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The Duke writes Taiwo Ajisefini – #DukeOfSomolu

My sister, I have chosen the occasion of my 49th Birthday to send you this public message. I have decided not to use mainstream media just yet but rely on the deep penetrative powers of social media because of the importance of my message not only to you but to the leadership of Alumni Associations nationwide.

You see, alumni associations have within their bowels tremendous engines for socio-economic development of not only its members but that of society. This can only be unleashed with visionary leadership and a huge capacity to recognize these potentials and harness them towards a veritable path of economic development.

Nigeria as a nation is riddled with all sorts of challenges both economic and otherwise. I will not bore you with these challenges but seek to once again open your eyes to possibilities you and indeed the leadership of alumni associations nationwide can exploit if only you can drive away from the morass of shallow infighting and Lilliputian aspirations. Today’s alumni have grown beyond the cosmetic approach of gifting severely challenged children with mosquito nets as a plank of leadership achievements. Alumni must grow beyond its traditional platitudes of socio-cultural assemblage where old glory tales of school adventures are discussed with glee and excitement.

Alumni associations must as a matter of necessity immediately morph into vehicles of sustainable growth. Creating wealth, redistributing it, positioning its members and supporting their dreams and aspirations through the deliberate and volatile garnering of collective resources and making them available to serious-minded members who would now bring their ideas and plans to the fore.

This said, what is now staring us in the face is the need for the leadership of a focus based alumni to be peopled by not only visionaries but people that come with the necessary personality and girth to marshal resources and build cohesion towards a pre-determined end point. Today’s alumni will not do well with a leadership that only brings passion and interest to the table. A leadership that only comes with the love for school is dead on arrival. What you get will be a descend to the dark tunnels of personality and ego clashes egged on by intellectual midgets who know no better.

Our alumni with its 11,000 members come with tremendous powers. Its members span the globe contributing immensely to global ascendancy in all spheres. We have members who are intellectual giants and apart from maybe the Nigerian Military School in Zaria have produced more Army Generals than any other school yet we wallow in the sickening hypothermic morass of crass ineptitude as could be gleaned from your recent caveat in the Guardian.

We have sold a vision of a N1 billion Fund. A Fund that would empower our people, society and touch lives from within our membership. We have sold the vision of building veritable structures that would deliver these goals. Enduring structures that would outlive all persons and ensure longevity; an institutionalization of the Alumni and the depersonalization of its structures. Plans that would have thrown up our association into the levels of the Havard, Yale, and University of Lagos alumni. This vision your leadership have not seen and even if do not have the necessary internal capacity to deliver on.

Hope is not lost, my lack of confidence in your weakened leadership does not in any way subjugate my strong belief in the alumni hence, the decision by myself and like-minded members to carve out a portion of the vision by setting up the independently owned Private Investment vehicle which would within the limits of our meager resources provide financial intermediation services to our people.

The CICL when ready will provide financial succour to our embattled people, secure all necessary licenses (we are already registered at the CAC) and legally go about its business as a showcase of what we will do when we finally take over the reins of the sleeping giant that is COMLAG Alumni.

I wish you well Madam even as I state very quickly that your two-year tenure is for me a temporary interregnum that we need to regroup and restrategize for an eventual return, for this alumni must be made to fulfill its destiny. A destiny which has been foretold, a destiny that will see it play a pivotal role in the renaissance that is Nigeria.

I thank you for the opportunity to have your continued interest in our association and wish you well as you see out your tenure peacefully and morph into a statesmanly role watching from the sidelines as we begin the tedious but very possible work of delivering well-articulated plan and goals for our 11,000 people.

Postscript

We took 20 children and 5 of their teachers to see my Play – Isale Eko at the Muson Centre. That was a N22 million production with over 150 cast and crew and the children were beside themselves with excitement and I shed tears because of the fact that we continue to wrap ourselves around primordial internal intrigues when we should be holding hands and working in partnership to deliver for these children a secure future. It is well and in less than 12 months, the sun will rise again.

Thank you.

Joseph Edgar
The Duke of Shomolu

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Idris Aina
Idris is a media and communications professional with keen attention to details. An entertainment enthusiast, he is an ardent fan of the team from the Red Side of Manchester with love for football banters. He tweets with the handle @arlomah.
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