“Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you. These are not clichés but real tools you need no matter what you do in life to stay focused on your path.”—Phillip Sweet
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”—Harriet Tubman
Indeed, Kennedy Chiduziem Ekezie-Joseph dreams big. As an educator, I am always impressed with young people who are not only dreaming big, but are also working earnestly to achieve their dreams by being deliberate and paying attention to the details. Working diligently to climb each rung on the ladder of success becomes a necessity to these young individuals. Kennedy seems to aptly fit the foregoing narrative and quotes.
Oftentimes, the drive to get rich quick has obscured the virtues of hard work and honest determination to achieve a big feat by accomplishing successfully the incremental steps leading to the path of the overarching dream.
These days, the culture—the society’s emphasis on money and respect for wealth have diminished the significant importance of education and culture of probity.
Thus, the prevalent culture of our youth is mired in reckless quest for money. The only way they think they will attract attention and recognition is through wealth accumulation. This suffused mindset has led so many to engage in many unsavory activities. Rarely do we encounter teenagers these days whose primary focus was not on elusive pursuit of money.
So, I was stunningly amazed at Kennedy Chiduziem Ekezie-Joseph’s high aspirations and dreams when he contacted me and shared with his dreams and accomplishments. Kennedy’s lucid communication with me was quite illuminating. Here are the excerpts:
Please who is this? “I am Kennedy Chiduziem Ekezie-Joseph, an eighteen year old Nigerian from Ehime Mbano Local Government Area of Imo State.”
Please tell me more about yourself.
“I am a final year student of the University of Calabar in Calabar, where I study Philosophy with concentration in African Philosophy. In my years in the University of Calabar, I have pursued various extra-curricular activities within and outside school, but the most phenomenal was debate. I devoted all my free time training hard, reading materials and studying manuals to improve the broad base of my knowledge and my speaking ability because I consider debating as an intellectual sport, one which a person cannot be successful if the person does not exercise his or her cognitive base.”
“I joined the University of Calabar Debate Society in my freshman year in the University. Two months later, I was selected among the four students who were to represent the University at the Impact Africa Universities Debate Championship in Accra, Ghana which we ultimately won.
I represented the University at the Pan-African Universities Debate Championship in South Africa, and later the World Universities Debate Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – all at the age of sixteen.”
“Upon return from these championships, I doubled my work ethic, both in debate, school and every other thing I did because it enabled me recognize the need for a disciplined work ethic to attain maximum heights in my endeavors. I trained for at least 20 hours every week and few months later, I competed at the prestigious All-Nigeria Universities Debate Championship, and emerged as the Best Debater in Nigeria – just one year after I joined the University.”
“I was invited to compete at Harvard University where I defeated teams from Yale University, University of North Carolina and University College, Berkeley. I have also won the Nigerian Debate Open Tournament.”
“My success in debate also provided me the requisite theoretical and technical aptitude to become a debate adjudicator. I have been invited to adjudicate a great deal of tournaments amongst which include; the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Intervarsity (HWS IV) in New York City, where I was the only African judge; I was the Deputy Chief Adjudicator at the African Universities Debate Championship in Zimbabwe in 2016; and later this year, I will be in Kigali, Rwanda to serve as the Chief Adjudicator at the East African Universities Debate Championship.”
“Apart from debate, I have a specific interest in exploring access to rights for women and minorities and this motivated me to establish the Calabar Youth Council for Women’s Rights; a teen-led non-profit organization that creates awareness, and provides education about gender-based violence in Nigeria. I was named a 2017 Global Teen Leader and partook in an intensive week-long leadership training in New York city with 29 other selected Teen leaders.”
“I was invited to speak at the prestigious TEDxAladinma; the first and only TEDx event yet in the entire South-Eastern Nigeria.”
“Currently, I have been invited as a delegate to speak at the United Nations Youth Assembly in August. This is a self-sponsored trip and I am currently appealing to well-meaning individuals to financially support me to be a Nigerian Delegate at this prestigious Summit.”
“In the future, I seek to breach my academic aptitude with the Nigerian society and its functioning, thus I will pursue a career in governance, and in the long term I aspire to be the youngest President of Nigeria – so that I can make policies that will enable Nigeria to actualize its full potential like the Asian tigers did.”