Since I published the last post about leaving radio for a new journey; I have gotten calls, messages and different levels of interactions with mentors, friends and colleagues.
One major question, “To where?”
I have always been a content person- I write. Writing has consistently knocked on my door in different forms: Poetry, news, articles, “Those interesting chats”, conversations etc. My drift, determined by the face of words I meet when I open the door.
I also like to build.
And I have soft spots for people who are committed to building excellent platforms and organisations. It gives me great joy to see young people dedicated to giving Nigeria and Africa by extension, an enviable position in the comity of nations.
So while radio brought me to Akure, I related with some of the best young minds I have seen in my life. I met Kitan David(CEO, PlanetNest) while organising my first Leadership Clinic with DayoNigeria in the City, this spark, ignited a wild fire of connections in the tech ecosystem. Within the next few months after the first clinic, the second edition (Akure Clinic 2.0) brought together some of the biggest young tech players in and around Ondo State…it was huge and that was the big bang.
I met Joel Ogunsola, co-convener of the AkureTechUp community (A community I am actively part of)…got actively involved with the operations of FourthCanvas (they handled the visual communications for Akure Clinic 2.0) — Victor Fatanmi and Bolaji Fawole. The big bang happened and a new world was created.
Radio stayed, but another journey started side by side.
My knack for a better society got infused with my voice on radio — Campus Vibes and Youths Hangout.
Next stop, my partner came knocking, we formed Zumalo.com.
So I had my responsibilities as the Radio genie, social communications at 4C and editorial job at Zumalo.
At this point, I think I have answered: “to where” right?
The big bang happened, a new world was created- A leap.
Strong and well-nourished roots are needed for beautiful flowers. I am a part of two upwardly mobile and massively growing start-ups; it is pretty important I invest myself to see the brands excellently achieve their set goals.
The “why” is longer…so let’s make it a little while longer (pun intended).
Now you know to where. I know a lot of my teeming listeners will still be in the thoughts of “Is the leap worth it?”
In the last few weeks, I have moved from uncertainty to certainty.
If you were born in Nigeria, Mosquitoes are normal.
I spent few moments in Eneka. Sandy, real air, devoid of the major Port Harcourt bustle, but brimming with the City’s hustling spirit. Rumuokwurusi ,some Ikwerre’s are angry, it’s now called “rumuokwurushe”,that’s was easier to pronounce for the very many Yoruba Taxi drivers then. But maybe in a bid to take back their land, everybody drives the taxis now,especially the cup sized yellow painted NAPEPs. It’s more tribeless now. Maybe the real pronunciations will come back.
Back to the story, Rumuokwurusi welcomes you, Tank is a melting point enroute Atali, then Elimgbu and finally, Eneka.This was the first place I got a new name for Mosquitoes, Gbemisola calls it “Mosquero”.
After wonderful experiences of the insects, we gave it another name, like the dreaded name that should not be mentioned, the Harry Potter way. They are that dangerous.
They are neighbors,but they suck blood.
When I hear of countries like the United States of America, where it’s been completely eradicated, I imagine how life would be without those small insects with powerful bites. Then the wa-hun sounds, that’s like the arrival of the itchy warriors,contemplating the part of your body to conquer.
The tales. The Clap, sometimes the slaps. The jumps and pains when your claps of fury misses it’s prey. I wonder why it settles for the night to attack.
If you are fortunate, you wake up in the night;then the feeling of being unfortunate comes, when you put on the lights. A swarm of angry looking mosquitoes all over your body.
Yes. Even in Nigeria, mosquitoes are place specific. They frequent places that help them breed. Breathe.
While others have used technology to fight this battle against the tiny legged warriors,some have other chemical and natural means.
I spent few days in Offa, we used Odomos. My house in Rumuokwurusi, mummy bought Mosquito repellent sprays… I hear there are now tech solutions.
Even Sterile Mosquitoes, I wonder how people thought of using sex to ignite a kill switch.
Anyway, these mosquitoes must die.
But this night, the Akure Mosquito brigade, has had its fill.
On Sunday, 11th of December, 2016 the second edition of the Leadership Clinic with DayoNigeria held in Akure. The event with the theme: Achieving my dream Nigeria through Technology brought together some of the best tech minds in South West Nigeria and youths who are passionate about positively impacting the world, one community at a time.
So the atmosphere was charged with patriotism, innovation, excellence and discussions aimed at creating indigenous solutions to the myriads of problems facing the nation. The first edition of the clinic which held in September revolved around the Practicality of Leadership; Pastor Akin Ojo and Segun Omojola led interactions that beamed the spot light on the thought that you are a leader where you are. However, this edition focused on how technology can be used to solve problems.
With this objective in mind, we carefully chose very excellent panellists and speakers; people who are already making efforts aimed at making the world a better place, one innovation at a time.
Usman Abiola (He’s the co-founder of cMapIT; An innovative geospatial company that won the Most Innovative Tech Company in the Emerging Markets Award by MongoDB (New York). He’s the GDG lead of LAUTECH. He mixes pixel(Graphics/UI/UX) to create good digital products ). You should have seen him articulate the importance of data in creating usable solutions. He stressed that you need to think like the people you are innovating solutions for, while also explaining that excellent market survey is important in ensuring sustainable tech business models.
Emmanuel Odunlade (Co-Founder DevsDistrict and winner Access Bank Prize for Innovation 2016) stressed the need for students and youths to create ecosystems that are suitable for creating solutions. In his words, the beauty of Nigeria will only be achieved by Nigerians.
Victor Fatanmi (Lead Creative at the brand identity-specialized design agency FourthCanvas. With years of a wider design experience, working on presidential media campaigns in Nigeria and Ghana as well on ground breaking media campaigns like the StopEbola (2014) and a number of other projects for businesses in Lagos and New York, he readily comes with a wealth of experience in the visual communication/media industry.) Explained that it is increasingly becoming important for brands to create user friendly identity, hence the space is open for youths to get engaged in.
Evi Uwede (Campus Director, Hultz Prize and INTEL ambassador FUTA). Evi opined that there are a lot of opportunities for women in technology. She called on parents, institutions and systems to encourage ladies to be part of the tech ecosystem creating and innovating tech solutions.
Olufemi Iroko (Co-founder, Career Drive Academy and GEMSTONE Ondo State Coordinator) enlightened that Technology has become a leveller; citizens at different spheres can now effectively play a part in building Nigeria. He emphasised, more than ever before Nigerians should engage in rebuilding the systems, working with those in the TECH ecosystem to build the Nigeria of our dream.
Aboluwarin Kitan-David (Co- Founder Planet Nest – An incubation hub in Akure focused on helping student entrepreneurs create and grow successful businesses) explained that in creating successful businesses, we should always leverage on quality relationships based on areas of strength. He stressed that when we focus on value, money will come.
In his keynote address, Joel Ogunsola (founder/managing partner for Prunedge a social enterprise poised to advance humanity through technology. Prior to him co-founding Prunedge he was the Microsoft Education Technical Advisor for Microsoft Nigeria. He is the curator for TEDxAkure, an independently organized TED event. Joel founded Tech4Dev – a technology non-profit organization that seeks to create proactive and reactive solutions to the world’s greatest problems, with primary focus on public health, education & Civic engagement) opined that with the increasing access to technology, it has become imperative for Nigerians to collaborate towards creating solutions that are people centric and aimed at developing our communities.
The event also provided a platform for great minds to network, we agreed that: Collaboration is the new competition.
Can we build the nation together?
Hey my name is Opeyemi….and you?
Together we shine bright
More than ever before, we need to begin to channel the discussions towards making impact. We need to support platforms that encourage the values of truth, values, equity and justice. We should network with like minds that think social development. The leadership Clinic with DayoNigeria Akure 2.0 has come and gone in terms of time, but the impact will be long lasting.
I want to take out this opportunity to appreciate Joel Ogunsola ( Managing Partner, Prunedge), Segun Ketiku ( VP Raves Digital), Emmanuel Odunlade ( Devs District), Kitan Aboluwarin ( Planet Nest), Uma Photography ( You have seen the pictures, this brand was beautiful!)FourthCanvas –they handled a lot of our designs and branding, Adetimehin Ademola, Areji Owolabi, My Pastor – Akin Ojo and many others for their support in making this programme a success. Thank you DayoNigeria for nudging me towards putting my thoughts into action.
For those of us that attended, I hope you learnt and made connections that will brighten your horizon, thank you very much for coming. I learnt something. My network has been boosted.
With all hands on deck: I, you and all our partners, the next edition – Leadership Clinic Akure 3.0 will be better.
Sometimes there is this crave to want to sound objective, not biased , “Intellectual” etc. that you begin to leave your faith out of discussions,interactions and posts.Especially when you have a lot of intelligent free thinkers, Atheists ,those that are confused about what they want as spiritual anchor and non Christians around you – offline & Online.
So sometimes we want to leave religion out of it. Often times,even among brethren,you can hear “Let’s leave the bible now and face reality”. Then I wonder.
However,I never want to get to the point where I will sacrifice who I am- a christian on the altar of sounding “intelligent”, ” Unbiased” and other convenient themes that fit the bill.
But there is a balance, I will relate with all without judging, I want to learn and continue to grow towards providing solutions that positively affect lives beyond the walls of faith. After all,I am a light to lit the world and salt to preserve the earth. So I love to celebrate the meeting points and let love be the modus Operandi.
I am a christian. I accept/agree with the infallibility of the scriptures. I have my issues and delinquent moments,but I am on steady growth trips.
I respect the views of others and appreciate our ideological fault lines.
Side Bar: There are smart Christians. A lot. Cos ,often times the experiences of people in Nigeria (Africa) have made some people associate mediocrity with the faith. Sometimes, they even think we don’t Think. So this is a call,do you have Christ? Let the world see his greatness through you. Live out the best. Be the best.
I am still looking for a word that properly captures when “ You really did not want to do something, then someone you respect or who is your boss makes you do it and at the end you begin to thank God you went/did it” . Do you have an idea of what I can call it that will not sound spiritual? Let me just call it grace ordered steps jare.
So I had planned to spend the 17th of November, 2016 with a close friend; she had not been around for a while, the town had been a little boring, so we wanted to hang out.
Then On the previous day, 16th
“Ope…come”, I jumped to meet my Head of News (who has been an inspiration yea! Steadily pushing my limits), I thought he wanted to give me something-maybe money with the way he called. But then he handed me a piece of paper, with the words “Cover this event”. My mind just screamed: Ope your plans!
I tried to appeal, but with smiles written on his face, he disagreed and the last order was “Cover this event”.
The D-day, Thursday, Sunview Hotel Alagbaka, I was on sit before the programme started. Little did I know that I was in for an awesome ride.
It was a public presentation on Election Security Threat Assessment towards the 2016 Governorship Election in Ondo State by CLEEN Foundation.
The presentation was handled by a professor of Political Science, Prof. Shola Omotola. It was a detailed research on identifying trends, issues and security hot-spots ahead of the governorship election in Ondo State. If I am to describe the work and presentation in one word, I will call it: Excellent. I learnt and my recent nudge to do some mass media research works were reawaken.
Prof. Sola Omotola during his presentation
Few minutes into the session, tea was served, with small chops, pepper-fried chicken and meat pie. How won’t I listen?
Then the Director General of the Electoral Institute of INEC, Prof. Abubakar Momoh shared practical applications on how the findings, conclusions can be used in real life situations, citing historical perspectives.
I really learnt.
Apart from the fact that it was an assignment, it was rewarding in all ramification. Let me add that there was a buffet at the end of the presentation: I just did coleslaw, fried and jollof rice, Roasted Fish, Chicken and an Apple to complete the munch routine.
The only time I have seen a training this packaged in terms of Quality content, participants well taken care of and a serene environment is when you pay to attend. But this, you dint pay to attend. However, it is important to know that nothing is free, most likely the financial burden would have been shared by sponsors and partners. DFID (Department for International Development) – stuck to my mind as one of the partners on the banner.
I am excited about happenings like this. I like well packaged programmes aimed at impacting lives for the better and making the world we live in a better place. This programme has endeared me to CLEEN and I can only wish that a lot of the development initiatives (Sponsored locally and internationally) are leveraged to really bring the needed help to those that need it.
Again, I am encouraged to push on with the little effort I am starting with Dayo Nigeria in Akure – The leadership Clinic. The first edition was mega impactful (at least from the feedback I got from those that attended) as we discussed the practicality of leadership.
This next one, we want to leverage on the technology for Social development space and discuss: Achieving our dream Nigeria through Technology; The leadership perspective. I am working with excellent minds like Joel Ogunsola ( Prunedge), Kiitan Aboluwarin ( Planet Nest), Emmanuel Odunlade ( DevsDistrict) …( I hope this list increases). The plan is to have an ideathon that will engage participants in discussing leveraging technology to champion an inclusive national development from the grassroot. Sunday, 11th December, 3pm …if you are in Akure or you know someone in this town who would be interested, let us make it a date ( You can register here or for further enquiry: firstname.lastname@example.org)
I hope one day it grows and surpasses the standard CLEEN exposed me to.
There are reasons to give up on my wonderful country, but I remain hopeful. In our quest to build the Nigeria of our dream, together we shine bright.
*CLEEN Foundation is a non-governmental organisation that seeks to promote public safety, security and justice sector reform.
I mean it literally, it is not like I am speaking *christianese.
The previous week has been an experience. I broke down. The second time within two months- this is not normal, I seldom fall sick.
So on Wednesday, I did the last corpers wee hangout with the only remaining Akure Bae I had- Tominsin (Congratulations dear). As at then, the headache started slightly, I thought it will pass…it dint oh. I woke up the next day with it, and then it chose a parking lot – the left side of my head. It parked and started banging.
Shey when someone has headache, the next advice is for the person to have a good rest, but sleep no gree come oh. The nights were short; I woke up intermittently feeling hyper about nothing. Imagine!
Friday, Saturday and Sunday Morning… it was a hell of a migraine!
Paracetamol was ineffective, Panadol Extra gave a very minute relief… then the names of the bigger drugs began to roll in.
Me, I wasn’t ready. The ones I was taking, the taste were in my mouth; I could perceive them in my catarrh and even my saliva. I dint need a new taste. So, I just gave in.
This is Sunday evening; I can sit down and type.
The worst part of being sick for me was not having friends in Akure check on me. I got calls from far away Kaduna (My Personal Assistant, Flora), Benin (Ernest Agbonlahor), Lagos ( Tomilade), Benin ( Josiah Jighere)…
Now the excuse is that I dint inform them. I dint tell them. So make I go dey announce say “I am Sick Oh! I am Sick Oh” ( Lolz) . Anyway, maybe because one way or the other, I always look like a superman. But I dropped hints on facebook nah… (What of if, they dint have data).
However, it made me learn something; people always need people they care about around. We subconsciously expect those we think care about us to know when we are not fine. While this is not always good, I just feel we need to do more to hear from those we love. A call, ping, chat… message. Keep in touch.
Sometimes sef, I can intentionally or unintentionally show that like I don’t need you, I need you oh! Please call or chat.
What am I writing sef….? Don’t mind me, after 4 days of not been able to peacefully use your head, you will just be writing anyhow.
And Ehen, Jerry is back in my life, I will be pushing more limits now. Jordan Belonwu where are you joorh?
But for you, yes you reading this… keep in touch with those you love; people are the Joy of living.
Our Citizens must realize that the change they want to see begins with them… if you have not seen the change in you; you cannot see it in others or even the larger society. In other words, before you ask ‘Where is the change they promised us, you must first ask how far have I changed my ways? ’…”
President Muhammadu Buhari
As inspirational as the speech of the president at the “Change Begins with Me” launch in Abuja was, it has been met with a lot of criticism and doubt. Few people belief it. Few people could resonate with it. You can’t compare its reception, with the way his inaugural speech was received. That day, the next week, throughout the month; a lot of Nigerians were proud of the Presidential Speech. “I belong to nobody”, his supporters continually echoed.
I was one of the supporters. I still am, but with a reasonable restrain. My hopes have been punctured by a couple of bad decisions. But I must hope for the best.
Yes, I am talking about the speech. (You can read it here).
I read almost all the paragraphs, with deep breath of doubt. A part of me labelled the speech as hypocritical, while the other part was sure that the campaign is a ploy to redirect attention from the government to the people: emotionally blackmailing them. Almost all the ideals preached in the speech, have been subtly broken in just over one year of this current administration.Mike Asukwo tries to capture it in Cartoon :
Sadly, I supported this government, but I had little or no option. We had to pick. But as I have once said, President Buhari (and his supporters) will not say he is the best president Nigeria never had; he still has a lot of time to prove those that didn’t believe in him wrong, A lot of time to restore his quickly depleting “Integrity perception” (Anti- corruption fight is now almost like a broken record) and prove those that believed in him right. Nigerians are hungry, angry; and history is waiting to see maybe he will be the president that takes Nigeria to the next phase.
Unarguably, there have been a few success stories, but the issue with raising peoples hope is that you are judged by the standards you set for yourself. We wait.
Although, this is not about the President. The campaign is very important for Nigeria’s next phase. We need to understand that the change begins with you and me. Can we take those words in their own merit and work towards achieving it? choose to see it as something that we should do and not Grandiose Government project. Nigeria is for you and me, and until we personalize the vision of the country we want to see, it’s going to be difficult to achieve.
The campaign by the Government is seemingly unnecessary, hypocritical but in reality, it is a theme that we need to imbibe as a nation. Can we learn to do the right things excellently? The leadership is a product of a given society at a particular time; can we work towards having followers that will refuse to be corrupted by the government (even if it’s corrupt)? Can we have rich and powerful who are concerned about helping those in need? Can we effect the change we want to see in our own different spheres and in the little best we can.
So I have chosen not to see it as a government Campaign but as a personal campaign. This is my message to myself every dawn of a new morning “Change begins with me”. It’s a message I will try to share and help people keep faith in a new Nigeria. I tried to observe the mood in the town; people are hungry, tired and angry. Optimism rose to record levels before the 2015 polls, people are still reeling from the pains of the crash. Can you be the hope? Can you be the one to put smiles on the faces of those around you? As much as you can, be a light.
Be the best in areas of your strength, the world celebrates YabaHUB today, despite the various challenges they would have gone through to get where they are today. Nigerian music and movie industry continues to grow internationally, despite a seemingly unorganised system, can you imagine what will happen if we get the things right?
Nigeria, we are resilient. We are wired to succeed. We can live above the fault lines of religion, ethnicity and every other form of selfish bias.
So I will work to build the Nigeria of my dream, this is my pledge, will you do that with me?