Ossai Ovie Success is the youngest appointee in the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state. He is the special assistant to the governor on special duties. In this short interview, he takes us back to his childhood days in the village. He compares his childhood days to the present and concludes that the village treatment was better than the present city life.
How was life as a growing child in the village?
I was brought up in Jesse town Ethiope West local Government Area of Delta state. As a child growing up back then in the village, I was moving from one village to another because my mum is a teacher. She is always posted from one community to another. I was born in Okinigho village of Jesse. Jesse has several villages, so we were moving from one village to another.
My childhood life was full of fun unlike now. I so much appreciate the village style of life we lived. It has really affected my life very positively. As a young boy then, every evening there is always a story to hear from the elders in the village.
There were several plays around the village. As big as the village is, there is no stranger because everybody knows everybody. From far away, somebody will see you and call your name. I attended primary and secondary school there. It was interesting. There are moral lessons we learn from our elders and our parents while growing up.
When someone commits a crime, the way the person is treated, you as a child will learn from that. So, you don’t like to experience such treatment. Except you are under spiritual attack, you cannot commit crime. If you are caught the experience will make you not to try it again.
There were interesting things children do then like hawking in the market. Like I said my mother is a teacher and the hard work there actually made me to understand that life is beautiful in the village. You must be hardworking for you to achieve good success according to the Bible. There are bad and good success. Sometimes, when you close from school, you eat, carry either plantain, cray fish, yam or plantain to sell. We hawk the plantain round the village, the next day we go back to school.
When you do something wrong, you might not be punished in the day time, at night when you are enjoying your sleep that is when my mother will wake you up and give you the beating of your life and that night will be the worse night you ever had. You must try to be careful in whatever you are doing because such punishment always try to reset your brain to be disciplined, hardworking and focused in whatever you are doing.
The kind of treatment we had then shape our lives to become what we are today. Due to the punishment you received from your parents then, you don’t commit crime. I so much appreciate all the punishment given to me even when we finished from primary to secondary school.
What you are saying now is that those disciplinary measures sharpened your life…
Yes. Those disciplinary measures really helped my life to hate crime. As I am today, there are certain things I cannot do, not because I’m working in government. Even before I came to government, there are certain things I cannot do. I hate them due to my upbringing and the punishment I received made me to run away from crime. So, I don’t have that thought to commit crime. Like stealing, fighting, in fact those vices were never part of me. That’s because of my upbringing.
My mum as a teacher was so tough then unlike teachers we have nowadays who treat children with soft hands. The kind of advice given to me then was amazing, to the extent that when I was growing up, you won’t see anybody who will describe me as stubborn. Of course I’m a teacher’s son, so being the son of a teacher that is known in that region, you always want to be the best you can. You don’t want to bring disgrace to your parents.
Which one do you think is preferable, the treatment of those days and the one of now?
Personally, you know there are changes in the world now. But if I am to choose between the two, I will prefer the treatment of those days. The treatment back then really affected our lives positively. As a child then if I commit a crime, I will receive punishment. Even in school, when you come late to school or unable to answer a question in class, and you are punished, the next day you will like to meet up to what is needed in the school. You always want to be the best you can because of the punishment you will receive if you fail. Unlike nowadays, you see children no longer take parent’s advice.
If someone had told you then that you will be appointed by a particular government, would have believed that?
Of course, I would not have believed it, because back then, we always see those in government as people that are connected and close to the corridor of power. So, while growing up, I never thought I will be in government. I had a dream of becoming a great man in future but talking about being in government, no. I had never thought of being in government or live a government lifestyle.
Now with your experience and the stage you are right now, what hope do you think Nigerian children have as the society develops?
As the society develops I see hope for all children. But that hope can only be achieved if we as leaders decide to build the future for them. We must prepare a good foundation for our children. We must teach the children the best way in life. The children look up to us. Like the saying the children are leaders of tomorrow, that was then but today the children are the leaders of today. Whatever thing we do to them today will definitely affect their future. That’s why we must all come together collectively to affect our children positively. As a man in society, whatever thing you do to your children is what people will do to you tomorrow.