Sunday Dec 04, 2022

The Drop of Greatness

It was in May 2011 I met him. FCS announced the finance committee members- Adewumi Esho, Peter Ademu-Eteh, Chiemezie Anyaeji, Rebecca Magaji and (Who was the fifth person? I don’t remember right now but I know it was a final-year student like myself). Well, that day, as we knelt down and prayed for success, I determined in my heart that the reason we were included in the committee would be fulfilled. FCS needed a bus, and that was our major concern.

We went to work immediately. I remember we made a PowerPoint presentation to the whole hall. As the hall darkened and the projector darkened, the man at the projector stand gave me the thumbs up to go ahead. Pie chart by Pie Chart, Bar Chart by Bar Chart, he changed the slides just when I needed them. The lectern at the Chapel of hope was too far from the projector screen so I had to rely on someone helping me out. Who were those men? Chiemezie Anyaeji and Isaac Akefe.

When we attended meetings, there was always a person that gave succinct analyses of what we had to do. He never said anything that was economically, socially, spiritually or politically incorrect. In fact, when my friend Holygal remarked that she recently met a person who was like her, whose wits matched hers, whose humour was easy to follow…and who was artistically talented, I knew she was talking about no one else than Chiemezie Anyaeji. I teased her until she told me who I suspected…it WAS him!!!!!

By God’s grace, by the continuous giving from FCS members and outside donations we were able to complete the Bus Project in our time, Mission accomplished!

Even after I graduated, there was always something that pulled me to this young man. I had a dream, vision, to help young school-aged teenagers and adolescents overcome low self-esteem, negative perceptions of success and to dream bigger dreams than their parents ever did. I shared this dream in Match 2012 with Segun Aremu, a friend of mine working (his NYSC year) with the Central Bank. He told me he had been thinking the same exact thing- in fact, it was his Personal Community Development project. We wrote letters to some churches for support, some non-governmental organisations that did respond positively. We also wrote to schools in Abuja, for a brief time to share with the students the secrets we had all learnt during our brief but arguably successful lives.

So we set out- we bought inspirational, motivational and a few academic books. We got videos and pictures of young people doing well in an adult-dominated world. We condensed our personal stories into 7 laws of success and finally 5. We read about Isaac Newton, John Maxwell and other people, sharing their success secrets as well.

We called it The Success101 Code.

When we needed to print the banners and inspirational signposts, I contacted Chiemezie. We negotiated the printing job to about 40% of the actual costs. You want to know how? Chiemezie let us know that he also had such a vision, called the SEED project. He would be assisting us by removing his profits from the cost of production. He also volunteered to join us any time we were going to the schools.

It was tiring work- We visited the Redeemers Private Secondary School, King of Kings Academy, Solid Rock International School and Premier Academy, all within the FHA Estate in Lugbe, Abuja. We sometimes had to finish at night, and the young man did not mind. He spent his own money to come down to the schools (and for a student that WAS a serious thing).

The response was overwhelming. When I told the kids one of us in the hall designed the theme image for the outreach, their eyes grew wide and they burst into applause when they knew it was uncle Chiemezie. Schools kept asking us to return (we were speaking for free) and we replied that we would as much as time and finances permit.

In January this year, he told me he was collecting thoughts and opinions on the power of imagination. I got excited when he said he planned to publish it as an e-book. I was excited because more and more Nigerian authors are embracing digital publishing (Like Ebi Boleigha who published her poetry collection online) Many of you reading might think of it as a foolhardy exercise seeing that in Nigeria very few people use credit cards to shop online, and once a person gets his hand on anything it becomes pirated by at least 700%. But the young man selflessly decided to allow the world get a taste of what he’s growing in his closet.

I have had reason to put my foot down and scold him for failing to meet targets (or going offline for whatever reason). Despite all that I have never seen him lose his temper (or berate anyone at all) even though he’s most likely older than I am. I have not known Chiemezie for a long time, But I know that he is a great man, and that greater days lie ahead.

O ga di gi mma!


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