We all clearly love stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, as these emails show. What follows is only a sample of the scores of similar emails I’ve been receiving from readers. Enjoy:
Thanks for the uplifting article titled 'Beyond Yar’adua: Tributes to Little-Known Living Heroes.' It's a rather unique article, penned in crisp and elegant English. You've whetted my appetite for the next instalment. Can't wait! Well done!
Ayo Odelusi (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I read your nice piece about the fellow named Umoru Ibrahim in this quite corner of my room in Chelmsford, UK, where I just engaged in an argument with my wife about the need for us (Nigerians) not to get disengaged from that country.
I'm from Ondo State and I tell you there a lot of Nigerians like that who are unsung but doing beautifully well all around the world. I only hope that one day Nigeria will be lucky to have a good, visionary leader who will move with great speed, intellect, and will to govern our people. We'll watch out for more of your lovely pieces.
Oluseye Alo (email@example.com)
This is very good. We need people like you in Nigeria. I have met Umoru several times but I never knew this was how he got to his present position. In fact, I stayed in Triumph for three months but nobody ever told me about this. All I know is he doesn’t gossip. He works diligently. Please keep up the good work of singing the unsung heroes for us.
Please keep up the good work. Our society needs a total reorientation and a remolding of our sense of values and your article is a step in that direction. I look forward to your series on other unsung Nigerian heroes and I wish you all the best.
I stumbled on your article through a friend that works in Zain. I call him my angel. I was touched by the piece you wrote on your friend "Umoru", particularly his ruggedness and determination. Only humble souls can do what he did. May I have his email or phone no, if you don’t mind? Awaiting your write-up on the others.
Femi Aderibigbe (firstname.lastname@example.org).
With his permission, this is his cellphone number: 0805-437-0400.
That piece was educative. Umoru is an example of focused attention and dedication to duty and, of course, Allah stood by him. It is awesome!
I have a similar history. I was orphaned at age 8. Both mom and dad were not educated by any measure and lived in an extreme rural area of the country.
When I was brought to Kaduna I was like an "almajiri" begging for "sadaka." God propelled me through elementary school, secondary school, did GCE, got married, and entered polytechnic as a father of two; after graduation from Kaduna Polytechnic, entered University, graduated from there and worked for a few years and went in for my masters; graduated and got a job with a foreign company and ended at the National Assembly in the House of Representatives during IBB/Shonekon and ousted by Gen. Sani Abacha.
Since then I have been living in the US and I’m hoping to return home and run for Senate in 2011. As always, I like to team up with trusted people even if they are not rich. Therefore when I get back I will follow Gen. Mohammed Buhari's party. That is the way my conscience directs me.
Atighir Shaguy (email@example.com).
I read your inspiring piece on Umoru Ibrahim and it reminded me of the column that the late Theresa Bowyer pioneered in the New Nigerian in the 80s to celebrate ordinary Nigerians who were doing extraordinary things, unrecognized.
Can I invite you to visit Fantsuam Foundation, Kafanchan? It’s a little-known NGO whose backwater location does not make it hit the Nigerian headlines whereas CNN has covered its activities twice, VOA has been there once, and so has BBC World. We will be pleased to show you our modest achievements.
John Dada (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I just read your inspiring piece on the Triumph photographer Malam Umoru Ibrahim. Please keep up the good work. We need writers like you who are objective and able to separate the chaff from the grain. I look forward to reading the next piece.
Dr. Muktar Aliyu (email@example.com).
I just read your highly inspiring article with the above title and I would like to seek your permission to publish same on our website http://transparencyng.com/.
Rufus Kayode Oteniya (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I enjoyed your piece on Mr. Umoru Ibrahim. It was brought to my attention by a mutual friend. Religious inhibitions amongst us have retarded our development and will continue to have us lagging behind the West in every aspect of our socio-economic endeavor. Our religious convictions, whether we are Christians, Muslims or whatever you name it, especially in developing countries like ours have stymied any kind of meaningful growth for our people.
Our religious convictions encourage us to deny technological advancement, yet we struggle to enjoy those advancements. There are values in the Western world that I certainly will advise my people not to imbibe, just as there are values in the Eastern world that I will not encourage my people to adopt. But when it comes to things that will improve the standard of living of my people, whether it be north, south, east or west, I tell my people to go for them.
I eat kaza (chicken), but it is not every part of kaza that I eat. I am sure you understand my analogy.
We should not only sing praises of the likes of Umoru Ibrahim on our newspaper pages. This man should become a model in society. And we can do this by having Umoru encourage those who were and are still in his former unfortunate situation that there is hope. Umoru and you and others can organize seminars at which the Umoru's of our time will speak and encourage people to beat the odds just like he did.
Utyondukaa Ikper (email@example.com)
We are condemned to live with the fact that our society is a sycophantic and mischievous one. No one will praise you alive but yourself.
Maryam Haruna (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Thanks for celebrating an unknown success as referenced in the above article. I applaud your choice and sense of judgement. I hope that people like you will become a role model to Nigerian youth at its trying period
Emmanuel Aregbesola (AregbE@parl.gc.ca)
I met Umoru Ibrahim a couple of hours ago and I found him to be exactly as you described him! He is a very likable human being. He told me that he is on his master’s thesis right now and intends to do his PhD soon after. One of his sons is a house officer now and the other is just getting into medical school. We talked like we knew each other a long time!
Dr. Abdulaziz Labo (email@example.com)
Thanks for taking your time to put down this tribute on Umoru. On my first day in class when I was doing my masters in political science at BUK, the intellectual curiosity which he exuded got me thinking that he was one of the lecturers.
It has been a privilege for me to have worked under Adagbo Onoja. I can tell you that he is unique and one of a kind; he’s hardworking and does not like to work with people who are lazy. I truly believe that it is a great honor and privilege for us in Jigawa to have him in his Excellency's cabinet.
Umar Suleiman Jahun.