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You may have read about my high school debacle which I once served on Saturday Breakfast.
Once in high school, I got 12% in a mathematics exam. The experience tore my soul. Me, Tony Okoroji, 12%? How did that happen?!
I usually do not blame anyone for whatever predicament I go through, believing that life is a challenge and only the strong survive.
I knew that the 12% result was my own making. Mathematics was never really a challenge to me, so I had taken it for granted. Any time the mathematics teacher was in class, I did cross word puzzles or read some comics. I paid no attention.
At exam time, my brain froze. I panicked! I could not remember any formula. Something like BODMAS sounded like Latin! It became strange and confusing. The reason was very simple. I did not practice at all. From being overconfident, I totally lost confidence.
The shame and humiliation that followed my 12% debacle affected me going through life. I resolved that 12% has no business with me and 12% success would not come my way again. Next term, I followed the mathematics teacher from class to class, took every note and practiced every formula. At the end of the term, I had an ‘A’ in the same mathematics. From then on, I considered ‘B’ a failure.
Those who went to school with me and those who have worked with me thereafter will testify that I prepare, practice and practice for everything. I never want to go to a meeting without studying the issues and fully understanding what I want to come out with at the end of the meeting. I do not embark on an event without checking every box, over and over again, and being sure that there is a Plan ‘B’, if Plan ‘A’ goes wrong. I am sure my lawyers are sick of me. I never let them file my case in court without checking every line and being certain that the processes are very well done and that the facts and the law are on my side and every hearing notice is served on time. Even in this Facebook era, nobody who works with me is allowed to send out a document with bad grammar or without the ‘i’s dotted, the ‘t’s crossed and all the punctuation marks in place.
Have I always got an ‘A’? Many of the times I have. There are however sometimes that I have not. I recall going to a Lecturer at the University of Lagos to say that I wanted to retake his paper. I had scored a ‘B’ in the paper and was distressed. The lecturer was very angry with my ‘audacity’ and told me how stupid I was. He was emphatic that he does not give an ‘A’ to any student and that ‘A’ belongs to him. At the end of the day, I found out that my ‘B’ was the best result in the subject. What I have discovered is that if you strive for an ‘A’, the worst that is likely to come your way is a ‘B’.
In the university, as a student, I used to teach classes and I realized that my fellow students preferred my classes to those of the lecturers. They would ask me questions they would not dare ask the lecturers. I knew that the students would enjoy embarrassing me if it was obvious that I did not know what I was talking about. So, before any class, I would go through the subject with a tooth comb and prepare for every possible question. What my colleagues did not know was that it was my way of preparing for exams.
I am that guy who would tell you bluntly that no matter what you are into, if you fail to plan, you have planned to fail. The problem is that there are too many lazy people, people who go through life without a plan and with little effort. They do not work for an ‘A’ and would readily accept “let my people go” which most times results in failure. Then, they will blame their failure on the lanky old woman in their village, everyone else, everything else and not themselves.
I have little wealth in terms of money, but I have faith and happiness. I appreciate the grace that the Almighty has given me to work hard, focus on every challenge and achieve results that are pleasing. I love the gifts the good Lord has given me, and I try to use them the best I can for the good of as many of God’s children as possible. That is my own wealth.
I have said before that I do not want to be Dangote or Otedola or Ronaldo or Donald Trump. My name is Tony Okoroji and I like it.
I know that the Almighty has given to each of his children our peculiar gifts. The problem is that rather than harness our gifts, some people are very busy with envy and covetousness and fixated on the gifts of others. Somebody should tell them that I do not want to be them and no matter how much they try, they cannot be me.
I have heard that some say that I am arrogant. No sir! What they consider as arrogance is confidence. When you prepare, you are confident, you are ready, and you drive on a full tank of faith! Lawyers will say that equity does not aid the indolent. It is the same way that I believe that the Almighty does not support the unprepared.
Despite the challenges of Nigeria, I am here to stay. I do not concede my rights as a Nigerian citizen to anyone. Let me state that I am not so stupid that I do not understand that the wisdom and strength we deploy do not belong to us but to the Almighty. My guys, come rain, come sunshine, don’t try me because I continue to drive on a full tank of faith!
See you next week