Ogbo Awoke Ogbo
A few years ago, in Lagos, a careless driver hit my friend’s car – a normal daily occurrence in the city.
He stormed out of his car, and the heated argument began. The crowd gathered – also, as usual. My friend, steaming with rage, touched the ground with his index finger, put it to his tongue, pointed to the heavens and shouted, “I swear, if you say one more word, I’ll kill you!”
That wasn’t even the scoop. Prominently placed at the back of his car was a sticker that read, “Jesus Loves You and So Do I!”
Lagos is the third most stressful city in the world, according to a study by the UK-based Zipjet. In the first and second places were Baghdad and Kabul respectively. For the stressed out residents of Lagos, this is no news because the meat is in the stew.
I hear this all the time: “If you can survive in Lagos, you can survive anywhere in the world.” And it’s true.
Daily living in Lagos is an obstacle course. You run through mud, leap over fire, crawl under barbed wire, scale high fencing, wade through dark alleys filled with creepy crawlies and run gauntlets.
Lagos toughens you. But whether you’ll make heaven is another matter. My friend could have killed someone in anger or been killed himself. In Lagos, you have to be constantly aware of who you are in Christ, if you’re a believer in Christ. You have to constantly immerse yourself in God’s Word, prayer and fellowship with true believers. The city is so stressed up you’d never know when you slip into sin.
Another careless driver narrowly missed hitting me as he zig-zaged from behind forcing me to swerve to the median. I instantly rolled down my window, and gave him, not just the American middle finger, but the entire five fingers Nigerians commonly call “uwarka!” That was before I remembered that I was born again and Spirit-filled! Repentance followed.
Nevertheless, the entire planet is Lagos. The earth is an obstacle course. Between every man and his destiny is an obstacle course. Many never make it through the obstacle course to their destinies. Obstacles demand rigor. You cannot win an obstacle race without rigor.
The day I considered losing hope on Africa was the day I heard a popular pastor of one of the popular churches in Lagos tell his congregation, “You do not need qualification to become an MD of a bank. The blood of Jesus qualifies you!”
It is lack of rigor that has infected Nigerian schools with cancerous examination malpractice. Shamefully, parents and school authorities collude with invigilators to cheat their children through school. Even those who call themselves by the name of Christ join in this demonic activity.
Now they are constantly dumbing down our educational system. While children in other parts of the world are already building robots and drones, exploring the space and artificial intelligence, we’re dumbing down ours to produce zombies who have high sounding certificates but no skills.
Rigor produced the airplane, gave us mind-boggling computer devices and super technologies that make our lives amazing. Rigor constructed bridges and houses that have lasted centuries. Rigor is what it takes when doctors carry out a surgical operation that lasts 25 hours non-stop. Rigor is what enables engineers build structures that make our minds spin.
Rigor is the missing vitamin in Africa -Vitamin R. Our problem is rigor deficiency – “rigoraemia.” So many unused brain cells in Africa! But a few African youth are changing that … hold tight!
Most obstacles facing you today will collapse at the altar of rigor.
Let me cast a wager with you! Pick up one specific interest area and consistently apply rigor for 3 years only, the world will hear about you – and start paying you handsomely. Example, devote 3-5 hours a day to learning and coding with the Python Programming Language. In 36 months, you’d be so versatile you’d have written an app you can sell for at least $10 million! Will you take the bet?
Another example: You don’t have a job? Do you suffer generational poverty? Pick up any musical instrument… or foreign language… culinary interest…selling skill …vegetable farming… whatever. Devote some rigor, practice daily for hours and see whether poverty, unemployment or lack of purpose will not melt like wax before you.
Your worst enemy was whoever told you that life was easy.
Fall in love with rigor today. Bear your yoke of discipline and rigor now or suffer it later.
Prosperity and freedom will never come without rigor. The world’s richest people and aristocrats have learned that passing down wealth to their children without exposure to rigor would destroy them. David Beckham’s son goes to work at a coffee shop. Prince Harry serves with the military at Afghanistan and Warren Buffett gives out his wealth to charity and reluctantly leaves a small change for his children.
Stop hiding from your obstacle course. Bear your yoke now that you are ‘young!’ Don’t risk carrying unresolved yoke to your old age. It’s not a pretty sight seeing these old men who should be traveling the world and enjoying retirement working as gate men to bosses the age of their grandchildren.