When Elders Speak, We Must Listen…

From Me To You

At the recently held 10th convocation ceremony of Lead City University, Ibadan, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo gave a timeless advice to the youths which I consider very apt for this column:
“I was 60 years old in March this year, and I must confess that one of the greatest surprises I ever experienced was that I just became 60.
“One of the important lessons that you will learn is that time flies whether you are wasting it or you are using it well. It simply flies by. At age 60, I am entitled to give some advice.
“Talent, a good degree and coming from a very well-to-do family do not bring success and certainly do not bring greatness. The most talented people, those who get the best degrees do not necessarily become the most successful in life.
The difference between success and failure, mediocrity or excellence is character. Along with character is opportunity, perhaps the most crucial is the grace of God.
“Character is a set of values that shapes the conduct of an individual. It is a set of principles spoken and unspoken that a person observes and lives on.”
Time waits for no one!  A word is enough for the wise.

The sight and stench of Apapa

Last week, I promised to conclude this narrative on my grueling trip to Apapa. I hope space will allow me to keep to that promise.
Well, as I alighted from the bus, the atmosphere that greeted me was to say the least, very unfriendly.  Trailers and trucks carrying containers blocked everywhere. Bike riders (Okada) were in their elements driving back and forth riskily. I would learn later that some of them have been killed by trucks on that road.
As I took in the chaos around me, I noticed that everyone on a bike covered their noses to protect their nostrils from fumes emanating from the articulated vehicles and, I guess, the stench from the pile of refuse dumped along the stretch of the road to Apapa. Taking a cue from them, I also covered my nose. Unfortunately, there was no protection from the nauseating mess that littered the road. And one couldn’t afford to shut one’s eyes because one needed to see and know when to dodge being hit on the head or shoulder against the parked trucks as the bike rider meandered in-between them.
On several occasions, I let out a cry when I thought I was going to be hit. To say the ride was rough, would mean understating the obvious…it was more like a war front.
Thus, I rode to Apapa in complete disbelief and dismay of what has become of this once glorious neighbourhood.  I got to Apapa- all ruffled, dusty and tired.
My heart goes out to all those who still live and/or work in Apapa; they truly deserve our sympathy because what they go through on a daily basis is better imagined than experienced.
And to think we have a government… I no sabi grammar abeg.
Do you have your own ‘Apapa’ story? Write in to share your experience on just anything with us. Write to: teensconnectmag@gmail.com.  Write with the subject:  My Apapa Story. It doesn’t have to be on Apapa, it can be on a fancy holiday trip, excursion, or just anything. Write about just anything.
What I wish every secondary school student knew and practised (IV)
by Opeyemi Awoyemi

Hello young friend, for the past four weeks, we have been discussing what I called tips to a smarter and a more fulfilled you. Today, I will bring you the last six while hoping that you would be well guided towards a greater you.
I said it last week and I want to repeat that: If many adults knew what they know now, their lives would be pleasantly different…
• Learn how to use a computer. Without basic digital competence, you will be grossly outdated and unemployable by the time you are ready to get a job. What I call basics would be Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Add CorelDraw to it if you can.
• Learn how to make hair, nails, and face makeover too. You might end up the next TARA.
•Learn cloth designing and sewing, even shoe making. These days, no skill is considered a waste; you never know what you may end up doing.
• Get actively involved in sports. Either for leisure or for career building, sports is it.
•Start a small part-time business before you get out of higher institution. Not only does it make you more responsible and employable, it also teaches you to be an entrepreneur – an employer of people.
Lastly, but certainly not the least, learn to code. Attempt to create an APP that can impact the world.
• Opeyemi Awoyemi is an under-30 technology entrepreneur. He is the founder of number 1 job site in Africa, Jobberman and also the founder of Who Go Host, an upwardly mobile web hosting company – Google his name to know more

Talk to Judy

Hi guys! My name is Judy. I am here to share your problems with you. Trust me to proffer solutions to those mind boggling problems you wouldn’t dare share with friends, siblings, parents or anyone else.
A lot of people; teenagers alike, hurt secretly with problems they can’t discuss openly for fear of being judged. You may hide your identity if you wish, but do write in and let’s discuss that problem. It is not healthy to bottle up problems. Moreover, problems shared are problems half solved. Or, you think no one cares? I do care!
I will be here every week to help you resolve that issue. But, I can’t, if you don’t talk about it, so do write in. You never know, what you call a problem may just be a normal growing up experience.
•Send your mails to: teensconnectmag@gmail.com. Subject: Dear Judy.
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SENI ADEKEYE – A star shinning on all turfs
Stars are born, but, like gold, go through processes to shine. The case is not different for 13-year-old Olaseni Adekeye, a Year 9 student of Grange school. Seni started swimming for pleasure at the age of 3, and at 8, began going for competitions. TEENS CONNECT ran into him at the National Stadium Surulere at the just concluded 2nd Africa (Confederation Africaine de Natation – CANA) Zone 2 Junior Swimming Championship, organised by Nigeria Aquatic Federation,  where he represented Nigeria and did us proud by carting home three medals; one gold and two bronzes. At the end of the competition which attracted athletes from four other African countries; Senegal, Guinea, Ghana and Benin, TEENS CONNECT engaged this budding champion in a chat
How did you enter the competition; was it through your school or personally?
I knew about the competition through Ikoyi Club Swimming team. I am a member of the Ikoyi Club Swimming Squad
Were there preliminaries before you got to the stage of representing Nigeria?
Yes, there was.
How many stages did you scale through and how many other contestants did you have to beat to get to the finals?
There was an open invitation for time trials to select the fastest three swimmers for the four strokes (freestyle, Butterfly, Back and Breast stroke) for various distances. It was a fierce competition as participants came from all states of Nigeria and 12 from Ikoyi club team
How many countries competed in the finals?
Nine countries were slated for the competition, however only five countries participated: Ghana, Guinea, Benin, Senegal and Nigeria.
How do you feel about your performance?
I participated in three races and to the glory of God I got one gold medal in 4x50m Freestyle Relay and two bronze medals for 50m Backstroke and 100m Freestyle. I am thankful.
Was there any prize money or scholarship?
What next? Are you going to compete on the world stage?
I am working towards that.
What were your fears when you entered the competition and how did you overcome them?
Well, first of all, during the preliminaries, I was definitely taken out of my comfort zone as I competed with a lot of other children who were equally well trained, that was a bit scary thankfully I made it through. During the finals, the Ghanian team was a team to watch out for as I had met them earlier in the year (June 2017) in a swimming competition in Arnsberg, Germany (where I won two gold medals, one silver and two bronze medals). I did not compete against them in Germany because we did not fit into the same age category as the rules there were different but they put up a very good appearance and performed brilliantly. Before my races, I meditated, prayed, gave myself a pep talk, swung into action and did my best and to the glory of God came out successful.
How long have you been swimming?
I started swimming pretty early, at age three but was not consistent.  When I was about 8 years old, my swimming became more consistent. At the time, a swimming team was being put together in  my school and I was one of the pioneer members of the team. It was at this point that I started competitive swimming. In 2014 when I was in Year 6, I represented my school in swimming, athletics and soccer in the COBIS competition which took place in Athens, Greece. I have taken part in several AISEN, Ikoyi Club and other swimming competitions.
Why swimming? Why not any other sport?
I enjoy swimming because I find it relaxing and particularly because of the reward for individual efforts. Not many sports allow for individual medals. It is a sport which keeps me very fit.
Other than swimming, I am involved in other sports like soccer, basket ball and volley ball.
I must say that I have quite an active life I love music and drama and I am a very active member of my school’s drama team. Being on stage gives me an opportunity to express my creative side.  I play the piano both for leisure and for certification. I am presently preparing for my grade 4 ABRSM (The Associated Board of the Royal schools of Music, London) practical exams.
Talking about my creative side, last year, I completed an “Artist in Residence” programme with the renowned Prof. Bruce Onabrapeya
Wow! That’s a handful. Do you intend to train to become a professional athlete?
Yes, I do.
What course would you like to study and why?
I am fascinated by lawyers and would like to study law. I like the intelligence applied to it and the arguments during court cases
Who is your role model?
Right now, it’s one of my older friends Tishe Deji-Roberts.
Who is Tishe Deji – Roberts, and how old is he?
Tishe is my friend, though slightly older, he’s 15. He is in my school and also a member of the Ikoyi Club squad.
Just 15? And you consider him a role model. Why?
He is an all-rounder, good in sports, academics, well behaved, very social and fashionable and always sets very good examples.
Do you think Nigerian schools are doing enough to expose young people to sports?
I cannot speak for other schools but my school is certainly doing very well in this regard.
What about the government?
The government can do a lot more by providing facilities for training for young athletes and an enabling environment to compete and bring out the best in them.
What are your hobbies?
Sporting activities such as swimming, soccer, basket ball, music and dancing.
Favorite game?
Favorite food?
I am not particular about food but I like eggs.
How do you like your eggs?
Sunny side up.
Favorite colour?
Black, white and red.
Favorite sport personality?
Michael Phelps and Anthony Martial
Favorite holiday destination?
What advice do you have for fellow teens on sports involvement?
I think it’s important to be involved in sports at the least for being fit. Believe in yourself, remain disciplined and focused, work hard and push yourself and when there are obstacles, do not give up or like my pastor says, “don’t sleep during the storm.”
If you can change anything about Nigeria, what will it be?
Corruption and the poor attitude of the average Nigerian.

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