“Please, mentor me!” I can’t help but remember a very dear friend making that phrase a passionate plea — not to me, or anyone in particular, but as an expression of his desire to be influenced by only the right people.
I had actually walked into the Lagos Business School class (on Tuesday) to ask the lecturer for his kind permission to skip the training and be listed for the next batch, because of a planned trip to Greece (in relation to the ICT/Peace research project), but I couldn’t resist the urge to wait. As I walked in, the brilliant and phenomenal Prof. Pat Utomi was the lecturer. He was analysing the Nigerian landscape in relation to businesses, and more. Did I have a change of mind? You can bet… Also considering the tons of requests coming from the embassy (and my choice of no stress travels), I was all the more encouraged to join this batch of the course, “Developing and Managing New Business Ventures”.
The average young Nigerian is today exposed to unworthy mentors who tempt him to keep his focus on “what he has” over the wise option of “who he is”. Each day, one is amazed at how the younger generation keep defining success by the size of ego, or shade of car windows. Because of this disturbing trend, my heart skips a joyful beat when the likes of Wole Soyinka, Philip Emeagwali, Bunmi Oni, Gamaliel Onosode, Pat Utomi, etc (to mention a few) stand in their rightful place as worthy mentors of the Nigerian youth! And there he was, standing like any other facilitator in that small lecture room on the first floor of Lagos Business School… I wouldn’t miss this mentorship opportunity for anything.
This will be a short one, but I hope it raises the question of worthy mentorship and celebrates the values that the likes of Pat Utomi add to the lives of today’s youth. When that young man shouted, “Please, mentor me!”, he was speaking the “inner” mind of many young Nigerians who desire value over vanity. And when you consider the fact that the worth of a life is not measured by duration, but donation, you join the league of those who stand for virtuous ideals in this great walk towards a New Nigeria!