As the last year drew to a close, many people drew their wish and to-do list for the new year -2019. Many governments and firms wishing to hit the 2K20 goal have only 2019 to finish up the rough parts of the plan. Here are a few things that I have made up from experience, testimonies, interactions and histories -things you should do in 2019. The list comprise of organizations and movements to support, authors whose works are good for the mind, attitudes that should change.

This rant is first to all people and second specifically to young people.

• Youthful days are for training. Do productive things with your time, the internet, your time on the internet, the opportunities you encounter and so on and so on. 

I was invited to speak to an audience in Ibadan during the middle of last year in a local Baptist Church. The audience was a mixture of teens, young adults and old people. I was not hesitant about denouncing spending too much time on football more than intelligent things like political discussion, policy study and deep study. After thirty minutes of speaking, I got a long clatter of applause signaling the contentment of all sides - that is the football (representing all sports) lovers and the "not so much in love with football" people. There is need for balance.

I am not unaware of the pleasure in sports and games. I am an advocate for sporting among people from the grassroot communities to the urban communities. There, probably, is no need for advocacy in that field since it is a unifier for people who hold different views on different issues. After all members of the APC will not high-five members of the PDP after seeing movies like "House of Cards" or "Game of Thrones". And talking about "studies", I don't think Fulfulde speaking tribes of Benue State will high-five Tivs or Idomas after or during class or any sort of study. But that can happen during or after a successful football game between Nigeria and some other countries. So I'm not against sports. It only nauseates me when young people spend long hours arguing why Morata and Lukaku should leave their respective clubs. Till their voices go hoarse, some argue why Nigeria lost a match. This sometimes leads to fisticuffs. Ask the average person who argues so much about football questions that bother on policies that affect education or social security. A disappointing percentage can not even imaginative enough to articulate themselves. I have met people (university students inclusive) who do not know any fact about government under Buhari that could at least affect their future.

The point is that you should watch your game but spend more time on deep study. In the end, that is what makes Nigeria great and not a consistent hoarse jubilant voice after every Olympic medal. Read Shakespeare, Wole Soyinka, some history, about design thinking and so on. It can be slightly hard to study, but then studying will not tear up your brain or reduce your pleasures.

• Do not follow your passion and do not leave it at home. It is good to love a particular career in life but you should do yourself a favor and seize every chance. Some people did not choose to study Classics or some other courses but in the end, they were grateful for their choices in doing what they were good at and not following their fantasies. I know of a man who wished, earnestly, to study Mechanical Engineering at the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria only to be offered a course in the Mathematics Department of the same university. Actually, he was an excellent student of Mathematics -he had the best results in mathematics for JAMB (not rewarded) for that year. He was said to have scored 260. Meanwhile, the cutoff for his choice was 280. Out of the 260 he had a 100 percent in mathematics. He cried a great deal having being unable to get into the Engineering Faculty. He finished from his department with a First Class. In 1994 Nigeria the economy was harsh but graduating cum laude was a guarantee for jobs even in the very competitive oil sector. He secured such a job ahead his colleagues from the engineering department. He is grateful for it today -if he thinks, then he will be grateful. His passion was engineering but his skills was mathematics. A mathematical conclusion I think.

I also had a passion to become a medical doctor but I didn't pass the mathematics tests. And that meant I would not make it through the requirement to study medicine. Even if medical science does not require mathematics in the end, you cannot score a constant "F" through secondary school and get to study medicine in the end. No! I fantacisied studying Economics only to write the WAEC five times before scoring an A in mathematics on the fifth attempt. I had scored my F twice, a D and an E before an A came. I was not cut out for maths and I knew it but I had a passion to work at the Central Bank as an economist like Professor Charles Soludo and Dr. Sanusi Lamido.

Dates and special talents at making references to history came to me naturally. It was my great skill. I was really a historian without a degree. Although I didn't train my talents well, I am not a peddler of bad history and it has brought me closer to all forms of knowledge. It has afforded me the ability to comprehend almost all things in the intelligent world. I learnt, in a hard way, to take my passion along not follow it.

• When you feel good about yourself even after you have failed at something -you are being dumb. If you make mistakes, make sure you initiate a recovery immediately. Do not always feel good about yourself. The only reason to feel good about yourself is if you are doing something worthy; something noble. But if you start to build a career around ego, you will end up on the other side of humanity. "I love myself, I love who I am"... If you are not making any progress with your life and you still think you have all the right to feel good while not trying, my dear pray to God for sense. You need sense more than anything else. In the old Soviet Union, failure in the army was a guarantee for labelling. By "label" I mean you will be rejected by your colleagues and society. That persists until you try harder and make a headway. Not self esteem. Self esteem? My father never scolded me more than necessary for failing, sometimes it went berserk. At no time did he rub my back or urge me not to feel bad about failing. He only told me what to do so as not to fail. I don't mean people should not be respected. Oh please respect yourself. And I urge not to step beyond the boundary I have set for you. Don't just tell me you are good, when you are really not good. Train your lion. Improve on yourself. Have sleepless nights.

• Support movements and organizations that are worthy. Look around your community and identify some organizations that are working to improve the lives of people. Join them. Join critic groups. Join protests for better life. By joining such movements, you will discover more about people. I joined Nigerian Labour Congress protests and I am trying to build a youth movement from the grassroots -but for the unavailability of funds. If there are no grassroots organizations around you, create one. You can send me a personal message via my email provided at the bottom of the article to give you a template that I have worked on.

• Create a reading list. Read about issues that affect the country. Read the news. Read books. You can read;
 George Orwell;
Wole Soyinka;
Charles Larson;
Ray Bradbury;
Jack London.

And to balance things, read;

Will Pitt;
Ashley McGuire;
Paul Coelho.

There are books and there are great books. I suggest that you read books on governance in Nigeria and Asia. When reading about Nigeria, you should read both sides of the narrative -for example you can read Olusegun Adeniyi's "Against the Run of Play;..." and balance the dosage with Goodluck Jonathan's "My Transition Hours". Do not be fixated on one single idea. I organise a group meeting that reviews books -you can send me a personal message for information on it.

• I do not dissuade people from participating in the political process of the country. I urge you to participate effectively in the forthcoming elections. The participation is on different fronts -media, INEC volunteering, campaigning for a politician that appeals to you more, joining a political party of your choice and so on and so on. I will not say more.

• Read from my website platinumderemi. com and share to others. For further updates, follow me on twitter @platinumderemi or @oj_deremi

Ojo, Aderemi is the President of the University of Ibadan Students Union (2017/2018). He can be reached via ojderemi@gmail.com

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Zico Thu January 10, 2019 at 7:35am

Nice one bro

Victoria Sat January 12, 2019 at 9:42pm

Beautiful. I'll have this in mind this year. And I particularly love the fact that Wole Soyinka's on the list 🙂








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