For some reason, that incident has been ringing in my heart for a few months now. It was a traumatic show to watch. It happened sometime in early 2012. The youths were protesting the increase in petrol price by the Goodluck Jonathan administration. Although it was an administration that was voted in with the hopes of getting some Goodluck infused into our economy, the opposite will seem to come to fruition.

It happened at Ojota, by the bridge that links Ogudu to Toll gate. A group of area boys had gather to drink some alcohol and smoke some weed. If you were not careful, you would have gotten high just by inhaling the smoke that permeated the air. I was drawn to the commotion when I saw a gathering of people shouting at the edge of the bridge. Since I was covering the protest in photography, I thought it would be an interesting sight to behold and photograph. It was indeed an interesting sight, but I wasn’t bold enough to photograph what eventually went down.

The gathering of people were apparently hailing and encouraging this particular young man to jump from the bridge to the ground. The bridge was about 40 feet to the ground and I was surprised why no one in their right sense would see that it was a risky endeavor. Well, apparently no one was really in their right sense. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was intoxicated with one substance or the other and the excitement in the air was thick.

If you had heard the encouragement I heard that day, you would have gotten the courage to instigate a coup like the recent one just completed in Burkina Fasso. I seemed to be the only one that was sane in the crowd. Everyone else seemed to encourage him to take the leap and that he’ll be alright once he lands. Some even dared him and told him that he wasn’t a real man if he didn’t jump. Eventually he jumped.

He died.

I stood there in shock as I watched his lifeless body. Knowing that I witnessed the entire scene was traumatic for me. It’s been almost 11 years and I still can’t erase that picture from my memory.

One lesson I took from that one scenario: BE CAREFUL WHO YOU LISTEN TO. Infact, many encouragement and advice will come from people you admire and hold in high esteem even though many have not implemented the advice they’re dishing out to you. It’s been 10 years+ and I’ve been like that area boy that jumped. In some cases, my jump has been fatal. In some cases, I survived with a few bruises. In all cases, I learnt my lesson.

One of the habits I’m learning to imbibe is to know when God is indeed leading me and when men are leading me. Sometimes it can be tough to hear His leading in a noisy & busy world. Sometimes it’s not as easy as 1 + 1. Sometimes I celebrate myself for following his guidance one day and the next day I’m a prodigal son.

The fact that everyone is building a house in VI doesn’t mean I have to follow the bandwagon. The fact that everyone is called to start a church in Lagos, Abuja or America doesn’t mean I have to. Infact, sometimes I wonder why it seems God has stopped leading Nigerians to start a church in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait or China. I think about that a lot. The fact that everyone seems to be on the JAPA train doesn’t mean I have to. It’s important I follow the right counsel and know the exact time I need to do what I need to do for my next level. It can be difficult regardless of one’s age on this earth but nothing beats knowing that one is always being led by wise counsels.

In all situations, I’m increasingly reminded that if I don’t become constantly conscious of whose advice I take, even if it’s coming from my inner circle of top 10 role models, I will eventually become lifeless like the area boy who excitedly jumped to his death.