Edmund Burke once said, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” Most times the little we think is not necessary may turn out to be the key to our breakthrough. The greatest hindrance to destiny fulfillment is waiting around for a perfect condition. Wesley Snipes once wrote on his twitter handle: “Some people pray for cake but when the Almighty gives them eggs, oil, butter, batter, a pan and an oven, they get frustrated and leave the kitchen”. Maturity is the ability to stop waiting for perfect things and instead make do with what we have. Start wherever you are with whatever you have to make impact in your community.
The Ikorodu Bois, a Nigerian online comedy group made up of a group of Nigerian boys have become social media sensations by remaking, mimicking and recreating multimillion-dollar music videos, movie scenes and movie trailers using ordinary household items. They’ve done some shot-for-shot reenactments of ‘Bad Boys for Life’, Spanish drama series (‘Money Heist’), even a tribute to Kobe Bryant, and other pieces of entertainment. Their recent break into limelight came when they recreated the trailer for ‘Extraction’, an action-packed Netflix movie starring actor Chris Hemsworth. In a manner that is beyond human comprehension, the Ikorodu Bois have earned an invite to the world premiere of Netflix action thriller, ‘Extraction 2’ after making a remake of the first trailer. Through a string of tweets and retweets on twitter and Instagram posts, they eventually got an invite from Russo Brothers, one of the world’s most popular film directors in Hollywood, and Chris Hemsworth. From Ikorodu to Hollywood, the story of these kids carries a deep message for anyone that wants a major breakthrough in life.
The Ikorodu Bois is made up of two brothers, Muiz Sanni, 15, Malik Sanni, 10, and their 13-year-old cousin Fawas Aina. Muiz and Malik’s big brother, 23-year-old Babatunde Sanni is the one responsible for editing the videos and managing the trio. He is the brain behind turning something that started as a bit of fun in 2017 into what the boys hope will be careers in the entertainment industry.
The real world does not reward perfectionism; it only rewards our efforts. Instead of complaining and trying to wait for perfect conditions, ask yourself what you can do with what you have at the moment. Stop whining and start winning. There are ten lessons that Africans can learn from the Ikorodu bois:
#1 TRAIN YOUR EYES TO ALWAYS SEE AND SEIZE OPPORTUNITIES IN DIFFICULT SITUATIONS: Benjamin Franklin said, “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise.” What keeps people ahead in life is simply the opportunity that they see and seized. While other kids were glued to Neflix movies and African Magic in the COVID-19 period, the Ikorodu kids saw the opportunity to sell to the world their unique skill in remaking movie scenes. When COVID-19 was ripping the world apart, some ingenious kids from a suburb in Lagos were seeing opportunities.
#2 THERE IS NO LIMIT TO CREATIVITY: What actually stood the Ikorodu Bois out was their unique sense of creativity even when they did not have access to all that was needed. They have shown the world that we can actually get more done with less through creativity. At some times, they needed to improvise and use domestic and kitchen utensils to remake sophisticated equipment. The wealth that you desire is hidden in your creative solutions to the problems around you. If the Ikorodu Bois can use wheelbarrow, shovels, kitchen utensils, casing of phones and other domestic tools to remake the trailer of a Neflix movie, then there is no limit to your own creativity.
#3 LIMIT YOUR LIMITATIONS: No matter the limitation you are going through in the African environment, you can limit your limitations. Though there are so many limiting factors in the African environment, but we must aggressively work towards limiting their effect on our aspirations. The Ikorodu Bois encountered many limitations in their passionate quest to remake popular trailers and movie scenes but instead of limiting themselves, they limited their limitations.
#4 CREATE/DESIGN YOUR OWN ENVIRONMENT: In life, it is either you are complaining or you are creating. Instead of complaining about your situation, why don’t you create one? The Ikorodu boys made use of what they had to create something. Situations and environment can stop us temporarily, but we are the only one that can stop “us” permanently. No situation must be the reason why you fail in life; rise above the challenges by creating something new. Create, don’t complain!
#5 YOU CAN BE LOCAL GEOGRAPHICALLY, BUT BE GLOBAL IN EXPRESSION: The Ikorodu Bois did not allow the confines of their locality to hinder their expression. Imagine small kids from Ikorodu churning out something that is making wave globally! No matter what you are doing or where you are, always design your product to have a global appeal. Many years ago, I mentored a group of youth entrepreneurs that were trying to repackage ‘garri’ with multivitamins so that it can be exported to Europe, U.S and UK where a lot of Africans will be willing to pay for their products. I also mentored a start-up entrepreneur on the Tony Elumelu platform that has succeeded in packaging powdered porridge with multivitamins in Rwanda. Whatever your product is and wherever your location is, repackage your product for global reach. Think globally, act locally!
#6 BE POSITIVE IN EVERY SITUATION: If there is one thing that the Ikorodu Bois were able to achieve with their creativity, it is to portray Africa in a positive light. There are so many things to be negative about with the African situation, but this kid decided to escalate only the positive aspect. Some people are so negative about the African situation that they’ve become blinded to the possibility of a better and new Africa. The future of Africa belongs to those who see possibilities in the continent before they become obvious.
#7 YOU WILL ALWAYS NEED SOMEONE TO MENTION YOUR NAME AT THE TABLE: In April 2020, US actor and rapper Will Smith shared a clip of Ikorodu bois recreation of ‘Bad Boys Forever’ on his Instagram page with the caption “This is GENIUS @ikorodu_bois!” Will Smith with an Instagram follower of 46.8 million followers was one of the celebrities that got committed to sharing the Ikorodu bois video on social media. He was so fascinated with their recreated version of the “Bad Boys Forever” clip that he decided to give them a global lift. There is always somebody that is significant to your lifting! Though they have big celebrities as followers, including basketball star LeBron James, rapper Roddy Ricch and Netflix “Money Heist” actor Alvaro Monte (The Professor) showing them love by posting their videos on social media, Will Smith interest and input was undoubtedly significant to their global rise and breakthrough. The Bible says in Amos 7:5, “By whom shall Jacob arise, for he is small”. There is always someone that is significant to your breakthrough!
#8 DON’T TRIVIALIZE WHAT YOU HAVE, MAKE IT VISIBLE ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Babatunde Sanni in his interview with CNN said, “Our house is like a comedy house; we play too much. I felt like ‘these things we are doing in our house — why don’t we start putting them online? And so the Ikorodu Bois Instagram page was born.” In this age of social media, make yourself and your product visible to others. Are you into fashion, event planning etc., create an instagram page to show case your creativity. As at the time I was writing this piece, the talented youngsters (Ikorodu bois) had 829,000 followers on Instagram and 121,800 followers on Twitter. In this social media age, most times your next customer is just a post away!
#9 PARENTS! GIVE YOUR CHILDREN THE PLATFORM TO BE THEMSELVES: There are many talents lying fallow in many homes. There are so many level of creativity that has been buried by parents just because they never gave their wards the platforms to express their gifts, talents and unique abilities. Babatunde Sanni has this to say concerning their parent: “A lot of people actually told our parents that we are becoming a nuisance in the streets but they just kept supporting us financially and with words of encouragement.” Thank God for their supportive parents! If they had let their neighbors’ complaints and criticisms stop them from believing in and supporting their boys, those boys would never have been lucky enough to receive an invitation to the movie premiere for ‘Extraction 2’.
#10 NEVER WAIT FOR PERFECT CONDITIONS: The Bible made us understand the fallibility of human environment in Ecclesiastes 11:4, “If you wait for the perfect condition, you will not get anything done”. If you really want to achieve greatness while still living in Africa, never wait for the perfect condition. The reason is that it simply doesn’t exist. Perfection doesn’t exist. Give it up!
I want to emphatically encourage the Nigerian youths to have a major shift in their approach to national problems; the problems that abound around us are an invitation for us to be creative, dynamic and impactful. If the Ikorodu bois can showcase their creativity and put Africa on a positive light, then we all have no excuse to do the same. Start where you are and with what you have. Don’t wait until you have everything. Our problems and challenges are not meant to stop us but rather spike up our creativity!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Your poverty status is a reflection of your inability to think creatively”-Gbenga Adebambo