Given what Life has Dealt me, I Don’t Think I Have Done too Badly

The hard­est part was the con­stant fear that some­thing could go wrong along the way, that they could fall vic­tim to some neg­a­tive in­flu­ences, ei­ther through peer pres­sure or some other ex­ter­nal fac­tors like the in­ter­net. Thank God that didn’t hap­pen. My mo

THISDAY - - SUPER SATURDAY -

have changed, the in­for­ma­tion con­sump­tion habits of the au­di­ences have changed, and so nat­u­rally has the skill set re­quired to func­tion ef­fec­tively in that space. It’s a whole new world out there. And even with all of that ev­ery­thing is still evolv­ing.’’

If a young­ster who is pas­sion­ate about ply­ing the per­cep­tion building trade, meets John Ehiguese, be sure to ex­pect this line of ad­vice: ‘‘Be pre­pared, both in terms of train­ing, and the right at­ti­tude, es­pe­cially a learn­ing at­ti­tude. You’ve got to be ready and will­ing to learn new things, con­tin­u­ously. Plus, you must in­vest in honing your com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, both oral and writ­ten. That is not ne­go­tiable.’’

In­sight into life and mar­riage seems to have pre­pared and changed his par­a­digm, as he shares the story be­hind meet­ing his wife: ‘‘She was work­ing with a friend, and I met her on a visit to his work­place. She was at­trac­tive, good-man­nered, and was from the same It­sekiri eth­nic stock as my mother. Those were my ini­tial at­trac­tions; other things fol­lowed as we got to know each other bet­ter. There wasn’t re­ally a for­mal en­gage­ment as such. We just went through the com­pre­hen­sive mar­riage rites in Jan­uary 1990. We got mar­ried for­mally on Jan­uary 13, 1990. I say ‘for­mally’ be­cause we al­ready had a child at that time. I was 32 then. It was just a small fam­ily af­fair. I have never been a fan of big par­ties and cel­e­bra­tions, even now. We bought our first house in 2007.’’

He tells the reporter what makes his spouse spe­cial and the suc­cess of rais­ing his chil­dren: “She is very loyal and strong. And she has done a great job of bring­ing up the kids, who are mostly boys. Any par­ent out there would un­der­stand what I mean. I think that we haven’t done too badly, given that they have all turned out well, each hold­ing his or her own pretty well. They all have a univer­sity ed­u­ca­tion, and my youngest child – the only girl – will be grad­u­at­ing from the univer­sity in a cou­ple of months from now. The best part was watch­ing them go through all the stages of growth – the strug­gles, the pains, the changes, the small vic­to­ries, all of that. I be­lieve very strongly that one of the most pro­found hu­man ex­pe­ri­ences is observing a child grow.

“The hard­est part was the con­stant fear that some­thing could go wrong along the way, that they could fall vic­tim to some neg­a­tive in­flu­ences, ei­ther through peer pres­sure or some other ex­ter­nal fac­tors like the in­ter­net. Thank God that didn’t hap­pen. My most im­por­tant suc­cess has been in rais­ing my chil­dren well. And the great­est frus­tra­tion for me has been the near-to­tal ero­sion of merit in our so­ci­ety to­day. It is al­most im­pos­si­ble to get any­thing on merit any longer – you have to ‘know’ some­body, or be pre­pared to ‘share’ money. No so­ci­ety can truly de­velop that way. And for me, it is sad, very sad.’’

When asked what the feel­ing is like at 60 and the thoughts of a succession plan, these were his words: ‘‘It’s strange, but I re­ally don’t feel like 60. Noth­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary, I must tell you. When I was much younger, 60 used to look so far away. But now it’s here, and it’s not such a big deal. A few changes though: my body is be­gin­ning to tell me things, my en­ergy level is no longer as it used to be. And as you grow older I guess you tend to be­come more con­tem­pla­tive and re­trained in your ac­tions. But in all, I am thank­ful to God for rea­son­ably good health, for a great fam­ily, and for sundry bless­ings. There seems to be a lot that still needs to get done. My life con­tin­ues to be work in progress. We’re work­ing on it. It’s not easy in this en­vi­ron­ment, but that does not mean that it can­not be ac­com­plished.’’

Given what life has dealt him, does he feel ful­filled, yes, but he feels he is still on a jour­ney, even at 60: ‘‘Given what life has dealt me, I don’t think I have done too badly. Yes, there have been some mis­takes made, some re­grets, but there have also been some vic­to­ries and suc­cesses. In all, it has been a jolly good ride so far, with its own fair share of ups and downs. Ev­ery man must de­fine what ul­ti­mate life suc­cess means to him. For me, I am still on that jour­ney. And lov­ing ev­ery bit of it!’’

For those who know JE as he is fondly called, he’s al­ways been a worka­holic. But he seems to be grad­u­ally slow­ing down now. He said: ‘‘I have tried to re­duce my work hours, and I plan to spend more time trav­el­ling and vis­it­ing with my chil­dren who live in dif­fer­ent parts of the world.’’

At 60, he looks for­ward to a long life, in good health, suc­cess­ful chil­dren and a good legacy all-round.

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