Mr. Beejay
 

Author: Olaiya-O. 'Bolaji S.

Olaiya-Olamilekan ‘Bolaji Stephenson (a.k.a Mr. Beejay). He is a young family man that fears God, having great enthusiasm and drive for success. Success in his own definition is “helping people achieve their goals in his possible capacity”. He seeks to make you better by providing value added services in any area you may need one most especially in Event Managements. Vision “I see a world of individuals empowered with both private and public victory to ensure a smooth interpersonal relationships with others, to fulfill individual destiny and accomplish common goal.” Mission “To motivate people by serving them in leadership- working through individuals and influencing them to right living- to achieve a life of purpose by understanding and living a disciplined-principled-centered life.”

For me, it really doesn’t make any sense to live in Abuja as a middle class earner and form unnecessary and unsustainable big boy; the reason why I don’t drive alone in my Sienna to and fro work, blowing empty feeling un-‘cool’. I pick people along my Nyanyan-Mararaba axis and it subsidies my weekly cost of fueling the car.

But it’s really not so simple to do that because of the ‘agbero boy’ in the name of NURTW. The two times I was in with them was so frustrating and it reminded me of the extreme of lawlessness in this country. They could remove your number plate, deflate tyres or even remove the car battery if you won’t pay their extortionate levy- don’t make any mistake to involve police, they get cut from them (Union Boys).

Ever since, I have always minded myself to be careful at certain stops to avoid them but one night, I faced the bigger evil- the police. At about a little past 9pm around Conoil, Area 1, I stopped to load my Sienna and headed home to close another day of work but just after moving a little bit, the Police Patrol van crossed me at Area 3 Junction. One of them alighted the van and ordered everyone in my car to alight that I’ve been arrested. “For what?” Everyone asked him but he merely said, “go ask my Oga, he say make I stop you.”

My mistake number one, I indeed alighted to meet the Oga and everyone in the car came with me to see the drama. “Good evening, Officer. Please what’s the problem?” I asked.

“Are you a lawyer?” He rather asked instead of answering my polite question.

“No, I’m not.” I still maintained my calm and polite demeanor.

“You be accountant.” He asked another question.

I responded no and posed my initial question again because I was beginning to get irritated and the people were wondering what the problem was.

“Identify yourself,” he said to me.

I reached for my card holder and brought out my drivers’ license, unfortunately I left my work ID in the wallet on my desk. I told him I’m a staff of Covenant Foundation Schools and demanded to know what I was stopped for.

After like fifteen seconds of thinking, he said I parked on the road to load passengers and that’s what he’s taking me to Station for. He had barely landed the statement when everyone with me sparked and affirmed that I cleared well before carrying them. After a couple of minutes arguing forth and back, he came up with another one that I have private number plate on my car; why am I using it for commercial purpose? “You will get to Station tonight,” he ordered another of his men to get into the car with me. At that point, people I carried had been pissed off and had left one after the other when the argument wasn’t yielding. I was so furious and ready to see where the drama will end. I wanted to see their worst- my second mistake.

I got back into the car, the police guy with me looked at me and said, “Bros, na wa for you o, simple thing and you’re there dragging as if you don’t know what to do.”

I got the message but I told myself I wasn’t going to give anything to them especially when I’ve not done anything wrong so I pretended I have no idea what he was talking about . I asked him what he meant and he said I should just see his Oga and I’ll go my way in peace. Sitting there in the car, the Oga came to meet us and asked his man, “how far?” He was told no show and he furiously ordered that I must drive with them to the Station on Lagos Street, Garki II.

Mistake number three, I told him I’m ready to go to that Station and he’ll tell me what offense I have committed, so I drove behind him and his team with one of his men in my car. On getting to the Station, he asked me to park outside the premises and hand my car key over to him but I refused, insisting that I must park the car inside the premises and write Statement before I can hand my key over if I must because I knew he has nothing against me. It was Friday night and time was already past 10pm, I had called my wife on the way to the Station and told her not to panic. The Inspector threatened to charge me to court first thing on Monday morning where I will most likely be fined the sum of N100k for using privately registered vehicle for commercial purpose and all other offenses he will list against me or I give him N20k only. He claimed that it’s my kind of car that is been mostly reportedly used for kidnapping people in the FCT and I could be one of the perpetrators, carrying those people I picked for rituals for all he cared. With my car spending weekend outside the premises without registering it or writing statement, I insisted I wasn’t going to bow the corruption of bribery especially when I have done nothing criminally wrong.

After a while, one of them came closer to me and asked, “Oga, where are you from?” I told him the response to the question has nothing to do with the matter on ground but he remained polite and was better spoken so I obliged and answered, “I am from SouthWest.”

“No wonder!” He said. “There’s no need for playing hard to get, you could have found something for Oga and end this matter long before we got here. Just talk to him and see what you can do.” From the initial N20k demand, the friendly one kept on mediating between the Inspector and I, reducing the amount gradually and asking if I would pay. “Oga, you have wasted our time so much that he won’t let you go just like that, he whispered to me. Give him any amount and let this be over with,” he advised. I told him I had nothing on me but he said I can do transfer or go to the Access Bank down the road to withdraw.

Noticing how much I have provoked the Inspector, the rest began to murmur and the mediator came closer with more serious voice this time, “bros, settle anything and go your way.” Just then I realized if I keep on being heady, it will be my word against four of them. What if they plant gun, contraband or drugs in my car and claim it was found in my car, who will be my witness in court? If I press charges or get charged to court, how much will I end up spending and God forbid if they’re able to implicate me with anything, for how long would I be gone over what I know nothing about? They knew if I know anyone in authority I’d have called and be free from them so they were ready to press me until I milk for them. That was the moment I realized why he asked the first question, if I am a lawyer.

With so much trouble I’ve made, I couldn’t sustain my patriotism and righteousness thinking of how the drama may swing, they got N2k from me with the mediator pleading for minimum of that amount, saying that I might have been allowed to go earlier with lesser amount if I hadn’t dragged with them and whatever I gave, it’s nothing compared to what the untold consequence of my doggedness could be- that confirmed my thought.

I left the Station at about 11.40pm and got home before 12am to meet my worried wife and sleeping children.

Can we really avoid or be freed from being corrupt in this country? I still ask since months ago of the ugly experience.

I was part of a Christian group of young people in Abuja called FECA. On a certain day, I presented a seminar at the meeting and when I took my seat after I was done, there was this radiant smile and bright eyes of a fair young lady who meandered to the seat closest to me and whispered, “that was very awesome, I was so motivated and loved every moment you were up there.” That was all the ignition to the friendship that has lasted till date.

“Thank you, I’m glad you made sense of it,” I humbly replied. My name is Blessing was the next thing I heard from her and with courtesy, I gave her my name. She moved closer again and her next word blew my mind.

“I want to be your friend, will you let me?” She said plain and clear but with that gentle and innocent smile still on her face.

I was a little bit surprised and intrigued together, not at her question but her boldness for a young lady in my view but from further introductions, she was in Year 2 at the time, studying Economics at the University of Abuja. “We sure can be friends,” I responded and wouldn’t dispense her boldness.

She didn’t leave my side till the end of the meeting that day and while everyone was coming around to say how much my presentation blessed them, she stood there close enough by my side. Being a weekly meeting, we see often enough and she started paying visits at my house. I returned the gesture and even meet her parents. It was her long break at school and when she had to resume the following session, we’d gotten so close to each other although well guided because I had a very stable relationship which she was aware of. Nevertheless, I was always given the reception of a son-in-law in the house.

The weekend she was to return to school was when she popped a question to me during a visit, “what’s your genotype?” She asked from the blues. I told her I’m AC and she said, “Woo! God just saved you. I’d have given it a fight to win you.” I probed why she said that and that was when she told me her status as a sickle cell lady- she ordinarily looked nothing like it with her moderate height, light skin and pretty face. She was pained that no matter how hard she could try, we can never have more than friendship for the status reason. That was the point she opened up that she had a boyfriend too in school and from her story, I quickly advised her to dump the guy.

The guy Sola, although cunningly caring was using her as sex doll, blackmailing her that she can never find any other guy that would marry and care for her like he did considering her condition. Blessing gave in to the intimidation and fear of who else would date a girl like her so, she stuck with Sola despite all his other escapades she was aware of but she knew better after we met, that there are still great guys out there who can love, care and support her despite her condition. She was happy I qualified for such guy but sad I wasn’t that guy. Understanding her emotion, I couldn’t let her fall prey of Sola and similar sort of guys anymore so, I told her I will be a big brother her mom didn’t have. She is the first of four children in the house and she is comfortable to call me her sugar-daddy to everyone.

My first experience of her suffering was after two months she left for school and I saw her call, “I’m at the hospital.” She managed to whisper. The next voice I heard was her mom’s and she told me they were at Maitama General Hospital. I took cab immediately and the sight of her with oxygen tube plastered to her nose and drip on her left hand scared me to my bones. She became pale and her eyes could barely open. Her mom tapped her that I had arrived and she managed a smile. “I want banana,” she said softly.

“Praise God,” her mom shouted. “She hadn’t eaten anything in two days and she’s been in serious pain. I have been asking what she’d like to eat since she was resuscitated last night because she was brought in unconscious.” The mother said to me.

I immediately ran outside and luckily, I found a seller at the gate of the hospital. I picked one healthy bunch and dropped one thousand naira without asking the price or waiting for balance. I got my balance though when I was leaving about three hours later but lesser amount to what it would have been if I’d priced it. Blessing ate almost half the bunch at that moment, insisting that I sit by her bedside.

That one experience and many more are the reason I have stepped hospital in my entire life more than any other reason. I hate when she is in pain but got used to the sudden calls and I always go with either banana or chips- nothing else can get through her mouth when she’s in that state. Once she wrote a semester exam on hospital bed and many times she missed exams. In spite of her brilliance, she had extra year at the University but managed to graduate with 2.2. My sugar-girl was tied down with her condition because her parents wouldn’t let her out there alone while her siblings are traveling to and fro Europe, studying. The father’s death dealt another big blow to her health and on some of such situation at the hospital, I would wonder what she’s done wrong to have to go through so much suffering and pain. “Can’t I ever have a normal and sick-bed-free life,” she’ll always say.

Perhaps the sickness truly abate as they age because my daughter- as I got to call her, at 32years now has a baby boy although the pregnancy and the delivery period was like we visited hell and returned- thank God for the caring and understanding husband God sent her way and I felt like bride’s father on their wedding day inside Funtaj School Hall.

I strongly advice that more education be done on the risk factor that leads to sickle cell children, who will be born into suffering and pain they didn’t cause for themselves. But nevertheless, sickle cell anemia is not a death sentence as I’ll always tell my baby who’s living although very carefully but very happily till date and she’s ready to conceive for the second baby after doctor’s word that she’s good to go if we do not deviate from instructions.

It was a the about 9.50am last week Tuesday morning, my phone was on the third ring when I picked it up and the caller ID was an unregistered number. I knew how much I deal and interact with people on daily basis so I didn’t have to wonder who was calling other than put up my best attitude to receive the call because it came at a time I least wanted to talk to anyone let alone answer the phone. “Hello, good morning,” I said.

“Good morning to you sir,” the caller sounded. “How are you and the family?”

“Very fine and you?” I responded to the friendly beginning. The female voice sounded heavenly and I was sure the caller wasn’t a total stranger but I couldn’t place the voice. I ran my brain into a quick scan like a computer trying to detect virus so I could figure out who was calling.

“I’m fine, thank you.” She responded. “I don’t know if you’ll be disposed to see me, I’ll like to talk to you about something.” She went straight to the point.

Who could this be? I couldn’t stop wondering and my scan wasn’t yielding any good result. “Hmm…yes, sure.” I replied, looking at my table and the pile of work that laid there but my curiosity to know who that was and what she’s got to say got the better side of me. “That’s fine. You know my office?” I questioned, pressing the phone closer to hear if the sound of the voice will strike a match in my scan.

“I’ll be on my way immediately if you’ll text the description.”

“Right, I will do that right away.” I waited till the call was disconnected and still couldn’t figure out the caller. My impulse to know the person gave me no hesitation to send the address and at about 45mins later, the receptionist came to notify me of a visitor waiting for me. Getting to the reception it was a familiar face I see at church almost every week but we hardly ever had anything to talk about beyond usual pleasantries. She looked as pretty as I have always seen her. Beyond having a son of about 6years old, comes to church and goes with her mother, I know nothing more about her. I couldn’t hide the surprise on seeing her because I wouldn’t think there’s any reason for her to call me let alone visit but I managed well not to spill. “This is a pleasant surprise,” I said with kind smile and reached out for a handshake. She took it firmly as I took the next seats to hear what brought her.

“Do you mind if I can talk to you?” She questioned and looked around.

“Oh! Sure, not at all,” I gave back and stood up, having understood the looking around the reception as a way of asking for privacy. “Come with me please.” I led her to my office which is a corner in the school library. It was class session for the students so talking in the library wasn’t a problem since there’s no user around. “How’s your son?” I mentioned as I pointed the seat across my table to her.

“He’s in school. Actually, I do notice you always in church and I think I could talk to you. That’s what brought me here. I just want to seek help and avoid losing my mind, for the sake of my son, if not anyone else.” She began before I could ask why she sought me out.

“I hope I’ll be able to help,” I said.

“I need help, my life has been stagnant for so long and I’m dying inside.” She spilled. “It’s been about five years I left my husband because of abuse and I’ve been hanging since then, raising my son all alone with little help from family and friends.”

“Why did you leave him, if I may ask?”

“Well, lemme start form when I met him.” She adjusted on the seat and lean a little forward with her fingers locked. “I attended an event with my sister in Lagos and he was friend of a friend at the event. We talked, exchanged contacts and things developed from there. Over time, I visited him in Lagos- he’s very popular in his Estate at Jakande, I met his family and he came to Abuja a couple of times too to meet my mum. Six months after, we were set to marry- I had become pregnant. I had some folks complained about the pregnancy before marriage, my sister felt the time I’d known him was too short, I really don’t know how all happened so fast; although I felt six months doesn’t really matter because my sister’s relationship of almost nine years ended up in vacuum.” She paused.

“Please, sorry to break in and pardon my manners, would you like a drink?” I offered.

“No, please. Let me just vent.” She responded. “Well, the wedding took place and the signals started beeping on my face from the day of Introduction to wedding, and thereafter. I insisted he moves out of family house and we got our own small apartment, I didn’t mind the humble beginning. After some months, I became uncomfortable when he’d hardly provide for house needs. He’d claim he’s owed at work but his friends would testified otherwise. I see them on Facebook posts partying at beach and clubs and I was told he foots the bills most times as the big boy of the ring that he is. Sometimes I had nothing to feed my tender baby because I had problem lactating well due to my own malnutrition. I’ll soak garri and sieve the water for my son to take instead milk he deserves. Anytime we had something to eat was because my mom sent us money which he always frowns at, insinuating that my mom is ruling his home. There was a time he had sexual infection and my mom, being a nursing matron, gave him medications. Those times he was on drugs, I wouldn’t let him touch me so I won’t be infected and that was the time physical abuse joined the equation. I endured many other things because I was scared being a single parent will become generational menace as it’s prevalent in my maternal family. Also, I found out after wedding that he lied to me about his academics but I still didn’t make any fuss until he’ll practically hinder me from traveling to write my exams- I was running a degree program with Open University and changing Study Centre was difficult so I had to travel for exams. The peak of it all was the day he slapped and hit my head on the bathroom wall over the rules he wrote out for me to strictly follow. My sister rushed to Lagos when I told her in the morning and she made sure I left with her back to Abuja. Here’s what my face looked like after the night incidence.”

She brought out her phone and scrolled her gallery to show me. There was her picture with map of the world on her reddish bright cheek, so glaring and frightening on her very light complexion. All I could do was sigh. She told me to scroll and I saw a couple more of other bruises on her arms. I handed handed the phone back.

“Couple of weeks later, my sister called him- severally, but he wouldn’t pick and later she sent him a message that we were coming to pack my stuff. We went there, it wasn’t easy but we got through getting my stuff. Since then, five years counting, I have been living with my mom here. I have graduated from Open University but haven’t gotten a job yet, I just manage on petty businesses. I have sort help from lawyers to file for divorce since we did registry so I can move on with my life but the only lawyer who took my case pro bono, tried severally to reach serve him court notice but he’s nowhere to be found. I don’t know what legal options are available for me because my life is just there hanging. I’m just like a motionless athlete on the track.”

“Hmm…” I sighed again. “You have quite a story there, my sister and it’s great you decided to let this out. Thanks for talking to me. I will also say it’s a wise thing you did, leaving the house because your safety and that of your son, now already a big boy, would have been compromised. Life gets to throw us lemon every time but we won’t stop making lemonade out of it- staying strong and keeping our heads up from drowning in the oceans of life. If you don’t mind my sister, let me make consultations on how we can proceed and let’s find a time again to talk.”

“Not at all. I just knew I could talk to you from what I’ve heard around about you. I think you can be the brother I don’t have.”

We both laughed over the remark and she asked to be excused to go home and sleep since she couldn’t get enough sleep all night and it would soon be time to go get her son from school. I agreed she needed the rest then walked her to get taxi.

What advise would should I give her?

My generation as a secondary school student was much deficient in information or I say part of the country I grew up was outrightly deprived. Remembering my struggles for tertiary education, I actually tried to see who I should curse for the dilemma I went through- the teachers that were less informed to put me through, the environment that was so primitive that you don’t know anything happening elsewhere beyond your street or the system that was so backward. I had no idea that a student could gain university or polytechnic admission same year you finish secondary school unlike it has become the norm today; no thanks to lack of information, it’s equal deformation.

I joined my mom in Abuja right after I finished my WAEC and my older brother had to go check my result. It wasn’t all that great but I found out it was the best around cos I didn’t have to re-sit for the subjects I needed unlike my schoolmates and most other students I knew who wrote the 1999 exam. I frisked like a mountain lamb at sunrise, thinking I was on top of the world- little did I know the world was on top of me.

It wasn’t anywhere seen around me that students gained admission same year they finish O’Levels so most of us waited the till following year to attempt JAMB. First one I scored below 200 and the hope of Medicine in University of Ibadan went down the drain. Ask me how I got my result- those were the days of going to the State Office of the exam body, like I went to Bwari, and we would queue in the sun for hours, taking turn to present our slips and the officer will check the score. What a suffering it was and gross abuse on candidates. God help you if you can’t get a chance that day. It means your drying in the scorching sun continues the following day. I never wished to waste so much time in school because I’d been discouraged so the next JAMB, I lowered the bar and opted for Biological Science in same institution because my brother was there and I thought it’s the best in the country, or so I was told. This time, I scored just about 200 in the 2001 JAMB and same process- getting sun dried in the name of checking result, sweating like Christmas goat.

Again, hopelessness of a Nigerian child, I heard UI was a year behind so my set will have to wait extra year for an admission you are not even sure you will be offered. Then I made up my mind I won’t write the third University JAMB and same year, my brother helped to process pre-degree program with University of Ilorin and University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. Both clicked and I chose the latter. Hurriedly, I packed my stuff and travelled all the way with just a little cash more than transport fare with believe that my fees will be sent as soon as possible- so she promised. But then came the story of the travails of a single mother of three- there was no money, thirty six thousand naira, to settle the bills. I left the school when the first semester exam was scheduled and obviously, I wouldn’t be able to write exam without paying my fees- another crushed hope.

Few weeks later after returning back to base, on a very good Wednesday, I went to church and I was told I have a letter- like many others, using church’s postal address was most reliable. On opening the letter, lo and behold, it was an admission offer from JAMB to the University of Agriculture to study Biological Science- my exact choice but how come the institution? I didn’t choose it. That was the same school I’d spent more than two month attending pre-degree lectures until I couldn’t pay the fees. Getting home, my mom reminded me of the day one of her customers who worked at JAMB office collected my registration number but she never got in touch that she did anything to help.

The following day, she got as much money she could for transport fare and I went on a night journey. Oh! What a journey. I didn’t get the regular bus because I was late to get to park at Area 1 and all the buses scheduled for the night trip had gone. I was advised to go to Gwagwalada but same was the story there- no bus. Being in transport dilemma with two other people I met there, we were stranded. At about 12am, a lorry carrying beans to Lagos stopped by and agreed to take us along, charging less than normal. This will reduce fare and I’ll have more money left, I thought but it was a mistake of my life I got into the lorry, sitting on the bags of beans. The discomfort and ache was classic. I couldn’t close my eyes for more than five minutes per time.

Eventually, we got to Ibadan where I alighted at around 1pm and before I got to Abeokuta, the work hours were gone. Finding where to sleep wasn’t a big deal. I went to my friend-turned-cousin’s house- same place I lived when I was hoping to pay pre-degree fees. She was surprised to see me as much as sympathetic to my palaver.

The following day, Friday, I went to the school and after much enquiries, I went to the Senate Building and straight to Registrar’s office. Hearing my story, he showed so much sympathy but unfortunately, “there is nothing I can do because matriculation already took place and list of students has been submitted to VC. I really sympathize with you.” Those were his words. Not crying nor begging could cut it because I did both so much that I was sure he’d have done something if he could. I left his office with my last hope crushed.

This was the same school I’d checked my name on the notice board and saw that I was given admission for pre-degree studies that I couldn’t pay for and on same board I could remember, were the list of freshers and Direct Entry students. I had no idea I was on the freshers’ list and all I would have needed to sort all my fees was less than fifteen thousand naira which was available at the time but it was too late. I lost the pre-degree admission cos I couldn’t pay as well as 100Level entry because of late notification.

With so much ease technology has brought into the process today, I wish it was like this those times- it would have just been clicking a link that will solve my menace.

Just the link to check my JAMB result.

Just the link to see my admission status.

Just the link where I’d have seen that I have been offered my dreamed course from a school I’d have loved to graduate from and I wouldn’t have waited for six years in total to earn a National Diploma and more years later to earn BSc.

Thanks to today’s Internet and technology, how many more young people would have suffered same plight I did? Or are suffering it currently?

Just the link was all I’d have needed.

I wouldn’t think rafts, boats, canoes and the likes will ever have to bother about finding out the strength of the storm on the oceans and seas by trying to sail smoothly on them unless it’s a sinking suicide mission as much as ships and vessels wouldn’t contemplate sailing on rivers and lakes because by design, such platform is too small for the display of their functionality. Obviously then, the size of the container on the water determines the size of waterbody it requires to sail. Simply put,

How big you planned to get in life will also be measured by the size of challenges you will likely encounter.

Question is; is there anyone who has walked the surface of this earth leaving footprints on the rock of life but has no challenge whatsoever? Nelson Mandela is a world icon today but his years of incarceration remains part of the story just like so many others who had made significant impact in the history of mankind and all have their list of challenges that could have stopped them from achieving the fit but the challenges, despite their magnitude and fierceness, rather were used as stairs to mount on the summit of landmark achievements. That’s what they are- stairs to mount on higher platform in life.

Life is laced with lots of challenges and problems that requires solutions to make things better for the people- that’s what our various individual challenges are meant to address, solving a larger problem for our immediate society and anyone who can take the bull by the horn to confront these issues and solve them is the one who is an achiever, celebrated and crowned at the end of the day. If you desire to be great; you have unimaginable dreams, then, life’s battle will be your companion and life-mate. That means you should be ever ready to receive the punches such as- financial crisis, rejection, betrayal, persecution, loss and the likes, that life throws your way but you can’t afford to be a weakling, you have to throw your’s back! Persevere, fight, work hard and smart, learn, be resilient, be spiritual and never quit; then you will not merely be bearing the stings of life troubles but also throwing yours back, ‘antidoting’ the stings and forging your way to joining the roll on the Hall of Fame.

Your ability to always fight and win this battle is what assures the trophy of breakthrough which is the answer and solution to certain problem and solving such, you make life and living easier not only for yourself alone but for others within your sphere of influence.

Life will never give you what you deserve but only what you demand.

Placing your demands is the fight you need to give to get what you desire as it will obviously not just fall on your lap. Nothing is ever gotten on plater of bronze even, not to mention gold unless someone somewhere has paid for it. Whatever you enjoy for free today is what someone has had to do rigorous labor for and even at that, you will still be faced with the challenges of maintaining it or have your own troubles in other aspect of human living and endeavor.

Show me a man who has no life battle to fight nor any challenge and I will show you a man that’s going nowhere with no ambition.

Over time, I have learnt to discredit the word- ‘overambitious’ as it applies only to those who would lift no finger to take life headlong; not willing to bear any cut from the thorns but yet want to pluck the most beautiful roses. But if you are willing and can bear through whatever stumbling block on your way, then you will someday arrive your destination and fulfill all your ambitions.

 

Remember that life is like water bodies. It will be suicidal to paddle a canoe or boat on an ocean because it can’t withstand the kind of storm the ocean generates neither can you sail a ship on a river. You have the desires to attain greatness? Then be ready for the battles you will have to fight. The fact that you have so much you’re going through right now is a sign that there’s something great you’re made for and a big purpose you’re bound to fulfill such that will remove you from obscurity and place you in the limelight where you will be celebrated as one of the world’s greatest but you can never get there if you’ll give up and resign to mediocrity by throwing in the the trowel when you’re just about to chest the tape.

You want to become an achiever, then be ready for challenges that will come your way. Don’t pray for success when you haven’t found any problem to embrace and solve. Mark Zukerberg solved the problem of usual break in communication by providing Facebook, Steve Job took tech to higher level with Apple Inc., and others with many inventions and innovations. If yours cannot be of global impact, start with yourself, then family, community, town, province, country or continent; just make sure you provide solution and as sure as the dawn, know that you can have the victory only when you are stubborn enough to resist quitting.

You wish to be a ship, get ready for the ocean storms.

How far are you ready to go?

Have you sometimes wondered why people perceive, talk or relate with you in a certain way or particular manner, whether positively or negatively? Whichever way it is, truth is, you started it! You gave them the lenses through which they should look at you, the thought they should have of you and the kind of person they should know you to be. You gave them all the impressions they have of you and you know what is said about impression?

“You can never have the second chance to make the first impression”

and often times we misrepresent ourselves on the first impression, most times unconsciously. There’s no way you can fault anyone who formed an opinion of you based on the feeds they get from their first interaction with you; it’s going to make a lasting impression on them.
It’s been for so long popularly said that

“The way you dress is the way you’ll be addressed”

and that remains an eternal truth, although perhaps in equal percent rating as in the contextual definition of dressing and appearance because they both matter a great deal- that will be mentioned later, and as much important also is the kind of energy you give out, your composure, your speech and utterances and your line of reasoning. All these can be easily summed up to determine the kind of impression the other person will have of you on the first meeting with you.

Let’s highlight some of these things mentioned above that constitute the impressions we give others especially when we’re making first acquaintance of them;

Your Appearance
Although, we do not have to judge others by what they wear but most times, the way we dress is the internal reflection of who we think we are or what we feel per time. I was at an event at Sheraton Hotels and Towers in Abuja, Nigeria, some years back and while the MC was looking for some children to engage in a game, a particular boy was spotted and he was called up to join the set selected for the game. Looking at that boy, we all got the same impression the MC definitely had- the boy was badly dressed and already dirty when the party was just starting; he must have been brought in by a low-class parent who knows the celebrant or he, with his parent, gate-crashed the event. But to disappoint all of our impression, when the boy was asked who brought him and where he lives, he simply said, “I live here.”
We didn’t get it at first but when he was asked, “where are your parents?”
“They are inside,” he responded, pointing towards the towers of the hotel.
“You mean you live here with your parents?” the MC couldn’t back down.
“Yes” he nodded confidently.
“Which of the rooms,” he probed further perhaps the boy is just making things up.
“Suite 012 on the fifth floor.”

His story sure checked out when a reliable source confirmed that his family has a permanent suite in the five star hotel but who would have thought? His appearance had given us a very wrong impression of who he is and the family he represents. If he wasn’t called up, he would have passed completely for a family of commoner and treated same way in a ‘high class event’ while the parent would have wondered how and why? But obviously, it started with them by not giving a good and befitting appearance to their child, thereby he represented them as we thought.

But our perception of them didn’t change who they are, you may say. Yes, it didn’t but it then raised another question about the character and capacity of their parenting. Who could afford to have a permanent suite in a five star hotel and allow their child to be in public eyes looking unkempt and abandoned?

Your Manner of Approach
In like manner as above is the way you address or talk to others. It also goes a long way to tell what kind of response you get and how subsequently people will talk to you because you have said whom you are in just the manner you talk to them. I always quote,

“What you say is as important as how you say it.”

And remember,

“What you say about people do not tell you anything about them but rather tells them everything about you.”

If you don’t know how to present yourself, be sure you will always be misunderstood and if you don’t have the right manner of approach, you will be known for a fool. If you disrespect others when you talk to them, there’s no way you will be respected when they respond to you. If by the virtue of your superiority, you use that advantage to disrespect others, their respect for you will only be a lip service and be sure they won’t mind your downfall if they can facilitate it. Next time you get a negative energy response from people, first ask yourself what kind of energy do I emit?

More things your manner of approach reveals are your knowledge base and reasoning capacity which determine the content of what you say; how shallow or deep you are in your depth of wisdom. For sure, everyone knows and wants to relate with people with good and sound mind. Sapiosexuality isn’t a bad thing. This is why I always say that it’s important to

Know something about everything and everything about something.

Borrowing from the holy book, it says,

“Study to show yourself approved…”

keep a sound knowledge base and let it bring you great opportunities.

Conversely to the points above, I can also allude to the fact that sometime you haven’t done nor said anything before you get the negative energy hoarded right at you and the person bringing them could care less about it. The discussion above is still your remedial action. You don’t have to respond same way because you will be nothing different from such person. Importantly, you must be able to calm the situation or redirect the negative energy, by counter-acting instead of reacting to such form of unacceptable social Interaction. When you always react to people’s actions, you become subjective to whatever they pose at you when you could have simply choose your response to form a counter-action that will normalize the anomaly. When someone starts off with you with a negative energy and you give it back, it simple, expect more…and so the cycle continues.

Henceforth, stop wondering why your relationship with people is the way it is; now you know! So, make amends and stop complaining about how your boss, peers, subordinates or everyone treats you because

“You Started It!”

Prizes are never awarded, they are won. Prize doesn’t just come to anyone, it is earned. Consider an upcoming athlete who has a vision of someday running in the Olympic finals and ultimately win the gold medal. Wouldn’t you think such a person should readily know what to do to attain this fit? Lets, for assumption sake, say he doesn’t know and he seeks advise on how to attain his dream, what would you say he has to do? Simple, you’d say. He needs to certainly follow a schedule of hours of daily training, watching his diet, participating in every prospective competition, maintaining a good health habit and couple of other things that may be required of him. If you will avail me, I’ll say there are two things he has to know; he must know what to do (like everything stated right above) and second is, he must be committed to doing them. That’s how to achieve ones purpose.


There are several avenues to trail in seeking the prize and knowing which area to explore is the first step in the knowing-what-to-do. Like an athlete desiring a gold medal in Olympics, you also must know the field of life where you desire to write your name on the sand of times. Be it in entertainment, health, education, political or whatever sector, you must decide what you want to do and then you will be able to know how you may attain your endeavor. Having known what do to, what’s most important is committing to doing it. Nothing can be given to chance. There must be deliberate daily attempt to get better at whatever you have set out to do and sound commitment to doing it on a fixed and regular routine until it becomes an habit. More like it also, is making sure that your desire for what you have chosen to do is born out of innermost assurance because that is the only way you can derive the strength to continually commit to doing it.

“…doing what you love and loving what you do.”

Doing the above is what is called Paying the Price; that’s what assures the prize and makes it worthwhile. Have you ever seen the spectator of a game cart away the trophy or adorned with medal of the day? Even among the participants or competitors, only the ones that come on top by giving it all it takes- paying the price, go home with the prize. You don’t merely wish for the prize because “if wishes were horses, even beggars will take a jolly ride.” You must be willing to pay the price, giving it all it takes to attain your heights and achieve your dreams. Spend each day focusing on what’s ahead of you and let all your steps and moves inch you closer to chesting the tape.
“Winning a PRIZE comes after Paying the PRICE.”

When you endure much enough and do not give, someday you will stand your head tall and sing that song of victory in the midst of applauds of many. Amongst the many would be those that mocked, some who taught you were wasting your time, some who might have even bet their life that you can’t make it, some that had made all their attempt to stop you and a few that stood by you all the way and encouraged you to press on despite all the odds that were against you. Do not be dismayed because in the end, you will be glad you pay the price to earn the prize.

So I ask;

What PRICE are you Willing to Pay for the PRIZE you wish to obtain in life?”

If you don’t IMPACT anyone while you EXIST, everyone will FORGET you when you EXIT.

I have had to i severally about a Yoruba maxim which is popularly used in commendations or greetings, especially to a notable person. They’ll say, ” Oo ni ku” meaning “you will never die.” I thought about it and had to ask an elder what it means. The explanation was intriguing.

When someone had done notably well to affect the life of another person or the community at large, the heart of the elder swells and amongst the kinds of prayers that burst out from the elder is the line, “you will never die.” This doesn’t mean that such person will forever be beyond the grasp of the nature’s rival- death and become immortal, but rather means that he will forever be remembered for the good works he has done and the seed of goodness he has planted; that his name name has been written in the sand of times, such that can never be erased.

That simply reminds me the reason why monuments are sometimes erected or Foundations are established to immortalize the good life and deeds of people who have touched lives and affect the society. Sometimes, building or other kind of infrastructure would be named after such person or some other project in their memorial, all so that their names continue to linger even after they are dead, no matter how long ago it has been.

Although, it was said, “…everyone will forget you when you exit” but really, everyone will somehow be remembered but some often and more than others. The question is: what will you be remembered for? Or what will be people’s after-thought of you anytime the memory of you crosses their mind? Will they smile each time they do or curse your grave? Will it be that sort of sweet nostalgic feeling or an irritable reminiscence that lurches their stomach and they give praise to God that you are gone? The life you lived while you were with them will determine that.

Oh! Some will say, what does that matter? Why should I care what I’m remembered for when I already will be gone and far away from them? Unless you are like a snake that crept on the surface of the Rock and makes no print, such person who lived making no mark, no purpose, no achievement and nothing that impacted other people’s lives, then you may not care. But whichever you lived, whatever you do, when you are gone, the lot of it will befall your next generation- that’s called karma.

The king that ruled and the town rejoices at his reign will never be forgotten just as much as the one that the town laments at his reign will also not be forgotten. What will make the difference is that the memory of one will make people smile and bless his grave, they will even extend the good hands they have enjoyed form him to his children because what goes around comes around. Same way, if your presence caused people pain and agony, your grave will surely see desecration and your children will reap the harvest of the seed of meanness you sowed. Why make the life of upcoming generation difficult by suffering the punishment of the sins you’ve committed, and that which they no nothing of?
As much as you care about your good name while you are here, it should really matter to you also what name you are living behind after you are gone. Whether you will meet just a few people or really many in your entire life, what would you want them to remember you for?

We’ll all someday EXIT this world at ripe old age, I pray but what impact are you making while you EXIST?

Take the Risk

A ship is safest in the harbor, but is that what ships are made for? Of course not! A ship is made to sail, to sail on the seas, regardless of the mood of the wind, whether the sea is calm or the sea is in its fiercest rising of the waves because the strength of the ship is tested mostly in the ferocity of the wind. We are afraid of sinking, but how do image we know that we will sink if we haven’t yet sailed? How do we know we will fail if we haven’t yet tried? Do you think Christopher Columbus found the America we now call the greatest nation by sitting down on his chair and doubting whether he should sail across the oceans or not; he took a risk, he crossed the gigantic sea even though he knew he could lose his life, even though he knew he might never return, he risked it all just to follow his dreams, he took the risk and got the most of the reward.

Life and Living

Life is a risk. Living is a risk. Show me a man that has laboured in the morning, rolled up his sleeves and got his knees down to work, toiling all day under the scorching sun to till the ground in planting, weeding and having done all, patiently waited for the time of harvest and I will show you a man that will spend his evening relaxing to enjoy the fruit of his labour. He takes the risks against all odds; not minding the thorns and thistles nor the unfriendliness of the season. When the times and seasons seemed unfavorable, he never gave up trying. When everyone uses their strength to resist and to do wrong, he uses his to do right. When everyone has quit trying, he draws strength from within to keep moving forward. And when his energy is sapped and the world keeps telling him to give up, he puts in one last push, and then another last push and another last push until he is able to breakthrough. Or do you want to show me a man that is afraid to take the plunge, complaining of the uncertainty of the depth of the waters or the danger of whatever creature that might swallow him whole and I will show you a man that will never make it across the river of life. He ventured nothing, he gains nothing.

What’s in your hand?

What is your skill? What is your talent? What have you been gifted with that you think is not good enough to showcase? You’re scared of what people will say about your aspirations. You are like that servant who having received one talent, decided to bury it because he thought that was too small and very belittling of his master to have given others more than he got. Too bad that he got worse judgment melted to him. One thing is sure, everyone is giving something, just like the servant, no matter how little and you are expected to take the risk and trade with what you have so that it may multiply.

You’re scared of people who will judge you, laugh at you or mock you for who you are, but you forget that no one ever tried once and made all once. Albert Einstein failed nine hundred and ninety nine times but never gave up. He gave it one last shot, that one last shot is light that come on every time you turn the switch.

Don’t be pessimistic; take the bull by the horns; plunge into the deep to make your biggest catch. Remember, no pain, no gain. Nothing ventured; nothing gained.

There is a basic fact here; God created every one of us. And the little we know about God, there is nothing he does without a definite purpose.

thBUNNY

This establishes the fact that everything he made has a distinctive reason for their existence and none is made to just fill a vacuum. Even the air in the vacuum or in the atmosphere with every single element it contains has a definite reason why they are there. Same goes for every living thing he made from the ants to the fishes and the most complex- humans. We are all made with specific purpose and that includes the over 7.5 billion people that exist on the face of the earth today. For the reason of fulfilling this purpose were certain potentials given to each and every one of us but it is pathetic that some or a lot of people are yet to come to terms with this resounding truth perhaps due to share ignorance or they live in outright denial of the truth.

Everyone is endowed with potentials
Potentials are simply the abilities that are inside you that enable you to fulfill a certain task. Your potential is the ability you have to fulfill your purpose. For example, the purpose of a car is for mobility and that’s why every part that makes it up consists of motion-enabling part such as the wheels, shafts, engine, gear box etc but despite this whole make up- which is the potential, the car is fulfilling no purpose until it is put into motion which is the purpose. Same way everything designed to do a particular thing is already giving the ability to do that thing, that’s also how much the Creator gave everyone certain potentials to achieve the purpose of creation. No matter who you are; Christian, Muslim, pagan, atheist or traditionalist, you were born and exist for a reason and you have being configured with the ability to achieve that reason/purpose in your making but most times, a lot have failed to do this simple task. Truth is; the tragedy is not only in the ignorance of your purpose but also in your inability to do what you are made to do. Have you ever had equipment that refused to work when you most needed it most? Do you remember the frustration? That’s it! That what you are when you are not doing what you purposed to do or never realized you have the ability to do those things.

Divided Attention
Congratulations; if you know what your purpose is and you realize your potentials to do it. But simple question; how come you haven’t done it or why has it taken this long to do what you are suppose to do? Beside whatever reason that has stopped you from achieving your goals, have you factored how much ‘divided attention’ has caused you? Distraction is one thing that can be a big hold on your forward movement. Divided attention robs us of achieving great results in life. Most times it doesn’t look to us the way it is because it we never get to understand the trick distraction plays on us. Everybody says how busy they are but can’t say exactly what they are busy with. That’s not because they have been doing nothing but often than normal, they have been doing things that are less related or out rightly has nothing to do with their real purpose is. A little ‘here and there’ has made a lot of people to continually take unconscious steps away from their main assignment while some others have practically abandoned their purpose.

The Urgent and the Important
Divided attention most times is not absolute lack of focus but we simply just have plenty other things and events competing with our target within the limited time and we immediately can’t figure out that our priority has changed. In the attempt to attend to every situation that rears its head contending for our attention, we don’t realize that our priority has shifted and this always result to unnecessary flogging of time on what could have taken us much lesser time and duration. That means, we need to put a clear distinction in setting our priories right to recognize issues that are important from the ones that are urgent.
Important events and activities are those that are primarily centered on our purposes but alongside doing that, we always get sidelined attending to the many other issues that we tag urgent. They seem urgent in nature but nothing would change if they are not done immediately. They are issues or event that can always be sorted out later or if at all they must be done immediately, they must be done and done-with at the minimum time and attention is returned to the important. When we concentrate on the important, there is a good chance that the urgent will be minimized. Piled up ‘important’ is what most times result into ‘urgent’ beside the unexpected events that may pop up and require our attention with minimum activity span.

What do we then do?
Here’s the tip:
Learn to take charge of your time and avoid distraction
Focus on doing the important to avoid being pressed under the urgent
Don’t sap your energy and lose your strength in trying to meet up with the deadline

Dangers of Divided Attention
It gets you to live a hurried life when you focus on the urgent. You will barely have a time to rest because you can never clear your table dealing with urgent instead of focusing on the important. Event will unavoidably begin to “prioritize your schedule” and eventually fail to “schedule your priorities.” That can be so effort consuming and mental draining; trust me!

Being DECISIVE with unbroken FOCUS and total COMMITMENT to the important issues and events are the keys to unlock the great potentials in you.

Start today; would you?

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