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#PNN E-MENTORING (Onyeka Nwelue): Hello Teens! How To Set Up Yourself for Adult Success


I am glad to have this session with you. I would love to introduce myself to you. I’m Onyeka Nwelue, a writer, filmmaker, cultural entrepreneur and hustler. Hustler sounds crude and a bit off-key, but it is the language we have come to use lugubriously in Nigeria, pertaining to the concrete nature of our country, where the structure is still blatantly in a bad shape. Quite a bit has been focused on; curiosity has taken the toll on Nigerians, we live every day as though normal. The transportation system is bad; if it exists anyway. I can’t get onto a bus in Lagos, yet, I am a poor man. My definition of poor is that I don’t have a car. But do you worry about these things?

Let’s face it. Nigeria is overly populated and people are good at taking advantage of themselves. Because a Nigerian young graduate is completely inexperienced in the world where he lives and handicapped, once he is done with his NYSC, he tells you, ‘I’m looking for any kind of job to at least eat.’ The Nigerian Dream is to first EAT, which is ashamedly dehumanising. People are not thinking about leaving legacies; they are thinking of what to eat, what to drink and what to wear. Yes, these things are very important, but assuming everyone thinks the way I think, which is: let us recreate the image of ourselves that we want the world to see and not the one the world wants us to see of ourselves.

I remember when I enrolled into the University of Nigeria to study Sociology and Anthropology. I could not last. I dropped out after 2 years because the lecturers were boring me with the text books they came to classes with. They made us go buy those text books, yet, they read to us from them. It was so demeaning. Some of the lecturers could not even send SMSs from their mobile phones or use computers. They were illiterates to me, but to them, because we were their students, we needed their help and we could tap on keyboards without looking at them. But what makes the Nigerian youth still inexplicably exonerated from the world? Because he is not a risk-taker. Even as we fear to get broke, we are always broke.

Money is everything, we know, but it doesn’t define who we are. I’ve been in situations where people with money still come to me, because they are unable to achieve certain things that we’ve been able to do by paying our dues in the society by sheer application of social capital. Recently, one of my artistes at La Cave Musik, called me a ‘stupid social capitalist.’

I will buttress my point by saying that one who wants to survive needs to surround himself with people who know their onions.  Your friends must not be chosen because you think you will hurt them if you are their friend. Just do what you can, to choose people who will add to your life and move you forward towards your aspirations.

We will have more time to interact. So, let’s start!

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