The material things which ye are given are but the conveniences of this life and the glitter thereof; but that which is with Allah is better and more enduring will ye not then be wise? Q28v60
The Lord does create and choose as He pleases…. Q28v68
Olajumoke Orisaguna, the bread seller turned model has become the reference point of today’s youths. I have heard prayers such as:
“Lord let my destiny locate me.”
“Let me walk into my grace and luck.”
“My TY Bello, where art thou?”
“I want to move from Iree to a luxury apartment in Ikoyi this year O Lord.”
“Let my N200 daily job turn to millions and millions.”
“Let the world see what I do not see in myself and celebrate me.”
The prayers I have heard and read in relation to the sudden change of circumstances of the Agege bread seller are numerous. While I will not bore you all over again with how Olajumoke was discovered on the streets of Lagos, no one can underestimate the reference point she has become in this rather difficult country. Nigeria is a country where there are no guarantees that hard work, diligence and consistency will lead one anywhere. It is almost impossible to work hard and live a decent life. In fact, the most affluent and comfortable people among us are usually of questionable integrity. This is certainly a difficult time to be Nigerian. With stories of woe every day- from criminality and insecurity to long queues for fuel, lack of power, to unemployment and general despair. There is certainly a sense of despair and hopelessness and so a Cinderella story in the midst of all these chaos is surreal and heartwarming.
The problem I now have with the Cinderella story is the thought that the only way we can become anything in life is to “get lucky” and “be discovered”. Everyone’s destiny is different. Everyone’s path is distinct. Everyone’s journey is unique. While people prayed to be discovered; I, for one prayed to be the vessel through which I can help others to reach their purpose in life, I prayed to be the discoverer. I asked Allah to give me the wherewithal to project people in the best possible light. In my opinion, nothing still beats hard work, tenacity, determination; nothing beats uprightness, diligence, and constancy in prayers and worship to Allah. Olajumoke was found in a place of diligence. There is an ultimate plan and purpose for everyone when you do the right things to the best of your ability and you live the rest to Allah to take over.
We will not all walk on the streets and be discovered, imagine how many bread sellers and indeed hawkers walked the streets of Yaba and the streets of Lagos on that fateful day. Everyone’s life is fashioned distinctly. The bitter truth is also that some of us will toil and toil and no one will ever give even a passing notice or help to better their lives. This is what life basically is – unfair. What we owe ourselves is to be the best we can be so as to better our lot in life, and to know that all there is in this life is nothing other than vanity and life is transient, it could end at any time of any day. What is paramount is worship, consciousness of the hereafter and the humanity in all of us.
While brands sign endorsement deals with Olajumoke, while she appears on campaigns, look books, runways, exposed to the glitz and glamour of the Lagos high and sometimes fake life and becomes someone of great media value, I enjoin all of us to keep working and praying hard. I imagine she will be travelling out of the country sooner or later and her good fortune continues till the media finds another person even more intriguing and certainly more interesting. That is life. What I sometimes worry about are the pitfalls in this kind of life as we see every day with celebrities. There is a lot of grooming and mental discipline needed to navigate these waters so that the Cinderella story has a happily ever after for a long time.
As Muslims, let us cultivate good habits and in Sha Allah we will fulfill our destinies and attain that purpose that Allah created us. Here are some suggestions:
1. Wake up each day determined to be the best you can be
2. Read and learn something new everyday
3. Develop your intellect and learn to grasp things easily. There is no space for thick people in this day and age.
4. Keep digging deep and be detailed in your analysis
5. Focus on raising your awareness, travel to expose your mind to the vagaries of life
6. You should be interested in a variety of things, not only one area
7. Know that failure is a stepping stone to success
8. Learn to make use of both sides of your brain – the artistic and the logical
9. Free your mind, be open minded. Learn from anybody and everybody and embrace meaningful change.
10. Consistently think outside the box. You do not have to follow the norm, learn to out think, out work and outperform the next person.
Don’t forget to always pray, fast, give to the poor and be consistent in worship. That is our primary purpose on earth, all other things we do is a means to that end.
Salam alaikum waramatulilahi wabarakatu.