Jumoke Orisaguna's story has got to be the most sensational story of 2016 and we're only in February! While the story, the classic case of "Just with the snap of a finger, God can change your life " is one of hope, inspiration and joy. It's also a very sensitive one in that you dare not say "enough already", or question all the corporate bodies suddenly pitching their tents around her or express indifference at her sudden fame that could only have been ordained by the gods, lest you be termed a hater by the court of public opinion, just like Basket Mouth.
The thing is, I'm all for a great inspirational story but I've watched this one from a safe distance. While I'm overjoyed for her at the change of tides; I mean, to wake up one day a poor agege bread seller making a profit of N500 a day whose only hopes probably revolved around selling more bread, to suddenly being the most talked about personality in a country... I mean, how it must feel to be walking jejely on your own, selling your bread and come and be jammed by a trailer of success, instant fame, contracts, endorsements, property, money and speaking engagements... I mean, to in one week go from being a monolingual yoruba speaking hawker to suddenly becoming a motivational speaker at an esteemed national platform like the Play Forum Abuja... Wow, God is AWESOME!
It's this "motivational speaker" issue that set my friend off at dinner last night. "Wait, I don't get it. Motivational speaker? Who is she motivating? How exactly is her story inspiring?" She began. She wouldn't let me speak before she continued "I mean, give me a person who had a vision and fought against all odds to achieve that dream. Give me someone who tried at something and failed, tried and failed and eventually succeeded and let them tell us how they achieved it, then I can listen. But I don't know what all this one is all about". She paused for breath. "No wait, I'm curious. What is she going to talk about? How she went from selling bread to modeling and getting endorsements without any effort or input from herself? I fail to see the inspiration in all of this!"
Trust me at this point I would have called my friend a hater but she was spitting some truth and expressing some of my sentiments. So maybe I'm a hater...
During the conversation, I neither agreed nor disagreed with her and thought to myself that I would continue to watch. And then I saw Jumoke catwalk today and my mouth felt like lead, she looked so uncomfortable and awkward that I couldn't help but wonder "Did anyone ask this lady if she even wants to be a (runway) model?".
Y'know, even Kunbi Oyelese (of April by Kunbi) who gave her her first modeling gig, stylishly vocalized that she is not runway model material, when she stated "she may not be a runway model but she's perfect for print..."
I'm sincerely happy for Jumoke the woman, wife and mother. I jubilate in the knowledge that one person has been ousted from poverty. I marvel at the instant beauty from ashes; the new opportunities, the possibilities, the new life for her family, the better education for her children, and the glee with which she must sleep at night when she wonders, as sweet sleep tugs at her; na me be dis?
But I cannot help but wonder at all these corporate bodies and look on them as selfish entities hopping on the Jumoke-bandwagon in hope that some of her stardust might rub off on them. I wonder if they've been blind to all the poverty and hunger around them all these years or if this beautiful product of TY Bello's vision and kindness is their first awareness of the lack and hunger in our country.
Whatever the case is, I hope Jumoke Orisaguna is surrounded by the right people to guide her. I hope she is not overwhelmed by it all, so much so that she begins to yearn for the simple days of old. I hope that her husband finds his wife the "sudden star" to be the same woman he's loved all along. I hope that she polishes her craft, if modeling indeed appeals to her. I hope that when the applause dies down the silence doesn't deafen her. I hope that those who have made commitments follow them through and don't stop simply because the cameras stopped rolling. I hope that in all of this, someone stops and asks her "What is it YOU really want?". I hope Jumoke is a woman gifted with divine wisdom because if there's ever a time in her life she needs it, that time is now.
I hope that everyone hoping for an "instant" turnaround find their own joyous turnaround moments.
And no, Basket Mouth is no hater, he has simply spoken the minds of many.