifunanya’s note and flipped it open. “You mean you don’t know anything at all? This one is organic chemistry. What is the difference between hydrocarbon and alcohol?” She asked Madeline. “Hydrocarbon does not make people drunk, but alcohol does,” Ifunanya answered. “That is it. She is going to another school,” Madeline concluded. “I don’t even want to see her face. After all the money I paid to send her to that private school?” Okafor got up and walked into the bedroom.

By Victor Chinoo
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