The wind of life blows from different directions. Most of the time, it ditches the entertainment circle and strikes us like a strict mentor. In line with mentorship, I was opportune to have a mentor; life coach and political activist share his thoughts on spotlight.
His name is Henry Ikenna Ani. He’s a graduate of Economics from the University of Calabar. He holds a Masters degree in Development Studies from the University of Nigeria, and he currently runs PhD in Development Studies still at the University of Nigeria. Henry is a member of Nigeria institute of Management, and he believes that Gold can never be appreciated in its raw state, but through the terrible heat of the refining process you will appreciate the beauty of the ornament.
Have a wonderful read as he lets us into his world.
Let’s talk about life, what are you most grateful for at the wake of every new dawn?
HENRY: I am most grateful for the fact that God kept me alive and healthy. Every other thing hinges on that. Each time I look at myself in a mirror, I’m thrilled at the quality of man God has made.
Besides, there’s no greater joy than waking up with so much faith and positivity. The fact that I have a relationship with Christ, and I’m committed to His word keeps me going. I also have an amazing family that is very consistent in supporting me.
As a grown man who has faced lots of challenges, how would you define life?
HENRY: Life is too complex to define, but I can say that life is all about perspective. Perspective is a product of our background, environment, experiences and exposure. Our responsibility as upwardly mobile people is to make sure that these four elements do not deposit retrogressive traits that will ultimately stampede the realization of our purpose and this is quintessential because perspectives shape our paradigm which ultimately determines the extent of our achievements in life. But the interesting thing is that perspectives can be changed through exposure to the right information, environment and circle of influence.
Hence, my philosophy of life is “being consistent regardless of who is watching. What you are in the dark is what is important. Giving my best to anything I can do for myself and others.” It’s all about devotion to excellence, nothing less.
So far, do you have any regret?
HENRY: I have no regrets looking back, because I have learnt to use my experiences (good or bad) for my advantage.
Let us peer into your career, what are you most passionate about?
HENRY: Humanity! I am a development economist, consultant, and also interested in politics. Each passing day, I develop and master my innate abilities, using that uniqueness to create a better life for myself and inspire positive influence on my environment.
You talk about your career with so much ease, but how do you keep up without burning out? What’s your source of inspiration?
HENRY: (Laughs) You don’t walk under the sun or run without sweating. Well, I draw strength and inspiration from nature and people. As a development economist, Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore inspires me. Politically, he is my greatest influence because politics should be a tool for the development of any society or nation. I also admire my spiritual father Paul Adefarasin, and the nationalism in Kwame Nkrumah.
Moreover, to keep the fire burning as a consultant, activist, and life coach; you have to be on the cutting-edge, and continuous exposure to knowledge is the key. So you have to give yourself to study, mentoring, meditation, and reduce activities and associations that cause distractions to the barest minimum.
How has the journey been for you? Can you share your achievements and plans for the future?
HENRY: I’ve contributed positively to both the private and public sectors; presently I’ve stuck to the public sector because I think I have the leverage there. I believe that within the short span I’ve been around the public sector, I’ve helped public institutions to build capacity and acquire relevant tools that help drive public policies. Some of them include World Bank sub-regional programmes in Anambra, Enugu, and Ebony State that transverse Environment, Agriculture, Public Sector Reforms and Public Finance Management. I am still learning and more are still in the offing.
So, it’s safe to say that you have contributed a fair share of goodwill and support to mankind?
HENRY: I think it’s too early to be categorical, but I can say that I am giving my best, though my best is still not the best, there is always room for improvement and that is part of my commitments. It’s a continuous process and my vision is to keep adding value and help in building credible institutions that support sustainable development.
Fair enough, success and achievements mean different things to different people, so what’s your own idea of success?
“ Success is the amount of value added not the amount of wealth acquired. I believe people should seek for impact not fame. Real fame and success comes naturally when positive impact is made.”
It’s also paramount to note that you mustn’t be famous for you to be celebrated, as long as you are adding value within your sphere of influence. Regardless of the size of your space you will always be celebrated, though not many will be pleased at the value you are rendering. In that case your greatest classroom becomes those who challenge your efforts while those that applaud you become part of your motivation. I also celebrate myself because I cannot bequeath that responsibility to other people.
On the flip side, how do you manage to stay sane in this crazy world?
HENRY: Well, life can be pretty tough but we can always find a way around it. I find time to ease the pressures through playing Christian songs and listening to Christian messages, watching documentaries and news, traveling and meeting new people. That’s how I stay sane.
“I think I’m one of the few individuals who’s not going crazy with the world.”
Awesome! So, if I can grant you your heart desires what would you ask for?
Bless the world with purposeful and selfless leaders. Yes, I tend to find happiness within but each time I analyze the world we live in, the level of injustice and poverty around the world most especially Sub-Saharan Africa move me to tears.
In addition, better relationship with my maker, a loyal spouse and more money can turn my life around for good. Trust me, “I’m so scared of getting along with the wrong woman for the rest of my life.”
Finally, what do you say to that youth or individual fighting so hard to beat the odds of life?
The journey of life is naturally not a smooth sail because life is not fanfare but warfare. You’re not alone! I’ve seen encouragements and successes as well as delays and disappointments, but all these things add up to building the strength, tenacity and capacity that is shaping the personality God is designing me to become. I am still a work in progress.
I want you to know that “GOLD can never be appreciated in its raw state, but through the terrible heat of the refining process you appreciate the beauty of that ornament!”Just take a firm resolve to be the best and never get distracted in pursuing it.
Thank you for reading this piece. I hope you’ve been able to draw strength from his words.