I learnt a lesson recently about the admonition I have read so many times: Don’t give up. The breakthrough maybe just round the bend.

Scene 1

My junior brother, a university lecture  arrived Lagos from Jo’Burg, South Africa after completing his Doctorate degree programme in Urban & Regional Planning. He needed money and asked me to escort him to the nearest branch of United Bank of Africa, (UBA) he saw on his way home from the airport, to get some cash with his ATM card.

Scene 2

He does not live in Lagos so he needed my company so as not to miss his mark. Off we went to the bank during sunset. I know the bank branch is on this road but I did not know the exact location. My brother was emphatic it was close to the roundabout from his observatory in the taxi that brought him home.

Scene 3

We took a leisurely walk towards the bank as we discussed the current strike of university teachers in Nigeria, that has kept students at home for four months. We got to the roundabout near my Lagos home, turned right and walked down the road.

“The bank is close by,’ my brother said. We kept walking and talking. At a time we passed most of the banks along that road but no UBA.

‘Are you sure you saw this bank?’  I asked him. He was emphatic he did and it is close to the roundabout.

“Let’s go further down,’ I told him. The last bank on this road is down the road at the left side. We continued our trek. Getting there, we did not see UBA. We stopped by the bend just further down.

“Are you sure you saw this bank?’ I asked him again.

“’Yes I did,’ he answered, a bit confused. It looked near the roundabout. But we were far from the roundabout and I began to doubt my brother. It was now dark.

“Let’s go back,’ he suggested. ‘But let’s look more closely as we go.’ I hesitated. I wanted to suggest we just go further down the bend in front of us to continue our search. But I was tired.

Scene 4

We turned and walked back the same way we came, this time peering through the darkness at every building to locate this bank. We got to the roundabout again, no UBA.

‘Are you sure you saw this bank when you were returning from the airport,’ I asked my brother in frustration.’

‘Yes I did. Let’s go back again,’ he suggested. ‘If we don’t see it this time, I will use my ATM in another bank.’

At this point, I was really tired and frustrated. I was about to suggest we give up the search and just walk into the ATM point of the nearest bank. I agreed to go back again.

“This time, we should go beyond the point we stopped in the first search, and go through the bend to the end of the road,’ I suggested.

Scene 5

We went back on the second trip craning our necks and looking out for the bank. We reached our former terminus and as we walked round the bend, there was the roadside lighted sign of UBA. Wow, we let out. My brother was vindicated.

‘I was sure I saw this bank,’ he told me gleefully.’

‘But it is not near the roundabout,’ I observed. ‘Maybe that was what confused us.’

‘Well, it must because I was in a moving vehicle,’ he explained. ‘That affected my judgment of the distance.’

He withdrew cash and we left for home.

The Lesson

Be steadfast. Keep working at it. Don’t give up. The breakthrough may just be round the bend.

(13 November 2013)

Eric Okeke is a CSR specialist and strategist in brand marketing and mobilizing support for corporate and social issues. He is the brand storyteller, writer, speaker, author and media consultant, with training in chemistry, marketing and business journalism. As a business writer and speaker, he has recorded a good career in media consulting and journalism which he started at The Guardian, Lagos.

Eric’s communications niche is storytelling which he is now using to empower professionals and improve business returns in Nigeria. Email him at, ericokeke@gmail.com, ericosamba@yahoo.com Tel +234 803 301 4609; +234 817 301 4609.

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