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Samson, Young Palm Tree Climber Who Graduated As His Department’s Overall Best

Cursory: The palm tree climber graduates from Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike as the best graduating student.

A promising young man, Samson Chibuzo Ugwu, took it upon himself to persevere till the end, despite all odds.

According to his Facebook post where he is identified as Sanson Chibuzo Ugwu, he revealed some challenges surrounding his academics and how he was able to persevere till the end.

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Chibuzo celebrated himself for graduating with a first-class degree and being the best-graduating student both in his department and college.

He also shared that due to financial challenges he faces, he had to support himself by being a palm tree climber.

His post read;


“My full Story.

“I am Ugwu Samson Chibuzo, a dynamic and forward-thinking young man from Olido Enugu-Ezike in Igbo Eze North LGA of Enugu State. I was born on December 24th, 1995, as the second son among six siblings to Mr/Mrs Pst. Jonah Ugwu.

My father is the founder and pastor of a local church, while my mother is a petty trader who sells brooms but provides most of the financial support for our family.

“At five years old, I left home to live with one of my aunties, who was disabled and that’s where I stayed until finishing JSS3. During that time, I met Chijioke Fidelis – my childhood friend and brilliant student – who positively influenced me academically. He became my mentor and my academic coach.

“I attended our community primary school where pupils do not pay fees but instead submit crafts such as brooms every week.

From primary one, we were taught how to make brooms. By primary four, I was climbing small palm trees and cutting fronds for myself and others using ordinary rope when we went to fetch brooms in groups. I became the designated frond cutter and received payment in brooms from my peers.

This is how my palm tree climbing journey began. Eventually, I learned to climb taller trees and started cutting palm fruit for people who paid me a small fee. By primary five, I was making money from this skill to pay for my school fees (40 Naira every week in place of two brooms) with ease.

My expertise continued to grow until by the time I finished junior secondary school, I had become very good at climbing tall palm trees. When I left my aunt’s house after JSS3, I returned home where I continued honing my skills in palm tree climbing.

Prior to starting my senior secondary school, my aunt from a neighboring village named Umachi Enugu-Ezike visited our home and asked me to live with her. Initially, I declined but then she promised to support my education at any level if I stayed with her, Given my passion and love for tertiar education, I accepted her offer and moved in with her. She took great care of me and provided me with a bike that I used every day to attend Olido Community Secondary School.

Eventually, however, I realized that I needed to start earning money for myself instead of relying on her financial support alone. While she did provide some funds for my upkeep, it was not enough as I also had expenses related to maintaining the bike she gave me.

I resumed climbing palm trees at that location, despite her initial objections. However, when her younger sister visited and expressed concern about the danger of my work, I stopped.

Shortly, as I was preparing for WASC exams, robbers attacked our home and we were forced to flee. I returned to live with my father and continued climbing palm trees there.

“With all the hustles and tussle, I finished secondary school as the best graduating science student of my set.

When I finished secondary school, I became a full time palm tree climber, travelling as far as Edem Nsukka, Adani Uwani LGA and every part of my village to cut palm fruit for people.

One thing about me is that anything I do, I do it with all my might, zeal and strength. I abide by the Bible verse that says, in anything your hand finds to do, do it with all thy strength and might. Ecc.9:10.

“So I was determined that even in my palm tree climbing, I was going to be the best palm tree climber and so I was. I was the village women’s favourite because I cut palm fruit/fronds for them with a professional touch. I valued my relationship with them, and I never took advantage of any of my customers.

There’s no palm tree I couldn’t climb no matter how tall as far as the palm tree is in good shape. Any palm tree I said I could not climb, no other person can dare climb it.

I made a lot of money from palm tree climbing but it is indeed a very risky and dangerous work. Almost every year I hear the news of how a man from my village or neighbouring community fell off the palm tree and died.

I faced a lot of challenges. Sometimes my leg would drift, sometimes I would almost cut my climber(climbing rope) up there. Sometimes the palm fruit would almost fall on me.

Sometimes the climber would twist me and my head would be upside down. How about snake ? I can’t count how many snakes I have fought and killed up there.

If you shake my hands those days, it will be as hard as stone. Sometimes I would have a lot of blisters on my waist, palms and the soul of my feet due to so much friction and trecking. I sustained injuries sometimes. But I endured all the pain because I knew my life won’t continue like that forever.

In all these things, my God delivered me and kept me from falling down from palm tree. God was my confidence and source of courage. I knew He won’t allow me to die from climbing palm tree. So anytime fear came up, I would pray and He would encourage me. .

So before I took the step of faith of writing UTME, I had saved a lot of money. I was admitted to study Forestry and Environmental Management at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike Abia.

Whenever we had semester break, strike or holiday I would come back home and switch from student mode back to palm tree climbing mode. My parents tried their best in supporting me financially but it wasn’t enough for me.

Those days if you see me, you won’t believe I was an undergraduate. My customers used to pray for me that God should change my life because they pitied me so much .

Well I didn’t pretend that I am rich or anything, rather I accepted my reality and was doing everything possible to change my story.

Whenever I got back to school, I would focus purely on my studies. And knowing where I came from and how the money I used to pay my school fees came about I was determined that I must maximise my academic years.

So I studied very well, and God helped me, I came out with first-class and best graduating student in both my department and college.

During my undergraduate days also, I used the money I was making from palm tree climbing to start modern beekeeping business known as BeeSaved Honey Enterprise which is now registered under CAC but no much start-up capital yet.

Currently I am serving my father land at Benue State and would like to further my studies home or abroad. So right now I am searching for scholarship opportunities and soliciting for support.

I am also praying that I get my dream job which is lecturing immediately I finish my national youth service year so that nothing will push me back to palm tree climbing again.

READ ALSO: Beautiful Lady Celebrates Emerging Best Graduating Student From a ‘Popular’ Department



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