Tobi sat staring through the door, it’s very clear he was lost in thoughts. He didn’t notice Bibi’s entrance right through the direction of his gaze. His mind was laden with many issues ranging from how difficult the country has become for the common man to survive to the rising level of job loss, he became fatigued and seemed hopeless as his mind roamed farther only to be jolted back to reality by Bibi’s words.
“Stop the thinking; have you forgotten so soon how you made things happened on campus? Remember you were the one everyone looked up to; most of our friends owe their success to you. You founded and coordinated Goals Buddies on campus back then,” she uttered.
“That was then and how long will I be reminded of how irrelevant I have become among my peers? I can’t seem to find a nice job, can’t even buy the things I used to. When was the last time I gifted you with something?” Tobi replied angrily.
Bibi moved closer to him and made few steps of pacing round him, she stopped abruptly, an action which seemed to confuse him. Then she uttered these words: “I know you can still make a difference, do some deep soul searching, adopt some level of optimism, add some positive actions and you will be doing great things again.”
She was right; Tobi was an exceptional kid and still is. Hard working is the best description for him as he paid detail attention to studies from his secondary school days and throughout his university years. He was very innovative and always had something commendable on the side as he had a book club in secondary school and was also able to collect used books from his colleagues for donation in orphanages and to libraries of schools without access to good educational materials. Tobi was that exceptional and university provided him with a bigger platform and opportunity to explore his novelty, Goals Buddies (GB) was meant to help fellow students on campus to stay focus to their academics, develop and pursue positive goals. Seminars, yard sales, contests and other events for the youths on campus were regularly organized. Bibi on the hand was very good at team work and since the day she attended one of the frequent seminars on entrepreneurship, she couldn’t resist the desire to become a member of Goals Buddies herself. She joined and her participation in event planning was highly encouraging as she had inputs from the development stage to invitation and decoration of venues. It was fun and the recognition that top members especially Tobi and Bibi had on campus was mind blowing, they were celebrated by fellow students and the peak of all these was when the GB magazine was launched, the school went agog, the photo shoots, the launching and the after party endeared them more to friends and well wishers on campus. Tobi and Bibi graduated the same year; a farewell party was held for them by the new executives of GB and throughout the event the atmosphere was enveloped in emotion as some of the students were visibly dropping tears.
On the completion of the compulsory national service, Tobi and Bibi still maintained contact since they both lived in Lagos, while she served in Calabar in Cross River, Tobi served in Kano, one of the northern states in the country. Fortunately for Bibi, she landed a job with one of the major telecommunication companies in the country within a very short period after returning to Lagos. Tobi was finding it difficult to get a job and the thought of remaining in the same state was almost pushing him into depression.
“What else should I do?” He lamented.
“Do what you have always done, but this time around, create jobs.” Bibi replied.
When Bibi left, he kept thinking of what to indulge in to create a job for himself, his mind went back to all the business stories he had read and how entrepreneurs were the people that made the best difference in societies. Was he going to engage in small production? Does he have skills for that? What about service delivery? Yes! That sounds like something he could do, but what exactly? He went to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) that afternoon to make enquiries. With the information he got, his business degree will enable him register a business development company and he plan to direct his services at youths who are either in school, unemployed or employed. When he shared his ideas with Bibi, she was happy for him and also contributed to the take off capital. Few weeks passed and the certificate of registration was ready, he also got a bank account with the business name. His plans were to start with ‘Youth Business Inspiration Conference’, he also wants to do business coaching, write business articles and hold business related events. He got a date and venue for the event, made flyers and distributed. As the event approached, it was already less than two weeks to the chosen date and the money realized from the few who paid cannot take care of the venue talk more of other expenses. He was losing it, it was telling on him physically. On sharing this with Bibi, she suggested he opt for social media to advertise it and he also remembered all the great guys he did stuffs with way back, from the book club days to Goals Buddies, he picked his phone and made contact with them all and everyone shared the event on one social media platform or the other using Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter and Instangram. Lagos youths were excited and many in their hundreds paid before the D-day. The day came and as he stepped out fully prepared with few other trusted friends that will speak at the event, he seemed fulfilled. More registration took place at the venue; about one thousand five hundred youths attended the event, the delivery was awesome, the networking was perfect and news also went round that some were able to start their business team right there.
He was someone with pure and appreciative heart, things have change overnight, there was about N2M left in his business account and calls were also coming from organizations with interest in youth entrepreneurship, he was already booked to speak at two events and the pay involved were very appealing. Bibi’s line wasn’t connecting, only a voicemail stating she had gone to a nearby state for official assignment and he was so anxious to break the good news. A week had gone by and the whole conference and its drama were settling and right through the door, Bibi stepped into his family apartment where he lived once again, she was cheerful and happy, she had gotten a promotion at work, she broke the news happily and he also told her about the successful conference, she was happy for him too. Tobi realized he had ignored something for too long and right on his knees he went saying: “Bibi, we have being friends since campus days and it’s being a great ride but we are more than that. Please can we complement each other forever? Please marry me.” She responded with a ‘yes’ and they have being waxing stronger ever since.
This article was written by Sule Muhammed Lawwal