Let me tell you a story - My favorite Valentine & how it SHAPED ME

I left paid employment in the year 2003 to go and concentrate on how to build a family life practice but my first task was to toast commercial sex workers out of prostitution at Good evening street Ajegunle as well as set up Gold in the Slum which because the hub that developed several young people in that area of Lagos. 

It was Valentine's day 2005 and I just came up with this weird feeling of spending Val with commercial sex workers(I called them my sisters trapped behind the bars of prostitution). 

I called my team together and we got gifts while those that could bake cakes and small chops did. In all it was less than 10k but our heart of love was worth a billion dollars. We sent letters to media houses to come and witness the first ever Valentine with prostitutes. My deputy 

Christopher Olukoju

took the letters around and dropped one at Channels TV. Before he got to the office a certain Joseph Esenwa had called to inform us they would like to be a part of it. 

We were all excited and we took off to Good evening street. On getting there we noticed most of the girls didn't even know it was February 14. But they were excited to see me because i had built trust over time so the girls didn't have issues allowing cameras into their space. 

As we gave food and gifts the girls were blown away and some broke down and wept uncontrollably. Somehow it was a mission well executed because by the following day news got to us that 8 of the girls had left prostitution and returned home. 

It was my best valentine's day ever but that was not the end of the story.

Channels TV made it their big news for the day and people saw it all over. Meanwhile there was a man i had grown to admire on TV who i desperately wanted as my mentor because he was the best relationship expert way back who did it professionally, I still believe he is still the best. 

I did not know he saw our event on TV. So i was excited when my pastor announced that he was coming to take a session at Ministry mentoring program in church. I was still basking in the euphoria of that outing when i walked into church as he was taking a session on personality analysis. 

I had never met him physically but he stopped what he was teaching took a look at me as i made my way into the fully parked auditorium and said 'Anyone who loves this young man needs to warn him because media is not the first place when you are starting out. If care is not taken he will soon crash, his gifts must be preserved and he must be saved from himself' 

Chai, it was as if the ground should open up and swallow me. I walked slowly to take my seat and some of my friends were upset at what they perceived was public disgrace and they told me to go and 'tear for him' 

Somehow i asked myself a silent question that only me could have asked 'Praise do you need him or does he need you'? 

During tea break I made my way to him and knelt beside him and uttered the magical words 'Thanks for the public rebuke sir I think i'd benefit from your mentoring so that I don't fizzle out so early' He smiled and gave me his address to come to his office. 

That was how my journey into mentoring began with 

Jerome Yaovi Onipede

it was one of the best mentoring experience that i still share with young people because he kept testing me by sending me on errands that had nothing to do with what i needed to learn. I was patient and didn't see it as anything afterall I knew what i wanted to learn. 

After 3 months he started to teach me stuff and gave me a book that he said i'd never find on any shelf and inside that book was all i needed. But little did i know he was about to leave Nigeria and had recommended me to take his place on most of his platform. He recommended me for my first ever award and he is still one of the people that call me to order when i go off line. 

Young people can you stand the test of mentorship? I see a lot of young people walk up to me for mentoring but what they want is platforms and access nothing more. When i see what gets them angry i laugh because my mind goes back to how I was raised by some of my mentors. 

The conclusion i have reached is too many want to jump up instead of growing up and that is why they need to create all sorts of 'audio news' that isn't real. Yes! they have mastered the magic of social media save the critical ingredient of growth which is character. 

If you are blessed with the gift of a mentor who is truthful and is blunt please rejoice because all my mentors were very hard on me but i never walked out on any because of their style. 

You are the one that needs them so surrender to the disciple that is meant to produce character. 

I had the best valentine with prostitutes by giving out love and God repaid that gesture by rewarding me with a mentor who destroyed every pride in me but opened me up to what money would never buy. 

I hope this has helped someone today 

Thanks so much 

Jerome Yaovi Onipede








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