​“WELCOME, WEY BREAD?”

Each time I visit Lagos or go on a long journey and come back to Onitsha, the first thing people ask is “where is bread?”

Some years ago I was in Lagos; I had no plans of coming back. I just wanted to add to the worsening population of Lagos and perhaps carve my niche there. Like every young person, I wanted to change my environment, have a new life, new friends and just forge ahead. I went to Lagos believing it was a greener pasture. Although I wasn’t expecting a thunder-bolt miracle like all of the ‘G-guys’ who left for Lagos and came back in 6 months cruising in one of the trending cars in those days, I just wanted to leave Onitsha for good.

Onitsha had become a very boring place for me then, I had gotten too used to everything about it that nothing excited me anymore and more importantly, I wanted to just leave my parents alone, I felt they were caging me from exploring myself and seeing the extent I could go with things I was doing. Somehow, it wasn’t a lie that I was being caged by them; they still saw me as a small boy who just came out of Secondary school. I was a small boy then though, but my imaginations weren’t small. I had valid dreams.

In Lagos, life was different as I expected. I lived in a friend’s aunt’s house and they truly took me in as a family and at least gave me that little freedom I wanted. It was freedom to be myself, visit places I wanted to visit and do positive things I should be doing. I had plans of studying in Unilag while I get a job to support myself and my academics as I also hoped my parents would always play their part.

We lived in an area that was predominantly Igbo; I would hear people communicate in Igbo and sometimes English or other languages. I didn’t feel so much like a stranger. I started making friends too and they helped me to look around for a job. One of the jobs I applied for was in a chemical factory; I can still vividly recall how my interview went and how much they said they would be paying me monthly. Before coming to Lagos, I was given the impression that they had jobs everywhere and those jobs pay well… It wasn’t a lie. But it was relevant information only for those who have skills and have developed it over time. At that time, I couldn’t boast of mastering any skill because I had never paid attention to my abilities. I got a job but I didn’t go to work… A terrible ailment came.

The day I was to resume work, I became so down. My head was aching, I felt like vomiting and I was feeling feverish all over. It became serious and lasted for about two weeks. Those two weeks happened to be terrible periods for me, sometimes I could see myself in the dream being laid inside a casket. I was feeling pains all over me that I got tired of living. The people I lived with took it over them to make sure I was fine. I felt my problem was a change of environment, maybe I was homesick… I still feel that was the problem. At a point, I had to go back home.

Nobody knew I was going back home, I was smuggled back home (I won’t tell you the story), I didn’t plan going back home but I finally saw myself home. I was very thin and unhealthy. I was not happy because that wasn’t how I planned my life. I planned coming home big and to prove my father wrong because he kicked against it.

When I came home, anyone who met me would ask “Welcome, wey bread?” That question alone made me scared of wanting to meet people who knew I travelled because I felt like a total failure. Well, I didn’t hit success but the experiences I gathered in Lagos at that time were going to be beneficial later in the coming years.

Most people are not interested in your story, they don’t care what you experience in your journey of life, and they just want to hear, smell and partake of your success.

This is life, life isn’t fair; this is where we all find ourselves. When certain people welcome you, it is not you that they are welcoming but your success, and when you cannot show them proof of your success they will walk away.

This should tell you that your success is not dependent on people but people are dependent on your success. What if I had died in Lagos? (It is not possible), people will still come for my burial and make demands for rice. Afterwards, they might honour me with a memorial service and then I am gone from their memories! Perhaps, only Facebook would be reminding them of me and they would pretentiously mourn me once every year on Facebook just for “likes” and “comments”.

“your success is not dependent on people but people are dependent on your success.”

Now let me tell you something.
People will want to hear your story only when you have proven your success. Your story is not important to the world; it cannot benefit the world until you succeed! Once you succeed, your past failures will become a motivation for people but when you fail and remain a failure, people will not pay attention to your story! What will they learn from it? How to fail? Nobody wants to learn how to fail, we all want to learn how to succeed even if we will end up hearing “you must fail before you succeed.”

In our part of the world, anyone coming home from a long journey is considered successful until he proves otherwise. They tend to forget that the prodigal son also came home from a long journey. If you didn’t learn that the world is expecting you to succeed in every step you take, learn that taking a step doesn’t mean one will succeed at once. Sometimes each step we take draws us closer to either success or failure.

People will want to hear your story only when you have proven your success.”

The day you stop taking steps, you have failed and the day the steps you took encourages you to try the ‘giant step’, you are succeeding. I didn’t regret going to Lagos at that time, if I didn’t go at that time, I wouldn’t have achieved certain things today. God had a way of exposing me to certain things then which became very beneficial to me today.

Let me tell you one… My experience in Lagos made me go back to develop myself, not because I can’t stay back there and develop myself but because certain influence I built around the home would make it easier for me to be what I want to be without having to start from scratch. I wrote my first movie script because I went to Lagos, it wasn’t such a big deal but it was a step in the right direction. In the cause of writing the movie manuscript, so many other things improved about my writing. Are you afraid of taking steps? It was hard for me to travel at that time, I remember the pains I went through just to save up for the adventure but it was worth it.

Years later, I had gone back to the same Lagos as many times as possible but this time, I was looking for a greener pasture, I was exporting my little intellectual properties. I had realized that I can create the kind of environment I want for myself and greener pasture became a part of my aura, an environment that goes with me anywhere I go.

Oh well, the last time I went and came back home, I arrived with enough “Tantalizer Bread”.

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