Friday, 21 August 2015

My gift to a Corp Member.

I was on my own and my friend Icon One asked me, what best gift he can give a Corp Member.  It didn’t take me a second to suggest money as the best gift. As expected he said ‘Corp Members already have money given to them from the Federal Government and maybe State Government’.  IT’S NEVER ENOUGH were the next words that came out from my mouth; GIVE THEM MORE MONEY. It was at this point that my friend got my point, WEALTH CREATION (A higher sense of purpose).

The first thing that came to my mind after he asked me that question was my days as a Corp Member.  The most difficult days for me were days before the passing out parade /ceremony. Thoughts like “what was next", where do I go from here? Filled my head because it was time to face reality and back then Government Allawee was really helpful.  For some of us, that N 9,000 was the best thing that has ever happened to our lives. It still had its highest value few months to passing out. I didn't want to sound biased, but since my friend got my point, we flowed with that concept for a while but mid way into the conversation, I began to realize what the issue was. "WE WERE NOT PREPARED FOR LIFE." This may sound so lame, but this is truth!

Our nation began NYSC, for the purpose of national integration; the secondary effect of this scheme was that the average Nigerian graduate began to develop the civil servant mentality. Instead of relying on our inner self, to become creators, and look for ways to use the knowledge we acquired in universities to create value, we simply just wanted the Alawee to continue flowing.

I stayed back in Mubi Adamawa State, for some days, waiting in one man's office to get a letter to be retained at the General Hospital. MEHN!!! N150, 000 a month felt like N2, 000,000 a month, even though I wasn't just looking at that the money. I felt the experience would give me a good foundation and the truth remains that I didn't need that N150, 000.  If only I knew half of what I know now then, I probably would have the biggest eye center in the whole of Adamawa State; that sounds big right? but what you probably don't know is that at the time I served, there were just about 8 qualified eye doctors in Adamawa (6 of those were Corp Members like me). I mean just 8; ok to be fair not more than 10, including optometrists and ophthalmologists. If I had foreseen the future what will I need N150, 000 a month salary for?

There are but a few people that understand this, whereas some understand. Now the problem, in my own opinion is this; while we may know WHAT to do, HOW to do it, HOW TO START is where we have the biggest challenge. We often get over whelmed, with the fear of what's next that we end up accepting anything offered us. We often feel left at the mercy of others who apparently have employment offers to give. Then we allow "others" set the value of our Certificate or our worth (never let another man decide your value).

Our price becomes so low because we think we don't have an alternative. We often justify whatever salary offered us, by sayings things like if I lived with N9, 000 a month, then N35, 000 is about 3 times better and I can manage. Some others will look at the long list of "unemployed" and say, half bread is better than nothing. While it is better to keep bus and start small, my worry is what is really going on in the mind of that individual. It is a different thing to accept something small today seeing the future potentials in that offer, than accepting something simply because you have no trust or belief in yourself, or that you don't have a sense of direction.

So if I am to answer my friend’s question all over again, I will say, TRUE EDUCATION is the best gift you can give to a Corp member. A true knowledge of self-worth, personal discovery (I feel this has the highest value.). We must take on a campaign to convert out graduates from takers to givers. We should show them the higher purpose of education, which in my opinion is to use the knowledge they have acquired to contribute to mankind. We should teach them how to create value from their immediate environment and also learn how to receive from the value they have created.
It takes a little extra effort from writing an application letter and organizing curriculum vitae to writing a business plan or a proposal. What makes the latter seem hard, is that you have to identify value first, and answer the question; WHY, HOW AND WHAT. We must stress the importance of personal development (yes we have heard this a billion times) but we have to be innovative in transferring this knowledge to our young graduates.

When we engage in continuous education, we increase our options and increase our ability to create wealth; true security therefore is in our ability to create wealth. A wise man once said, ‘it is foolishness doing for a man that which he can do for himself’.
Honestly, I am one of those totally against our government paying unemployed graduates unemployment allowance or whatever name it is called, when value and riches is practically wasting away on every street of Nigeria. Rather let the government use that money to make our universities and colleges real universities and real colleges.
That which a man has within him, is what makes way for him; it's inconsequential where he or she is. Learn how to properly harness that which you have and locate the person to whom it is most valuable, and you are almost ready to hit a home run. Teaching the Corp Member or young graduate the practical steps to do this, to me is the best gift we can give to them.

Written by  Chukwunedum Okpara

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

How Far are we willing to go?

I had a flat tire on returning from a long trip and after changing to my spare tire, I decided to stop over at a vulcaniser shop about a kilometer away to fix the bad tire so that I don't get stranded before I get to Akwa Ibom. Shortly after he started fixing the punctured tire, a neighbor who does other services close to his shop walked closer to him and continued a quarrel between both of them, which must have started before I got there. So I kept silent while listening. I was shocked to hear the neighbor accuse the vulcaniser of dropping nails some distance away on all the three roads leading to the junction where his shop is located. The neighbor claims that this guy does that early in the morning each day before the start of work. That way he is guaranteed of having customers with punctured tires crawling slowly into his shop after picking the nails. After saying that, the neighbor walked away satisfied that he has exposed him just like the vulcaniser did to him over another matter before I arrived.
How could Nigerians be so wicked while trying to make money?
Of course it did not happen to me, happened to a friend of mine. Lol I never get car na and for the records this is no fiction.
How did we get to this stage, where our bid for financial gain is more important than the life of another man? Did this Guy stop to think of what might happen if the driver was on high speed? I just can’t rap my head around this story. It is really sad how low we can go now these days for money.
The aim of this blog post is not really to create a frenzy about the actions of the vulcaniser, let us leave him to his God. The aim of this post is to make you ask yourself this question. HOW FAR AM I WILLING TO GO FOR CASH? I am not a preacher but I am sure this is what the bible meant when it said “the love for money is the root of all evil”. We are not going to ask you to raise your hands, but if you have crossed the line in your bid to create that future you want, it’s never too late to stop. As for those of you that have not yet crossed the line, you should have a pre-agreed limit to what you will not do in the name of “HUSTLE”.
I want this cash as much as you want to, but we must do it right.
Proverbs 13 vs 11 “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.” ESV