…It’s a common cliché that life is in phases and men are in sizes. Inspite of my being a ‘streetboy’, I had people who at different periods of my life had contributed positively towards my overall mental and moral wellbeing. One of such unforgettable figures was my primary six class teacher who though, was always quick with the cane never failed to make us realize that hardwork and diligence pays.
Growing up in an ambiguous environment like mine, life for me became a mixture of so many things. As it vacillates from good, bad to outright ugly, I absorbed and try to understand as much of life around me as my ever inquisitive, always curious mind could fathom. My gregarious personality also enable me befriend and blend with people of various sorts. I had friends that shared my passion for reading and learning and also mixed with friends with whom I really did spend a large chunk of my time playing. Despite the prevalent overwhelming negative influence, I was quick to decipher and lucky to oftentimes choose what is good (I really don’t mean best!) for me. As a ‘street’ boy, it actually became natural for me to be competitive in my ‘dog eat dog’, ‘survival of the fittest’ world and since the higher the stakes, the more the credibility, I became daring and strived to put myself in situations that could help prove my mettle even if it means going overboard. I tasted beer but couldn’t get used to it (it was bitter!). I couldn’t get to smoke (I had too much education on its hazardous effect to the body) and just couldn’t commit any crime or do anything nefarious. Maybe it was my involvement in church activities, the mandatory compliance to the ‘rules of my house’ or my innate drive to be someone in life, by and large, my moral tendencies seems to come to my rescue and somehow always manage to overwhelm the ‘street’ in me.
My senior secondary class had a bunch of bright kids that sort of boosted my craving for knowledge. The keen competition that existed then was a catalyst that plunged me further into my books and by the time we were in our final year, I was atop my class and yet didn’t have a girlfriend (which was an odd thing back then!). It wasn’t like I wasn’t interested in women (I had quite a number of them as friends). I think I just seem to be this carefree boy that’s so scared of being distracted by emotional matters. Although, I kept bad company and broke school rules every now and then, my academic performance was on a roller coaster ride. I recalled an incident in my penultimate year in secondary school when I went AWOL from school with a couple of friends to see a movie in town. We ended up reporting late for an exam scheduled for that afternoon and although we were pardoned and allowed to still sit for the exam, no extra time was given. We had to write a three hours paper in less than two hours and except for me, all my friends actually did performed below average.
I had realized at some point earlier in my life that hardwork and diligence can take you anywhere but it was more of the fear of failing that motivates me. I had seen too much of poverty in a lifetime to forget that you labour more with your ‘strength’ than with your ‘head’. I had also learnt about Pareto and had really made up my mind to be part of the twenty percent that will control eighty percent of the resources of my country (by no illegal means anyway!). I knew how you respond to whatever life throws at you greatly affects who or what you eventually become ultimately so even while I was in the university and things were going awry at one point, I was still my carefree ‘street’ self and really tried as much as I can to maintain my composure and remain focused on the finish line and my eventual big picture. I’ve had my own fair share of life’s challenges and my resilience did serve me well. I was built to be the best and nothing less. That I’ll surely be and nothing will stop me. I am indeed determined that whatever happened, wherever I go and whatever I do, it would always be said of me that ‘he came, he saw and he conquered’.