Making yourself available for growth is a pre-requisite for development. Everybody is talented and your talent(s) lie(s) within you but will remain dormant , or unutilized if you are sleeping while others at the driving seats are adjusting their seat belts but if you are incorrigible, you may be abandoned just like that.
The efforts of the’’ Brainhive International’’ in conjunction with Masterpiece Resource Development Centre, Lagos paid off when they brought one of the best brains in medicine in America and the world in general, Dr. Ben Carson to Nigeria for the first time. I was among other people present to grace the wonder God could perform in the life of a man destined for success and who played his own part well too. The theme of the Brain Fair was’’ UNLEASH YOUR GENIUS’’.
Dr. Carson began his speech with greetings in Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo languages. The august visitor took his audience into a brief but vivid description of the brain and referred to it as the most fantastic organ in the universe. According to him, ‘’The living brain is the most sophisticated thing you can imagine’’.
Every child has his distraught or misgivings. Dr. Carson had his own share too. He owned up that as a young chap, he loathed the idea of reading books but preferred watching the television and observing things around him, played with friends and mates and these he did with much relish. Despite his love and inquisitiveness about nature, such as rocks, trees, seas, and what have you, he was still not doing well in class work at school until his mother took the bull by the horn to sanction young Carson and his elder brother Curtis from staying glued at the television, playing games or going to the pool until they finished their home works.
Ben’s mother was in the same school of thought with Nelson Mandela, who was of the opinion that ‘’Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world’.’ Ben said, apart from God, his mother was monumentally instrumental to his success. She encouraged him more often to read many books as he could lay his hands on. He then turned himself to a voracious consumer of books on different subjects and natural things such as rocks, Booker-T-Washington’s novels and many more. True to his mother’s advice and encouragements readings paid off. One day, in the classroom, his teacher asked the class a question about ‘’Rocks’’. He wanted the class to identify a type of rock and also to name its origin. Nobody had an inkling about the question but Ben thought it was an opportunity for him to bring out some of the knowledge acquired while doing his private studies, after all ,none of his mates could answer the question .’’I raised up my hand to answer the question and gave the answer correctly’’. The class thundered in surprise, mouth agaped but they all admired and envied poor Ben. There was an applause; ‘’the dummy’’,(as he was mockingly nick-named because of his poor academic performances) had become a genius , the cynosure of all eyes!! Dr. Carson said,’’God gives us the brain to develop it’’. He counselled the students present and those who want to be geniuses to pray hard for wisdom from God. His message: ‘’Read, have faith in God and use the brain God gave you’’. He said, ‘’today, a reader, tomorrow a leader’’. According to him, people should give everything they do equal and undivided attention but not half hearted.
During the question and answer segment, he responded to a question ascribing big heads with big brains. He responded that the bigness of the head does not automatically confer high intelligence. It depends on how well one puts his brain into use; whether small or big head.
We were treated with a sumptuous breakfast before we re-converged at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS), Campos square for another session where the Executive Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Babatunde Fashola(SAN)was ably represented by her former deputy Governor, Princess Sosan Sarah. She eulogised the personality of the man of that moment-Dr. Ben Carson and showered encomium on his mother, who though half literate, was able to instil discipline in her sons and impacted positively in them especially in the area of education. The former deputy governor wanted all students aspiring to be great leaders to re-awake their inner men. She said,’’ if something or circumstances becomes worse, you learn from it to move you forward and not to sit down sobbing’’.
Among the schools present were Global International College,Lagos,Corona School, Lagos,American Christian Academy, Ibadan,Ambassador’s School,Ota, Ogun State, Igbinedion University, Okada, Benin City, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo,Ogun State, Obafemi Awolowo University(OAU),Ile-Ife,Osun State and Greensprings Schools , Ikeja plus a host of other schools and dignitaries.There were presentations and group snap shots with Ben Carson.
Perharps ,it is germane to mention here the famous wise saying of the American President ,Barack Obama,’’if you are walking down the right path and you are willing to keep walking, eventually, you’ll make progress’’. The youths must be ready to take constructive criticism seriously to better their lots. Reading , researching do not kill but make people well grounded. Somebody once said,’’If you want to keep anything secret for an African man, keep it inside a book’’. This belief among the whites about Africans should not be allowed to continue. African youths are strong and intelligent as the whites (if not even better) capable of making the continent proud. They are good innovators and inventors if given the enabling environment but must dig deep more into reading and researching. Napoleon once said, ’’Sitting down and wishing does not make a man great.’’ Don’t just think, but be pragmatic with what you think. African Youths must not underrate themselves or be intimidated (be yourself), serve God whole heartedly and put on your searchlight uninterrupted researching or looking for the undiscovered while others may be on frivolous ventures. We need total re-engineering and coordination of our thinking that will bring a sustainable human development into Nigeria in particular and Africa in general at the grassroots.
Ben Carson cooperated with his mother for him to grow in knowledge. Today, his life had impacted many lives (not only the youths) all over the world. He is today a celebrity, a genius sought after, as one of the best neuro-surgeons in America and beyond. Dr. Ben Carson is today, the Director of Pediatric Neuro-surgery at John Hopkins Hospital, USA. You too can do something to affect the lives of people around you positively.