By Sampson Ikemitang
Our dear country, rightly or wrongly has been variously perceived as a dream-shattering society with many Nigerians dissatisfied. They even hold the erroneous belief that one cannot realize his dreams if he chooses to remain in the country. I bet to differ. This can be considered an absolute falsehood from the abyss.
In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
My analogy of Roosevelt’s position has pointed out basically two categories of people in the world: the optimists and the pessimists. The optimists in this perspective see the opportunity in every difficulty, whereas the pessimists see the difficulty in every opportunity. With this bidirectional view, it may be appropriate to ask where most Nigerians belong in this classification. This axiom of life constitutes the bedrock of every human action, pursuit and accomplishment.
The relevance of the foregoing in the circumstance cannot be overruled. Perhaps, that explains why some desperate and gullible minds make frantic efforts, including resorting to illegal routes through the desert and Mediterranean Sea in a bid to cross over to Europe. Assuming this quantum of energy and zeal can be channelled into positive undertakings here in the country, the outcome will no doubt be greatly rewarded. One does not need to get to Europe to succeed. Success is right in the country.
In fact, those living in the world of make-believe and fantasy usually describe the European continent as a land of promise, flowing with milk and honey. Sadly, this may not be true after all as even in Free Town, there is no free launch. So Nigerians are called to work it out for themselves.
From expectation, the grass is always greener on the other side, whilst others have boldly considered criminality as the most viable and preferred option. To them, resorting to misdemeanours such as cybercrime, otherwise known as ‘yahoo boys,’ kidnapping, banditry, and arms-taking against the State is the way to go. They have described their heinous acts as the alternative way of eking out a living. Also, they have been quick to justify their actions by attributing their socio-economic and political misfortunes to lack of opportunities and government’s ultimate inability to cater for their well-being.
However, my interaction with Engr. Chuks Nwafor Orizu, a Nigeria – based vehicles fabricator who hails from Anambra State has debunked such a claim by its holders, insisting that such can be utterly misleading. He harped on the need to remain resolute in the pursuit of one’s dreams, positing that with determination and hard work everything is possible. Chuks maintained that if he could make it against all odds into the automobile world, anybody can as well make it.
He admonished that to be able to survive the attendant challenges in this unpredictable terrain, one must certainly develop a positive mentality. His bold step into the automobile industry calls to mind the opening quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that “the future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Without fear of contradiction, Chuks believed in the beauty of his dreams and today, his dream has come to fulfilment, making him the envy of the automobile world.
He recalled that while growing up as a child, his parents bought for him books and computers in place of playing toys. He added that growing up as a young scientist, he took genuine interest in studying the works of Henry Ford and was so inspired by Ford’s philosophy and resilience that he patterned his mind after him. It can be seen that the great inventor, had in no small measure influenced him positively and greatly too. One of the inspirations he drew from Ford is the fact that failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. This indeed was the flame that burnt the candle of Chuks’ dreams into reality.
To profile his background, Chuks had a Bachelor of Science (B.sc) degree in Civil Engineering from the Covenant University Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria. He obtained his Master’s degree in Construction Project Management from the University of West England, Bristol in the United Kingdom. In 2014, he started the designing of the prototype vehicle known as ANIE 1 and as is the case in every business venture, he spent all his savings with little success, but was never deterred.
Not withstanding the impediments, he was determined to forge ahead and make something out of his dreams. Today, the story is different for Chuks who has hit a breakthrough and become a force to reckon with. He is now a shining example for others to follow. In fact, his fabricated vehicle (standard basic unit) for instance, goes for five million (N5m) naira. It can be safely said that everything one wants in life is on the side of not giving up.
Worthy of note is the fact that Chuks is an employer of labour and has on his payroll a hundred part-time and thirty full time workers. He hopes to generate more employment as the company is eager to gain a foothold in the automobile industry. Though he is yet to enjoy any kind of support from the government, he is optimistic about the future and currently enjoys some level of patronage from the Nigerian Army. He is the CEO of the Go-Future Limited and Go-Future Technology, respectively. Asked if he could take up a white collar job, he answered without a blink, no!
We are all created by God in His own likeness. Each of us was created with potentials. None was created empty. Whether or not what we were actually endowed with during creation has been fully activated is left for us all to decide. Everyone has the aspiration to occupy a place of prominence in life. But the challenge is how to navigate the way through to the top.
Some people are born great, others achieve greatness. In the same vein, some persons’ dreams may be to become politicians so as to make laws that promote good governance. Others want to be great inventors, captains of industry, entrepreneurs and career men and women of repute and so on. Whatever the dream is, it cannot be decreed into being, it has to be pursued with vim and vigour. Otherwise, such a dream will certainly die with the dreamer or at best be a mere desire.
How prepared are you to go through the thick and thin, twist and turns usually found on the path to success? No one can climb the ladder of success with his hands in the pocket. Rise up today and start something. Procrastination is the killer of every good dream.
One common thread that runs through every dreamer is the fact that they all require some form of training. Education has remained the bedrock of every nation’s development as yesterday’s preparation equips us for today’s challenges. A deft of knowledge acquired determines the extent of one’s functionality and progress.
We must strive to acquire the right skills to be able to function optimally and effectively. Therefore, everyone is invited to infuse his life with action and not wait for it to happen. It is also virile to create one’s own future and make one’s own hope, just as tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today. How prepared are you to succeed? Pay the price and get the prize.
The former Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige recently announced to the world that Nigeria’s unemployment debacle will hit 33 per cent by 2020. This must not be ignored. The implication is that by next year, one out of every three Nigerians would be unemployed.
Also, Nigerian graduates have in the recent past been described by employers of labour as being “unemployable.” This is a harbinger of gloomy future and the government must swiftly review the tertiary institutions’ curriculum to re-tool Nigerian graduates with the requisite knowledge and skills for national development. This may not necessarily be to prepare them for white collar jobs, but to expand their capacity for economic expansion through wealth creation.
Sampson Ikemitang Writes from the Features Desk in the Federal Ministry of Information & Culture, Abuja.