One of my favorite portions of scripture is 2 Kings 13:14-19. I really love that passage so much and I get inspired each time I meditate on it.
“Elisha had become sick with the illness of which he would die. Then Joash the king of Israel came down to him, and wept over his face, and said, “O my father, my father, the chariots of Israel and their horsemen!”
15 And Elisha said to him, “Take a bow and some arrows.” So he took himself a bow and some arrows.
16 Then he said to the king of Israel, “Put your hand on the bow.” So he put his hand on it, and Elisha put his hands on the king’s hands.
Please don’t throw away the gains of the past few days. You have started well and we are all proud of you. You have shown what you’re capable of.
It’s time to change strategy. What got you here won’t get you there.
I have a few suggestions:
1. Please shun all forms of violence.
Violence will make you lose the sympathy of others. Don’t allow anyone infiltrate your protests. There is no need to lose lives or properties. Our land has seen enough blood.
2. You need leadership
I know most of you don’t want to hear this. But don’t allow your major strength become your weakness. Without leadership, your movement will become a mob. You need leadership to be able to organize, strategize and negotiate.
Watching the videos of the #endsars movement brought a lot of memories. I recall several struggles, protests and Aluta that we were involved in.
I had the uncommon privilege of being the Students Union President during my undergraduate days when Sanni Abacha was the Head of State in 97/98. The late MKO Abiola was also the Chancellor of the University so those were really dark days.
I recall very fondly how the Students Representative Council named our Students Union Building after Kudirat Abiola. It was a very daring move which came from a resolution to immortalize the Amazon.
One of the key things about leadership is that it also comes with structure. For any movement to survive, a good structure is key. Structure is the reason APC and PDP still remain the most dominant parties in our clime. You can find them in all the 774 LGs of this country.
Without structure, any movement will fail. With a structure, there are better chances of success.
Leadership will understand that movements go through different phases- street protests should lead to engagements and actionable plans.
Leadership will help a movement to understand when to evolve and which causes to fight or drop. They are both tactical and strategic in their approach.
Have National Coordinators for the protest. Have State coordinators. Have Local Government coordinators. Develop a structure.
I understand the fear of many about leadership selling out. That fear is valid especially with our experience in this nation. There is a huge deficit of trust in leadership. Nevertheless, no movement can go far without a proper leadership.
Leadership will provide focus, direction and vision- otherwise what was supposed to be a movement will be nothing more than a mob action. In a mob, too many cooks will spoil the broth.
There are 3 main scenarios that can arise from this development where there is no leadership.
My own thief is better than your own thief because mine stole in naira while yours stole in British Pounds. My own thief is still a local champion while your own thief has become a global player. Can you compare a mere N139m to £13b?
The only similarity lies in just the first two figures 1 & 3- but that's where the similarity ends. We judge our thieves by the size of their loot. We judge our thieves by the current exchange rate. If your loot can suffer devaluation, the better.
The size of the loot determines the depth of the outrage. Our outrage is not about the loot itself but about the size.
Being in debt is a terrible experience especially when you find it difficult charting a pathway out of the problem. Every phone call makes your heart beat faster. Each knock at your door makes you break out in sweat.
You avoid going to certain places out of fear of being embarrassed. Many suddenly fall in love with staying indoors. A few will turn their back and run. Things take a new turn for many as they experience the vicissitudes of life.
On May 8, 1939, the whole estate of Chief Obafemi Awolowo was auctioned by the order of court in respect of judgment debts. His property at Ikenne was auctioned for £40. His Chevrolet car was sold for £25. His clothes were sold too.
Leadership Lesson: Feedback- The Key To Improvement
In the past week, I received feedback from two of my former colleagues which were quite encouraging. One was from a former colleague that we worked together around 2009. Her call was totally unexpected.
She asked if I recall asking her to watch the movie Akeelah The Bee one day when we had a chat at work. I honestly couldn’t recollect. She told me that she never heard about the movie until that time but she took my challenge and saw the movie.
She was so impressed that she asked her daughter to watch the movie also. In her words, that was the first time she heard of the Spelling Bee competition. Her daughter was so inspired by the movie that she entered the Spelling Bee competition in her school and prepared rigorously
I was neck deep in debt. I had made serious mistakes speculating while thinking I was investing. I borrowed to speculate and I paid for it dearly. Those were really dark days.
I would drive home but constantly look back to see if anyone followed me. At a point, I thought of running away. I could pack my bags and travel out of the country. But then, running away from a problem has never solved it.
I thought of how I could solve the pending problem. I could borrow more and invest in another high yielding investment and from there, repay my indebtedness and meet my obligations. So, I borrowed one more time and put the sum of $10,000 into forex trading.
I Believe In The Supernatural- The Day I Received Double
Dateline- January 26, 2011.
But the background story first. My wife and I got married in 2002. And then, days rolled into months and months to years as we did all we could to have a child.
We went through several medical tests: a laparoscopy, HSG and hormonal tests. But there was one I can never forget. We had an appointment at a government-owned medical institution and my wife and I were taken into a room with a bed, video player and a TV.
I looked at the nurse who took us there trying to make sense of what we were to do there. She handed a container to me and asked us to get to work. They wanted to do a sperm analysis and needed a sample immediately.
There is a proverb in the South West part of Nigeria that goes thus: "Gbogbo eniyan ni ole sugbon eni ti'le ba mo ba ni 'barawo'" loosely translated as everyone is a thief but ensure you're not caught with your hand in the cookie jar.
This actually explains your mindset and reaction when someone is caught in the act or when there is an allegation of theft or corruption. The real crime is not stealing.
It is the inability to understand that what you steal, where you steal, who catches you and which divide you belong to matters a lot. In Nigeria, the umbrage is determined not by the event itself but by these factors.
Just learnt of Baba Jimoh Aliu's transition to the world beyond. In 2017, I was the Guest Lecturer at the induction of the Engineering graduates at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti.
Baba Jimoh Aliu was one of the awardees at the event. I was surprised at how he could still dance and perform at such an advanced age as he came with his cultural troupe.
I grew up watching him on TV and his Yoruba soap opera Arelu and Àjálù remain epic in the history of soaps in Nigeria. I recall how the roads were empty when it was time for Arelu. Baba Jimoh Aliu gave us Fadeyi Oloro and Orisabunmi.
It was around 2011. I lived at Magodo, Lagos during that period. I received a call from my mentor one evening. He asked if I knew a village called Siun on the way to Abeokuta in Ogun State.
I wasn’t sure but I knew I couldn’t miss it since it was after Sagamu Interchange. I jumped into my car and drove off. There was no time to waste. By experience, I knew if my mentor calls like that, there must be a learning moment.
I got to the village and saw his vehicle where I was parked. He was holding a meeting with some people. He beckoned at me to sit beside him while I listened to his conversation. After the meeting, he asked me to ride with him. I parked my car and hopped into his.
Lesson In Mentorship: Leveraging The Resources of Your Mentor
I was in Kigali, Rwanda for my annual vacation that year. I posted a few pictures on social media and then I got a call from the PA to my mentor. She asked what I was doing in Kigali.
Coincidentally, my mentor was in Kigali at the same time and I didn’t know. She gave me his Kigali number and I called him. It turned out he was there for a series of meetings where the President, Paul Kagame was to be in attendance at one of them.
He invited me for the meetings and gave me a pass. I missed the morning session where the President was present but I attended the lunch session. We were the only two Nigerians at the meeting.
Last month, I saw a pastor who buried a member of his church in the morning. I attended the funeral because the person who died was my friend. As we left the funeral, he received a call. Another member just died.
The same pastor buried that other member same evening. Same day. I was at the second funeral too. I shuddered at the pain and burdens that pastor must have gone through.
When we raised funds to get 27 prison inmates released from Kirikiri Medium Prisons in 2017 in collaboration with the music artiste Yinka Lamboginny Lawanson , 4 of those former inmates decided to attend our church on their own volition.
If God blesses me, I will buy a private jet for my pastor. Maybe even more.
When I started attending my church in 2001, my pastor was using a Volkswagen Beetle. I still remember how we used to wait till after service so we can help him push the car. My pastor would enter the car, put it in neutral while church members pushed.
When it roared to life, he would still carry a few people and drop them along the way.
After some time, he used to wait for a church member to drop him at home.
Don't take access for granted. The greatest gift you can get from any man is access. Don't fritter it away through over-familiarity. Treasure that access. Nurture it. Never do 'see-finish'.
When you do 'see-finish', you'll soon be finished.
I learnt this lesson early during my undergraduate days. We had a very amiable lecturer, Professor Emmanuel Babajide Lucas. Everyone loved him. He was chummy with the students. We flocked around him. He was a father figure- still is to many of us.