Mentors come as rainbow, in different colours, all appealing.
Their roles in our lives remain the same.
They give us direction.
They bring out the best in us.
They lead us out of the maze of life.
They give meanings to our dream.
They give us stability in our quest to reach our full potentials, the potentials we may never know lie in us were it not for their discernment.
They provide the walking sticks and the braces we need when our knees buckle or weaken from the pressure of life.
They provide us the binoculars to scan the horizon for threats and opportunities.
We are falcons in their hands, and they as the falconers, are never without their whistles, warning us of dangers in our flight into the clouds.
There are mentors we pick from the books.
They are our dry mentors.
Their lives and successes, their words in gold on marble lead us to perfection as we read them like bible and memorize them like the Glorious Quran.
There are those we pick by ourselves in life.
They are the ones whose edifying conduct in private and public life cannot be missed as they stand out in the crowd of their chosen career.
In them we see our dreams, who we want to be and we model ourselves according to their words and character; we want to live our dreams according to their teachings.
There are mentors who pick on us or who tap us.
They see our potentials before we realize it and so they ensure we discover our worth before other forces erode us.
They believe in us, invest in us and lament if we are not reaching the height they envisage of us.
But they never give up on us even if we don’t appreciate their love for us.
There are mentors picked for us.
They are the godfathers and the godmothers our parents carefully chose for us at our cradles so that in the absence or limitations of our parents, they take charge of our life.
And there are mentors the society pre-picks for us.
They are the teachers and the guides the state or our parents pay tuition and salaries so they continue the socialization process of the young ones until they come of age either as students or as apprentices.
On completing national service and joining the defunct National Concord in 1990 to reach 30 years in the writing craft now, I can reminisce on my many mentors and masters in the mass media, picking two clocking 59 in life soon this year.
In celebrating the duo of Mallam Abubakar Bobboyi Jijiwa, a past Director-general of Voice of Nigeria and Barrister Olatunji Bello current commissioner for the environment, Lagos State I salute these mentors on journey into 60, an age of accomplishment.
Jijiwa was born March 15, 1961 in rural Fufore in Adamawa State and Bello in cosmopolitan Surulere in Lagos on July 1st of the same year.
While Jijiwa, an accounting graduate was made in Unimaid, the premier university in North East Nigeria, Bello bagged a degree in Political science from UI, Nigeria’s premier in Ibadan, in the South West.
Both were student activists and sharp writers on their campuses in their university days, recommending them for easy employment after graduation and youth service in two of the nation’s most powerful newspapers in town, New Nigerian and National Concord.
Jijiwa joined New Nigerian as a special correspondent and member of the editorial board while Bello was employed as a staff writer on the Features Desk of National concord both producing biting analyses and reports that easily recommended them for top spots in the papers.
Widely travelled in their media careers, both have however also been commissioners in strategic ministries of their respective state governments.
Jijiwa served as Commissioner for budget, Finance and Economic Planning in Adamawa State twice and Bello is leading Ministry of Environment for the second time.
In line of duty as a public manager, Jijiwa has delivered many firsts for Nigeria in broadcasting while Bello is scoring well in transforming Lagos to a Singapore.
Both are neat and highly organized with sharp eyes for details, zest for beauty, and passion for flower and love for nature.
They pushed me to think on my toes as they taught me to think ahead of the pack.
If Bello as the political editor of Concord in Laos assigns me a story to pursue in Yola, political insightful Jijiwa and General Manager of Gongola Broadcasting Corporation becomes my first source and contact.
When shopping for a mentor, look out for such men.
Their humility is astounding. Their charity is exemplary, their thirst for knowledge is unquenchable and their simplicity, legendary.
How best can the world celebrate these men with me as they clock 59 soon, beginning a journey into their sixties next year?
My only admonition to them is to begin their journey to attaining the pleasure of Allah in all they do now, serving selflessly, in consciousness of Allah, the ultimate reckoner.