WHAT IS LEGACY?
Webster’s dictionary defines legacy as “anything handed down from the pasts from an ancestor or predecessor .”
Legacies are what we remember about a person , group, organisation or country.
The truth is , everyone leaves behind a legacy but only few people leave a legacy worth mentioning.
What you do today may in future be regarded as being worthy of a mention and could be branded a legacy. This could be economic, cultural or historical.
In essence, Legacy means leaving a mark.
Your legacy represents your work at each stage of life and it grows each time you inspire others to pursue their dreams to fruition.
It is heart breaking to see that only very few of our leaders stop to think about their legacies while they are still active.
In this climes people begin to think about their legacy in old age. For so many people, legacy is associated with the end rather than the beginning. This is wrong.
Age is certainly not a factor when it comes to building a life and a legacy. Failure is not a banner to building a life and a legacy.
Your legacy my dear friend is not defined by the end , it is defined by the decisions made, mistakes made, actions taken and moments shared.
If you were to stop functioning today in your place of employment, in business, politics or in the social circuit, what legacy would you leave behind?
How would friends and foes alike define your legacy?
What story would you tell your grand children about your contribution to society?
HOW TO BUILD A LEGACY
 KNOW THYSELF.
To build a legacy, you must know yourself .Know what yo represent. Be on a constant search for yourself.
Knowing who you are will translate into a set of guiding principles which will set the tone for your performance.
In trying to build our legacy , we must know that as in every thing else in life, we have positive and negative legacies.
Albert Einstein, a German physicist born in 1879 is regarded as one of the most brilliant minds to walk the surface of the earth.
He gave the world of science the Theory of Relativity,one of the two pillars of modern science.
In 1921 , he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics. He is an example of someone who left a positive legacy.
Another German, Adolf Hitler born in 1889 [10 years after Einstein was born]
comes to mind when one looks for an example of someone who left a negative legacy.
It is on record that Hitler’s aggressive foreign policy is considered the main cause of the Second World War. His racially motivated Nazi ideology was responsible for the genocide which saw over 5.5 million Jews dubbed sub-human and exterminated.
20 million soldiers, 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war died in Europe during the second world war caused by Hitler making it the dealiest conflict in human history!
Each of us here will want to bequeath a legacy . The question is ;what kind of legacy shall we leave behind? Please give a deep thought to how you want to be remembered.
 Be your best.
Strive for excellence. When you aspire for excellence, you inspire excellence in others around you and raise the standards of everyone around you.
It is in the pursuit of excellence that you become a role model for your family, community, friends and colleagues . A role model is one destined to bequeath a legacy.
 Lift Others.
This is a scarce character trait in our clime. It is the character trait of the strong . The strong are not afraid to lift and project others. It is the key to impacting lives and leaving an enduring legacy.
Start small, pick someone to call up and encourage every day until you become the go-to-person in your family, office,community and the society at large. It is achievable.
The world is hurting , Love is needed to bind the wounds of humanity.
Work towards giving a legacy of love -unconditional love.
The gift of love will ensure that you are remembered for generations inspite of your human failings.
Mother Teresa is an example of a woman who gave love and will be remembered and mentioned for several generations to come.
She was not a rich woman, she was not born into royalty , she was an ordinary woman just like you and i. She was a catholic nun and a school teacher. She had several colleagues and peers but what set her apart is the fact that she decided to give love.
Her desire to give love led to the founding of the Missionaries of Charity, a catholic congregation which by the time she died , had active chapters in 133 countries.
Mother Teresa through the organisation ran hospices for the dying and homes for people with diseases ranging from HIV/AIDS to Tuberculosis.
She catered for dying people and gave them dignity in their last days on earth.
Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1979. Since her passing she has been beatified and is only one step away from being made a catholic saint!
The organization she founded is still catering for the poor of the poor,talk about leaving a legacy and impacting lives! She is still impacting lives even in death!
 Give Leadership
Most leaders benefited from leadership development experiences earlier in life.
It is often said that the joy of a dying father is the presence of a worthy successor.
This simply indicates to me that to ensure happiness in old age, we must use our active years to mentor would-be successors. As a leader , your value is measured by succession.
Permit me to add that your successor does not have to be your biological child.
What are you doing at present to develop the leadership qualities of your followers and subordinates?
To build a legacy of leadership, plan to pass on your expertise. Teach people the life skills that have made you a star among your peers.
John C. Maxwell’s law of legacy tells us that ” a leaders lasting value is measured by succession” He goes further to tell us that we need a team of good leaders in order for us to succeed. We are also warned to develop our successors and know when to walk away. Now, this is where most of us fail as leaders.
We pick our mentees, we impart all the skills we think they need to become leaders and we still want them to remain mentees!
We must learn to walk away and allow them spread their wings, keeping a distant watch over them.
The failure of mentors to know when to walk away from their mentees is the major cause of atrocious battles between godfathers and their followers in politics , business and even the clergy.
If you want your mentee to remain a mentee forever ,then prepare to have an enemy who knows you inside -out .That is a very dangerous enemy.
As a woman in the Niger Delta what are the challenges you are likely to face as you strive towards leaving a legacy and impacting lives?
[A] Cultural Norms.
I am a journalist turned politician and I would love to share some of my experiences with you at this point.
In December ,1991 I became the first Okrika born woman to contest a general election when i contested to be elected a councilor on the platform of the National Republican Convention[NRC]. I was in my mid 20s. Suddenly, friends became foes. Some disgruntle men declared that it was an insult and against the norms of African society for a woman to aspire to represent them at the legislature of Okrika Local Government Council.
The leadership of the NRC would not bulge from it’s decision to present me for the election and there was bedlam. The other party, the Social Democratic Party [SDP] knew that all it needed to do to win the election in my ward was to pick a male candidate and to continue to remind my people that it was against the African tradition for a woman to contest an election to represent her people.
In picking a man, the SDP went for the kill . they chose to field my mentor against me! He was streetwise and was good in Karate so he was a big brother to me and many others. He taught us karate and other social skills. He accepted to run against me. He won the elections by five votes!
I am happy to announce to you that Okrika, my community has since grown beyond such charismatic practices as I would ,16 years after in 2007, be elected overwhelmingly to represent the good people of Okrika at a higher level in the Rivers State House of Assembly.
So the first challenge you would face is traditional beliefs that tend to limit women telling us what a woman should do and not do.
Another traditional practice in the Niger Delta that is a challenge to women is the one that says a woman should not stand while addressing an audience that includes men.
As a member and Deputy whip of the Rivers state House of Assembly between 2007 and 2011, men would come to my house for meetings and ask me not to stand to address them. Of course i would refuse, telling them that i have their mandate to speak for them in the state and so would stand tall to address any gathering.
Asking you not to stand on your feet while addressing men is nothing but a psychological warfare meant to ‘put you in your place”
Another challenge to prepare for on the road to impacting lives is loneliness.
According to John C. Maxwell, “leaders are hard to find, leaders are like eagles , they dont flock, they are few and far between”.
To leave a legacy you must aspire to lead and in aspiring to lead you must prepare to embrace loneliness with open arms.
In your journey to make a mark, be prepared to be betrayed several times over by close friends and confidants. In making friends , always have at the back of your mind the possibility of betrayal. Judas Iscariot who the Bible tells us betrayed Jesus Christ was one of the closest to Jesus among the disciples.
It is a tough one but it will pay you if you have no one friend that knows everything about you. Only tell your confidants things you would not mind being re-broadcast on radio and social media!
Remember, it is lonely at the top.
Chickens flock , eagles do not. To be a chicken or an eagle;the choice is yours.
In aspiring to build a legacy and impact lives, you will be the subject of several gossips.
In these climes, a woman who attends political or business meetings with men and speaks up in the midst of men is a “wayward woman” and will be the butt of many jokes. This could negatively affect your relationship with your partner or husband .
Do not despair, be resolute and hold unto your values and principles.
Eventually, you will be left alone to pursue your dreams and those who derided you will become your praise singers.
Stop crying women;
When we are happy, we cry
When we are sad , we cry
When we are agitated ,we cry
When we are angry, we cry
When we feel cheated , we cry
Women, keep your emotions under wrap. Reserve them for your family.
It is often said that women are emotional beings while men are rational beings! That is a lie. It is a lie cooked up to make us think it is okay to cry and throw tantrums .It is not okay to cry or throw tantrums because you are a woman. Women are not the weaker sex, we are the stronger sex. If in doubt check the labor room.
All human beings are capable of being rational and being emotional.Crying is a pure waste of time. It gives people the opportunity to be patronizing towards you.
If you want to lead and impact lives you must reserve your tears for your pillow.
Reserve your soliloquy and rantings for God only in your closet.
The men also cry, the only thing about crying that separates the men from the women is that the men cry in their closets, away from the eyes of even their wives and children.
[C] The Pull Her Down [PHD] Syndrome
The greatest challenge women in our clime face as they navigate the route to leadership is the Pull Her Down Syndrome. I call it the crab syndrome.
We are confronted by this monster from teenage.
Once your best friend realizes that someone she has a crush on has eyes only for you, she goes to work. She will never pass on any opportunity to tell the object of her fantasy that is better than you and that her parents are richer than your parents.
Some women have been lured out of their otherwise stable marriages by jealous friends who made them believe their husbands were philanderers.
Let us take a look at the lives of crabs to understand how this challenge plays out and how to overcome it.
Get some live crabs and put in an open bowl. Place the bowl in an open place and go about your business. Return several hours later and you will find all your crabs except one or two .Look closely at them and you will find that most of them have lost several limbs and have become crippled.
What happened? They were involved in “pull her down ” . Whenever one crab tries to climb up towards the mouth of the bowl in a bid to escape captivity, another crab will crawl up behind it and pull it back into the bowl. In the process, the crabs lose several limbs and are too deformed to climb out.
They end up crawling on and clawing at each other until they are picked up and cooked for snack. The very few that climbed out to freedom and safety succeeded because they refused to be held down by the evil machinations of the other crabs.Even while they were being clawed at, they kept focus on their goal- crawling out of the bowl to freedom.
Like the few crabs that crawled out of the bowl, we must not lose focus even as our brothers, sisters, neighbors ,friends ,colleagues and competitors claw away at our integrity, our strength, our hopes,our dreams in a bid to prevent us from climbing up.
Their tackles may hurt and deform you as you lose one or two limbs but remain focused on the dream and pursue it for therein lies your freedom and legacy.
Thank you for your attention.