I finished secondary school in June 1997. Then, very much like other young people, I wanted to travel out of the country. Hence, I stopped everything else, and didn’t care about writing JAMB. All I did was focus on learning about computers in preparation to travel out of the country. Why? Because I had been sold the lie that if you knew how to manage and operate a computer, you’d definitely get a job abroad. So I went to Segmad Systems somewhere in Akoka. There, I learnt about old programming languages COBOL and Fotran. There I also had my first experience with Word. I studied those languages even though I didn’t know much about them. It was an interesting experience yet it was boring. But I was focused because I knew I was traveling much later in 1997. Oh yea, I was getting to America!


Incidentally, 1997 was a year when there were lots of stringent conditions attached to traveling. Hence, there were lots of rejections. Unfortunately, I was one of the rejections. I didn’t get my Visa. It was a shock but because I was promised that I’ll get it the next year, 1998, instead of writing JAMB, I waited to go to the embassy and get my Visa. While my peers got into tertiary institutions, I just waited for months. It wasn’t until much later in the year (1998) that I realized that I wasn’t going to travel. It was a heartbreaking realization. It was a shuddering awakening for me to say, “Lanre, you had better face your life.”


I forgot about this outlandish dream of traveling out, picked up my life and wrote JAMB in 1999, got into Uni, graduated, got my first  job and the second and I’ve pursued a career ever since. 


I would say, God has favoured me. I’ve started a family, had my own children, got a job and in all of these years, I have found a passion which is helping young Nigerians in Nigeria. I’ve found my path here and I’ve also continued to advocate to young Nigerians that they can find their paths here because I strongly believe in it.


Unfortunately, recently I’ve had to reevaluate if my advocacy that youths can find their path here is more attributable to not getting my own visa. Thus I ask the question, “if I had gotten my Visa in 1997, would I be advocating for people to stay back here?”


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