Opinions Sun, 17 Sep 2017
One of the gruelling debates i had within myself was whether this is worth writing about or not.One part of me held the notion that i had written about the first one when we hosted Sheikh Muhammad Awal and it suffices it. The other said “ no, this one involved Aburof M. Kishk, the powerful Motivational Speaker who once told me the secret to becoming a great writer is constant and consistent writing on my experiences, programmes i chance upon and places i visit.”
Another reason the latter won the debate is the fact that our life must be documented for the future. Our outstanding efforts in ensuring a beautiful world, our small contribution to mankind’s understanding and enjoyment of a better life must be captured for posterity to glean from. We must document it so that one day our lives will not be misrepresented or whisked away as if it never occurred.
I take caution from our honourable African forefathers who did not document their lives and therefore made the world’s historians wrote as if life started with the advent of the wicked colonialists in Africa. Once upon a time, one of the ‘most outstanding’ British Historian, Hugh Trevor-Roper wrote “perhaps in the future there will be some African History to teach. But at the present there is none, or very little: there is only the history of Europe in Africa.” Sad and pathetic!
I therefore move to tell you what happened at the place where four inner streets meet in an area called Los Angeles Base in the Presidential town named Nima.
The story of my life recounted will never be complete without the mention of AVERT Youth Foundation. It was the nursery bed for my leadership abilities (still learning though). The organization availed to me many wonderful individuals and programmes which were beneficial to my make-up. As i always say, my thoughts were better shaped, my soul uplifted, my brain was nourished, my horizon was broadened and much more importantly, my life was impacted by this once upon a time great organization. One thing it availed to me also was the constant presence of members holding books anytime they come for meetings. Great books, self-help books, memoirs, political books and books we always joked about because almost all are described as ‘best-sellers.”
Those are the motivational books. Then one day one strong member saw me holding one of those books and made a statement i have never forgotten since then. He said he does not need any book or motivational speaker to ginger him in life. When he wakes up, the mere sight of wall of his house alone is enough motivation for him to strive towards a better life. And i agree perfectly with him. Your condition alone should make you restless.
However, i believe motivational books are also very important in firing our spirit for excellence. It is essential we flood our souls with motivation especially from some motivational speakers who sometimes have the gift of caressing words and tailor it to perfectly sit in the situation you find yourselves in. And that is exactly what Aburof M. Kishk came to do in Nima. His presentation gave fillip and added flesh to the hackneyed saying that “words are the verbal embodiment of power.”
There were three other speakers who provided pabulum (food for the mind) and conscientized the youth about the opportunities around us and how a lot of us are wasting our precious lives away.
Abdul Samed Saeed
A productive product of the community. One of the rare individuals who have attained higher heights of both Islamic and Secular education. When he rose up and began speaking, he was as if from a different part of the world. As if he was not the brother we usually spend time with at the base. He touched on very sensitive issues. He underscored the fact our neighbourliness or brotherhood will be useless if we are not able to pull resources together and establish a viable business to help ourselves, the community and its inhabitants. He also lamented the fact that we could also identify needy but very brilliant students and help them reach the very top of the Academic ladder.
In that way, they will be an asset to the community as a whole. One problem he realized that is eating into the fibre and fabric of the community is Tribalism. He reiterated the words of Idowu Koyenikan who stated in the book Wealth of Nations that “you can no longer identify yourself solely as a member of a tribe, but as a citizen of a nation of one people working toward a common purpose.” This is more so for us as Muslims. He ended by praying for the Rohingya Muslims that are suffering from all sorts of persecution in the Rakhine state in Myanmar.
He stated that he does not want to belabour the issues raised by the other speakers. He therefore will not talk much. He explained two great statements of Prophet Muhammad which were germane to purpose of the gathering. “Allah loves the youth that does not dabble in sluggishness and slothfulness.” He ended with a reminder of the statement of Prophet Muhammad that a gathering in the cause of Allah will not depart unless Allah sends his angels to envelop and enwrap them with his overwhelming blessings. He talked about the ills of television. And buttressed it with the story of Benjamin Carson, the once upon a time weak student who abandoned television, married books and became a great neurosurgeon.
Kishk Bashir Yandu
His presentation touched on the fact that we are the best creation of Allah and must endeavour to live a meaningful life. “If you really know what your make-up is, you wouldn’t be living a wretched life”, he stated. He interspersed his presentation with the English language. “The ball changers of the world know where they are.” He drew attention of the gathering to some of the trivialities we waste resources and energy in executing. He touched on the fact that the people that brought great revolutions in the world mostly were the youth.
Specific mention was made about Mus’ab ibn Umayr, the first Ambassador in Islam who although died at a young age of 21, has left indelible footprints in the sands of time. Prophethood was bestowed on Muhammad (SAW) at the age of 40. Abu-Bakr accepted Islam at 38, Umar at 27 and Ali at a tender age of 9. Bringing it into our political circles, he mentioned Nkrumah, JJ Rawlings as people who took over the reins of Ghanaian History at their youthful stage in life.
In a fit of fury over how passionate he was about the issue, he listed what he termed as the ills of our society. He mentioned how sexually charged the youth are now linking it with high reported cases of Teenage Pregnancy. A society that has its teenagers in drugs cannot prosper.” He stated this when he lamented how drug abuse has eaten the precious lives of a lot of our youth. He mentioned Gambling as one of the ills of the society. He made allusion to the number of betting houses that have sprouted along our streets in just a few years.
The worst of all ills he stated is Ignorance. He pointed to the fact that if we do not rise to salvage this, our future as a people is bleak. “Our society is dead. And our leaders know this.” In conclusion, he offered hope by stating how we can rise above our pathetic situation. “This society belongs to us. If it is better, it returns to us. If it is worse, it returns to us. ... When the good majority are silent, the bad minority take over... In life, if you are casual, you can be a casualty.”
Aburof M. Kishk
He was the catalyst for the smooth running of the gathering. The audience could not get enough of him and preparations have kick-started for his return. Whereas all other speakers stood behind the high table to deliver, he chose to do that in the space between the high table and the audience. And he was bubbling with confidence.
One passerby who had never seen such overwhelming display of gusto said “he should stop dancing.” But hey, one characteristic of highly confident people is that they believe the world is a theatre where every role is significant. And therefore they view the world as a stage and then dramatize their productivity. He began by talking about where the world has reached and where it is moving. It is moving at a break-neck speed. “The way the world has moved, if you don’t position yourself well, poverty will eat you.” He told the highly attentive audience.
Then as if held in a trance he asked the gathering “What is your dream”? At that moment the place was tranquil and calm as the voice of the gale of thoughts running through minds could be heard around. One could tell the assimilation process was on course. He then exhorted the gathering to spell the word ‘dream’ for him, one letter after the other.
D stands for decision. “In the moment of your decision, your destiny changes. And every human being has three decisions to make in life. His relationship with God which does not stand without knowledge, his career decision “what can you do?” and his spousal decision. He stated that that “we (people of the Zongo) started sowing yet when the roll call of Fashion designers is made, we are absent.”
R is for Responsibility. One has to take full responsibility of his life. “You can put the story of your family on Google.” Excellence follows. “Excellence is going the extra mile” Then when he got to A, there was a crescendo of passion in his voice. A he believed stood for attitude. He related a story about Asuma Banda who stated that the key to a successful life is ASK. The K is knowledge 15%, S is skill 25% and A is Attitude which is an overwhelming 50%. “The world is a dangerous ground.” And one can survive it with the right attitude. The M in the DREAM is for mentorship. “The greatest mentor you could have is Prophet Muhammad.” He hinted emphatically.
He then talked about the 3Ps of life. He hinted that one will have to be exhibit a great deal of patience because the road to success is more often than not, a rough one. “You will be scoffed at for what you choose to do.” Perseverance is another P. He admitted that the road will fraught with perils but “hold on to it.” He repeatedly said, “Hold on to it.” Prayer is the last of the Ps he mentioned. And that stands for prayer. He exhorted the gathering to pray without ceasing. “Prayers can make the impossible possible,” he stated.
Columnist: Inusah Mohammed