No Sheriff, Don’t Go Home. Come Home. (Part 2)

Aniedi Udo-Obong
Sep 29, 2016 · 3 min read

In 2004, after 7 odd years of me practically fooling around at the ‘University of Ikpa Road’, my classmates miraculously graduated and were proceeding for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) — without me. It felt like the beginning of the end. I knew I had a bunch of incredibly smart course mates, but I also knew (thought) they were graduating with a practically worthless Engineering degree or ‘cerfiticate’ as my people often call it.

I made a conscious decision. This was not the beginning of the end for me. This had got to be the end of the beginning.

It dawned on me that I was definitely not going to make a 1st Class. A 2nd Class Upper was a long shot, virtually impossible. I decided I was going to 1 up my friends/classmates by acquiring a certificate that was worth more than their ‘cerfiticate’. GSM was booming, there were lots of infrastructure projects going on around the country. CCNA was the rave of the moment. I had more than 8 years Windows XP-erience of formatting hard drives, installing Windows 98, Me, 2000 and XP; device drivers, Norton Anti-Virus, Norton Ghost, ‘car-racing game’, ‘football game’ etc. I could get on a night bus from Uyo to Lagos, head straight to Computer Village (I’m sure Cheta and I must have crossed paths on numerous occasions back in the day), ‘couple a CPU’, buy monitors (both branded and fairly-used/Belgium). I was also an ‘expert’ in ‘cybercafe networking’, installing ‘EasyBrowsing’, VisualBasic 6 (this list could go on and on…)

I faced CCNA — Cisco Certified Network Associate certification.

I faced CCNA. I heard CCNPs (Network Professionals) and CCIEs (Internetworking Experts) were cashing in and cleaning out in the UK and US.

I faced CCNA. This was both my ticket and my visa to Jand and/or Yankee.

I faced CCNA. I forgot about competing with my mates and then decided to face my greatest adversary, who also happened to be my strongest ally — myself.

3 months after printing, spiral-binding and cramming Todd Lammle’s Cisco Certified Network Associate Study Guide (640–802), I smashed my CCNA — 97%. Or so I thought. I later got to find out some (many) people do get a 100% in the test. Till today, I still console myself — it was ‘me vs me’, not ‘me vs anybody’. I had competed with and against myself in November 2004 — roughly 12 years ago. I had come home.

Now, to what has happened in the 12 years since 2004, and what I intend to have done 12 years from 2016.

12 years after 2004, I lead Developer Relations in West and Central Africa for Google. Across 48 African countries (the Region formerly known as Sub-Saharan Africa), I am responsible for Google-led communities — Google Developer Groups (GDGs) and Women Techmakers (WTM) — as well as Google’s relationships with the broader developer communities (BDCs) in the region.

And while I honestly don’t hold any grudges against them, and I abhor the reference to some of the brightest minds in our technology ecosystem in Nigeria as ‘repats’, I also had to go search and get that extra to help me get a chance.

“No, I Didn’t Just Get Back, I came home to myself”.

“No Sheriff, don’t go home. Come home”.

“You are right. The Nigerian tech ecosystem is a family. Come home.”

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch

Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore

Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store