Today I met with the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN. It all started five years ago with one small touch.
When I was in my final year at the university, my fellowship took those of us in our final year on a retreat to Badagry, a coastal town which was one of the first slave holdings in Africa. While there, our hostess who was the Principal of a Secondary School asked us to meet with the students in her school. After meeting with the students, we asked them to form groups according to their desired professions. So I got to speak with those who wanted to study law, afterall I was almost done with the journey they hoped to begin.
When we broke up this young boy came to me and told me he really wanted to be a lawyer. I asked him how he hoped to achieve that and he said his teacher told him to gain entry into the Polytechnic. I was aghast! In Nigeria, the only way you can qualify as a Lawyer is by first studying law in the University and I made sure he knew that. I encouraged him to make an effort to go to the University and thereafter, we went back to our campus.
A year later I got a phonecall, it was the young boy. He had written the exams of the Joint Matriculation Board (JAMB) and had done well. However, due to one reason or the other it was years later before he was able to accomplish his dream.I saw him today after five years, all dressed up in a suit and a proud recipient of the BRF Scholarship award.
The BRF Scholarship Award is a joint project by the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola (BRF) and Intercontinental Bank Plc. There were 50 scholars who were awarded the annual scholarship and this young man, who by the way had gained admission to read law in the Lagos State University was there standing proud. All the scholars were asked to pick a mentor of their choice who would mentor them through the years they spend in the university. While several picked icons like Professor Wole Soyinka, Chief Gani Fawehinmi and Dora Akunyili, I was there as his mentor. I was so proud of him and I was touched.
It is incredible that just listening to one boy’s dreams and aspirations, one small touch, one act of kindness and five years later here I am. One never knows where one’s actions would take one. I told some young people last weekend that whether they knew it or not, they would influence people however they had a choice what that influence would be; positive or negative. This applies to each and everyone of us.