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Now that they have turned Olajumoke into motivational speaker



By Stanley Azuakola . .

Every sane, fair-minded person is pleased at the fairy tale story of ex-bread seller, Olajumoke Orisaguna, whose fortunes have changed in less than a month. Her face has transformed from that of just another unremarkable hawker on the streets of Lagos to a real life celebrity. She has just been announced as the face of the PayPorte brand for 2016, has secured another modeling deal, now supposedly owns a furnished luxury apartment, has graced the cover of Thisday style, got admitted into Poise Finishing School, and has been featured in over a dozen international media including CNN, Huffington Post and Buzzfeed. And more will expectedly come.

How lucky can one get? And all of this because providence dragged her to a photo shoot by an amazing singer, photographer and director who has a heart of gold, TY Bello. This is the definition of a feel-good story if ever there was one.

But, you see, in our country, we have a way of overdoing every single thing. We do not know where to stop and draw the line. It only takes a moment in these parts for a fairy tale to be transformed into a farce. And that – sadly – is what seems to be happening with Olajumoke.

Check out the poster, announcing that Olajumoke has been chosen as motivational speaker in this year’s edition of the P.L.A.Y forum. What is wrong with us? What next are we going to attempt? Smuggle her to the United States in time for her to run for president this November?

Read also: Huffington Post features bread seller accidentally scouted by TY Bello

For the records, I have no qualms with the P.L.A.Y forum, which is an acronym for Political Leadership Among Youths forum. At their event last year, they pulled strong personalities like Obiageli Ezekwesili and Frank Nweke Jnr. to deliver powerful keynotes, while Tolu Ogunlesi moderated a PDP vs APC session which had Doyin Okupe and Boss Mustapha participating. But this year’s attempt looks like a play taken too far. Just too far.

Why not wait a year to see how Olajumoke does in school and then let her come in 2017 and dazzle guests with a good grasp of English. Now that would be inspiring. It would be saying, ”Yes luck or favour or providence opened the door, but I faced challenges on the way. Yet I dug in my heels and worked hard and – ladies and gentlemen – look at me now.” Why can’t P.L.A.Y hold on a bit and see how she handles fame and pressure and how she balances this new level with her family life and other commitments? That way when she is invited as a motivational speaker, people know they are not just coming to listen to a lady with a pretty face who stood at the right place at the right time and got favoured for it, but someone who has proven that she can sustain the momentum, handle various commitments and still stand strong. That would be a motivating story.

One is only wary of branding this move by the P.L.A.Y forum as exploitation simply because it will be nice to give the forum the benefit of the doubt and assume that they truly do not know any better. But they have got to pull the plug on this hideous charade. Give our Olajumoke space and time to live her life and make things work. The fame that comes with beauty is fragile and fleeting; only when mastery and excellence is added to it does it become glorious and eternal. Give Olajumoke a chance to find glory.

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