Ifeoluwa Egbetade: The man who couldn’t wait until tomorrow [Nigerian Voices]

by Ifeoluwa Egbetade

Here’s a tale of a mummy’s pet. He isn’t a genius but believes in three things; 1) that whatever anyone can do, he can do better 2) that it’s better for him to love and lose out than never and 3) that procrastination is the chief enemy of progress.

My name is Ifeoluwa Egbetade – a young man in his mid-twenties whose vision is in total contrast with his small stature. I’m the last born of the family and to be sincere, an unexpected child. I’ve always been a bit of a lad as I’ve got an eye for the skirts right from my childhood days – no wonder I had my first consuming crush at the age of 10. Home to me was a nest characterized by warmth, charming parents, and beautiful siblings. At this juncture, it’s crucial I give an honorary mention to my mom as she’s my sole inspiration and the loving mentor that keeps me going.

Although I wasn’t born with a silver spoon, my parents placed a premium value on education and made me realize that I can only become “somebody” with hard work, consistency and diligence. I had my first degree in Microbiology from Bowen University (2010); Certifications in Health and Safety (2011); Postgraduate Diploma in Education – PGDE (in 2012 at the National Teachers’ Institute) and M.Sc in Food Microbiology at the University of Ibadan in 2015. Interestingly, I still see myself as a “learner” as you can’t know it all in life and the moment you start thinking you’re a don who can’t learn anymore, you’re as good as dead!

I trained as a microbiologist, but I prefer writing to culturing those remarkable creatures in Petri dishes. Writing for me has always been fun (more of freestyle) and my muse most times comes from my immediate environment and the issues and challenges that I face every day as a Nigerian. There are times when these amusing ideas just pop in my little head, and I won’t rest until I put pen to paper, hands on my keypad or let out my thoughts via my Facebook Notes which serve as a mobile diary for my gut feelings.

While I was at the secondary school, I fared well in all my subjects but was never a fan of Mathematics and always struggled with Physics and Chemistry. However, I survived being a Science Student. That’s weird, isn’t it? My survival was because I was quick to realize that self-motivation matters a lot, and it was that conviction that worked magic for me in my SSCE. The fear of failing kept me on my toes and encouraged me to put my very best in whatever I’m privileged to do.

It’s a truism that passion is the major push to success. This seems to be evident in my life as I backed it up with hard work to ease myself out of every difficulty that I faced in the cognitive domain of learning. I’ll say my life is very simple but a bit complicated. I never stress myself beyond the limit, and I don’t see route learning as an ideal form of education.  I just kept on striving to quench the thirst for my ardent love of knowledge as I’ve always wanted to add value both intellectually and materially to those around me.

My current but minute educational portfolio was no bed of roses as I encountered some vicissitudes of life. Exactly five days after the completion of my internship in my 3rd year at the university, I suffered a loss. I lost my darling sister whom I’ve always looked up to for support. I was destabilized but was able to summon the courage to confront the tidal waves of sorrow. Surprisingly and against all the odds, I had my best results ever during the following academic session. Despite my affinity for women (chuckles), I’ve been tested and found worthy in several capacities ranging from teaching and coordination to quality assessment and research design.

In the spirit of helping others and serving my community, I organized a sensitization program during my national service year for students on WOTCLEF activities through a competition tagged “Hygiene Koopas Art and Essay Competition”. It was designed to engage students in active thinking, improve their communication skills, raise awareness about women trafficking and child labor as well as to celebrate my birthday which was on the 26th of August, 2011 (a day after the event’s finale).

This program was also fostered by my altruistic love for the female gender, backing up the claim of Barrack Obama that “a nation that fails to support the ladies and women is like a coach going to the field with half of the team”. The event had in attendance dignitaries including the State Coordinator of WOTCLEF – Mrs. A.T. Malik, the Chairperson of International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA, Oyo State Chapter) – Mrs. Dupe Awosenusi as well as a representative of the Association for Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH).

Even though, a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle, it was indeed a surprise to me when I received a Certificate of Excellence as the Most Outstanding Batch C Corp Member of the WOTCLEF NYSC CDS Group in September 2011. I never stopped there as I was also publicly commended and awarded for a Meritorious Teaching Practice after I completed my teaching practice at St. Mathes Academy, Ibadan in November 2012. To me, my success in life isn’t a reflection of neither my academic grades nor my net worth. It’s based on how influential and how much of value I’ve added unto others.

Nigeria has a lot of young cerebral minds that are doing well within and outside their respective disciplines, but only need the right platform to showcase their talents to the global market as service providers. Unfortunately, the majority of us happen to be restricted or limited in one way or the other. However, just because I desired more in life and was ready to dodge the present scourge of unemployment and its frustrations, I decided to take an entrepreneurial step. I turned my passion into an avenue for “learning and earning” in April 2015 and that was the birth of “Shanks Konsult” (SK).

Are you wondering what that is? SK got its name from one of my nicknames. Due to my Lilliputian body, my friends nicknamed me “Shanko” (one who is small in stature) and it was that which later underwent a mutation to “Shanks”. SK is an online consulting firm where minds full of creative and constructive ideas come together to succeed. It’s not all about business as it was designed to focus on the development of personal and educational competencies of its clients and social page followers. Our expertise lies in the provision of writing and research services and since our inception; we’ve been able to fulfill our primary priority of customer satisfaction, and I love the adrenaline rush that it gives me.

This growing e-firm was officially launched on Facebook on the 6th of April, 2015 to target many youths who have been distracted and challenged by the presence of the social media. It currently provides (an extra) source of income for over ten graduates and a few undergraduates and would continue in its commitment to building capacities and driving sustainable impact with the right support. In addition to our social responsibility is the “Write to Win with Shanks Konsult” – WWSK annual contest whose motive is to help people explore their thoughts through writing.

I can’t help but fall in love with the words of Zig Ziglar that, “No one is born a winner, neither were we born losers but were all born choosers.” I believe the times we live in (despite all obstacles) still offers vast opportunities and prospects. You shouldn’t belong to the caucus of the teeming unemployed youths in Nigeria. You just have to start where you are and with what you have as there’s a space for everyone to shine. It’s in you to outwit your environment in spite of its limitations.

For you to have a full grasp of your life, you’ve got to stop waiting, go out there, look for a problem to solve and be at the forefront of youth empowerment. As for me, the internet has helped my love affair not only with the female folks but with business. I have chosen to be on the winning list, and I wish to be able to look back and like the choices I’ve made. I’m proud to be me, and it’s my utmost desire to keep making a difference and recording increasing levels of success in my craft of using words to make an impact while getting paid for proffered solutions.

Now is the time for us as youths to get it through our thick skulls and become larger than life!

This entry was submitted as part of the Nigerian Voices competition organized by YNaija.com.

We publish, un-edited, Nigerians telling the stories of their everyday lives. Read all the narratives daily on the Nigerian Voices vertical. You can also contribute your own story titled ‘Nigerian Voices’ to [email protected]

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