Popular Nigerian political blogger, Omojuwa, wrote of his first encounter with former president, Olusegun Obasanjo. According to him, Obasanjo had given a speech in a foreign country and during the question-and-answer session, Omojuwa, characteristically, stood up to ask him questions that implied that he, Obasanjo, was part of the Nigerian problem. As expected,Obasanjo defended himself and talked about how the economy improved during his regime. After the event however, Obasanjo, in a private conversation, inquired of Omojuwa who he was and who he was working for. Obasanjo was sure he had been sent by one of his political opponents and detractors. When Omojuwa told him that he worked for himself, Obasanjo asked what his profession was and when he said “Blogging”, Obasanjo told him that blogging wasn’t a profession. Well, we now know he was wrong.
The Nigeria blogging community was agog two days ago when Linda Ikeji(popular celebrity blogger) posted a picture of herself and her newly acquired 2014 Ranger Rover Sport which she bought for twenty four million naira. While some wondered what purpose she intended to serve by showcasing the latest addition to her cars, I mostly worried about her safety as she also, in the same blog, showed her other two cars. But Linda is a savvy businesswoman. She knew that the post would draw traffic to her site and it did. She posted the post at past 12 in the morning, a time when most Nigerians were asleep. Because of the time difference between Nigeria and here, I guess I was among the first to see it as there were no comments when I read it. By the time I checked back again, there were more than three thousand comments on that one post. If there were that many comments, you can imagine how many people viewed the blog and how much money it translates to for the blogger. As for me, once she doesn’t cause harm to another with her posts, I don’t mind.
I had wanted to write a blog about how the Nigerian economy is improving and how there seems to be more opportunities for young Nigerians. When Linda’s story broke, I thought it would set the tone for a blog on the subject. Everyday, I hear stories of Nigerians finding opportunities where none existed before now. The other day, I learnt that one of my classmates in the university is now a magistrate, and another I called to console on her dad’s death told me she is now with a State ministry of justice. And thanks to Facebook, I see that several of my classmates are doing well in private practice and some are in the employ of the Federal Government of Nigeria. Actually, the opportunities for Nigerian graduates has increased tremendously in the last decade since the consolidation of the banking sector and entrance of telecommunication giants like MTN and Globacom in the Nigerian economy. I personally know many people who are employed in those two sectors. And I am very optimistic that with the privatization of the power sector in Nigeria, many more opportunities will open up. The impressive growth of the Nigerian economy has also been noticed by the international community prompting more multinational companies including Walmart and Shoprite to invest more in Nigeria.
Because Nigeria is a hugely untapped market, unlike other developed countries where there is stiff competition for the attention of consumers from several corporations, practically every business has the potential to grow in Nigeria. As such, anyone in Nigeria who is willing to think outside the box can arguably make it easier there than elsewhere. I read somewhere that 90% percent of children born today will, when they grow up, have an occupation that do not exist as of today. And I can see why. Take the internet for instance which hasn’t been around for more than thirty years, think of how many occupations, including blogging, that are made possible by it. Just by blogging, Linda Ikeji, Sisi Yemmie and Omojuwa have become household names because they found their respective niche as a celebrity blogger, a lifestyle blogger and a political blogger. I also read of a seventeen-year old Nigerian who makes more than $3000 a month by blogging about how to become a successful blogger. Of course there are so many ways to make money but this is just an example. I also know a young lady who is successfully running online retail and wholesale businesses that guarantee delivery in all the thirty-six states. That is how to stand out from the crowd.
In Linda’s controversial post, she also wrote about hard work and the need to not give up. According to her, she had previously dabbled into some other jobs including modelling and writing before she got her breakthrough as a blogger. But unfortunately, many youths in Nigeria believe they cannot make it in Nigeria, that they must leave our shores before they can become successful. As we have seen, that is not true. It is not easy anywhere, not in the United states, not in the United Kingdom. It takes determination to make it anywhere. There are only a few Nigerians in the United States who can afford a brand new 2014 Range Rover Sport or who can afford the luxury vacations most Nigeria’s middle class enjoy. So for those looking to flee Nigeria, just know that what you are looking for in Sokoto (state), may well be in the pocket of your sokoto(jumper trouser). We can only succeed if we learn to make lemonade from whatever lemon life gives us.
PS: I don’t blog because I intend to be the next Linda. She has really worked hard for many years and is reaping the fruits of her labor. For me, the fulfillment I get from blogging comes from the occasional call or email I get from someone I have never met requesting for more information on something I blogged about. If my blog helps somebody in some way, I am really content. Of course that doesn’t mean that I am averse to opportunities.