June 11, 2014
by Ayokunle Adeleye
I was meant to have three uncles, just three. I never met one – In
person – but I read (with) him, read his books, his notes, and saw his
spirit, his drive; I do not know what he looked like, yet he taught
me: he taught me to dare.
My other uncle nurtured me from afar; I learnt by osmosis. He once
said he’d not have (or take) whatever God had not given him. So in his
short, fulfilling, life – no but’s – he taught me that Pastors are not
God, that Winners are made and not enslaved, that right is forever
right irrespective of what any Pastor says; and, most importantly, he
taught me contentment.
My third uncle is the first. He taught me from Pluto, he taught me by
radiation. He is a genius, and I learn to be one. I pretend not to
listen to him, and he in turn pretends not to notice, but I do, and he
does. I inform him whenever I want to start something, not so much for
his monetary input, but so that he can discourage me – as he should –
and I can go ahead anyway (making adjustments for his concerns) – as I
should. He teaches me caution, a by-product of anticipation.
So that whatever and whoever I am today and forever I owe it (in part)
to these three people – and I am always indebted to my father, who
made me (painfully). Of course, I pick up lessons as I go on: I
recently saw what personal ambition can do to a Church – or any
organisation for that matter. I recently observed how comparison and
strife can ruin peace and progress.
Newton had said if he saw further than his peers, it was because he
stood on the shoulders of giants; well, I have seen. I see how my
forebears forever change me: I learnt diligence from my father, and
camouflage from his mother. In fact, as much as I can remember, the
only word Father ever taught me was “diligence” – it just so happened
that I hadn’t known that word at the time.
All these people together influence(d) the way I eat my mango:
daringly, cautiously and contentedly, diligently and in camera.
Yes, life is all about eating mangoes. How d’you eat your mango? That
red, green or yellow fruit is not the traffic light, but it can
determine how quickly you reach your destination – I have
intentionally avoided the word Destiny; don’t ask why.
Eating mangoes is easy, it all boils down to one thing: anticipation.
The mango has two impressive ends: a tip, the truncated end, and a
hilum, the part where the stalk held. Most people eat their mango from
either end; the choice of which, I submit, reflects the innermost
orientation of the consumer. For if one began at the tip, he would
soon find out that the hilum leaks – quite readily for that matter –
and that he should have begun at the hilum (in anticipation of the
My submission therefore is that if someone keeps eating mango after
mango from the tip, he must not have learnt to anticipate. Akin to the
Yoruba proverb that goes, rather jocularly, “Ẹni t’ó bá jẹ panla tí kò
bá ta’yín, ọ̀dájú onígbèsè ni”. (Abegi, help me translate am.)
As every businessperson knows, shit happens – and how you face it
determines how your business fares. As every good businessperson
knows, one must anticipate shit before it happens and be prepared for
it: anticipate a fall in demand and reduce stock, anticipate a rise in
price and increase holdings, anticipate a new government policy and
take advantage – that’s how Aliko became Dangote, Dansa, Chi and what
It is common knowledge that property is cheaper and easier to acquire
when the seller, rather than the buyer, initiates the offer. It is
commonsense to have some money saved up for just that purpose. That is
the secret of the wise, that was how the Egyptians of Biblical times
became subjects of the Pharaoh, that was how the slave trade was
Sometime ago I was in Lagos and I met this man in the bus who told me
how he saves up toward December rest assured that property will be up
for sale at rather ridiculous prices come January just because
(foolish) people overspend during the Festive Period and are broke by
New Year when there are bills to pay, school fees especially! Makes
sense, doesn’t it?
So to keep that business afloat, you must break forth, realise set
limits, mind your business, be true to yourself, accumulate assets and
forego liabilities, and watch the way you eat your mango: anticipate;
be daring, be cautious, be content, be diligent (time is of the
essence) and never show off your true worth (obì t’ó bá f’orí pamọ ló
máa n gbó káká; it is the kola that conceals itself that matures).
Never do whatever it is you can’t afford. Never let anyone push you.
Plan your life and stick to it. Never change your wardrobe because
some fools will rather wear their future and will have you do the
same. Our worth is never in the suits we wear, it is in the values we
#Youths, Save Nigeria. Yes we can. It is our turn.