Friday, 13 November 2015

Recent Lines

I’VE COME A LONG WAY
Days of daylight struggle
Nights of fluorescent-tube study
Laughs of assessor tormentors
Cries of a certain unique survivor
Life has not been peaches and cream
But I’ve come a long way

The eyes are heavy
The breathe remains calm
With cloudy thoughts filling a bleeding heart
Tired butts can’t help but fart
Life has not been a ride in a Prado
But I’ve come a long way

A man of purpose living among the blind
A man of intellect dining among imbeciles
He soon grows weak, lacking nutrients of vision
He goes bunkers, wandering in dire illusion
Life has not been a Christmas package from FedEx
But I’ve come a long way

Robbers serially ran their hands in a poor man’s knapsack
Death once laid its sting upon the life of the King’s Heir
No one was safe; no man could say he saved
But if no would save, why wouldn’t God save?
Life has not been without the breaking of precious vessels
Yet, I’ve come a long way

I ran when the fear within chased me
Fell when doubts sank me, and flew when lies around loved me
The hitherto of my life may seem a sour story to tell
But its future will be a good tale to share
Life has not been lullabies and bedtime stories
Yet, I’ve come a long way

Lemons may taste sour
But sweet lemonade shakes are made from them
Sweet medicine may taste like tawdry poison
But many bitter medicines remove deadly poisons
Beware, for life has a way of deciding your outcome

Keeping this awareness, I determine my fate with harmless faith

Monday, 13 July 2015

GETTING SOMETHING DONE (PART TWO)


When you have an idea you’ve got to be careful who you speak to. If you speak to people you think should know more because they’ve been reading the same kind of books you read, you may not be exactly right.

When I look back today, I realized that we could have done that business. Though I don’t know how successful we would have been with it. Anyways, our academic goals did not manifest as expected. For me, I did not even finish with a strong two-one but I managed to do lots of human capital development work on campus and made some money from simple publishing. I made much money from emergent investments too. One of my two friends went into commercial motorbikes investment. He owned bikes and had some folks ride them for him on agreed profitmaking basis. He went on to become a National Executive at a renowned Christian Fellowship in Nigeria. He did not meet his original academic goals too. After making money from investment, the third guy went on to continue his studies at the university’s teaching hospital. He had always wanted to become a pastor and he did become one in a Pentecostal church. Surprisingly, he did not meet his academic goals either.

Lesson learnt; when you have a good idea or something you really want to do. Just start doing it; even if it is getting the plans in place and making findings. But be careful who you speak to because if you are actually meant to fail, you would and you will acquire the right lessons needed to succeed at another time or in something else. This is because, there are people who actually go into what you only planned to do and they do succeed. But if what you planned to do is not meant for you, you are most likely not going to succeed at it. Usually, people succeed at what is meant for them and only have the inherent proclivity to persevere when it is really meant for them. When it is not meant for them, they simply go through it because there are lessons they need to learn from it to succeed when they move on.

The guys that eventually put up the barbing saloon ran it till I graduated. I don’t know if they stayed back but we never planned to stay back even if the idea succeeded. Our plan was to sell it off upon graduation. We had planned to incorporate additional business value such as sales of recharge cards, our own newsletter and other in-demand publications. That was something they did not do. But the commendation there is that they added much value into the actual barbing service that I thought it was worth them having the idea. I know this because I was one of the customers that they managed to win. They did it like we would have done it. They respected their customers so much and made each service seem like a big treat. But unlike we planned, they did most of the barbing themselves and probably spent less time in class than we eventually did.

So, when you find something that you’d really like to do, start doing it. It probably won’t hurt if you start it inch by inch, task by task or stage by stage.

In our own case, we thrived in the things that we put our time, focus and energy into. We did not thrive in areas where our fears, doubts or discouragements had a better part of us. We set academic goals but did not reach them. There were times when I got very angry upon seeing my results because I had bad grades. For one of my friends, dropping from strong two-one straight into two-two was never anticipated. In fact, none of us saw it coming for him. For the third guy, I don’t even know what happened. He just told me he finished with a two-two despite all the scholarships and awards he got in secondary school. Though our academic goals were not met, there are lessons learnt and insights applied into other areas of our lives for positive results.

The key to getting something done is doing it on paper and in practice. There is much good in the saying that in pursuing greatness, you don’t count the years. Rather, you count the hurdles you need to jump to get to the finish line. Just like in projects, you may plan to finish early and actually finish late. Interestingly, you may even plan to finish late and find a twist of earliness in reaching your ultimate goal than anticipated. Aiming for the very best, finding effective workarounds for external limitations and working towards expected deliverables often guarantee great outcomes. This is also in line with the saying that if you shoot for the moon, at worst, you will eventually find yourself among the brightest of stars.

Cheers!

Wishing you the very best,

James Olumoraks

GETTING SOMETHING DONE (PART 1)



It is common for young people to dream and desire what they want to do in future. This behavioural trend hardly leaves even when they become young adult. Nevertheless, the desire to do something great and become someone spectacular also comes with a price. The price is the determination to overcome whatever challenges may prevent one from reaching that dream.

                For some people, the challenge may be lack of funds to transform and sustain the dream from its intangible form into full manifestation. For others, it may be lack of network of people that will help to build and shape the idea or promote its success. Lack of either or both factors often turn ideas into precious burdens or procrastination channels for most people.

                I remember when I was in the university, I and two friends started brainstorming on a business we could do while studying and soon realized that there was no barbing saloon in our neighbourhood. Anyone who wanted to have their hair cut had to take a cab to town or trek across the school into another neighbourhood where a barbing saloon was already existing. Our neighbourhood contained hundreds, if not thousands, of male residents. To say the least, this means that about five hundred potential customers were available for the business to thrive. Yet, no one had started equipping an obvious barbing saloon at that time.

                Myself and these friends eventually thought of starting a barbing saloon business on a landed property near our hostels. We planned to use a metallic cabin and had figured out that a portion of the land could be leased to us. We were still putting plans together when one of us brought in a negative report. He had approached one of the more experienced students that we revered in a religious organization I also attended and had discussed our business plan with him. The guy he approached gave him enough reasons why we should not come together to start the business. The reasons ranged from potential academic challenge to possible negative factors, and even the fact that one of us was going to migrate from campus to continue his education in a neighbouring state.  At this point, starting capital was not our challenge because our plans on funding was very feasible. However, we needed to leverage on reliable network to solve potential challenges while building the business. These ranged from knowing the right person to speak to about the landed property to getting night security coverage and increasing free publicity.

                However, we got enough reasons to not do the business as an early feedback, procrastinated for a while and eventually forgot about the idea. The positivity of three people could not overcome the negativity of one person who was not even a co-founder. We wanted to leverage on someone for guidance to succeed but were shown reasons why the idea would not work. Yet, telling someone who had the funds seemed like an obvious trap because who else has the power to steal an idea except he who already has the wherewithal and does not really owe you?

                Few months after we slowed down and forgot about the business, we saw a barbing saloon start up in that neighbourhood. In fact, it was very close to where we had planned to establish our own. The only difference was that they had waited for a shopping complex to be completed and had rented a room in it to do the business. When my friends and I saw it. We realized the truth in the axiom that when you want to do something, you should just do it. We realized that we were not the only ones thinking of starting the business. When you have an idea, don’t think you are the only one receiving the hunch. Ideas come from somewhere and if you don’t use them, someone else would.

To be continued...

Saturday, 16 May 2015

IS CHANGE NOW COMING?

Image Source: Sahara Reporters
Could there be change in Nigeria? When would things really start getting better for the majority? What indices should be used to assess change when it occurs? I wondered as the 2011 elections appeared. My thoughts were ripened by the happenings that lingered around me in the vicinity of Aare Avenue in Bodija Estate. My eyes sensed for information and assessment. My ears sought for encouragement and opinions. My body followed the flow of traffic towards the ballot box.

                I was very eager to arrive at the polling booth. I felt very concerned about the issues of leadership, politics and development. I had schooled in a university of Technology. My days as an undergraduate included moments of receiving tutelage in unfavourable circumstances marked by strike actions and the Akala-Oyinlola power tussle. Reflection upon what could be done to solve the problems of erratic power supply, relatively expensive internet service, underemployment and unemployment, and the everlasting issue of fund misappropriation (or stealing, as defined by Mr President) was constant. So, I wanted to see change. Positive difference. Real betterment.

                Mr President had floated the transformation agenda as the heartbeat of his tenure manifesto. He had been patient in experiencing the transition of political power and headship incumbency from the loyalists and beneficiaries propping the status of his former boss.  The loss of his former boss had asked for a transfer of baton. Except for the presence of the beneficiaries in the corridors of power, the presidential stage seemed vacant to those outside Abuja and Nigeria. Pressure for a prime leader based on Nigeria’s constitution gradually sank in from outside. But, it was regularly met by the thickness of unconfirmed assurances from inner Asokoro proponents. When the pressure finally arrived at its striking point, it kissed away the lies and shouldered the reality for all to see. Then, the truth was revealed. The dead was buried and Mr President’s promotion was effected. Hence, during his own campaign for electoral favour, he flagged the transformation agenda and later became the President-elect.

Power was given priority. The euphoria was much. The noise of the agenda loomed everywhere. Former cabinet members mixed with the new and good work began. Okonjo Nweala, Olusegun Aganga, Omobola Johnson, Chinedu Nebo, Alison Madukwe, Reuben Abati, Lamido Sanusi and others began to reappear or appear on the scene.

This year, the euphoria of political interest shifted from power to change. The masses joined the train of change and #GMB received preference over #GEJ. Many of the areas where the idea of transformation once sold greeted transformation with the chime of change. The results of the 2015 elections primarily tilted towards the pro-Buhari team. Rice or no rice. Ankara or no Ankara. Ghana-must-go or no Ghana-must-go, votes were counted and the accounts were broadcasted. #GMB tweets emerged as the winning chirps.

It would be recalled that General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd) had been attempting to reach the position of democratic presidency since the ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo era. However, this is his first time of becoming the candidate of the majority and assuming the position of president-elect. Therefore, he must be careful of the manner with which he would manage the realisation of his own agenda. Otherwise, the euphoria of change would diffuse with underlying issues and the outcome of his tenure would overcome nothing more than what the incumbent president has already recorded as achievement. To whom much is given, much is also expected. Truly, there is much work to be done.

Though many thanks to the entrepreneurs that supported him, in actual words, it appears that the deceivers of Mr President have now abandoned him. The more honest ones may have decamped. His true loyalists are probably still in touch. Many others are apparently off-radar. News has it that his old friends have now abandoned him. Yet, it is known that Mr President wants his incoming successor to marry transformation with change. Eyes are watching to see how this would happen.

The lesson here for team #GMB is to look out for wolves amidst the sheep, clogs in the wheel of progress and stealthy corporate bandits lest
                  CHANGE = or < TRASNFORMATION eventually.


In the world over, there have been great leaders. In Africa, there are emerging change makers. In Nigeria, there would still be dynamic youthful leaders. But now, is change really coming? Is this really it? Are we about to see it commence? The world is watching and, the young ones are waiting to move in.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

CONSENSUS FOR TRUE CHANGE IN NIGERIA

In the months that have elapsed and the one coming to a gradual close, there have been instances of political clamour and rancour among several partisans. Some of these differences were eventually resolved while others were simply calmed by deeply-rooted stakeholders and kingmakers within the political arena. Conclusively, the foremost political parties in Nigeria have selected their choice aspirants and the time when Nigerians will decide or anoint those who would lead us by mid-2015 is at hand.

The preliminary electoral process which mainly involved the selection of political aspirants in diverse parties were closely observed by young persons around our beloved country. In previous times, young persons were predominantly known to participate in electioneering processes as useable political vices such as violent thugs and aggressive vagabonds. But that story is experiencing a gradual change. It is interesting to note that many youth, particularly from the entertainment industry, made efforts to vie for government positions on the platform of various parties. This action shows that the youth in Nigeria have increased their awareness of civic responsibilities and are ready to gradually receive the baton of leadership. Asides the fact that the youth now constitute the vast majority of the working class or workforce in Nigeria, they are the most unemployed and underemployed Nigerians. Yet, they stand out as a key portion of the electorates.  Therefore, any strategic aspirant who truly desires election or re-election in 2015 must have youth issues both in agenda and at heart.

It is a joyous thing to know that Nigerians are eager to get to the polling booths and vote during the 2015 elections. However, the responsibility of government through its agencies and regulators must help them fulfil that desire. Elections should be free, fair and safe. Citizens should be able to arrive at voting centres and fully enjoy the right to vote and be voted for. Observers must be available at polling booths to assess the standard of actual electoral activities and accompanying events. Already, it is being said that young Nigerians are biased about the outcome of the primaries conducted at various parties. This is because many young aspirants were unable to get the party ticket that should grant them the opportunity to be elected into their desired offices. For instance, the two biggest parties in Nigeria have more politically renowned aspirants representing them at the legislative and executive arms. Even at the gubernatorial level, only a few young aspirants or candidates preferred by the youth have been able to receive nomination tickets.

                While it is our ultimate desire to see our nation prosper with visible evidences at the grassroots, the youth want younger persons to take up responsibility at the gubernatorial and legislative arms of government. In fact, they would really like to see a situation where a female vice president would emerge and definitely long to see a time when a president that is aged 45 years or less would lead Nigeria. It has happened in other countries and continents, and Nigeria being the big brother in Africa can create this paradigm shift. The essence here is not to imply that the quality of leadership is proportional to the actual age of leaders. Rather, it is to remind leaders that the children who were informed that they are the leaders of tomorrow have grown up. The children of yesterday are seeking for the manifestation of unfulfilled promises. They want to know if things in the coffers of leadership are actually as they hear or not. They want to practically understand why things are the way they are. They want to see how they can help solve some of the existing challenges. They are not in a haste to lead Nigeria but they are thirsty to start leading. Haste implies overthrowing leadership but thirst means transfer of baton.


                But leaders must be reminded that lack of voice is not the same as the absence of potential. It is only because the voice of reason is still calming their hearts that the voice of courage has not spoken with corresponding action. But when the youth are pushed beyond their limits, no amount of call for consensus would be able to restore what it may cost their leaders. So, the ultimate consensus here is to alert the two biggest political parties that matter that young people want to matter. They want to see the change that APC is proclaiming and what to experience the Transformation that the incumbent Mr President is using as his campaign theme. If you really care, show us that you care.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Rendition

This day is next to the last 24hours that will usher in a new month. New blessings await me in the new month and the next year.

It is with much gladness that I bless the name of the Lord my God for His bountiful blessings. I anticipate a new month of good tidings and a new year of manifold prosperity.

The things which I found difficult in earlier times this year will become easy. In fact, things are already becoming easy for me.

I appreciate the Lord for the joy that has continually increased in my life. The joy of the Lord has been my strength. His mercy is prevailing over judgement. His grace is not far from my reach. His wealth has remained among the promises that will manifest.

I have become one of those whose lives will transform the status of nations and inspire hopefulness. For in spite of the many challenges that I have faced, the Lord has not allowed me to waste away. He has not taken away the heritage of a noble child from my life. Of course, God has many children but I consider myself one of His favourites.

So, what shall I do than to give Him thanks? To appreciate Him for what He has done and will yet do? To conquer doubt about the brightness of my future which is hidden in Him? To continually give thanks for what He will yet do?

I am grateful to God for everything. He is the best God that ever is. I am blessed in all of the earth because His Joy is my strength and He is the lifter up of my head.


Many lessons were learnt this year. Many blessings will manifest following. Amen.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

New Page or Next Phase?

I have had various phases in my life. There have been cyclic, transitional and repetitive phases.
Though many consider me a spiritual bloke, I do not know if it’s true or not. What I know is that I am a young man working towards achieving a great life and adding value to humanity. Part of what defines me include spending time with religious, or permit me to say, godly people. When I shine or show this devotion in some other places, they consider me spiritual. Yet, I do not know if things like reading a Holy Book, praying to God or attending church service as much as time allows are factors that determine a spiritual person. If they do, that is by chance. It means that by doing what I consider ordinary, others have given me an extraordinary honour.

I used to be very emotional. I agree. Today, I am no longer that person. Sometime ago, I had a girlfriend who seemed to meet the definition of someone I wanted to spend time with but couldn’t do so with and that experience almost took me off my feet. The issue was beyond affection or genuine interest. It had a bearing with commitment and trying to keep one’s word. As a young man, I actually thought I was being tested by the girl and the circumstances that arose whereas, life was actually going on and she really expected me to move on. This was the very girl I wanted to please by taking interest in subsequent academic venture. I had informed her initially of my interest in management and consulting. But since I did not want to appear like I was calling the shots alone, I tilted.

Till date, I still wonder if she was actually expecting me to mentor her. Was that her secret? I do not know since she never made mention of such. Rather, she took interest in me like someone who was also bringing something to the table. And, I never tried to define the relationship until distance threatened it. And for a girl that belonged to a closely knit family that seemed quite conservative, I wondered if the right thing to do was to ask for dating or talk about courtship. With the advice of friends who knew about it, I asked for something serious and got a negative and yet confusing response. The rest is history.

As a young man, I had a mentor who took interest in a different field. He was an intelligent bloke that many ladies liked in his time. I knew his field was a little different so I kept seeking how to close up the distance. Along the line, he seemed quite busy so, I added one more mentor at my workplace. The environment at my workplace was different and the personality of the other mentor was stronger. So, I had to try to balance the two sides. Sincerely, I liked both mentors and truly respected them. But as time went on, I tilted more towards the mentor at my workplace.

Somewhere along the line. The first mentor flew outside the country for MBA; something that I had personally asked him about when he graduated from university. I remember that he also got married to a beautiful and intelligent lady. Perhaps, that was another reason why I became interested in intelligent ladies; asides the intelligence facts that a Sunday school teacher once gave. Anyways, catching up with the mentor later became difficult. Several months came and went and I suddenly realised that I had changed jobs. I had changed accommodation. I had changed friends. Yet, my expectations were appearing more difficult to meet up with. But I was hopeful and persevering until things went spiritual.


Today, in retrospect, I would say that if there are things that I could redo, if there is a way I could take back the hands of time or if there is a way I could catch up with the goals I set and lost touch with, I would appreciate such and follow suit. I only hope such opportunity, if or when it comes, does not make itself ambiguous, vague or impossible.