Some seventeen years ago, one of Nigeria’s brightest teenagers and rising stars, Ayomide Mustapha was born.
Many times as life unwraps before our eyes, we realize that the future we crave lies far away from the comfort of home, somewhere outside the embrace of the four walls within whose wrapped arms, we grew up. So we find out that to live, we must leave home, like a hunter in hot chase after a game in the middle of nowhere. And that when you eventually find that future, the home you left may still be home, or the place where you found the future could become your new home or another home.
Many times, the resources we need to be who we want to be are far away from home. Hence, life would have us leave home to master, acquire those resources.
This article is about Ayomide (Mide) Mustapha, an extraordinary and brilliant mentee I had the huge honour of mentoring for the past 3 years, during which I was also her AfterSchool Chemistry and Biology Tutor. She is such a treasure to know. So brilliant, yet, so cool headed. Although still only a teenager, she already as a clear picture of the future she wants, and displays the wisdom of a maestro.
One of my biggest achievements with her is to have succeeded in helping her overcome her fear for Chemistry and making her realize that Chemistry can be as fun as skipping, Mathematics (her favourite subject) or baking and as easy as ABC. At a point, she fell so much in love with Chemistry, chewed, dreamt and woke up with it. In no time, her aversion for Chemistry gave way to a deep yearning and extraordinary performance. Her dream is to become a medical doctor and to someday find remedies to some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Ayomide is also a big lover of the natural environment.
Ayomide is another undeniable proof that every child deserves the best, and that if you train the girl-child by giving her the best opportunities, you secure the future. I thank her legendary Mathematics teacher and mentor, Mr. Oladimeji Olawale, her other teachers, and most especially, her amazing parents for the opportunity to impact her.
Having graduated from secondary school only a few weeks ago in flying colours, Ayomide had to leave home. Life beckoned on her to chart her own course in search of destiny. So, she had to travel out of the country to further her studies at one of the best universities in Europe. She was far from 17 when she left home, but still, life would have her leave all the same. Tough? Yea. Unfair? Life can be tough and unfair, but in the end, life pays back handsomely.
At the graduation/send-forth party held in her honour, as she danced and smiled at the cameras, I saw in her eyes, suspense and wonderment at what the future held.
I am sure she shed a few tears as she bid goodbye to her mum, siblings and loved ones, and especially after her dad left her in her dormitory to return to Nigeria. Leaving can be tortuous sometimes. You can be sure you would hear from the young lady soon; at the top.
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But everybody has to leave something. Everyone who has ever become something in life left “home”. Some left families, friends, relationships, dreams etc. Everybody gets to leave something behind. Everyone who would ever become something must leave something behind.
That’s part of the sacrifice greatness would have us pay.
Cristiano Ronaldo, then eleven, left his hometown, Madeira and traveled to mainland Portugal to join the Lisbon academy. When he was leaving, it was hard, painful. But leave, he did. And from Lisbon, he left for Manchester, England. That must have been even more painful because just when it felt like he had finally found a new home in Lisbon, life would have him be on the move again. But was that his final destination? No. He had since had to leave for Madrid where he developed into one of the two greatest footballers of his generation.
Lionel Messi, Ronaldo’s contemporary and arch-rival (in the past ten years), was barely ten years old when destiny beckoned on him to travel across the seven wide-mouthed seas from Argentina to Barcelona. How hard can life be! But how rewarding can life also be! Today, Messi has become the new standard for intentional football.
And in the good book, the story was told of Abraham, the patriarch . When he was to begin the greatest part of his life, he had to leave his father’s house for a country he had, up until that time, neither been to or heard of. But all the same, he left; from comfort into opportunities.
Even in the Lion’s kingdom, every cub must eventually leave home if it must become a lion king. You cannot be tied to your father’s loins and become a lion king. You must enter into your own turf. You must create your own path.
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True greatness is not by inheritance. For an inheritance passed down to make any lasting impact, it must first be “owned” by the inheritor. Even if greatness or royalty flows in your lineage, you must appropriate it to yourself if you will become a true great. Part of the process of appropriation is leaving home.
To leave home is to leave your comfort zone. It is to take on new challenges. To learn and experience new things. To adopt new perspectives. To meet new people. And to become a better person.
So, for you reading this piece: What are you afraid to leave? Will you answer life’s call? It’s okay to be afraid, but don’t let fear hold you back.
If you answer to destiny’s call and leave now, you will have a better chance of securing the future for the people you would leave behind.
And sometimes, leaving can just be in the mind, or as simple as a change of perspective!
Ayomide decided to take the challenge. She left and is blasting, making us as proud as always, even from many miles away.
Happy birthday, Ayomide. Keep the flag flying. I am rooting for you from here. You are an amazon.
- Written by: Idowu KUNLERE
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