Zubair Abubakar: Live, love, give back and stay happy (30 Days, 30 Voices)

Zubair Abubakar

It’s interesting how as humans we hardly think of death which apparently is the only really inevitable thing after birth. Rather, we seem so sure that we would live to see the next day, week, month, year, decade, or even century.

If you’re reading this, there’s a high probability that you have the popular mobile friendly Nigerian Constitution App installed on either of your BlackBerry, Nokia or Android device. As one of the guys behind it and other tech projects, it goes without saying that you’re probably expecting something of a geeky article. Well, sorry to burst your bubble :-). This is about something much more contrasting and important.  Here goes…

I’ve always believed in the saying “Life is too short” but only truly understood what it meant after an interesting experience which I’m happy to share with you.

It’s interesting how as humans we hardly think of death which apparently is the only really inevitable thing after birth. Rather, we seem so sure that we would live to see the next day, week, month, year, decade, or even century (okay, best of luck with that). Hence, we use clichés as, “I’ll see you tomorrow”, “I’m traveling and I’ll be back next week”, “let’s catch up then”. We say all of that with so much conviction as though we’ve seen the future.

I was invited to speak at the TENT event, Ile Ife alongside individuals I consider the tech elite in Nigeria: those directly or indirectly responsible for the upcoming tech industry and solutions as we have today (God bless you all!). At noon, December 10th, 2012 – a date I’ll never forget, Bankole Taiwo came with a bus to pick up about eight of us for the said event. As we embarked on the trip from Lagos en route the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, we expressed the regular clichés to our respective families, colleagues and friends: “I’ll be back in two days, I’ll see you soon”. In my case, I even scheduled meetings in the same week. So, I guess you could refer to me as the SURE guy J.

Midway through the journey, specifically, along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, we were in the middle of an insightful discussion on… you guessed right, Ibadan Amala politics. Okay, that was a joke as our discussion largely centered on the state of the tech industry vis-à-vis relative failure in contrast to the likes of Silicon Valley. All of a sudden, I heard an explosion (for those with imaginative minds, you can try to picture this) and within a split second I realized the right rear tyre had burst. The next few seconds must have been the most frightening and anxious moment of my life as the driver struggled to regain balance of the wheel. Unfortunately and as fate would have it, he lost control, the bus somersaulted and we crashed into the ground. I’ll save you the rest of the horrors which eventually resulted in the loss of Bankole Taiwo (may God almighty rest your soul). I managed to escape with a broken neck while the rest sustained severe injuries at varying degrees.

So what has all these got to do with anything or why have I even chosen to share this story? Well, a critical lesson I learned from the accident which apparently is obvious is that death while inevitable can indeed come at any time. Add the Nigerian factors such as incompetent drivers, bad roads, poor systems, and countless other inadequacies make the reality is even more obvious. At this point, I ask without sounding cynical: if life as we know it is truly short and its timing unknown, why then do we worry?  Why carry emotional baggage? Why hate? Why live in fear? Well, my take is: as much as the world has a way of putting us in these negative boxes or frame of mind, we need to be able to remind ourselves that life is indeed too short to box ourselves. Therefore, lets at every point in time live life to the fullest, let’s love, let’s give back and most importantly, let’s stay happy.


Zubair Abubakar is a TED and IVD fellow is a tech enthusiast who strongly believes in the power of technology to solve problems and create wealth. While he is not behind his computer he likes to read and as often as he can volunteers few hours of his weekend helping a cause he believes in.


30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians to share their stories and experiences with other young Nigerians, within our borders and beyond, to inspire and motivate them.


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

One comment

  1. May his soul continue to rest in peace. I once had that kind of accident, and to tell you the truth, it’s made me fearless. Your story has also reminded me why I shouldn’t worry.

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