by Onyeka Nwelue
In Sandbox, you have everything! There are record label owners, CNN reporters, 5 of our members have been featured on Forbes list…
I am not an emotional person. I don’t respect just anyone walking the streets. I am not easily impressed. I praise people who have really influenced me. They call it ‘arse-kissing’ sometimes. I kiss arse. Everyone does. But my arse-kissing is a genuine move to say how I feel. I don’t do that because I want something, but because when I love people, I sincerely do it.
Having returned from Lisbon, Portugal, where I attended the Sandbox Global Summit from the 20-23 January, 2012, I’ve decided to appreciate young people who are doing amazing things in Nigeria, because at Sandbox, which is a global community of hand-selected young innovators and entrepreneurs under 30, we have everything and there is just one Nigerian and that is me!
In Sandbox, you have everything! There are record label owners, CNN reporters, 5 of our members have been featured on Forbes list, one of us just won the 2012 Young Australian of the Year Award and Barack Obama has hosted some of our members in Washington DC.
To blow my trumpet, I’ve been featured on MTVBase Meets MTN with other young innovators, talking to Silverbird Group Chairman, Ben Murray-Bruce and I dine with Ovation International Publisher and former Presidential aspirant, Dele Momodu and when I call him, he picks immediately and I’m sure to hear him say, ‘Hello Onyeka my boy, how are you doing?” I have also been on the same panel to discuss writing with South Africa’s Andre Brink, who happens to be my father’s age-mate, in Hong Kong. Andre Brink is one of South Africa’s finest writers. There are more and I’m supposed to be the one telling you this. Not wait for someone else to. Call it arrogance!
Too bad that I do this, but I tell you, if I don’t blow my trumpet, who will?
This is why I’m writing this.
Asa Asika is not my friend. He is Davido’s manager, but he has done what most young people are scared of doing. He treads where angels are scared to. Each time I see him and his artiste, either on TV or in real life, I’m enthused and filled with so much joy. You smell passion and dedication when you see them. You see two young men who want to take over the world and they are not even up to 25. I admire them. Yet, I don’t feel inadequate. I only admire their tenacity, the diligence, the fact that they are doing great for themselves. For some who believe that they are pushing very well because their parents are well-to-do, there are also thousands of young people whose parents are rich, but they don’t know what they want. They have no focus at all.
I am listening to Davido’s “Dami Duro” as I write this and I’m energized. My belief in him has been elevated. Truth is that Davido has awakened my curiosity about the fate of young people in Nigeria, who are only waiting to actualize their dreams at the age of 40, which is why most youth events I attend in Nigeria are filled with pot-bellied bearded men and old women! Just like the Youth Lunch with the President at Eko Hotel last year, where I sat close to Genevieve Nnaji and TY Bello! Please, don’t tell me they are youth at heart! It is a dumb thing to say.
For “Uncle” WizKid, he has ignited my passion to dedicate my energy and resources in supporting fellow young people who want to do something with their lives.
However, it is imperative for any young person to believe that his career should be the burden of another man.
There are many voices. Scream out!
Onyeka Nwelue is the Founder/CEO of Blues & Hills Consultancy, which consults for the Africa Movie Academy Award (AMAA). He is also the author of award-winning novel, The Abyssinian Boy.