The first time I read about Japheth Omojuwa was when an online follower chatted me up and wrote, “you really write and operate like Omojuwa.” Then, I didn’t know much about him, and due to how relational my life is to the internet, I had to Google his name, because I like to read and find ‘people who people’ say I look or act like.
Finding him, I was wowed at his online presence, both offline. Yes, because people may be doing well online, but would not in real life. If you are in this category, don’t feel discouraged. Keep working hard, but don’t fake the hustle. So I had to chat the person back to find out how she would be comparing me to Omojuwa, having a large fan base. But she said something very special to me, though I didn’t know how well she meant it.
“You have the same hunger that Omojuwa has in him. It is not about the wealth, but it is the ability to be and to be more.”
Since that time, I have been following him on Twitter, because I came to love how he manages to summarize words into a short space. Something that may require five paragraphs to explain, but he would sum it up in one line. And when you read it, it gives you a direction.
From following him, I was able to do a rejoinder kind of on a piece he wrote concerning our local artistes’ collaboration, with that of their international counterparts. Some of the people he made instances with really didn’t find it cool, but it was a very helpful piece.
Some who didn’t find it insulting took advantage of it and stepped up their game with it. I extended the piece when I wondered how an artiste would feature a co-artiste, when the song gets released, you won’t see the featured artistes tweet or promote it with him. Ordinary tweeting, they will not do, but they would hugely be paid for a feature.
When he read it, he personally republished it in his blog. Plus some other piece he got from my email broadcast, alongside the pinned one on my Twitter timeline currently.
Back to the hunger for more as explained to me by the online follower, I came to see all of that when I finally saw him in Abuja at The Boardroom meeting.
Very calm, but calculated. Easy, playful, but his eyes are not easily out of target. On meeting him for a talk, he asked me to hold on, because he didn’t want to have a conversation with me in a blink. This happens to me whenever someone who my mind tells me carries a fire wants to approach me in conversation. I like attending to the person with my two eyes open. Whether I will retain a talk-again or not, I would want a complete attention. So he did to me.
Today, I hoped releasing the picture I took with him as part of activities marking the MIN’s book tour. I didn’t know today is coincidentally his birthday. When he shared the story of how he overcame at The Boardroom, I saw reasons to find that very online follower who told me about him.
A female attendee asked, “How can one be so committed in propagating his or her startup when there is hunger?”
He replied, “Until you are ready to turn your hunger to pay, you will definitely not be committed to grow your startup. Hunger is never a bad thing. It is what will help your becoming. It strengthens and builds you quickly.”
He told the story on how he would use his feeding money for a fee at the cyber café. He would pay to be there; paid for the browsing time. He would save what he browsed out, logged out so he can edit offline. Went back to upload the information back to his blog, plus how he would run out of money, and would trek back home.
The highpoint of his speech was him leaving home to pursue his dreams. He said he saw a father who was not ready to help him achieve his dreams. After he left his home, “the last time my father heard of me was when he read my stories on the newspaper like every other person around me then did.”
Indeed, no one saves you more than you can save yourself. Growing up, I’ve come to realize that I alone can be that big contact or connection to what I want to be. I have received love from people and well-wishers, but that love never afforded me all that I wanted to become. The next man I looked out for was also looking out for someone.
A helper is looking for a helper that would help him. A platform giver is looking for a platform to make him. And that was why I posted a time that you shouldn’t feel bad when a platform rejects you. Look deeply, you may carry in you that big platform you ever hoped for. Start running with what you have. You don’t find glory. You can only build yourself into glory. Glory finds you when you are built just like investors who don’t go where there is no honey.
An investor would come for familiarization when you have attracted what he feels would help in expanding his wealth. When that time comes, it calls for a payback time for you. It unveils a reward day for you. You have to stop pursuing people. Use that energy to build who you want people to pursue. Establish yourself that you may meet your helpers as associates. When you become an associate, they will come for you.
For Omojuwa, it’s a change of story. He may be broke as we speak, but he is qualified to have his hands on money anytime a need presses on. From the story he told, I’m sure he was born into a privileged family, because he said his dad owned houses in Lagos, but was not ready to lead him through the life he wanted for himself. He needed to be independent.
Today, he earns an eye popping income from tweeting and blogging that most people with lucrative jobs can only envy. While he denies being influential, you can’t find him in an event or gathering where people wouldn’t want to have pictures with him. What then is fame?
Just like how I stopped asking my parents for school fees, because I needed to create a space where I could leave home to be with people who helped my energy to be where I have managed to be today. As they took responsibility of everything that concerned my education, they had their time clashing with mine, which made it so uncomfortable for me to pursue a life after college.
So I called them up one night to say, “Please, I wouldn’t want to be asking you people money for transportation or school fees. I want to be educated, but while doing that, I want to also pursue my dreams. As I would want to stop asking for this, I ask for my freedom.”
It got granted.
Indeed, I share in the same hunger for more with Omojuwa. I wish him a very Special Happy Birthday as he adds one to his age.
Ugochukwu Favour-Mayor is the lead writer of Most Influential Nigerians – MIN. He is on social media as @UgochukwuFM, also handles @MostInfluentials on the social media, a platform that tweets inspirational photos and motivational quotes
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