Onitsha Town situated in the east of the River Niger (original nomenclature: Onicha Ado n’Idu) is an ancient Kingdom of a most unique Nigerian people evolving since the 14th century with very rich culture and customs strengthened by the clear hierarchy and demarcation of responsibilities among traditional administrative cadres. At the apex of these cadres is an Obi whose majesty is levered by the able support and collaboration of distinct institutions led by chieftains called Ndi-Ichie.
Consequently, the various levels of administrations help to provide guidance to the Obi-in-Council in offering wise counsel while providing exemplary participatory democracy cutting across institutions of socio-cultural settings and other stakeholders like the Agbalanze-Onitsha (for the male gender), the Otu-Odu (for the female gender), and the Age-grade societies.
The compendium of rich Onitsha cultural heritage and unique institution of kingship is jealously held in MINDFUL perspective by the people who invariably arouse today the envy of many because, extraneous factors and pressures of present day modernity have not been able to diminish the importance and respect attached to the unique Onitsha Monarchical Stool.
From the foregoing therefore, it is no wonder that the Onitsha indigene is always distinguished and proud in their respective areas of endeavor no matter the place. That is synonymous with the lifestyle of one conscious of his heritage and core values. Such a person endeavors always to stand-out in the crowd.
Having said this much, it is pertinent at this juncture, to relate the prodigious Onitsha issues with the present concerns especially the topic of this paper: ‘A Career beyond the Onitsha Kingdom’.
The choice of this topic was made out of especial passion to positively impart my humble quota to the body of existing knowledge in child and youth development with emphasis on career. Furthermore, owing to the title given to this maiden magazine of the Onitsha-Ado Students Association of the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, I couldn’t help but make effort to present a paper in line with their VISION which in the present circumstance is, in my candid opinion, plausible.
Presently, two questions may come to mind. First is: what is a career? The second is: what is a career beyond the Onitsha Kingdom?
Very well then if you are as curious as I was when trying to put this paper together. Now let us try to make some clarifications.
2.1 A CAREER – there are different definitions of the term career ranging from that in the Chambers dictionary that expresses career as one’s professional life, progress in one’s job or progress through life generally. However, for the purpose of this paper, I would rather look at career from the UNESCO perspective thus:
“the interaction of work roles and other life roles over a person’s lifespan
including both paid and unpaid work in an individual’s life”.
The above definition by UNESCO suggests that People are apt to create career patterns as they make decisions about education, work, family and other life roles. Recall that it has been established that the Onitsha people have over the years jealously held on to their rich cultural heritage and unique kingship institution with a MINDFUL perspective that generally influence the interaction of their work roles and other life roles to the extent that envy is aroused in many a non Onitsha indigene.
The use of the term ‘MINDFUL’ is deliberate and pedagogical with a view to having the word expatiated in its alphabetical and adverbial contexts as an enumeration of guard-points to inform the choice of a career that will potentially accord prestige, pride and altitude beyond one’s kingdom’s borders. For example, the need that informed the conceptualization of a life beyond the Onitsha Kingdom can only be satisfied when every Onitsha youth (Undergraduates/Postgraduates alike) is able to mindful (ly) engage in interaction of work roles and other life roles based on some carefully created career patterns resulting from valid decisions made about education, work, family and even recreational roles.
To be mindful(ly) engaged in the preponderant analogy is therefore to be able to perform on consistent basis a self-assessment of one’s position in relation to:
Motivation – this is the underlying force that causes or stimulates an individual to act in ways that ordinarily would not have been evident. It is therefore very important that people put into perspective all aspects of a discipline, course of study or work role(s) that may be necessary from time to time to stimulate them into performing more than would ordinarily have been evident. That way, the individual may be able to reach beyond borders in his/her career. As a guide therefore, find below some specific aspects of a job to consider before making a choice:
- Nature of the job – this includes the job description, the schedule of work, hours to be spent on the job, tools available for use on the job e.t.c.
- Job prospects and advancement- as students and energetic youth, it will not be wise to expend all your youth crawling up the hierarchical ladder of Ranks in any organization. It is therefore important that you know well in advance the number of years you need to work before getting promoted. It is important also to know what you need to do on the job to facilitate promotion either rapid or regular.
- Salary and other benefits – studies have revealed that one of the motivating factors for choosing a job is the economic benefit attached to that job. That notwithstanding, salaries and other benefits are also very important factors to consider.
- Job hazards – as students, you should know that there is no job that does not have its hazards which by definition may refer to any danger, difficulties or harassment faced by a worker to the extent of posing a threat to the person’s life.
It can therefore be seen that with most of the guide-points enumerated above, a student can better be equipped to determine a career path that can best motivate him/her.
- Interests – this is the desire to pay personal attention to details. It is the factor that delineates wants and affords a scale of preference according to order of priority. It has become obvious that people do very well in areas where they have interest. Interest counts a lot when going for a particular job because the assumption is that you will be able to perform to your satisfaction and contribute positively to society. Interest compels an individual to seek more knowledge and acquire new skills that invariably will accord him/her a distinguished position in the field and society.
- Needs – this is the paradigm concerned with the study of societal needs and emerging trends in the economy of nations such that one is gingered and challenged to pursue a career path that will enable him/her to provide goods and/or services to meet those needs as they arise. This model affords the creation of Professional Identity or Niche.
- Demands – it is important that intermittent studies be carried out to determine goods/services demand patterns. Having identified various societal needs as it were, a thorough demand analysis and/or trend analysis is necessary from time to time to equip the student or prospective worker with relevant market statistics that will inform a good choice of career.
- Future – in making a choice of career, one ought to consider what the future holds for that particular job role(s). It is usually safer to have long-term maturation ventures in mind notwithstanding the fact that short-term maturation ventures usually provide daily expense funds. Talking about future, one should be cautious of unforeseen legislation and government fiscal policy that may not be favorable to certain disciplines or ventures in the long run.
Usefulness – a good career should be highly advantageous and able to serve helpful or practical purposes. This advantageous impact should be positively visible on various aspects of societal endeavors especially towards achieving:
- Your personal goals
- Your Organizational objectives
- Dire yearnings of your local community
- Overall National strategic objectives
- Learning – this term may simply refer to the gaining of experience, knowledge or skill that will influence a near permanent change in one’s behavior. A good career therefore should be able to present diverse learning opportunities to the individual. Learning opportunities are motivational and Organizations that have the culture of training and re-training of personnel are more likely to attract more of seasoned professional workforce than their competitors. Through continuous learning you will be exposed to bodies of knowledge that will make you different from the rest of your peers thereby making you stand-out in the crowd.
- Legacy – this to me is not just any word in the English dictionary but rather a transforming seed sown for positive reasons that will ultimately perpetuate existence. According to the Chambers Dictionary, it is something handed on or left unfinished by a past owner or predecessor. A good career therefore must accord an individual the opportunity to leave behind something that is worthwhile to society such that he/she will forever be remembered by it. This invariably is a kind of structure that must be in place to take one beyond the borders of his/her kingdom.
- Yield – this is a function of the ability to produce a specified quantity of natural, artificial, material or financial products within a given time. A good career therefore should be able to produce expected returns and/or significant dividends to the individual, the Organization and the Community.
It is therefore very important that the Student or Youth should make valid self-assessment in relation to the foregoing in order to make a rational choice of career that will ultimately take him/her beyond the borders of his/her town. For the Onitsha-Ado Student therefore, a valid self-assessment in line with the aforementioned will enable him/her assume the right position in a career beyond the Onitsha Kingdom.
2.2 A CAREER BEYOND THE ONITSHA KINGDOM – consequent upon the foregoing, one can confidently posit that a career beyond the Onitsha Kingdom is that career which will expose an individual to horizons outside the known prodigy of the Onitsha-Ado Monarchy because the career pattern has been mindfully created to ensure:
- Interest stimulus
- Needs satisfaction
- Demands analysis
- Future relevance
I wish to seize this opportunity to reiterate that choosing a good career rarely happens by accident but by an involved process of a mindfully engaged paradigm. You are all sons and daughters of a great monarchy of over six hundred years of remarkable standing. Kindly do the best you can to keep the flag flying no matter the perils or challenges.
In conclusion, you should please keep in mind this humble quote of mine:
“the dense and foggy cloud may temporarily blur the spontaneous visibility of a Star
but must ultimately give way for the glorious glamour of its dazzling twinkle”.
Remember always therefore that you are a Star from birth and heritage. Go on then and show forth the glorious glamour of your dazzling twinkle with a career beyond the Onitsha Kingdom.