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 realize 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.