(Senior media practitioner, former Director with Globalcom and former Editor, Sunday Tribune)
Growing up in Ibadan, Nigeria from the early 70s through the 80s and early 90s, Radio O-Y-O ran a social re-engineering campaign urging people to be proud of their jobs, whatever it was, because there is dignity in labor. Even if you’re a market sweeper, it says, be proud as long as you are making money from legitimate endeavours.
Iconic accordion musician, late IK Dairo would further add to that, “eni ba ja’le lo b’omo je” (only a thief brings reproach and dishonor to sonship and the family name).
I read a story where Joseph Benjamin, a popular Nollywood actor was laboring to explain why he became an Uber driver in America.
Hey Joe, you do not owe anyone any explanation. It’s your life and you had to do what you had to do to get by. There are so many people with good college degrees who are driving Uber, Lyft etc in the US as the main job or side hustle. Americans love their freedom and would embrace anything that gives them the freedom to work at their pace. President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu recently disclosed that he was once a taxi driver in America. Billionaire businessman, Mike Adenuga was once a taxi driver in the US, a past he proudly acknowledged. Never despise the days of your humble beginnings.
My respect for Joe (as I chose to call him here) has gone several notches higher. I also like the way he took his rejection. It’s a redirection from God to perfect His works in your life. Your story is a lesson to millions of our youths who have been made to erroneously believe that there is a virtue in the fast lane, even if it’s a life of crime.
How about turning your story into a movie to teach the younger generation about the dignity of labor. How about Uber management seizing this moment to pick Joseph Benjamin as their African or global ambassador.