More amazing articles from the “I Know a Nigerian Star” writing competition. Read and be motivated friends, TGIF!!!! Enjoy a beautiful weekend.
With love from Konnect Africa!!!
“Most human are gregarious,” Dr David Imhonopi said in our first sociology class. For fear of being labeled a dumb, many pretended and nodded in the affirmative like the agama lizard. I was one of them. Being a good teacher that he is, he sensed our unvoiced ignorance and took time to explain what his expression meant.
Then, even though gregariousness was an entirely new word to me, I was learned and observant enough to believe in the adage “people are my cloth”. If not, I thought, why would “community” exist in the dictionary?
Everywhere, every day, sometimes in each minute, we are surrounded, just like fabric, by people with varying attitude, beliefs and ethnic dispositions. Nobody would appreciate beauty if not for the ugly; the light-skinned meets the dark, Christians bump into Muslims, even the governors and the governed. The rich runs into the richer and the richer deals with the richest. In a world with over seven billion populace, the permutations are endless.
Like you, I have met a whole lot of people. Many who I naturally forget seconds after passing each other on campus, streets and even financial institutions. Some who stayed long enough to enter my friend list and the few, who live a footprint in my heart. Those who through their actions and inactions, silence and utterances, touched positively the lives of many, mine inclusive.
If it were to be grammar, I might have considered Patrick Obahiagbon. But, in all honesty, his renditions do make my colleagues laugh, confused and inferior, rather than impacted. Maybe this is what makes me appreciate Engineer Djubril Shittu more, enough to be convinced he deserved to be the next Nigerian star, for his ability to come down to the level of anyone, instill confidence in those around him, and turn a wayward or ambitionless youth into a pious and motivated one.
Indeed, he is not 25th on the Forbes richest like Dangote, nor is he a match with Mike Adenuga in terms of assets, but from his white colored Quality Control Manager’s office at Dele Surgical Cotton, he displays the untiring patience to listen to people’s problems and proffer solutions like it’s primary arithmetic.
Mind you, he is not a shaman, but a Masters Degree holder in Chemical Engineering from the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile ife.
“When they say Charles Wovenu is passing by, everyone wants to see Charles Wovenu. But when they say to a child that “Bibi” is passing by, every child looks for a place to hide. The difference is in the impacts,” wrote Israelmore Ayivor. This explains the reason why the workers; men, women, interns troops his office to share their burdens. Matrimonial problems, health problems, even if you want your department transfer request or loan request not to be rejected by the upper-heads; he is the man you need to see.
Years before my internship, Dele Surgical Cotton operates with a “No Pay for Interns” rule. After thirty days of adherence and rigorous factory exposure, we formed a team of interns and visited him to express our displeasure. That seems audacious for a protégé, but with him, all opinions are relevant. He promised to meet the power holders and state our case with conviction.
To our amazement, two months after, when we have made our peace with the situation after days of hearing nothing, the notice board read: “Subject to a condition of punctuality, effective from this day, all interns would be paid a monthly stipend to cover their transportation, feeding and basic needs.” I can only imagine the series of meetings he attended and the pains he went through to convince the ever stingy board of directors. Up till date, more than 50 students have benefited from this scheme with many more still to come.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether this happens at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps on learning not only remains young but consistently more valuable regardless of physical capacity.” If the words of Harvey Ullman were anything to go by, then, Engineer Shittu would be more valuable with the rise of the sun.
A staunch believer and encourager of excellence, not by words or cane, but by consciously exposing his protégés to the sweetness of knowledge and the avoidable cost of ignorance. While we chatter our free time away like parrots, he is busy devouring gigantic literatures and adding to his shelf of academic feats. “Which of the reagents needs an increase in its concentration and volume when the cotton has a low absorbency?” Smiling as always, he would leave us with such practical questions to battle minutes before going home. Nobody taught us before we turn our free time to a reading time. All thanks to him, most interns leave that factory with more than half of the British Pharmacopeia in their head.
I might have harbored doubt about his credentials of being the next Nigeria star if he is only a workplace champion, but, obviously, his impact spreads beyond the four walls of the factory.
On a Monday morning, a woman, apparently one his neighbors judging by their informal greetings, came to seek his help in correcting his ambitionless and football addicted son. Surprisingly, he picked up his phone, called the boy, and that marked the beginning of a football match between the two. All these he happily did to gain his trust, friendship and make a lasting impact when the time is ripe. Well, it sure paid off, for today, the boy is among the 2013/2014 fresh intake of the English language department at the University of Ilorin. Who knows? He might end up as a sport analyst.
Engineer Shittu is indeed a Nigerian star. Yes he is.
You can contact him via:
Contact details: N0 75 olofa road, offa, kwara state
Mobile no(s): 08055962112, 07037108148
This “I Know A Nigerian Star” Story was submitted by…
Aliu Sherif Opeyemi a 20 year old student of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria.
You can reach him via:
Phone: 08058368337, 07032254294