Obua started his primary education in 1991 at Abim Primary School and completed it in 2003 at Apedi primary school, spending 13 years in the process, instead of the usual seven.
Obua (second-left) with his father Okello (left) and brothers Tony Olomo and Cyprian Acuti after the thanksgiving ceremony. Photo by Hudson Apunyo
Gabriel Obua’s mother died in 1995 when he was just nine years old.
As a result, Obua spent 13 years in primary school, worked in a hotel and sat for Uganda Certificate of Education (UACE) without stepping in an A’level class.
Obua, 33, was born in Alito sub-county, Kole district to Leonard Okello, 79, and Grace Okello (deceased) 25 days before the National Resistance Army marched into Kampala to overthrow the short-lived Okello junta.
He is the last born to his mother who left behind four children. His father had two wives and his mother was the second.
He started his primary education in 1991 at Abim Primary School in Kole district and completed it in 2003 at Apedi primary school, spending 13 years in the process, instead of the usual seven.
Obua says when his mother passed on, the situation became difficult for him and he almost dropped out of school but by the grace of God, he was admitted in the orphanage -- Golgota Children’s Home near his home in Alito
He says he spent 13 years in primary because partly because of the insurgency, which would not allow them to stay in school continuously.
Obua at the orphanage
After O’level, he joined Otino Waa Children’s Village for his vocational training and he pursued courses in computer, catering, carpentry, and electrical installation. At Apedi Primary School, Obua passed PLE with a low second grade. He then joined Amuca SDA Secondary School where he sat his Uganda Certificate of Education in 2007.
When asked what his fate would have been if he was not admitted at Otino, Obua says he would not have been where he is now.
“I would be in the village with about five children, a peasant farmer and a drunkard, maybe,” he said, adding that he started drinking at 12 years.
After Otino, Obua worked in a hotel for four years, but kept on questioning himself if what he had gained in school was sufficient. He decided to go back to school.
He did not go to class, but got books from his friends and bought more with the money he had saved from his work.
He then enrolled for Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education in 2011 at town hall at Lango College. He got one principal pass and was admitted for a diploma in law at Law Development Centre.
In August 2013, Okello joined Kampala International University for a bachelor’s degree in Law
In 2017, he sat the pre-entry exam to the Law Development Centre, which he passed and was admitted for a post-graduate diploma in legal practice in September 2017. He completed it in August 2018.
On June 21, Obua was among the lucky recipients of a diploma in legal practice of the during the 46th Law Development Centre graduation ceremony at the Law Development Centre, Kampala.
His father Okello, said Obua is the only child, out of his 11 children with a degree. He said all his other children dropped out of school.
Rev. Dickens Anyati, the administrator of Otino Waa Children’s village organized a thanksgiving ceremony to celebrate Obua’s achievement at his home in Kicope, Ojwina Division.
Rev. Anyati said since the orphanage, which opened in 2003, has taken care of over 600 children and that some have graduated in many fields and are working to support their siblings who remained at home.