Adegbenga Adeyemi: Let me tell you a story about failure (30 Days, 30 Voices)

by Adegbenga Adeyemi


Let me tell you a story of failure. Why failure? It is a far better teacher than success. How? When you fail, you strive to succeed but when you succeed, you get cocky and when you get too cocky, you fail.

I used to top class in Primary and straight through Secondary (not a mean feat because Mayflower School is not an anyhow school). I suddenly began to notice that somehow I never met up to the standard. My WAEC had just one subject short of maximum requirement (I had 5 credits alright) and my second JAMB score was 200 which I used to gain admission into a Federal University in the South West.

Now, throughout all that, only one thing managed to capture my attention and hold it for longer than required – information technology. I actually built my first website in SS3. So I was drawn to computers, gadgets, codes and hacking. The bad news? I was not interested in doing a BSc in Computer Science (the lecturers are dumb) and my parents are not willing to pay hundreds of thousand to NIIT or KarRox even though I scaled their scholarship exams multiple times.

So what did I do? I borrowed systems from the rich kids who use it to watch films. Did countless overnight browsing. Meanwhile Physics Electronics was suffering. So I opted to switch departments in the school and university bureacracy and politics messed it up and I ended up getting a choice to leave or return to year 3. I opted to leave.

I got another admission to study a ‘professional course’ – Architecture. It was after the first semester that I realized that it was way different than my secondary school technical drawing so I struggled to finish it. Did I forget to mention that this was in a federal polytechnic after OAU managed to omit my name from the admission list even though I made the required cut-off mark for the same course.

Throughout, one thing remained consistent – my love for IT and I remember hacking the entire records database of the university to revenge (they wouldn’t admit it of course, and I sure as hell wasn’t caught). I built websites, applications, partnered with a few people and started a few outfits. One laughable incident was a scenario where a ‘Yahoo’ boy approached me and asked us to partner saying he will make my life better if I help him to transfer funds from US accounts to him. I must confess, I was tempted. I told him though that I practise IT for the fun and love of it, not for the financial gains.

Down the line, it has been over 10 years since I wrote my first line of code and in that time, I have lost a few admissions (after gaining them), lots of opportunities to make more money, even more relationships (the girls like geeks but they don’t love them) than I can remember and so much more.

Here I am, almost 30 and my younger brother is through with his Masters degree and I am just in my 1st year. I have surely learnt a lot of ways of how not to do almost anything. People say I have lots of experience, I never tell them what it has cost me to get that experience. Now, some people say I have a life most people wish they have and I just smile. With 5 viable startups, I can understand why they think so. If I dare to ask if they can go through what I have outlined above, I am sure most of them will decline. I am not at the top yet but I will definitely get there.


I can say that I am a success because things are on the upward move but I have learnt more by failing more times than I can count and I can say that has made me a better person than I would have been if I have had a smooth sailing all my life. Failure is not a bad thing, staying there is what makes it bad.

Now, I sometimes resist taking responsibility for certain things because I am afriad to fail and disappoint a lot of people again but then, I realize that I have failed so many times so I just say fuck it, I’m doing this.

I recommend you listen to this song – Each Tear by Brandy. It should give you perspective.


Adegbenga Adeyemi is absolutely my pseudonym because I am quite known online and beyond and I wouldn’t want to lose clients either so let’s just say I hope someone has learnt from reading this and tell someone who is failing not to lose hope. Oh, I am an IT Professional with over 10 years experience ranging from state government portals to enterprise applications. Just incase, my twitter handle is @gb2adeyemi

30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians from across the world to share their stories and experiences – creating a meeting point where our common humanity is explored.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

One comment

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