Don Vito

Some of us called him “Don Vito”, most of us just called him “Baba”.

His name was Ibrahim Baba Atta and we would spend many dark,  mosquito laden evenings sitting on his lower bunk in the off-campus room we shared in Gwagwalada dreaming about starting out company together.

We would call it “HOMEGROWN LTD” and it would be a marketing outfit targeted at promoting made-in-Nigeria goods worthy of showing off to the world. It would be our own little contribution to making our land the kind of place our children would be proud of.

Wyclef Jean would be singing “Homegrown” on our rechargeable lantern with a cassette player (‘cos there was never any power) and we’d sing along and plot and plan…

Then tragedy struck. On 7th Novermber, 2006, 3 days after his birthday, Baba’s body gave in to the crises that sickle cell often visited him with. It was a loss we could not understand and we still miss you man.

Fast forward to Sunday, 9th June, 2013. I turned to the back page of Thisday Newspaper and SIMON KOLAWOLE LIVE! caught my eye. He called his article “Made in Nigeria, Enjoyed Worldwide” and opened with his secret fantasy of flying into Europe someday and seeing Oando gas stations along the road, Dangote spaghetti at the supermarkets, Glo SIM cards at the corner shops and Ezekiel Izuogu’s Z-600 car on the motorway(you can read the whole article here

He really got me thinking. Have I done anything to come any closer to seeing this particular dream Baba and I shared come true? Well I did have an availability search conducted at the Corporate Affairs Commission for the name Homegrown Limited, of course it was unavailable. It will never be easy chasing down your dream, that has been my personal experience.

All that dreaming seems so far in the past now. I have since then succumbed to the cares of this world, basically consisting for me of my 8 to 6 job (why do we always say 9 to 5, talk true how many of you actually do 9-5 in Nija? Copy copy), and praying I get home early enough to catch my daughter before she goes to bed and spend some quality time with the Mrs.

Truth be told there are new dreams now, other things that look and feel more relevant, more real. But I can’t help but wonder where we would be if Baba was still here and we did all the things we wanted to do with our lives.

Well, our people say where there is life there is hope. Let us see what the future holds. Maybe I’ll come gist you guys about some company with some fancy name that I’m involved in, or some initiative that I’m promoting.

Only time will tell…