At the gathering of some 108 recipients of N50,000 (each), Sunday Marshal Katung Scholarship at Epitome Hotel in Kaduna, early August, 2021. The free giver made a startling revelation about his schooling days at University of Lagos that hauled a reverberating shock.
The hall was at graveyard silence, the 108 students listened to Marshal in desperation, he spoke specifically to the students to motivate, stir up positive emotions and reorient their psyche towards been winners. He did that explicitly and unequivocally. “Every successful man or woman has a story,” he laid the foundation for the conversation. “All of us on the high table today have stories to tell,” he added.
Anytime Katung talked to the lucky 108 students from impoverished families in Southern Kaduna, he leaves them radiating with hope. I recalled, a tall black boy sitting adjacent to me subconsciously exclaimed, “wow!” to Katung emotional story.
The story was not about how he tried to fit in, into the urban culture that characterises Lagos, rather, how he sold Compact Discs (CDs) on the streets of Lagos to meet his basic needs while contending with the high demands of academic works. Contrary to wide range of believes that Katung life have been laid on bed of roses or even spoon fed with a silver spoon. But, in reality, his life is a far cry from such speculation.
Katung, like most Southern Kaduna children, had to fight prejudice: he toiled the soil to make a living, trekked long distances to earn himself western education. One certainty, Katung is highly athletic in his interest. He often put the bottom line to work.
Katung has tasted life on all the sides of the Isle, he knows what it takes for a poor underprivileged student to pursue his educational ambition amid lack and he knows how to walk the street of New York making choices across fanciful collections. He has stretched through the peaks and vallies of the graphs of his life. Anything he worth today, he earned it through hardwork.
Apart from being down-to-earth and modest in life, he is respected as someone who has lowered the bar for poor and underprivileged people to step into his comfort zone.
Affluent people often lavish themselves with exotic gifts, travel to cosy holiday locations around the globe (wherever their money can afford them to celebrate their birthdays). This isn’t the case with Katung. When it was expected that someone in his class would have being at any of the most beautiful beaches catching fun on his birthday, he chose the most unlikely places to do that. He did it with humility, wined and dined with the underprivileged poor. His propensity and passion for helping poor people is glaring.
On 1st April, 2021 Katung celebrated his 60st birthday at the Rafiki Orphans Home Ungwan Rimi and ECWA Widow’s Training School, Samaru-Kataf both in Zangon-Kataf LGA of Kaduna State.
where he donated computers, clothes and food items to the orphans. He also donated food items and wrappers to the widows. In his closing remarks at the two centers, he promised to do more to cater for their well-being.