• Monday, April 15, 2024
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A morning against all odds


It was a few minutes past 10 on a Thursday morning, and the entire landscape of the University of Ibadan was a beehive of activities. Students milling around the green landscape, chatting along as they work towards their lecture rooms, some to the cafeteria, while some others to other personal activity.

It was the Youth Excel programme organised by First Bank of Nigeria plc. Tagged ‘Against All Odds,’ the programme offered a good platform for students to learn how to be the best, regardless of their circumstances.

American speaker, Willy Jolly, was on ground to take the students on the principles of overcoming life challenges. “I had two best friends when I was young,” Jolly narrated as a way of introduction, as he mounted the podium. “One of them wanted to be a lawyer and the other did not want to go to school. For the one who wanted to be lawyer, he was rejected even after he was given admission not because he was not brilliant but he had financial constrains of not meeting up to the expected time of payment. However, he did not give up. He did not stop going back to the school to tell them he wanted to sit for a class. With that determination, he was picked not on a platter of gold but on the condition of being a cleaner in the school. He gladly accepted the offer, and today he is one of the best professors in one of American’s best universities.”

Jolly also talked about his love for music and how his friends would discourage and tell him he could not sing. He almost gave up his dreams but his boss help him through. Today, he had done numerous jingles for companies. He is presently one of America’s best public speakers.

“I almost wanted to quit school to work for him,” he recalled, “because he was making a lot of money. But I realised that “leaders don’t make decisions for today, they make decision for tomorrow.”

Jolly also went further to give the students the recipe for success. According to him, the first recipe for success is to have a vision. “To acquire your vision,” he said, “you have to make some decision, you need to stay away from negative people.” He encouraged the students to read their books three times in a day. He told them the secret of when the million dollars ideas come. This is usually between the hours of 3am in the morning.”

Willy said “if your dreams are big enough, the problems don’t matter.” He asked the students how ridiculous they can dream? He told them the story of Oprah, who was ever determined, concluding by telling the students to stay positive. Setback will always come, but never give up.

Vivian Imeh, a 400-level zoology student, said the programme was insightful and fulfilling, saying “I am so happy I attended the programme. I learnt how to persevere in life. Jolly taught me that I will always have setbacks but that shouldn’t stop me.”

For Moturayo Kolade, a 500-level agric student, the inspiring teachings touched the right spot in my soul, “the word that hit me most is to stay away from negative people. I have always had big dreams but my friends don’t see into what I see; now, I know I have to stay away from such people. I need to get people who will encourage me achieve my goals and dreams.”