An assembly of 50 very important ‘TEDtalks’ givers – huh? Are you kidding me? No sir!
Application for ViMP included a TEDtalk (the writing of one, at least) of an idea that will change your community and/or the world – no child’s play. See ‘my TEDtalk below “small changes here and there = big change”’.
What did I say ViMP was? Ah, I haven’t said anything at all; I think I need to eat more bananas to improve my memory.
Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN), in conjunction with Lagos Business School, African Capital Alliance and Accenture, put together the Venture in Management Programme (ViMP) to boost the leadership, managerial and entrepreneurial skills of Nigerian Youths in the world of business and work. ViMP ran from April 22 – 26, 2014.
We were housed in the Peninsula Resorts and had the different sessions at the Lagos Business School, except the group meetings at night – can you imagine some group of witches and wizards meeting under the guise of discussing Nigeria? Feel free! Creativity is the intelligent use of the imagination.
At first, I had thought that business was in a bad shape for the resorts as the 50 of us and our co-ordinators from JAN were about the only guests there. I had actually written ‘what will happen when we leave on Saturday? You and I can’t tell but you can guess and your guess will be as good as mine’. Now I know better – the resorts is, I think, in that class of business with its on-customers and off-customers seasons and it makes it profits and gets its cash that way. Do you remember the difference between Profits and Cash in a business? I’ll tell you later when the time is ripe.
After registration on Monday, we were allocated rooms – a room to two participants and we had our first lunch in the resorts. For some of us, that lunch was probably the first full meal of the day and if you want to, you can stretch it to first full meal of the week. Abiodun Adegbola, regional coordinator of JAN gave a brief introduction to the programme and he added jocularly ‘I should have asked you to check your weight after registration because I’m quite sure that most of you will have added about 2 – 3kg by the end of ViMP.
He was right! Food wasn’t a problem especially at Lagos Business School. I cannot help salivating as I recall the morning and afternoon tea breaks, the cocktails on some evenings and the three course delicious lunch. I repeat; Food wasn’t a problem objectively. We were the problem. We served too much, especially on the first couple of days, and by the time we realised it, it was too late. Most of us left large quantities of unfinished food on the table, food that people in the war torn regions of Central African Republic, of South Sudan, and even in many peaceful areas of Nigeria, are dying for.
When I said that most of us, perhaps excitedly, served too much, I bet you recalled ‘the abundance mentality’. We’ll bring it up at the right time.
My hypothesis is that we previously didn’t see eating as a social function – a departure from the culture of the older generation. I recall being warned to desist from talking while eating. What I didn’t realise then was that my mother meant ‘don’t talk with food in your mouth’. In your four years and above in the University, how did you eat? Like me, you probably served what you wanted and gobbled it, trying to maximize the time for study. But when I have to eat and engage in meaningful conversation with others, as we did in ViMP, because it was not a no-talking retreat; then I have to talk and what does that do? It extends the meal and the stomach feels full regardless of the little or much that you’ve had.
Therefore people trying to lose weight are advised to eat slowly, either by chewing very well or talking more, because the stomach signals that it is full after about 20 minutes from the first morsel. It’s one thing to do this and it’s another thing to have the discipline of not eating between meals especially when the stomach realises that it had been tricked and gives a long and loud cry for help. Don’t you worry dear friend, I know that cry inside out; it will not be for long. With time, the somewhat elastic stomach will contrast to the quantity of food you give it and that cry for help will be silenced or at least muffled.
What an excursus! Did you contemplate or actually did loosen your seat belt even if by just a teeny –weeny bit? Tighten it again dear, ‘cos here we go o o o back to the topic.
We needed a leader as every civil society does and five people were auto-nominated before anyone could say ‘Jack’: Emmanuel Iruobe, Lanre Ojutalayo and Bankole Eluyera, all graduates of Covenant University; Bolaji Junaid of Lagos State University and Ajibola Ifeoluwa Ruth of University of Lagos. Each gave their manifesto which sounded pretty much alike to me and fielded questions for three minutes. Lanre and Bolaji tied after the first round of voting and at the second round, the former emerged winner with 24 votes out of 42 participants who voted. It was simple, free and fair.
I like numbers and I was thinking; multiply the above effect by 2,142,857 – that makes a not so simple, but free and fair election for the over 90 million (2,142,857 x 42 ViMPers) eligible to vote citizens of Nigeria. It looks difficult – it actually is! – but it is not impossible. It will be so if, not just our ‘ogas at the top’ but, you and I – ‘ogas and madams at the top’ in our own way – and everyone does his/her part.
The contestants returned to the hall and before the results were announced, thanked everyone for their votes – isn’t that impressive? I can see your nod. Thus Lanre served as President and is still serving through the ViMP 2014 Alumni Group and Bolaji as Vice – president.
While we were there in the hall, Kunbi Wuraola, executive director of JAN arrived, straight from a social function to see us. She was leaving for business in another city next day to return on the Monday after ViMP 2014. After telling us her success story so far –all of us hope to surpass her soon – she took us on the rubrics of dress, table and class etiquette. She is a very amiable lady and active too. We had heaps of questions for her from how she manages JAN to her work – life balance. Franca Ovadje, faculty member of Lagos Business School would state to us later that from research, the youths of this generation (Generation Y) are very interested in keeping the work – family (life) balance. I’m proud to be one of these youths and so are you! I hope so?
The last activity for the day was a training session for Volunteers. JAN runs financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship programmes in primary and secondary schools too. One of such programmes served as the community project in ViMP 2014 and you can bet we had a swell time there. Almost everyone volunteered to teach in the project and had to be trained. I was highly impressed that the students for this project were in an orphanage – can you beat that? It was consoling to see that these exotic programmes are made accessible to children and teens that do not belong to the so-called ‘privileged’ class in the society.
Now we eagerly await the break of a new day, the start of our ‘conference’, the formal beginning of this mind-blowing experience called ViMP!