Kester is a childhood school mate. We did things together in our teen years. He later opted for greener pasture in Nelson Mandela’s country, South Africa.

Kester later made it big in that country. He rose to become a successful business man. He did not stop there. He indulged in philanthropy rewarding humanity for giving him reason and opportunity to suceed in the face of adversity.

Kester Ugochukwu Onukuba is a reflection of the success story of a once hopeless, dejected Nigerian youth who rose to become a successful young entrepreneur who made it big after being battered by the storms and frills of life.

He is a shining example of how hardwork pays. You do not need to be “Yahoo Yahoo” before you make it in life or put in so much adrenaline in scamming or 419.

In our years of toil and broil at home, Kester remained optimistic that life despite its fierce assault on him have in stock so much goodies. He had reasons that propelled his hopes and aspirations.

And He was damn right.His faith never failed him. He had high hopes. When he left Owerri for South Africa some years ago, he was propelled by that sting of hope that success will knock on his door someday. Like a journey to the desert full of ferocious windstorms, Kester, 38, wandered in South Africa. He hussled and toiled.He worked hard, real hard. And when divinity eventually connected to humanity, fortune and success smiled on his hardwork. He became not just an overnight “big boy” in South Africa but a product of toil and hardwork.

Kester run one of the most successful eateries in that country patronised by the low and mighty. He had plans to re enact same in Owerri, Nigeria something even bigger with the capacity to employ for a start more than 5,000 young Imolites.

But all that has gone up in smoke consumed by the rage of the architects of Xenophobia.

Kester is just one of many Nigerians who lost so much during the recent xenophobia attacks in that ex apartheid country.

Gory, chilly tales coated with harrowing experiences told by the likes of Kester not just about South Africa but in some countries put a question mark on how Nigeria has descended from hero to zero status in the eyes of the international community. Where have we gotten it wrong that Nigerians have become endangered species in foreign lands and easy prey for those who once dread and adore us.

There are a million Kester Onukuba’s found in Guangzhou, Yokohama, Oslo, Soweto whose symbol of hardwork have been ravaged by those who now chastise us with scorpions and whips. We must re examine ourselves and know how we came to this sorry pass.


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