Those who truly lived are those
who have something to leave behind
-Fola Daniel Adelesi
he man had a son who after his death wrote about his father, ‘he is a true father.’ Who is this man? It’s Douglas McArthur. This was a man who said he wants to be remembered by his son, not for the many victories he had in battle but, for a simple prayer that he shared with his family and that prayer is, our Father, who art in Heaven.’ What legacy would brush this aside among the legacies that fathers have been leaving for their children, if any?
Martin Luther King, as a young and a well to do clergy man, left a flourishing ministry to passionately fight for the people who could not voice out against their oppression. He wasn’t known for his personal success but for the success he achieved because of other people. At the prime of life he left a dream behind and then he was assassinated. Today his dream can be traced to reality if you remember that Condoliza Rice, a black woman, rose to an enviable level in the US government.
Oby Ezekwesili, A black, from Nigeria, was, at the time she served her nation as the Education Minister, appointed as the Vice President of the World Bank. Kofi Annan, from Ghana, held the most enviable most of the United Nations for two terms. His second term was strictly on the recommendation of the Security Council, which is regarded as a sitting of the world powers! Is Martin Luther’s dream not a reality when we not only have blacks in the forum initiated by whites but it is jointly led and colour was trampled upon. This was the dream someone left behind.
The simple and the most important thing that I’ve found in all great men either dead or alive is that they always give to the society what others withhold. They have come to take life from the angle of what values you can add to it and not the values the life is supposed to add to you.
In the place of the small men the only unfortunate thing about them is that they allow others feed on their ignorance. If an anomaly is in vogue and it’s receiving encomium in the gathering of small minds or mediocres, take caution because it takes only a little shift or unconsciousness to be part of the stupidity that you condemn.
At the time my tenure as the Senior Prefect of Mayflower School, Ikenne was about to expire, a young blind man came into the school looking for a job! You would want to ask, ‘what kind of job will a blind man do?’ This is a young man who lost his eyes when cultists attacked his hall in the then Tai Solarin College of Education now Tai Solarin University of Education.
It appeared as if all hopes were lost and all dreams shattered for someone who was doing all he could to properly coordinate the youthful zeal in him for the bright future he was looking at. By the time he finished thinking he realized there was only a pause to his life, not a full stop. He went round raise some money and he crossed over to Olabisi Onabanjo University to study Guidance and Counseling.
His lecturers marveled at how he still managed to remain in the top 10 list of the class. He received some of his lectures via recorded tapes and he had a brail bible that he took to church in company of a friend, which he studied at will. Instead of resigning to what some people call ‘fate,’ he pressed on and he is still (at the time this book was going to press) the Counselor of Mayflower School Ikenne in Ogun State, Nigeria. By my calculation, that is four years running already.
The eye behind my indignant arrow is set on those who think of taking all the time and never think of adding anything to life. Each time you think of taking, the only thing you are doing is to build the reputation of others and demean yourself or enrich others. Little wonder it is written, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
The beauty of life is in giving more than you are taking from a place because everybody wants to eat; everybody wants to wear clothes; everybody wants to ride a car; we use fluorescent tubes, computers, pens, shoes, bags, and so many other endless wants of human beings but we never think of creating. We simply think somebody should have created what we need. Sometimes I hear some people say, ‘there ought to be something that will do this for us!’ Since there is none or since you haven’t found any why don’t you create one!
Some people have succeeded in the modification of the things others did to suit the current taste and they are making a living out of it! Some others have decided to package what other people created or add colour to the presentation of a product. Either they have modified or packaged, the fact is that they are part of the creation.
I remember, in Nigeria some people, mostly women and some very young boys, used to go around with refrigerated water tied in nylon. Sometimes they got it iced and lots of people were buying but somebody later thought of something different. The person felt water could be better packaged and he went ahead with the sachet water that is now popularly known as pure water in the country. The word ‘pure water’ is obviously the tagline with which the first producer of sachet water used to sell his product. This person obviously made a lot of money before so many other people delved into the sachet water business.
Examine the friendship of two people where one is always giving and the other is always taking. You will agree that the one who is always giving will be frustrated at a point and that, may end the friendship. The one who has successfully designed a tag of “collector” on his clothes instead of “depositor” will continue to scare people away from himself, especially people who don’t want to tell him they don’t have when they have it right in the corners of their rooms. The only alternative is to shy away from him so that they wouldn’t have to lie.
There are so many people you see on the street today that are not supposed to be begging but have unrepentantly resolved to beg because their minds are crippled. I obviously have a giving heart like every other person but a second thought I ask why some people are begging with a perfect body? As much as I do not want to disprove the fact that there could be exceptional cases of people with all parts of the body intact and would still have to bed, it is still obvious that more than half of the people begging are not supposed to be begging! No matter the tunes the pianos and the drums of circumstances are giving, you cannot beg alms if your mind is not crippled! There is still something you can add to life. I know of a group of blind people who went to form a choir. They took to the streets with drums and people gave them money basically because they enjoyed the beats they were playing!
I told you about a blind counselor and I just remembered that I have a blind radio friend. He sounds impressive and obviously intelligent on radio. I only knew he was blind the day I needed to talk to him. Why didn’t he take to the street to beg instead of spotting a passion for which he is being paid?
So many countries are crying out because their geographical locations are becoming overpopulated by the day and there is no job for the people. Unfortunately all of these people are expecting the government to create a job for them. Not even one among them is thinking otherwise.
The irony of the situation is that the local governments, in a Federal System, claim not to be getting enough allocation from the state and the state government also claims not to be getting enough allocation from the Federal government. Consequently, the government wants to cut the number of employees; add a meager amount to the salaries of the ones that have been retained and keep whatever is left so that they can have some money to run the government. On the other hand, they may decide to restrict the grants they ought to give out to people so that they have something left for the projects they want to execute.
Now that the government is more of mathematics instead of being charismatic, according to Sijuade Otegbeye, what happens to those who are depending on the government instead of creating their own jobs and employing others who are still looking for jobs?
Here is a simple arithmetic that I thought of when I was a lone one day. The working class in Nigeria, a case study, falls between 18-65. I want to ‘assume’ that the ages of the parents of any first year University student would be between 45 and 60, though there are numerous exceptions. On the average I would want to put their ages in 50. What this implies is that if you are running a four-year course and you are to serve the government for a year, your parents would only be 55 when you are through with school. Now ask yourself a question. If the retirement age is 65 and our parents who are the employees are only 55, would you wait for another ten years when they would be ready to retire before you get a job?
Congratulations if you want to wait. Some people would say God’s time is the best while they are ignorantly slamming the door on the opportunities looking at them. I believe you would not wait so create the job instead of looking for it.
The mind of a hero thinks of creating what others are going to benefit from and not just thinking of benefiting from what others have created. What makes the earth a lovely one is that you come in and drop something! Don’t come to this earth without dropping anything. Continue to contribute your own quota to the development of wherever you find yourself. Use your brain.
A number of people can only think of what they can see instead of thinking about what they can bring into existence for others to see, and that is why they are not different from mere men. They come into this world and they think somebody must be responsible for whatever they want.
There is nobody who can be held responsible for whatever you don’t have, even the government! That you do not have what you need is a good excuse for the other person not to have it. Often times I hear some people asking why the government cannot do this; why is the government not going to bring this into place and why are there no office holders that are ready to do this? It’s simple! They can’t do it because you have not done it. Who ever thinks of it first should be the one doing it. It should not be a question of who should do it first. The other person you are waiting for may not even be thinking of anything similar to what you are thinking about at the moment. So, think it and do it. The reason it has not been done is that you have not done it. Don’t keep looking for who should do it.
Build your mind to build what others need. I want to be remembered for the problems I solved and the needs of others that I have met through speeches, write-ups, money and all my actions. What would you be remembered for? What it takes to have the mind of a hero is to create the kind of scene that would be when you would be six feet below the earth.
The most important thing that you need to know is that the mind of a hero does not follow a conventional route. They don’t do things because everybody is doing it. They are very critical and analytical about their reasons fro doing things. They see much more. These kinds of people are always taking their problems as challenges or as stepping-stones to their destination.
What makes them really different is that their mouths do not run faster than their brains. That is supposed to mean they rack their brains and plan everything they need to do. They are always making an opportunity out of unforeseen circumstances.