The sad thing about passion

Passion is dear, passion is personal, it’s pushy and yes, it could be sentimental.

Stay with me. I’m going to write you something that bothers me, that maybe I shouldn’t have written.

Simply put, I’m passionate about Africa’s development. It tears me up to see Africa represented as ‘the poor continent’ on television and I get really sad when I see my fellow Africans languishing in poverty and struggling. To see Africa as a pawn in the international system really bothers me. I always wonder, sometimes with teary eyes before I drift to sleep when it will all end.

I wonder when Africa too will be a force to reckon with? When will we understand our power and use it? When will I be able to say with great joy how proud I am to be African, not because I simply am proud but because of the power and influence my continent has wielded.

When?

You can tell I’m passionate now, can’t you?

You know another thing that baffles me and makes me really uncomfortable with the whole thing?

It’s the fact that a lot of African youths don’t feel the way I feel.

Funny right?

Why does everyone have to feel the same way as I do? Well you could say its because it’s not really about me, it’s about them too and it’s about posterity.

So sometimes while I move on the street and I see a thug harassing people, I think within myself,

This is a young person, he’s African. Why is he here harrassing people instead of thinking of ways to develop Africa?

I know it’s funny, a little, but the next scenario I’m about to give is not even funny at all.

In 2018, I volunteered as a member of the Presidential campaign team for Fela Durotoye in Nigeria. My role as a volunteer had me walk up to people randomly, and tell them about the ‘New Nigeria' dream and importantly encourage them to get their permanent voter’s card so that they were able to vote in the upcoming elections. All these came before we introduced our candidate to them, Fela Durotoye.

Now during this period, I had interactions with different categories of people, old, young, literate, illiterate, professionals, business owners etc. However, my interactions with youths then stood out for me, and I don’t think I’m ever going to forget.

Apart from the usual ‘wash' (embarrassment) I got for ‘wasting my time’ campaigning for a ‘nameless man’, a lot of these young persons told me point blank that they were not going to get their PVCs, because they would not vote in an election that would still be rigged. Some said they were not going to vote for Fela because at the end of the day, he would still not win despite his track record.

“So you mean you are not going to add your one vote to Fela’s vote? So we should just sit and do nothing?”

This experience humbled me. I realized that a lot of people didn’t really care how Africa ends up, they just want to survive and be fine.

In my bid to create a solution to this problem, I started Africa Raisers Initiative (ARI), now follow me closely.

ARI is an non-profit that seeks to raise leaders in Africa through leadership development program and empower them through her skills empowerment programs.

Great one, you may say, I did something with my passion, I created a solution.

However, passion is sadly, not enough. That I am passionate about Africa’s development does not mean I am capable of running an organisation effectively neither does it mean that I know and have what it takes to network effectively and bring working collaboration to the table.

So yes, passion is not enough.

What complements passion is self development. Self development never goes wrong.

In fact no one would know how much they didn’t know if they don’t attempt to know more.

If you seek to make change in your community, in your country, in Africa, or in the world, or you simply want to build your career, you should invest in self development.

Learn to look for opportunities that make you a better person and pursue them relentlessly.

Don’t run with passion alone, passion alone can take you from simply being ineffective to ruining you.

Passion plus ignorance is risky.

Passion plus knowledge and self development brings results.

No, I don’t currently have all it takes to bring results for ARI, or for Africa. However, I am willing to take on any opportunity for development in this regard. It’s not going to be a smooth journey, so I need all of the knowledge I can get.

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Omolewa Shobogun

African Development, Executive Director, Africa Raisers Initiative.