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Valuing Olajumoke and Ourselves

From unassuming hawker of world famous ‘Agege’ bread to becoming one of the fastest rising new stars on the road to being world famous, Olajumoke’s story has left all mouth agape in shocking admiration.

Olajumoke Orisaguna struts onto Tinie Tempah's set and inadvertently, her fortune. [via @tybello]
Olajumoke Orisaguna struts onto Tinie Tempah’s set and inadvertently, her fortune.
Since photo bombing celebrity photographer TY Bello’s set involving Tinie Tempah, the slim young woman has signed a modelling contract, become the face of an e-commerce website, Stanbic IBTC among a handful of others and moved from the slum to luxury.

The sudden fame and (some measure of) fortune however has caught many off-guard and set opinions rolling around, initially of awe but lately of concern and suspicion, all of which still keep Olajumoke around the top of engagement since the life changing moment and in the public relations world, that’s just fine.

The negative engagement began to surface when it went public that the model was billed to speak at an event in Abuja. Not just any kind of speaking, motivational speaking. ‘What is she supposed to say? I was a bread seller until bam! I photobombed a set. Be a … bread seller and do same?’

Olajumoke the Motivational Speaker [via Instagram]
Olajumoke the Motivational Speaker [via Instagram]
The analysis went on and around until it reached the point where it had become ‘obvious’ she (Olajumoke) is simply being used by certain people to make quick gains. The changing narrative has one thinking, are we making too much analysis of this?

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Consider there also was small talk of other celebrities trying to imitate TY Bello by finding someone on the streets and giving them a token to boost their business. Not exactly Olajumokesque but still something.

Publicity stunt or not, it was rather perplexing to read most of the reaction to E-Money’s act of kindness in which – to celebrate his birthday – he searched out a ‘shoe rack’ hawker named Promise whom older brother Kcee (the popular musician) had promised to help a while ago, only for E-Money to find out Promise had just been arrested by Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) officials.

Promise fulfilled: Kcee's brother E-Money with a grateful Promise
Promise fulfilled: Kcee’s brother E-Money with a grateful Promise

Not deterred, the birthday boy went to KAI’s Alausa Office and did not leave until Promise’s release was secured before proceeding to the original plan of the day and gifting Promise a car and ₦300,000, as well as giving a token to Promise’s brother and a friend who hawked with them. Narrative would have been different if this happened before Olajumoke but that’s irrelevant now.

The relevance herein is that someone else’s life had been changed for the better (however momentarily it may or may not be). Rather than bring up side talk, what are doing to help the next person the best way we can?

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It is always disheartening visiting the Prisons. Yes, there are soulless criminals who would rather be in a prison that serves as a rent-free abode and provider of meals (maybe not square and three times daily but still comes in a shape and at regular intervals).

Yet amidst these, there are the ones who find themselves in there because they cannot afford or have no one to pay their bail; which sometimes can be a grand sum less than Five Thousand Naira. Imagine the gratitude if you bailed one or two persons, or sponsored another to sit for UTME/WAEC exams.

TY Bello shares a thought on Olajumoke [via @tybello]
TY Bello shares a thought on Olajumoke [via @tybello]
A great deed does not necessarily require all the lights, paparazzi and currency, or in the cases above, a great deed should be seen simply for what it is and not what it may or may not be. If Olajumoke was feeling used, she should return to hawking bread?

It goes to show, in some way, how a product of certain (expected/perceived high) quality which is entirely made locally would largely be received. The scrutiny Innoson Motors; which thrives in the east of Nigeria, has received since its existence went mainstream is an example.

One then realises it’s not a matter of how many patronise you or your product or service but the value of it and what the ones who see so will pay for it. Olajumoke is sorted with the clientele she serves, Innoson has and will do just fine with the eastern market and the likes of Murray-Bruce as his customers.

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GTBank CEO Segun Agbaje admits banks have not done enough to support SMSEs [via @RedMediaAfrica]
GTBank CEO Segun Agbaje admits banks have not done enough to support SMSEs [via @RedMediaAfrica]
If we are to have a discussion on all the above parties involved, the argument should be such as the one Uche Nnaji presented. The upcoming fashion designer opined that rather than spend resources on the likes of Olajumoke all the time, Stanbic IBTC and other banks should do more in encouraging and supporting SMSEs which can actually provide more employment for people and help the economy. Even the GTBank Chief Executive Officer admits and agrees.

Adeleke Afolayan

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