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Meet the 29 year old Nigerian Professor, who dumped seminary for writing at age 16

Onyeka Nwelue 

One of the most important things in life to the ability to identify what you really want. You need to know what you want and be courageous enough to pursue it. The moment you miss out of this life changing tool, you will find yourself in the maze of life and it will be very difficult to find your way out. I wrote in one of my previous articles: 8 Golden Rules to help you make the Right Choice. The article was published on one of the prominent news portals in Nigeria ( and countless websites. It shed more light on how one can make the right choice in life, using the 8 golden rules specified. But one thing that was missing in the article is the power of self-determination. You might be wondering; what do I mean by self-determination?
Onyeka and Professor Wole Soyinka, during an interview session with the Nobel Laureate 

Self-determination is the power or ability to make a decision for oneself without influence from outside i.e. without any form of compulsion from an external body. Age, ethnicity, family background and level of exposure, are not an excuse in mastering the act of self-determination.

How can you easily master this act?
I know you might be expecting me to reveal a magical approach, but unfortunately, there are no hidden secrets to be reveled for you to master this simple act. But the story I’m about to share, will inspire you positively to always stand for what you want. Whenever I read through the life of Onyeka Nwelue, am always inspired.
Onyeka Nwelue (a Nigerian cultural entrepreneur, filmmaker , professor and author) was born in Ehime Mbano in Imo State, Nigeria, to Honourable Sam Nwelue, a politician and Knight of St. Christopher and Lady Catherine Nwelue, a teacher and Lay Reader. When he was 11, he was sent to Mount Olives Seminary in Umuezeala Nsu, where he was meant to become a priest. Becoming a priest was totally the decision of his religious parents. As I supposed he never had the intension of becoming one.

 After a short while in the seminary, at the age of 16, Onyeka ran away to Lagos, to pursue his career in writing. He wrote for The Guardian and The Punch Newspapers. He also attends the Wole Soyinka Festival, after which he was introduced to the Nobel Laureate. A few years later, Nwelue travelled to India for the 2nd International Writers’ Festival, at the invitation of the India Cultural Association.

Onyeka made a decision at the age of 16. He left behind the carrier chosen by his parents. He didn’t allow his destiny to be predetermined by any external factor. Dear readers, your life are yours and you are the captain of whatsoever around you. I could imagine the critics he will have to face. I could imagine the shame his family will have to put up with. Definitely, the jobless relatives around might have said; “Onyeka has no regards for his parents” and to confirm my suspicions, he said; “I was rebuked by my family members – especially those doggy uncles and aunts – who tried to shame my father for sending me to India. Now, who laughs last! My father, sometimes, looks at me and smiles. He once said: ‘I have no regret for that decision.’ That decision he made to see me off, waved goodbye to me at the Lagos airport when I was 18, as I boarded the plane to Mumbai. I was as skinny as anything.” To them been a priest is a noble profession for him. But the 16 year old boy knows exactly what he wanted and he fearless went after it.
Onyeka’s decision to pursue his love for writing made him what he is today.
Onyeka looking fearless 

He is now loudly celebrated by his family, his country and the world at large. Upon his arrival to India, his destiny opened up. Fate brought him in contact with people who till this day, impacts his life in different ways and so his first novel was born (The Abyssinian Boy). Onyeka also made his second self-determined decision, when he decided to drop out of the University of Nigeria, Nsuka, during his second year in the department of Sociology & Anthropology, to study Scriptwriting at the Asian School of Media Studies in Noida, India, after which he taught Film Directing at Center for Research in Art of Film & TV (CRAFT).

Onyeka Nwelue has lived in five out of the seven continents in the world, these includes; Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. He is yet to visit the Antarctica and Australia/Oceania (but plan to do that soon). But among all the countries he has lived in, India still remains his favorite and finding out his reason, Onyeka wrote in a Facebook post; “among all the countries I lived/travelled in, I went there, with bags of expectations huge feelings that I would bring down the heavens. The particular country that I overlooked – India – gave me everything I wanted and those I didn’t want. India shaped my life, the life of my family and the prism through which I see the world.”

The two most important choices he made catapulted him into fame. I wasn’t surprised when he announced on his Facebook wall, that he has been invited as one of the mentors for the 2017 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurial Training (he definitely deserves more). He is currently working on his television show called "The Onyeka Nwelue Show".
Onyeka Nwelue Show. HopeDose Consultancy
Onyeka Nwelue Show 

If you don’t know what you want in life, you will constantly be pushed around by circumstances. Just like a floating wood without a specified curse. Are you too young to know what you truly want? The answer is NO. Are you too old to be self-determined? A simple no, is also the answer. Self-determination is one of the vital attribute any success dreamer must possess. In life, there are always choices to be made. If you are too weak to make those choices yourself, someone else will. But when someone else makes a choice for you, be informed that no one will be there to help you out during the huddles of life. If people or circumstances succeeded in pushing you to do something that is contrary to your will, well, congrats (you’ve successfully been ruined). Be self-determined in whatever you do. Be solely responsible for any vital decision in your life.

Remember, Onyeka ran away from home at the age of 16 to pursue his love for writing. He also chooses to drop out of school to study the course of his choice. These two decisions were responsible for everything that Onyeka is today and I always ask myself: “what if Onyeka remained in the seminary? What if he obeyed his parents and let go of what he truly wanted?”
The ability to take any important step in life is a sign of victory. There is always a bigger picture to what’s visible now. Don’t be short sighted. See beyond now, think beyond now, and look at yourself in the mirror on a daily basis to see the greatness in you. Be self-determined and be a good decision maker.


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