I feel like doing conventional blogging as the year ends. I have been doing a lot of soul searching and strategising for the coming months. The year 2012 has been an extraordinary year for me. From the first day of the year when the President unleashed the petrol taxes shocker to yesterday when my piece to Nigeria’s most crucial generation – the teenagers – went viral and reached most the teens I intended it for, it has been a year where dreams were fulfilled and new dreams were birth. I cannot state all of the things I have learnt this year but I will state the ones that come to mind in no particular order: Some are new lessons, others old lessons relearnt.
1. Man proposes…God smiles, so be ready:
I had my plans for the year. I wrote them all out and I mapped out a strategy to achieve each one. Everything changed when the new fuel prices were announced. I was at the forefront of the quest for Nigerians to march against the unwholesome policies of the Jonathan administration. I did virtually all of these online and on television. When the new prices were announced on the 1st day of January, I realized I was in a binary position. I either step or march against this government bullshit or shut up forever. It was an easy decision. I stepped out to the Eagle Square Abuja the next day. Several months later, stepping out has come to define my year. I also travelled down to Lagos to be part of the Lagos end of the protests. I did not do this without leaving the right instructions and direction in place. I worked with a team that believed in me and essentially entrusted me with a leadership I found myself in. While in Lagos, I developed tactics for the Abuja team, connected with protesters in Kaduna, Kano, Adamawa and other cities. I was online almost all day coordinating, giving direction and explaining the issues. My blog www.omojuwa.com went bonkers. It became the go to page for information on the protests. None of this was planned. I found myself at the centre of the biggest phenomenon I had ever experienced my whole life. This changed my year and even though my life story will be written with many stories of challenges and victories, this will always rank amongst the most life shattering because without any plan or strategy on my part, I found myself at the front of a war. The story of my participation and experience during the #OccupyNigeria movement is one for chapters and not just a paragraph. These events changed my plans for the year in a way that looked like I had no part in it but I did have more than a part in it. For me, the fact that the Nigerian people could do what they did taught me a great lesson in leadership; never write the people off. Many who said it would never happen later became part of the street protests. Many today are saying Nigerians will never come out again in the way they did in January 2012 but despite never doubting the fact that the January ones could happen, I have a lot more faith today more than ever that if the people get pushed to the wall again, they will bounce back. What amounts to being pushed to the wall is what I cannot define. When the time comes, I hope to be there on the street again voicing my angst against a leadership that looks like its destiny is to nail the coffin on Nigeria’s destruction. I never planned what happened to me in January. Yes, I had done a lot of underground work to be part of the people that made it happen but no, I never imagined it would shake the world the way it did. Nigerians marched in some 32 cities. I have a lot of moments I have been proud of my Nigerian heritage, January 2012 is up there with the best of them. This was the beginning of the year but like the morning that defines the day, this beginning defined my year.
Lesson 1: Make your plans and be sure to map your strategy but be ready for when life throws a challenge at you. Things do not always go according to plan but never run from life when it throws you on the battleground. Fight the fight of your life. If you win, you move ahead. If you lose you learn new lessons and there are some battles you fight and leave because you will need to fight another day.
PS: I will share more lessons but that will depend on how many of you share your own lessons in through comments below. Let us share and learn together
~ This is @omojuwa