Celebrated artiste, Yinka Ayefele, returns as a teacher at a counselling programme organised by Nigerian Bottling Company Plc.
Tungba gospel/juju artiste, Yinka Ayefele, had an opportunity to recall his turbulent past recently. He and other professionals had a mentoring session with a group of secondary school students in Ibadan, Oyo State in an event organised by the Nigeria Bottling Company Plc.
The youths, who converged at Jogor Centre, Ibadan, had a fun-packed moment listening to several professionals from different disciplines. The programme brought together students and young professionals for career counselling, motivation and brainstorming session in a relaxed atmosphere.
On his part, Aiyefele told the participants that he initially planned to be a lawyer but ended up as a broadcaster. Though he is now seen as a successful artiste, he explained that the road to fame was tortuous.
“I worked as a casual worker at Eagle Flour. I joined Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria in 1989. I was there as a Father Christmas and I used to earn N50.’’
Recalling his experience when he had an accident and sustained a spinal cord injury, he said, “I spent nine months in hospital and I knew there was no remedy for spinal cord injury. I had a choice – to die or to live. I chose to live. I didn’t want to become a liability. I decided to live and make it.
“I learnt how to play all musical instruments on my own. I was in persistent pains 24 hours – five of my ribs got broken in the accident, but I had to forget my pains and forge ahead”.
He urged the participants to aim high and refuse to allow anything to stop them from reaching their goals in life.
The event, according to NBC’s Head of Public Affairs and Communications, Mrs. Adeyanju Olomola, is a platform to equip students in senior secondary schools, who are about to make career decisions, with the information and exposure to do so.
Olomola said, “We believe that we are sowing seeds of greatness and change in your life by exposing you to array of areas of human endeavour.
“Everybody here has dreams. There are times that things happen and we don’t become what we initially chose to be. That does not stop us from excelling. Open your minds, your ears and see opportunities.”
The pupils got a good measure of information they would need to make wise career choices as various speakers, including the first female Rear Admiral in Nigeria, Rear Admiral Itunu Hotonu; Swiss-trained gourmet chef, Mr. Yemi Sangowawa; young entrepreneur, Mr. Nwachukwu Obi; paralympics medalist Mrs. Lovelyn Obiji; gospel artiste and motivational speaker, Toyosi Akerele, shared their experiences with them.
Apart from challenging the pupils to work hard, the speakers also advised them to start thinking outside the box and consider careers in areas other than the conventional professions.
Hotonu, the only female Rear Admiral in the whole of West Africa, spoke about how to be self confident. According to her, being curious about what goes on around you and opening your eyes to see opportunities are key.
An architect who joined the Navy 28 years ago, Hotonu said, “If you want to be successful, you must believe in yourself. What worked for us was that we believed in ourselves and we took what we are doing to this height. It doesn’t matter whether you are tall or short. You must believe in yourself.
“I have had three main ingredients for success. First is an abounding faith in God, a determination never to give up. This is because there are times things can get tough. Have sense of appreciation for the opportunity you are given.
“If you remember to appreciate the opportunity you have been given, you will always give to others behind you. When you have been given so much, you must give back.”
An entrepreneur, Toyosi Akerele, noted, sadly, that many people are described as rich based on the money they had.
Akerele said as a child, she became curious and independent-minded at the age 13.
She raised questions like ‘How do you turn your mobile phone into learning aid? Children in Ghana, America and South Africa do E-learning. They do assignments on their mobile phones. She asked, “How many of you think an American child is better than a Nigerian child? How many think IT can improve education?”
She warned against what she called FEAR, which she described as “False Expression Appearing Real”.
By AKINWALE ABOLUWADE