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Remembering our 60 Angels at the Jesuit Memorial College, Port Harcourt

What a beautiful weekend I have had.

I’ve JUST returned from the Jesuit Memorial College, Port-Harcourt LOCATED IN THE HEART OF NIGERIA’S NIGER DELTA REGION, where I delivered a keynote address and publicly committed to support the school’s fundraising efforts for new hostels to accommodate its young but expanding student body. It was a rewarding day spent interacting with the students during my lecture and follow-up Q&A session. The level of engagement and the soundness of the questions asked revealed that these boys and girls are indeed some of our country’s brightest youth.

I identify, sympathize and relate with the history of the Jesuit Memorial College, built to commemorate and eulogize sixty dearly departed students from Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja, whose lives were cut short in 2005 in a plane crash in Port Harcourt. Like the phoenix rises out of ashes, opportunity has been birthed from a TERRIBLE (y) incident. I charged the OVER 300 boys and girls in the hall to see themselves as messiahs unleashed into the world because of their impressive intellect and discipline. Though they are young today, they can play a significant part in shaping the future.

I was once a student, and in my time, things out there were even rougher than they are now. But the education and training I received in my youth helped me a long way. In the same way, I urged the students not to take their quality education for granted. Though they – like you – won’t always see immediate gratification, you should rest assured that success will eventually come as long as the following are in place:

  1. Purpose: What would you like to be in future? What are your dreams and aspirations? However, purpose is nothing if you don’t work towards making it come true.

  2. Hard work: Hard work is important to achieve your true purpose in life. Good things don’t come easy.

  3. Discipline: Discipline means you stay focused, and stay the path. Discipline will allow you realize your purpose.

  4. Check-ins: IDENTIFY AND SET MILESTONES THAT LEAD TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF YOUR CHOSEN PURPOSE. AND You SHOULD (need to) periodically check yourself. Ask yourself if you’ve achieved milestones and if you are on top of things.

  5. Resilience: You need to be resilient. You need to have staying power even during the tough times. Remember tough times don’t last.

  6. Humility: Above all, you need to embrace humility. Internalize it and run with it because as you become more successful, the propensity is there for you to forget where you’re coming from. Be disciplined and humble enough not to let your success control you, but instead control your success.


It was rather interesting when one of the students asked me how to balance being financially successful with family life. Let me say first of all that it is impossible to create sustainable wealth without BALANCE AND stability in the home. Even when you are faced with a very hectic schedule, you can strike a balance by spending regular quality time with your family. After all, you need peace and happiness in order to make money.

In closing, I reminded the students that though their benefactors, the 60 departed that brought the school to life, were victims of circumstance, the best way to immortalize them was to be very successful. I pray that all the souls of the departed rest in peace, and I pray for the students of Jesuit Memorial College, that their light may never dim, and that they (and all youth in the coming generation) shall make Nigeria and indeed Africa, great again.

Special thanks to Aleruchi Cookey-Gam for all her hard work in facilitating my participation in the event.  I also thank the Society of Jesus for investing in the spiritual and educational growth of young Nigerians.