• Saturday, December 02, 2023
businessday logo


A resilient Port Harcourt boy

A resilient Port Harcourt boy

Speaking at the Nigerian Bar Association’s conference in Port Harcourt, I charged the lawyers to take the lead to make Nigeria great again. I taught the audience four critical pillars for taking the lead. There must be a compelling purpose, a clear perspective, courageous resilience, and a fulfilling outcome. I use my mother as an example. I want women to emulate my mother, who was illiterate but produced five graduates. You cannot call someone who had produced graduates an illiterate.

However, an event happened before the conference. I flew to Garden City on Sunday, 24th October 2021, to have some time of reflection and nostalgia of the city I once lived in as a banker in 2001. The day I landed in the Garden City; I found a compelling purpose to take the lead in rewarding the resilience of a Port Harcourt boy. As I settled down in my hotel, my first mission was to visit a family I refer to as my in-law. A good wife was given to one of my proteges in 2015, and I developed a bond with this lovely family. I took a Bolt taxi to the family’s house in Elelewon.

As a leadership coach, I know that any habit, attitude, and action rewarded will be massively repeated

After about an hour of reflection and experience sharing with my host, I decided to take my leave to the hotel. The first Bolt taxi I booked could not come, and I canceled the second one due to delays. We booked the third taxi and here comes a man with an English accent. We gave him the description of the house, and I could not wait for him to arrive. I knew he is one of the Nigerian graduates with a sense of responsibility. I have met and encouraged a couple of graduates who are into Uber or Bolt cars as self-employed. I always salute their courage to start from somewhere and admonish them to see their blessings ahead. After all, the word ‘I shall bless the work of thy hands’ cannot be broken, and God does not bless empty hands.

As I chatted with my in-law came a not too elegant car with the British accent driver in it. The car is better described from the exterior as ‘carry me go’, and it is not with the finesse you will expect from the accent of the driver and the first impression he gave while on the phone. I hope the car provides me with the primary service- conveying me from Elelewon to my hotel in Olu Obasanjo road. I entered the ‘carry me go car’ with a warm reception from a man I later described as an example of the resilient spirit of Nigerians. Alas, the shock of the year came as I noticed some bar of chocolates, packs of biscuits, and drinks around the car.

What are you doing with this in your taxi? I asked without a clue of the answer to come. I give them to my customers, he replied. Why? I want to give something extra, he said. I was curious! I remember one of the retreats my team at Mentoras Limited facilitated in Abuja. I told the staff of a strategic government agency to imagine entering a taxi and being offered a bar of chocolate. I use that analogy to describe a level of service called the ‘unbelievable’.

Read Also: Why businesses are attracted to Port Harcourt – The Promise CEO

I was in a real-life scenario with my imagined example with a bar of chocolate in a taxi courtesy of the NBA’s invite to speak at the conference. Little did I know that another compelling purpose to take the lead is around me. In my characteristic nature as a life and leadership coach, I began to ask the Bolt driver questions around why he took driving as a job. I was right to assume he is a graduate, given his accent and the construct of the English language. Our discussion unfolds the need to help a man who is down but refuses to stay down.

The resilient Port Harcourt boy is Brooks Ufot Nseyo, 38, a Bolt driver in the Garden City. He is a graduate of Marine Biology, and he did a short course in Hydrographic Survey and got an 8years contract job in 2015 with one of the indigenous oil service firms. He should be in the oil rig if not for what you are about to read.

On a day to be forgotten in 2017, he was involved in a road traffic accident that claimed his friend’s life and left him with a broken femur. He was operated upon and was idle at home for three years. After recuperating, Brooks approached his friend, who leased him a car to use for the taxi business with a weekly repayment of N25,000. Despite his bad leg, Brooks never began begging but gave himself to hard work and service with pains and despair. He is due to remove the plates (irons) in his left leg for the leg to function more effectively except for the lack of funds for the treatment.

When asked why he had not approached the same friend to either give him the N500,000 required to operate his leg or write off the car for him, his response was a responsible answer. He said his friend is married, and you cannot put your burden on a married friend. He was more concerned about meeting his weekly repayment obligations to keep the car away from repossession than the pains of survival.

I saw the resilience spirit in an average Nigerian in Brooks, and I instantly committed to raising the money for the surgery to remove the plates in his leg. I will do this through my friends and partners at Positive Growth Africa. I wish we could do more to reward Brooks for his resilience and service-oriented mindset. He found himself thrown off balance by a circumstance but refused to be defined by accident. Why would I want us to reward Brooks’ attitude?

As a leadership coach, I know that any habit, attitude, and action rewarded will be massively repeated. It is high time for us to reward people who are doing something right despite limitations. Brooks worked with me for the four days I spent in Port Harcourt attending the NBA conference. I have equally called Dr. Nwozo of the Rehoboth Medical Services with a promise to pay for his treatment soon.

The compelling purpose of taking the lead goes beyond footing his medical bill. We desire to raise money to pay off his debt on the hired car and give him a breathing space to start life afresh. If you want to take the lead with the Positive Growth Africa for Brooks, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me on WhatsApp about how you want to reward the resilience in the Port Harcourt boy. Remember, every action, habit, or behaviour rewarded will be massively repeated. We want a repeat of the resilience spirit of Brooks, the Port Harcourt boy.