Destiny Or Destination 2
‘’According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness…’’ – 1 Peter 1:3
‘’If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.’’ – George Harrison
Decisions determine destiny! You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails to always reach your destination. Jack Welch, the former chairman and CEO of General Electric (GE) once said, ‘’control your own destiny or someone else will.’’ Don’t ‘delegate’ your life to circumstances and situations; while seeking the face of God for direction, you must also take full ownership of your life. It is great abandonment and dereliction of purpose when you are waiting for God to do what he has fully equipped you to do for yourself. You have the right to choose and not to accept any ill-fated destiny!
‘’The day you graduate from childhood to adulthood is the day you take full responsibility for your life.’’ –Jim Rohn
There is a common saying that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade out of it. One of the most inspirational and awesome stories of fate, destiny and destination is that of the living legend, Stevie Wonder. Life was in no way fair to Steve but he eventually made a wonder out of it. Stevland Hardaway Morris was born on May 13, 1950. An American musician, song writer, record producer and multi-instrumentalist became one of the most creative and loved musician performers of the late 20th century. Due to being born premature, he had retinopathy which made him blind shortly after birth.
Stevland started playing various musical instruments at an early age. When he was 11, he sang his own composition, “Lonely Boy”; people were astounded by his ability to play numerous instruments and sing simultaneously which made people refer to him as “A little wonder” later called Stevie Wonder. Despite his disability, he released his first album at the age of 12, and released several albums of songs thereafter. On August 6, 1973, Stevie Wonder was involved in a serious automobile accident while on tour in North Carolina. The accident left 23year old Steve in a coma for four days and resulted in a partial loss of his sense of smell and temporary loss of his sense of taste in addition to his blindness. Despite the setback, at the age of 25, Stevie had won two consecutive Grammy Awards and never stopped composing and releasing his albums.
Stevie Wonder, being a prominent figure in music, has till date recorded more than thirty top ten hits and won a total of twenty-two Grammy Awards which is the highest number ever won by a solo artist. He won a lifetime achievement award, an academic award and was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame in 1989. He made a difference in the music world starting his career at the age of 11 and despite his blindness played the piano, organ, clarinet, melodica, synthesizer, harmonica, bongos congas, drums and bass guitar.
‘’By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination.’’ –Christopher Columbus
The amazing story of Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo is a unique blend of rugged determination and unrivalled faith in God. Cobhams is a singer, songwriter, music producer and music entrepreneur. The award winning and record breaking music producer was born blind but eventually became a blind pioneer of sound! Cobhams was about three months old when his mother noticed some unusual things about him and decided to take him to the University College Hospital, Ibadan. She was referred from Ibadan to a specialist hospital in northern Nigeria where series of diagnosis confirmed that the little Cobhmas was visually impaired and nothing could be done to restore his sight.
Abraham Lincoln said, ‘’the best way to predict the future is to design it’’, so rather than cry and blame God for her seeming ‘ill’ fate, Mrs Asuquo, who was a clerical officer in the army, resigned to take care of her son and prepare him for a future she knew had to be great. Just like his long time hero Stevie Wonder, Cobhams decided not to allow his lack of sight to hold him back from living an impactful life. Though born blind, he was able to navigate and negotiate his way to stardom.
‘’The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.’’ –Maureen Dowd
Helen Keller once said, ‘’ the greatest tragedy of life is to have sight but lack insight.’’ The young Cobhams started a sightless journey within himself. Though he was blind to the world around him, he reveled in the world that was within-a world that is unlimited and unrestricted by sight. He took full responsibility for his life and would not accept the word ‘impossible’ as an answer. The legendary musician and composer has this to say on the issue of taking responsibility for our lives: ‘’As I grew older, I gained more understanding of the intricacies of living as a sightless person in a world designed for sighted people. On a number of occasions, I ran into walls, ran into people, ran into furniture, so hard that observers would shake their heads for my seemingly hopelessness. I was faced with looming possibility of failure in my life. But what I actually considered to be much worse was that people were ready to excuse my failure because of my disability. I eventually learnt one of the biggest lessons of my life: do not excuse failure, for any reason!’’
Cobhams graduated from the Pacelli School for the blind and King’s College in Lagos, after which he gained admission into University of Lagos to study law. It was very obvious that his passion for music was undeniable from the cradle and it was no big surprise for his family when he decided to drop out of the University of Lagos as a 300level student of Law to face his passion full time! His journey to stardom took many rugged and daunting paths, as he slept on studio floors all across Lagos; he became a ‘fugitive’ for his passion and worked without pay several times. He did everything possible to convince his ‘doubters’ that a blind boy could make a difference.
‘’Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.’’ –Robert Frost
He refused to accept the fate of a common blind man and his persistence paid off in 2005 when he was signed on with Sony ATV London as a songwriter after series of rejections and disappointments. He was continually fired up by his passion as he moved from his job as Head of Audio productions at a local label, Questionmark Entertainment, and eventually set up his own recording facility in 2006. He doubles as the CEO and head of productions of Cobhams Asuquo Music Productions (CAMP), an all-encompassing entertainment company that discovers, nurtures and develops great talents. Cobhams shot to international acclaim with his musical production of the debut album by the Nigerian soul sensation, ASA, whose 2007 debut album became an international hit. He wrote and co-wrote several songs on the award-winning album, including the hit singles, ‘fire on the mountain’ and ‘Jailer’.
Cobhams has likewise produced numerous award-winning songs for Nigerian recording artists such as: Banky W, Omawumi, Waje, Timi Dakolo, Dare Art-Alade, Faze, Mode 9, Olu Maintain and many others. He is also a judge on Nigeria’s ‘’Project Fame’’, a television musical talent show where he helps young singers achieve their dreams. Cobhams ‘wrestled’ his way beyond mediocrity and refused to settle for the verdict of his fate. He has won multiple national and international awards for his creative and entrepreneurial contributions to the Nigerian music industry. His awards and nominations include: the Future Awards 2006 and 2009 (Producer of the year); Hip-Hop world Award, 2007 and 2008 (producer of the year); Nigerian Music Awards (NMA), 2007, for his ‘creativity’, fortitude and exemplary leadership in the music industry and The Headies Awards, 2014 for the best recording of the year for his song, ‘’Ordinary People’’. He was also awarded ‘Young Global Leader’ in 2013 by the World Economic Forum.
Cobhams was married in 2010 to his ‘covenant’ friend, Yetunde Olukanni and the union has been blessed with a son. Helen Keller said, ‘’although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming of it’’. Although Cobhams was born blind, he decided to fill the world with an overdose of light. A man that has never experienced sight brought ‘light’ into the life of many through his tireless passion for music. Cobhams Asuquo, has broken unimaginable records in the Nigerian music industry as a visually-impaired musician and producer.’ Fate’ made him blind but he alone turned it to an amazing thing –The gift of blindness!
‘’it is choice and not chance that determines your destiny.’’ –Jean Nidetch
Gautama Buddha said, “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading”. You cannot change your destination overnight but you can change your direction overnight. I am using this platform to reach out to all the youths out there. I want you to believe strongly that, behind you, is infinite power; before you, are endless possibilities and within you, are boundless opportunities. Whatever becomes of you is your responsibility because at the end of life, you will finally discover that truly, THE GODS ARE NOT TO BLAME, as Ola Rotimi succinctly captured in one of his plays in 1968 that later evolved into a novel in 1971. Stop building your life around the people and the things that do not matter in life and eternity. T. D Jakes said, ‘’when people walk away from you, let them walk, your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.’’
Gbenga Adebambo is the dean of schools at the Educational Advancement Centre (EAC), an author, youth specialist, international coach and the Editor-In-Chief of MAXIMUM IMPACT MAGAZINE. He is also the founder of the youth ministry called STOP ‘T’(Seeing Tomorrow’s Opportunities and Potentials Today), a ministry that is involved in discovering and nurturing hidden potentials in youths in order to equip them for tomorrow’s challenges, opportunities and responsibilities.