Given the circumstances under which I was raised, there was little hope that I would be able to go far in my education. I was 4 years old when Mother moved out of her matrimonial home to start a new life as a single parent.
After primary education, I was lucky to get admission into one of the foremost Secondary Schools in Nigeria – Methodist Girls High School, Yaba, Lagos; a high-brow mission school with enviable educational/moral standard. Incidentally, my half-sister also came into the school and we were both in Form 1; though different classes. I was 12 years old then and she 11 years.
How funny! We were children of the same father, in the same school but coming to school from different homes (remember my mother was already leaving alone while my step-mum and her children remained with my dad). About two years later, I suddenly discovered that my half-sister was no longer coming to school. I became inquisitive and visited daddy to know what had happened. And to my shock, I was told she had been ferried abroad to continue her life and education.
To say that I was sad is an understatement. I felt rejected and dejected. I felt lost and hopeless. I went back home that night in tears. And when I got home, I broke the news to mother. In her characteristic manner, she tried to console me but also challenged me to work hard. She assured me that with fervent prayers and hard work, the sky was indeed the starting point in my journey to stardom. But she cautioned: ‘A good name is better than silver and gold. Remember the daughter of whom you are. Make sure you keep your name and integrity clean. Stay focused and be prayerful. God will not fail you.”
Sleep failed me that night as I pondered on what mother had said. Through the tears, I resolved that I would not fail her; I would not fail myself and I would not fail God. I resolved that our suffering would not be in vain and that through prayer and hard work, I would succeed in life. Yes, it was tough but God helped me.
And ever since then, I have come to see life as a battlefield where if you must succeed or achieve anything, there must be determination, dint of hard work and relentless prayers. Above all, I believe that where there is a will, there is a way.
This has been my guiding principle. It has helped me to surmount many challenges in life. Like our lecturer, Busayo Obisakin of the Empowerment Institute said, we must believe in ourselves and take responsibility for our lives. When we blame people for our challenges, then it means we have given those people power over our lives. People will sometimes throw stones on our path but what matters most is what we make of the stones- Wall or Bridge.
I believe I have the will-power to create the life I desire, and that with determination, hard work and prayer, I can make it happen.