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Frances Okoro: Living a Life of Greatness



We erupted in shouts of glee when the word for the year was announced by one of Nigeria’s favorite pastors.
This is our year of greatness!
We shall shine!
We shall be magnified by the lord!
Our greatness shall burst forth!

I literally got goose bumps from the thrill. How could I not? The acrobatic display of dance moves from babes around me can never be forgotten. Tweets were fired with the theme, successive Facebook statuses still read the ‘greatness memo’ almost two weeks after and statuses and personal messages were changed on BlackBerry Messenger (some have refused to change their statuses till this day).
It has been the confession on the lips of almost everyone I’ve met this year.

But I find myself struggling with the veracity of that statement. Ordinary person living a life of greatness.
It’s possible yes? Yes, but how? How can I live forth greatness in 2014? I mean, I wake up each day, go to school, see almost the same people, shake almost the same hands, engage in banter with the same people and retire for the day each night with nothing seemingly grand happening.

Can I really leave an extraordinary legacy with this supposedly bland life of mine? And just in case you think I ponder on this statement because I am small minded and not faith-filled enough – perhaps I have small aspirations? You are dead wrong about that.

I dream big dreams, I practically lust after gigantic dreams in my head each day. I only imagine that I am just voicing out the question on the minds of lots of people like me.
How do we really live forth the greatness in us? I found myself lying awake on some nights, pondering on how I can burst forth in a kaleidoscope of greater colours and on one of such nights, the answer came to mind.

One name – IJESHA.

Ijesha is one of the employees in my school whose job description is to pass the microphone for students to answer questions in class. We lovingly call him “Ijesha Pass The Mic“. It would seem that “Ijesha pass the mic” is just a lowly employee on the lowest step of the academic ladder. You know, he’s simply earning a living from his simple and seemingly lowly job, right? But no.
“Ijesha pass the mic” had almost 1500 students pooling resources together to get him a Christmas gift in 2013. Ijesha had students bringing out hard earned allowee from their pockets to put a smile on his face for Christmas.

I’d like to compare Ijesha to Mordecai the jew in the Bible. He was a “mere” gate man who had an account of his greatness recorded in the book of history of the kings of Media and Persia. What did Mordecai and Ijesha have in common? They weren’t men occupying high levels of authority; they weren’t managing directors of huge companies; they weren’t bosses with subordinates under them; heck, “Ijesha pass the mic” does just what his nickname says for a living – he passes the mic! But he was definitely someone who 1500 students thought great enough to celebrate.

That’s where the answer to living forth the greatness in us lies. It wasn’t about the job description nor about how highly placed Ijesha was; he had almost all those students celebrating him because he had touched them all in a special place. In the ordinary job he carried out from Monday-Friday, he did in an extra ordinary way.

Ijesha isn’t the only one who passes the mic in my school, he has a colleague but oh, there is a whole world of difference between them. Ijesha would never pass the mic to you when you give him a signal that you don’t know the answer. He would never knowingly do that to you, because he knows that if you fail the question, you’d be the laughing stock of almost 1500 students and ultimately get the embarrassment award for the day. If he absolutely had to give the mic to you, his smiles, when he did, gave you all the encouragement you need.
I remember when a student fainted in the auditorium, Ijesha also ran out with those that rushed her to the hospital, stayed with her till she was resuscitated and came back to class to give feedback to us all. That wasn’t part of his job description, he wasn’t under any obligation to do that, but he did it anyway. Ijesha touched and continues to touch people in the most important place there is – their hearts.

Ijesha lives forth the greatness in him by touching lives for good in his seemingly small sphere of influence and boy, everyone around him felt it. Everyone. If Ijesha was to resign from his job today, the entire student populace would miss him deeply.

I am thinking, we’ve been on earth for some years, we’ve been working in that firm/company for some time now; most of those who chant “this is my year of greatness” are highly placed in one corporation or the other. Does the thought of you warm the hearts of others around you? Have you touched anyone’s life positively with the greatness in you? Do you think you were a positive influence in the lives of others? Do you think that if you left that place you are right now, anyone could say you were a blessing to their lives?

Everyone can live forth greatness in 2014. Maybe not by churning out new theories; maybe not by being the CEO of a multi million dollar company – true greatness doesn’t require something so grand to manifest.
We can do this by the seemingly mundane things: a thoughtful word… a kind deed… a prayer with a soul in distress… a hand outstretched to that friend you know is passing through hell… words of encouragement to someone when all they see is darkness… spurring others to be the best they can be…asking ‘how are you?’, not as a salutation but with intent to help if the answer’s not “I am fine”.
A smile that lights up their day…

I imagine that if Ijesha could do most of the above, and could be seen as great in the eyes of almost 1500 people, then so can we.

Greatness lives in each and every one of us, regardless of where ever you are and whatever you do, 2014 can indeed be your year of greatness. Simply turn around the purpose of your existence from ONLY acquiring the Gbogbo Gigs Girl status, Aldo shoes, Hermes bags, sleek smart phones, mansions in Banana Island et al to building mansions in the hearts of everyone or almost everyone you meet.

That kind of greatness never fades. That kind of greatness remains long after we are gone from this earth. Pioneer ideas can’t wash it away, more intelligent brains cannot over ride it, it subsists until the end of time. And for whenever you think that living forth greatness is impossible…For whenever you think about how to indeed make this year your year of greatness… Remember IJESHA.

Photo Credit:

Hephzibah Frances is a Lawyer and author currently based in Lagos Nigeria. She is an author of more than 15 books including the best-selling book “Prayers for your future husband”. She is a Voice for the Lord. She proclaims God to the Nations through her songs, books, podcasts, talk-shows, movies and the new media. Carrying God’s word to her generation on the wings of the wind. She is the founder of two women ministries, The Women At The Well and The Deborah Generation She is also the founder of Awakening Youthful Seeds For Christ Initiative a Non-Governmental Organisation focused on raising purposeful youths. She runs a business to help authors and aspiring authors BIRTH THEIR BOOK DREAMS at Beautiful Feet Publishing - Email: [email protected] for help with all things publishing and marketing your books. ***** KEEP IN TOUCH: Email her at [email protected] Follow Her On Social Media: On Facebook: HephzibahFrances On twitter @Hephzibahfran/ On instagram @hephzibahfrances Listen to her Podcasts At: Podcasts By Hephzibah Frances Watch her videos on her YouTube Channel at - Hephzibah Frances Read her blog at Download FREE eBooks written by her from here


  1. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    January 29, 2014 at 10:06 am

    IJESHA of Nigerian Law School, Lagos!

    Ijesha give her the mike, were the most feared words!
    The other gentleman who you did not mention, we referred to as “eye adaba” (I think that’s an eagle) in my set because of the way he would greatly and solemnly flap his hands when he was trying to get the class settled. O my days! you just put a 100 wattage smile on my lips. Let me walk around and share it before it expires. I’ll come back to say something intelligent on the subject later.

    • jcsgrl

      January 29, 2014 at 5:40 pm

      lol at your 100 megawatt smile. Reading this just put a smile on my face. Thanks Frances and BN for a good article. Pls more of this and less of “you know who”

    • Mzlyrics

      January 29, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      I guessed as much that it must have been Nigerian Law School. Unfortunately those of us in Abuja had no ‘Ijesha’. Getting that mic was every student’s nightmare!!! lol

  2. Lecker

    January 29, 2014 at 10:16 am

    A great way to start off today, very realistic and practical

  3. Phunmie

    January 29, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Beautiful Article

  4. Gold

    January 29, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    May God bless Frances okoro! Amen. Honestly,i did not see this wind of 2014 greatness the way you distinctly explained. My pastor also declared this year as a year of greatness,but all that went through my head was me, myself and i….’ i wan blow’. it’s good to hear that an act of charity and a hand of mercy earn more greatness than my perceived understanding of greatness.

    • EE

      January 29, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      same thought as me ‘say i wan blow’….. its indeed inspiring.

  5. me

    January 29, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Francis you ve defined this 2014 greatness in other words
    for me. When my priest declared it a year of double laughter, i
    thought to myself, that I must laugh o(celebrate), that I must
    laugh at my enemies. Did I stop for once to think of other ppl that
    i can also put smile on their faces? No. But today ur write up has
    given me another view, that even as I am laughing, I will spread
    the laughter with good deeds, so that people around me too will
    laugh. Quite an inspiring write up!

  6. c'est moi

    January 29, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    love is the greatest. But love is not love until someone receives it. So it isn’t just love that is the greatest. It is ‘GIVING love’. It doesn’t have to be money or material things, your presence, sincere advice, smile, encouragement, support etc and all of these are free but can change lives of those around you. When you do the greatest thing (GIVE love), you become great because great attributes can only be found in great people. Lovely piece

  7. 300JJJ

    January 29, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    Wow! very practical and realistic.GBU

  8. lilz

    January 29, 2014 at 4:05 pm


  9. Nominee

    January 29, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    Nice article. Speaking of love, give your opinion here please.

  10. Ivie

    January 29, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    lovely piece.

  11. Fifie

    January 29, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    Inspiring…thank you :).

  12. Dr. N

    January 29, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Nice. I really enjoyed d article. More power to u. PS Is this Frances of Imperfectlyperfect?

  13. Lizzieebunoluwa

    January 29, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    Aaaand that’s my Frances! Phenomenal woman! You do realize you just expressed a dimension of greatness yeah? You stayed in your place, drew out a beautiful, remarkable message from what’s a normal fixture in the NLS community and sent it on the limitless journey of inspiring lives…just by WRITING this piece. That right there, is greatness!
    Thank you Frances! I celebrate you, God will increase your greatness, a gazillion times over!

  14. Yours Truly

    January 29, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    More power to your elbow, girl – I must say that I really enjoyed reading this article. This year is definitely our year of greatness. Aww bless Ijesha – an ordinary man doing extraordinary things

  15. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    January 29, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    I know the feeling, being all psyched and prepped. Its like you are all dressed up with nowhere to go.

    Recently I took stock of my life, wondering at the things I have done, perplexed at the things I thought I could never do, bewildered at some I did, intrigued by it all. Then I realized something. I did not just wake up one morning and become like this. The good, the bad and the sexy were seeds sown and fueled by both conscious and silent thoughts and acts of omission and commission. Its all me. No stranger stares back at me from the mirror, only someone I have been gradually becoming over time.

    We go to school to acquire skills in a particular field. The writer, who is in the Law School ( I apologize for this intrusion on your privacy) is studying to become a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. The process seems obvious because patent efforts are being made. However, I can assure you that other seeds of life are equally being sown and nurtured just as vigorously and daily we reaping what we have sown. The child is always the father of the man.

  16. pharm. Joan

    January 29, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    Now dis is a good one,tnx 4 sharing [email protected] dr. N its d francess of imperfectlyperfect blog.and yeahh she’s my frnd,a good motivational writer.u guys go check out her blog

  17. Frances Okoro

    January 29, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    • Dr. N

      January 29, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      Why dem no put am na? Chop knuckle sha! My person!

    • frances

      February 8, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      Chop plenty knuckle. lol, Dr N, thank you

  18. jsjms

    January 29, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Kudos to Frances on an inspirational article. Keep up d good work.

  19. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    January 29, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    Thank you for drawing from seemingly mundane things to make us all think.

  20. Blessmyheart

    January 29, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Inspiring. Thanks

  21. Frances Okoro

    January 29, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Yes yours truly, Ijesha is a great man indeed, I’ve actually seen him helping the cleaners to sweep the auditorium after class. He wasn’t asked to help,he “just felt like helping the women” and he doesn’t see it as anything,the good he does is part of him,that’s just the way he is and the way we should be…
    Bobosteke, I also had a 100 wattage smile
    on my lips from your comment. “Eye adaba”? My lips are sealed o… Thank you sir (or ma?) I am glad you drew lessons from this too.

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      January 30, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Sir or Ma, ke? Abeg na Sisi o!

  22. Hannah

    January 29, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    WOW,..this is me dancing and singing, Greatness ooh, wow…only Frances has made me comment on Bella Naija for the very first time. As we are used to getting, this article is no short of Greatness or Inspiring. Y’all reading this she blogs at you can get more of these on there.
    I love you girl….you’re representing US wella.
    Thank for this beautiful one.

  23. Harriet efe

    January 30, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Okoro, true words my dear, true words…n dis post jst made my day.

  24. Ifeanyi E.R

    January 30, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Oh Frances! Great write up and enough lessons learnt. Please don’t stop writing ‘cos I see you in the league of Nora Roberts et al, soon. Keep it up.

  25. Solape Olabintan

    January 30, 2014 at 10:42 am

    IJESHA OF LAW SCHOOL LAGOS CAMPUS, how sweet to have written about him like that. Wonderful piece.

  26. MrsObiKingz

    January 30, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    To the author of this exceptional piece, THANK YOU!!!! This is awesome.

  27. Ady cyndy .o

    January 30, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    God bless you francess i have learnt a lot from this post pls kip it up and when you finally graduate from law school pls do some thing great for ijesha he deserves it and before i forget i shed a tear while reading this thank you for giving a clearly written script of what greatness is

  28. frances okoro

    January 30, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    Ady Cyndy,thanks a lot for that suggestion,by God’s grace,I’ll surely do that.Ijesha deserves it.
    Thanks so much everyone…
    Bobosteke, sisi lawyer, ok

  29. Zeezah

    January 30, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    A very great, interesting and inspiring piece. Nice one there!

  30. Debsie

    January 31, 2014 at 12:19 am

    Amen!! This is the best article I’ve read on here. This day will I begin to magnify you….when God said it to Joshua it came with an instruction and there are instructions pertaining to us as well. one of those is love…so deep.

  31. neka

    January 31, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Wow am soo blessed and have to re-focus in this great year,I ve blessing lives but I ll do it with a better meaning.blessings back to u frances

  32. Tosin

    January 31, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    Dear Frances, when I told you last year that you were going places,I am sure you took it lightly. It has started already and this is just the beginning. Let me be the first to celebrate the greatness in you for touching lives with this profound post. God bless u bigly.

  33. ujesta

    February 2, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Now THIS is greatness….kudos girl!

  34. glowingscenes

    February 2, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    this was a wonderful post frances. It teaches that we don’t have to go far before we do what we can do or render help in every way we can. The person next to us needs our help too.
    Congrats on your feature here and do get well soon.

  35. Bar 2

    February 6, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Today in school I experienced Ijesha. He is the sweetest and the most selfless person evere. He even tried to help a lady from the student affairs get me a husband lol apparently he didn’t know why this lady wanted to see me but when he asked me today and I told him he was mad at for her for trying to do that. He also helped me thumb print before others and didn’t even dare to ask me for anything. Frances and crying and laughing at the same time for your intelligent article and I will give you a big hug tomorrow . Love you my room mate


    February 7, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    I learnt a lot from your write up. Simply put, one can be celebrated once he is selfless, sacrificial and willing to suffer for others good. This is exactly the life Christ lived while on earth and can be reproduced in every one who truly desires and follow Him.

  37. uzu anwuli

    February 13, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    awesome piece
    tnx frances

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