BY OJIE IMOLOAME||
…Just four years ago, in 2009, while a CEO of a modeling and events company, I went to the ATM to withdraw money from my account. I checked my balance and it was N800. I wanted to withdraw N500 but the minimum balance you can leave in your account then (don’t know if it’s same now) was N500, so the ATM didn’t give me the N500 I desperately needed. I tried to withdraw N300, but found out the minimum one can withdraw from an ATM is N500. I went home feeling down, wondering when my life would turn around.
You can quote me on this anywhere. There is no Nigerian parent anywhere in the world that does not take pride in their kids seeking out careers in Engineering, Medicine, Law, Financial Service or the Corporate World or better still, The Holy Grail of the Nigerian Dream, Oil. However, they frown heavily on any career that is founded in entertainment or any other alternative career whatsoever. Why? Personally, I have no idea, but that is just how, on average they are. I suppose one can say that they believe that people who go into the arts are those who were lacked the strengths and discipline to hack a real profession. In comparison, in the UK or United States, parents might be all right with their kids saying to them “ Mummy, I want to be an actress”, however, say such to a Nigerian parent and she might not take that very well.
However, dare I say, but the last couple of years in Nigeria has experienced some sort of ‘Entertainment Boom’. The Nigerian pop music has grown beyond the shores of the nation, Nigerian comedians are selling out shows in London and of course, the local movie industry dubbed ‘Nollywood’. Based on these successes, it is now slowly (I stress the slowly in great deal) becoming all right for Nigerians to say they are pursuing careers in alternative fields. Then we have blogging, which is another new career path that has been crafted and at the forefront of blogging is, lindaikeji.blogspot.com, which is fronted by Linda Ikeji.
In just four short years, Linda has turned her blog into the number one source for information around Nigerian pop culture. As, Americans have E-Online or maybe Perez or TMZ or the British have Daily Mail, Nigerians have Linda Ikeji. Information about your favorite singer, actress, personality even politics can be found on the blog. By the way, her information is accurate, as I have personally confirmed something she put up once. Rather than being your typical gossip blog, she decided to use her blog, as a platform to address what most Nigerians would describe as “taboo” issues. Her ever-popular “Dear LIB readers…” address issues of masturbation, oral sex, sexual desires, sex positions, frequency of intercourse. An example is “Dear LIB readers: I’m addicted to sex toys, is that a bad thing?” or normal issues like relationship problems, family squabbles, life issues and so on, with “Dear LIB Readers: How do I get my in-laws out of my home?” as an instance. Scroll down to the comment section and one sees in shock, Nigerians commenting and commenting freely around these taboo and non-taboo issues. Her blog has now become a place where people can just be free and talk and not feel like someone is going to judge them or wash their mouths with soap. Atimes, she raises these issues or her readers send in questions and people discuss.
In this short time, she has become on of the most influential Nigerian voices on the Internet, frequently doing appearances round the world. If you happen to get featured on her blog, be sure that you have arrived, because she commands hits in the many thousands daily, hence, organizations rush after her for advert space and pay her accordingly.
Why do we feature her on our blog? On our blog we preach that in order to stand out, one should get their heads out of the box and dare to be different, creative and innovative, and also do something that we love. Miss Ikeji, got her head out the box and did something different founded on something that she enjoyed and has not only turned herself into a multimillionaire, but has also made it acceptable for other people to follow alternative careers. She is a lesson that we can all be successful in anything that we put our mind to, be it the norm or not. Yes, even if naysayers say she is selling gossip, but I will say that she is self-employed, she is not doing anything illegal and in a country where unemployment rates are scary, she has done very well for herself. At this rate, I will not be surprised if she takes a page out of Oprah’s book very soon and starts a talk show, magazines and so on.
She published a letter some months back and I would say that after reading that, I was left inspired. In that letter, she stated that just fours years’ back, she was practically flat broke and now she was a multimillionaire from blogging. In that letter she really encouraged her readers they can be anything they want to be and also to never mind other opinions of others and focus on opinions of themselves and never to allow people to tell them they are less than who they are.
I leave with a quote from her letter….
“You can be anything you want to be. For all the dreamers out there, here’s something you need to know. The time while you’re waiting for your dreams to come true is not a bad time. All you have to do is keep moving, keep believing, keep fighting, keep working hard and keep praying.”
Read the touching letter of her story here