I first encountered Chude Jideonwo almost a decade ago when the first edition of the Future Awards was held in Lagos.
Since then, I have followed his story and success, and I am inspired by his achievements as a young successful media entrepreneur and his passion for young people and social and political change. So, when Happenings.com.ng hosted an event to honour him as he turns 30, I was eager to attend and join in celebrating one of Africa’s brightest minds.
When the event started I was asked to say a few words about Chude and I chuckled inwardly. A few words are not sufficient to talk about Chude, but I managed somehow, and a few other guests shared their thoughts about Chude as well, including the Singer/Songwriter, Aduke, who I was silently hoping would perform her famous Lagos story track. She didn’t, but she always delivers nonetheless, she is Aduke, the one and only ‘Omo Dokita’.
I and Jite Efemuaye read from Chude’s book “Are We The Turning Point Generation”, and as we read the man of the moment stepped in with his ‘entourage’ that included the beautiful model/actress, Makida Moka (a.k.a Monye from the Gidi Up TV Series). Chude’s book reveals the true dilemma of the typical Nigerian, the daily struggle to believe in a country that has no problem disappointing you right after you have just renewed your faith in the State. In his book, perhaps in realisation and acceptance of this enduring dilemma, Chude proffers that we “work to change Nigeria because we have no choice.”
Joy Isi Bewaji hosted the discussion session with Chude. We all agreed not to talk politics at the event; at first I thought that was nearly impossible, but we managed to pull it off, of course not without a few inevitable mentions here and there. After all, it was not a gathering of politicians gaming for a piece of the pie; it was a hall brimming with love and admiration for a young man who has conquered the Nigerian factor as it were, and is living out his dreams. He was generous enough to talk sincerely and freely about his story, his career which began at the young age of fifteen.
Chude shared profound insights while answering questions about the Nigerian culture, running a successful business in Nigeria and the role of citizens in delivering the Nigeria we want. I took note of the points below;
On the issue of “Nigeria’s Culture”, he said: “What we Nigerians call our ‘culture’ is mostly an excuse for what we can be as a people.”
On Active Citizenry, he said: “All we need do is be active citizens, ask questions and be involved in conversations that affect us.”
On Business, he said: “Nigerian businesses fail because people don’t know exactly how businesses succeed in Nigeria.” Emphasising that we need more case studies, mentors and materials that will help young Nigerians engage and succeed in business in Nigeria.
The event was also graced by the Chairman of happenings.com.ng, Chief Edirin Abamwa.
A few guests from the event joined me as I drove home and the fellow who sat in front next to me would not shut up about Chude’s age, “He has achieved so much to just be turning 30 years”, he insisted. There was no getting him to shut up, but I eventually found his chatter less distracting than the eager silence of those in the back seat.
– Kingsley Iweka