I graduated from The American University of Nigeria, a university where you see a lot of folks who suffer from a disease I call “Misplaced priority.” I, too, at certain stage of my life (may) have suffered from this particular disease, but as I grew more mature, I discovered the remedy for this disease that plagued me for the most part of my life (thinking from ‘consequences” to “decisions”). Now, that doesn’t mean I occasionally don’t fall sick of this disease, I do! But like any reasonable person would do, I never allow this disease to fester before I take my meds.
As a student, I was actively involved in the Student Government Association popularly known as Student Union Government in most, if not all Federal /State Universities in Nigeria. One of the persons who inspired me to go into politics was my cousin, Teinye Akobo, popularly known as TY who was then very influential and active in the system. He was someone I really admired and looked up to because of his passion for students and good governance. Everywhere you go, you would see Teinye Akobo . Even in the toilet, he was there. It was that bad. But one thing that strikes me till date was how he was able to combine politics, social life and his academics and still graduate with a good grade.
Curious to know his strategy, I dragged him out of his room one evening, and we sat under a tree to talk, just a stone throw from the dorm. Long story short, he made a profound statement that has echoed in my heart till date, “Never ignore that which contributes to the development of your life and that of others. Always know what’s important.”
Ok, enough of myself and Teinye’s gist. Now to the main issue. I had a telephone conversation with a friend yesterday, and we spoke for nearly 2 hours. Our conversation started out with our usual gossip, and “babes talk” and the babe(s) we are eyeing from afar and all those type of gist. Bla bla bla. You know what am saying… Don’t pretend like you don’t engage in such conversations with close friends. You do!
As we spoke and laughed our bellies out over the phone, he interrupted “You know Steve Harris, the life strategist was in school last weekend right?” I retorted “of course I do, and am sure the hall must have been full to capacity” He laughed and responded “Are you a learner? Don’t you know AUN students again? They didn’t show up. The people in that hall weren’t up to 70 persons despite the numerous reminder mails that were sent to students” so basically, for the purpose of not generalizing I would say most Aun student knew about this “career talk” with Steve Harris yet some chose not to show up. Pathetic I must say.
As we spoke, my mind flashed back to the numerous events the university spent thousands of dollars to organize of which over 70 percent of AUN students never showed up and probably considered these events as rubbish. From the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, to Ambassadors of several countries, to Google officials, to Chima Amanda, the Noble Prize winner, To Fela Durotoye, Nigeria most sought after motivational speaker and life coach and most recently Steve Harris, the life strategist and to name a few.
It is shocking and quite unimaginable to know that a typical AUN student would rather attend a concert or show where he or she gets to pay as much as N50, 000 for a table than attend a seminar or an event charged at no cost that would help better their lives. Lest you say I am exaggerating, let me cast your mind back to Fall 2008, the Naeto C show, organized by Shuffle entertainment where some students paid over N50, 000 for VIP sit. And as most AUN students know, the VIP session becomes useless/ irrelevant as students rush in masses to the front row when the artist comes on stage. I still remember how a boy’s laptop was seized by his friend because he was unable pay back the N50, 000 he had borrowed to buy a VIP ticket to impress who? I don’t know. Misplaced priorities.
I’m pretty sure some of you would remember the show organized by 3 AUN students where MI happened to be the guest artist. You would also remember the bottles of Champaign that was popped that night at Pibz club. Interestingly, on my way to the cafeteria for breakfast the morning after that night the popping went down, I saw a fellow student crying like a baby. This was around 7am in the morning. When I enquired of him why he was crying at that early hour of the day, I found out that he had spent part of his next semester tuition fee popping Champaign that night just to impress people; N270, 000 (Two hundred and seventy thousand Naira). Misplaced Priorities.
Should I mention a few perpons who deferred the semester and used the money meant for their fees to buy a car just to impress who? I’d rather not.
So you wouldn’t think am against having fun or living the “youthful life”, I attended most of this shows back in school and a few of which I even sponsored quietly. At least am not that boring. But one thing I always had at the back of my mind was that more than the “swag” and youthful exuberance will all pull is a word called “substance.” The world don’t respond to your swag, it responds to the stuff you are made of; the capacity you’ve been able to build for yourself over the years.
While I may sound a bit critical and annoying in this article, let me say here that this article isn’t intended to castigate or humiliate anyone or to brandish myself as one “good guy” but rather to point out the issues that need urgent attention. I once met a student who was in his sophomore year second semester, who asked me for the way to the main University Library. That’s Peter Okocha hall. Quite unbelievable I know, but it happened. What more can I say if a student in his sophomore Year didn’t know the way to the main library.
Unapologetic, I would say this disease has eaten deep into most AUN students and most of us alumni’s as well and the quicker we find a cure the better for us. I have come to realize that most AUN students take a lot of important things for granted. Here you are taking for granted big opportunities that the University offers on a platter, while many others out there wishes to have access to what you don’t see as important.
Fine, you may think these guys are just talkers, but what you fail to realize is there are “talkers” and there are” branded talkers.” I mean, what does s/he wants to say that I don’t know or haven’t before? When actually in reality there are many things you are ignorant of. For most people, talk is cheap. But I stand to be corrected. Talk isn’t cheap. You pay big box to have some people speak for 45 min or anchor an event. Do you know how much Bill Clinton is paid to speak for just 20min? Do your research. Haha! I’m sure by now most of you must have heard how much Kim Kardashian was paid for spending just 20 seconds on stage. Just in case you haven’t heard, she was paid $500, 000 (Five Hundred thousand Dollars not Naira). That’s about 80 Million naira.
As I conclude this piece, may I be careful to say that it’s imperative people, AUN students especially, know what priority should be placed above another. We should know what matters most and learn not to take for granted that which contributes to the development of our lives. Like a friend of mine by name Debbie always says, “party hard, play hard and work hard’
The comment box is right below for you to express your opinion on this subject