By Ganiu Bamgbose, PhD
A standard is a level of quality a person or people expect and generally accept as normal. Most times, the standard one sets determines the extent one gets. This is why it has been said that you cannot feature in a future whose picture you have not appropriately captured. While I have always known that it is advisable to aim high, my interaction with the Fuji maestro, King Saheed Osupa (KSO), further opened my eyes to the importance of setting a high standard and the relevance that comes with it.
Sometime in 2018, Osupa was a year 3 student of political science in the Distance Learning Centre of the University of Ibadan where I was at the time working as an academic advisor. He was on this day going to write a CBT paper which had me on the list of invigilators. I whispered in his ear as he was stepping into the hall, “Egbon, we are both AJ boys”. He excitedly turned his head to look at me and asked that we meet after the paper. We met afterwards and after few minutes of chitchat on how Turner Street connects Safejo Close through Ojo Road, we narrowed down to my business in UI. I hinted him that I was a doctoral student of English language in the institution and told him about my virtual class. He requested that I share my daily lessons with him; teasing that he would want to be a fluent user of English. I told him at this point that he was a good user of English judging from the interviews he had granted. I added that he could speak better than most of the other Fuji artistes, and his reaction to this statement is the crux of this piece. He retorted swiftly, “Even if I speak better than most other Fuji artistes, it’s not bad if I can speak so well like Soyinka does”. This reaction struck me and served as an eye opener to me in several ways. It immediately occured to me that the standard you set determines how far you will dare to go. This disposition is in line with the words of James Cameron who says “if you set your goals ridiculously high and it is a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success”. If Osupa had not set his goal of communicative competence so high, he would have been contented with being fluent enough to be commended among his colleagues.
Finally, it must be mentioned that it is not enough to set a standard, one must work towards bringing it to fulfilment. Like Thomas Edison said, “Genius is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration”. Dreams are not just what we see when we sleep; dreams are much more what we see that does not make us sleep. Every achiever takes a step beyond having a desire to working such desire to reality. So go ahead and set your standard so high so that even if you are unable to achieve perfection, you would have gone far beyond mediocrity.
Ganiu Bamgbose writes from the Department of English, Lagos State University.