Since the early days I roamed in the campus of University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, I had seen myself leading the students union someday. Sometimes we dream, it never happens. I was so close. I lost to Raji Mustapha by 21 votes.
Walking from the girls’ hostel right up to the students’ building, I asked a neighbour of ours, “Aunty” Folasade Ajala,
“What exactly does it take to be a SUG President?”
“You want to become a politician” she laughed.
Actually, I became a politician within the campus. A member of the student parliament in 200 Level & 300 Level, the Engineering Students’ President in 300 Level.
After I completed this term, the next place to take on was the SUG President. A story that deserves its long form. But losing that election and coming from internship at Phillips, I just wanted to do more. I wanted to validate that premise that one does not need to be in SUG to make a difference.
Sitting on some cement blocks, I thought about floating a company. I will call Vision Plus Network. My housemates – Odunayo Adebambo, Niyi, Deji Olukokun, Dipo and others were so in. This is how we begun. We would have an ICT event in UNAAAB. The first ever.
“But I needed speakers”
“I need people who I can talk about ICT?”
I had listened to Gbenga Sesan at an ICT Event organized Zenith Bank circa 2003. We were on ASUU strike. One of those strikes, ASUU decides to keep us at home for more than four months. Gbenga spoke so well, sounded so confident that ICT was the glorious route to take.
On a sunny afternoon in 2006, three years later, I was amused my brother who had been screaming about how Gbenga Sesan rocked their school with his speech in OAU Ife.
“I can also invite this man” I said to myself
I found his email written at the back of the pamphlet. I sent an email to Gbenga Sesan on 22/5/2007 (unedited):
“I am oluseun Onigbinde from the University of Agriculture abeokuta. An Ict Forum made from a group of students in the University(Unaab Ict Forum) is planning to organise an Ict conference And Exhibition in August 22nd -24th. Due to high level of knowledge and exposure in the Ict field, you have been honourably chosen as one of the key speakers to the event.
We hereby use this medium to to humbly inform you that your special presence and advice will be needed concerning the conference. The topic given to you by the organisers is
“THE ROLE OF NIGERIANS YOUTHS INTHE INFROMATION SOCIETY”
Thanks for your anticpated positive response .the official proposal shall be forwarded to your email very soon”
and he responded:
I will expect the official proposal, hoping that it will have more details – and I’ll then advise on the possibility of joining you at the conference.
This thrilled me.
“This was the confidence boost that I wanted. Like he just replied me without knowing me and he wants to attend.”
Gbenga Sesan did not attend the event as he had other engagement. He sent a friend and a mentor, Ayo Oladejo to do this. When Ayo Oladejo arrived with Ugo Nwosu and he looked into the scanty hall for the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta. I was afraid he might be disappointed. His first words still rings in my head
“ I know if this was Tuface, this hall will be full”
That lifted my little faith. He spoke with grace and belief that ICT was the way to go. I affirmed that in my spirit that I was on the right path. Pockets of encouragements like this made me write CCNA hopeful that I will land a job in Airtel, where Ayo worked.
He came in company of Ugo Nwosu who currently works at Rockefeller Foundation (West Africa). Ugo also spoke and answered questions. Looking back, this has to be my happiest day in the University .
While they were leaving, we had nothing to offer. No even transport money but they happily zoomed off. They zoomed off and I watched Ayo’s car disappear in haste.
I look back to those days of innocence where all I had was dream. When the suit I wore on the day of the program was borrowed from Deji Olukokun and Pastor Bankole was asking me why was the trouser so short? When I had to design my programme event staying all night, tortured by my lack of expertise on Corel Draw.
I had met Professor Osinbajo once before he would be Vice-President but I wanted his audience recently for the “Open Government Partnership” and I was afraid to write him a personal email. I felt it will be too intrusive considering his new status. I waited for days and I was going through the rings of protocol. I was tired. I decided to do it. I pressed the “send” button.
He replied three days later, directing me to who will arrange the meeting.
It brought the memories when Gbenga did so, eight years ago.
If only we can press the button, an extra layer of courage, we might never know how close we are.