Thursday, 01 December, 2022


Tobi Is A Teacher

Show me a person that has not felt the touch of a teacher and I will show you a soul starving for learning.

The word ‘teacher,’ a noun, goes beyond the person who impacts knowledge. Life can teach lessons that stick. Actions of people can reveal invaluable lessons. In all, it is good to be taught by something or someone, to have a more colourful life.

Teachers are priceless individuals. I should know, because I am one. In my younger years, I did not know that someday, I will walk this teaching path. But today, I do. I am a proud teacher, raising the next generation of English scholars and skilled writers.

While on the subject of teaching, I will share a recent experience. I watched a performance that brought out many colours of emotions in me. I was moved to tears. I swelled with pride. I was full of joy. For the performer and the performance, that made me learn a legion of lessons.

Tobi Amusan, the performer, gathered accolades for an amazing feat. Emerging as a new world record holder, among other achievements, in the 2022 World Athletics Championships, held in Oregun, United States of America.

Tobi transformed to a teacher and made me go home with many lessons.

From Tobi, I learnt the power of perseverance. I heard one of her co-athletes say she was placed fourth twice. Yet she forged on, never giving up on her dreams, till she held the gold medal in her hands.

Tobi taught me that when a person excels in a particular craft, nothing else matters, but that win. The person commenting on her win made a profound statement, ‘Quite astonishing for a Nigerian.’ While I have no access to the thoughts of his mind, to know what inspired that statement, it is clear that he and probably most of those watching, did not expect her to win. I mean, she’s a Nigerian. A citizen of the nation of Nigeria which is a pot field of challenges. But when she dived through those hurdles like she was on steroids and got to the finish line, she was given her gold medal. No questions asked. Winners sparkle, irrespective of their origins.

When Tobi won, Nigerians celebrated in unison. The Ibos, Yorubas, Hausas, my Delta people, those from the Middle Belt, and other parts of Nigeria ALL agreed in unison that a NIGERIAN had won. Her tribe was of no consequence. This sure taught me a lesson that unity can be achieved, if those at the centre of the call for unity, agree to unite.

From Tobi’s feat, I learnt how success can break barriers. It was such an hour to hear the Nigerian national anthem played in a foreign land. All because a Nigerian citizen distinguished herself.

Tobi’s win proved the truth that when success happens, what seemed like a chore transforms to a necessary act. How many times have I heard the complaint that Nigerians have jaw-breaking names? How many examples are there, of Nigerians who had to change their names, to fit into foreign societies? But when Tobi won, the pronunciation of her surname became a necessity. Though ‘Amusan’ was transformed to ‘Amazon,’ and the name ‘Tobi,’ sounded like the American variant of ‘Toby,’ the fact remains that foreigners will have to learn how to pronounce that name, by fire, by force, whenever they are referring to her.

I can foresee many more lessons from Tobi’s achievement. When those who did not reckon with her, will hunger to associate with her. I still hope to learn more lessons, but for now, these ones will suffice. I am proud of this young Nigerian girl who has proved that greatness resides in Nigeria.

All Nigerians need is the enabling environment, to thrive.

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