Esther Ijewere


Major Zharare becomes the first Zimbabwean to receive the prestigious United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award for her outstanding efforts to integrate gender perspectives into peacekeeping activities.

In 2006, she joined the Zimbabwe Defense Forces as a 2nd Lieutenant, determined to boost the participation of women in the predominantly male-dominated military sector. The same aim inspired her to seize the opportunity to join UN Peacekeeping in 2020. In November 2020, Major Zharare was deployed to the Bentiu field office for the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) as a Military Observer and Chief Military Information Officer.

Seeing firsthand how women are often excluded from decision-making, she immediately launched a plan to help empower them. Major Zharare promoted mixed-gender patrols to build trust, improve protection efforts, and boost community engagement.

She successfully brought together women and men from local communities to farm and build dikes together to alleviate food shortages and prevent further displacement.

She contributed to the increased production of gender-disaggregated data and advocated for gender parity within the mission. She made it a priority to ensure that local civilian and military authorities, as well as community representatives, involved both men and women in meetings with the UN.


Omobabinrin Adeola Osideko, a branding expert, social media influencer, and coach has taken to her Instagram page to express her displeasure on how people bully celebrities, public figures, and influencers for the kind of life they chose to live, saying they are misleading their followers.

She said “influencing is a huge responsibility because you become a role model to many of the people you influence (willingly or unwillingly). You because the lens through which many see the world, the yardstick which they use to measure right from wrong. This is something aspiring influencers should have in mind as they seek and work towards the highly coveted influencer title.

I understand and agree that public figures, influencers, and celebrities need to watch how they live their life as long as they are there in the public and have a lot of people looking up to them, but the plain truth is that we do NOT have control over how they live their lives. We only have control over how we allow them to influence us, who we choose to follow, and who we choose to make role models. We have control over a lot of other things but not HOW THEY SHOULD live their lives.

She said, “in my opinion, I think it is better we concentrate on what we have control over and leave what we do not have control over.”

Another thing she stated is that we should not expect perfection from these people because they are not angels or mini gods, nor are they semi-gods. They are like every other human out there with blood flowing in their veins.

Let them breathe, they did not choose to be your role model, you choose them. Enough of this witch-hunting going on the internet, people now subtly bully others by hiding under the guise of ‘and you call yourself a role model’. Pick what resonates with you about them and trash the rest, stop the bully “she said.

Adeola further explains that everyone should have a standard of life for themselves. “Nobody should be your standard except God, because even sometimes, our parents do not meet up with the standard of life we want, not to talk of strangers we meet on the internet”, she said.

She encouraged people to have a standard for themselves through spirituality and personal development and stop making social media influencers their standard because no human is infallible.

“Get your life together and stop looking for people to blame for your bad decisions. If good values have been instilled in you from home, then you will not be easily swept away by the glitz, glamour, fake life, or immorality of the so-called role models. There is no need to witch-hunt anyone, you choose them, they didn’t choose you, some are not even aware that you exist”, she continued.

Adeola also advised parents to train their children well.

“Instill good morals in them so that they are not easily swept off by the things on the internet,” she said.

She also mentioned people should not idolize them, “don’t make these people a mini-god, they should not be objects of worship. It’s okay to love them, appreciate them, cherish them, give them gifts (if you can), and support them, but don’t idolize them and stop digging up their past to use against them. This is simply manipulation and blackmail which is done by people with low self-esteem looking for cheap attention.”

We all have a past; we all have things we have done that we are not proud of, what makes you think these people are an exception? Don’t witch-hunt people for things they did in the past when they didn’t know better. Learn to make room for their inadequacies and don’t expect too much from them”, she said.

Adeola further debunked some myths that people have about influencers and celebrities.

“Do not think that these people are rich, and they MUST give you money. Forget the glitz and glamour, a lot are not as rich as you think and even if they are rich, nobody OWES you anything. Moreover, stop expecting them to give you free access. They owe no one free access to their inner chamber. If they have decided to keep their circle small so, be it. It’s not pride, it’s simply being wise and setting boundaries since they’re in the spotlight.

Finally, whoever you are following, you are following them at your own risk. Choose your ROLE MODELS wisely”, she continued.

At the end of the day, they will only live their lives the way it pleases them, even if we talk about it from now till tomorrow. The onus lies on us all to choose who we follow and how we allow them to influence us”, she concluded.



Oluyemisi A. Adedokun-Oladejo is a classroom and virtual teacher of English Language and Literature-in-English. She is also a writer with five book titles, including a comprehensive grammar textbook, to her name. She was the winner of the 2020 African Writers’ Award for Creative Nonfiction, a co-winner of the 2021 Ogun State Academic Laurel and the first African to win the TOEFL English Practitioner’s Prize (2022). A Master’s Degree holder in English who also has ambassadorial affiliations with some education initiatives, Oluyemisi not only enjoys teaching, but is also committed to helping other teachers discover and leverage the opportunities available for educators to make impact beyond the classroom, attain global relevance and have financial freedom. She shares her inspiring story with ESTHER IJEWERE in this interview.

Childhood Influence
My dad and mum were teachers, but my dad resigned shortly after I was born. Teachers’ salary was so poor at the time and teachers occupied the lowest rung on the social ladder. My mum would often tell the tale of her landlady who boasted that as a petty trader, she made in a day what my mum earned in a month.

But I have loved teaching for as long as I can remember. I recall that each time I called myself a teacher, my dad would always register his disapproval of my defective career ambition with a trilateral snap of his fingers. ‘No child of mine will become a teacher,’ he would say. But I continued to deface the walls of our house that I used as the chalkboard each time I gathered other children, teaching them what I knew.

I was enthralled by the possibility of helping others become better by sharing what I knew with them; I was below age 10 at the time. My passion for teaching didn’t wane even as I continued to grow.

Why I Pitched My Tent In The Educational Sector
You know that saying credited to Achebe that when a man says ‘yes’, his Chi says ‘yes’. I am convinced that I am destined to teach, for how else can I explain getting into the university to study education without taking UTME, without making the admission list? How else can I explain getting a permanent teaching appointment with the government the next day after I completed my NYSC, without pressing any button?

After taking my SSCE in 2002, I enrolled for the Grade II Teachers’ Training Programme at the National Teachers Institute (DLS). I was completing the programme when my cousin came to our house one day and told me she was going to TASCE. I never knew there was a school with such a name. She told me of the B.Ed programme of then Tai Solarin College of Education (Now Tai Solarin University of Education), in affiliation with UI. I told her I would go too. We didn’t need to take UTME; we only filled out and submitted our application forms.

When the admission list was out, my cousin found her name, but I didn’t find mine. I went on and paid my acceptance fee regardless. Four years later, I graduated with a B.Ed in English. I was about to complete my NYSC in Kwara State when the Otunba Gbenga Daniel-led administration commenced teachers’ recruitment in 2009. My mum obtained and filled out the application form on my behalf; I made the list. I completed my service on November 19, 2009, and picked up my appointment letter at Ogun TESCOM on November 20, 2009.

Why I published Five Books
Writing is another pastime I have had since I was a child. As a young girl in secondary school, I wrote plays. I wrote some more when I was an undergraduate, except that those were mostly fiction and poems. When I got married in 2010, my husband encouraged me to publish one of my manuscripts. I didn’t feel ready at the time and I was quite naive about book publishing, but he gave me the necessary support and that birthed my debut novel, Omidan, with an eponymous title.

In the process of publishing, we made some mistakes, but we picked the lessons and moved on. I have published fiction and poems thereafter. At one point, I even wrote a children’s storybook at the request of a publisher.

Initially, it didn’t occur to me that I could write nonfiction, not to talk of a textbook, as my muses lingered between fiction and poetry for a long time. But teaching English in public secondary schools to children from low-income backgrounds gave me first-hand experience of inaccessibility of quality grammar textbooks to teachers and learners. Then, I decided to give it a shot.

I wanted a one-stop source for my grammar lessons. So, I set out to write Premium English Grammar, a 531-paged grammar guide. Today, it is available on Amazon and Selar, but more importantly, other teachers and learners of English whose classrooms are similar to mine are using it. That delights me immensely.

The Journey Since I Started Teaching Virtually
I started teaching English on Facebook in 2019. Every day, from Monday to Friday, I would post content around English grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. I found that people were learning and gaining value from my posts, so, I kept at it. Some people would drop comments of gratitude; others would reach out via DM to appreciate me. But, overall, teaching English on Facebook opened me up to a lot of opportunities.

My name easily dropped in people’s minds whenever they had gigs or projects that required my expertise. Then, I became a certified IELTS expert. These days, I teach mostly on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is where I get premium clients and high-ticket freelancing gigs resulting from the English lessons and IELTS lessons I consistently share.

Being Recipient Of The 2020 African Writers’ Award For Creative Nonfiction, A Co-Winner Of The 2021 Ogun State Academic Laurel And The First African To Win The TOEFL English Practitioner’s Prize (2022)

My win of the 2020 African Writers’ Prize came as a shock; I didn’t write that piece with a writing contest in mind. It was simply an outburst of emotion about my journey with sickle cell disorder. I learnt about the AWA prize quite late, so I simply tied up that piece and submitted. But winning that prize made me believe more in my ability and I confidently entered other competitions, the result of which has been my win of the Ogun State Academic Laurel and the TOEFL English Practitioners’ Prize.

For someone like I, who endured a lot of stigmatisation as a child, it feels so good to be celebrated. When I declared my win of the TOEFL Prize early this year, many news outlets featured my story and I was indeed overwhelmed by the outpour of love from everyone. I am indeed grateful.

Challenges Of My Work
It’s my 13th year in the classroom teaching children from low income backgrounds across public secondary schools and I can say that teachers in private secondary schools have it easier. Overcrowded classrooms, an unconducive learning environment, inaccessibility of resources and foundational deficiencies in learners are some of the issues we encounter every day. Amidst all of these, we have to ensure productivity and effectiveness. Somehow, I give my best by constantly thinking outside the box and improvising.

Other Projects And Activities
I am currently facilitating a Computer Assisted Language Learning programme in the low-income community secondary school where I teach. I am an IELTS expert and I am a Nigerian representative of University Hub, an organisation that helps international students secure admission into universities in the US, UK and Canada. I am a Sign Language interpreter and a scriptwriter.

What I Enjoy Most About My Job
I am excited about the opportunity to polish raw talents till they glister. Teaching has afforded me the opportunity of grooming children who have become change agents in the world. I have produced students who have participated in global contests and won medals.

Teaching has made it possible for me to be a part of their success stories. I enjoy helping my students discover their potential and nurture the potential to manifest.

Three Women Who Inspire Me And Why
My mum is a retired primary school head teacher, but she is my number 1 inspiration. She is a woman who had every reason to give up but never did. Raising a child with sickle cell is a daunting task; my mum raised two.

I am also inspired by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. I was in 400 level in the university when I first read Purple Hibiscus. I have read other books and essays of hers and she inspires my writing style a lot. I love her daring nature and the boldness with which she approaches issues that people hardly talk about.

Then, I love Professor Ngozi Okonjo Iweala for breaking boundaries, showing us there is no height the female child cannot attain.

Nigerians And Appreciation For Teachers
No, teachers are not appreciated enough. That’s evident in the poor remuneration and the working conditions. An average teacher sees himself as an intern. Teaching is a job while they await a job. He is ashamed of telling his friends that he is a teacher.

What We Can Do Better As A Society To Support Teachers
Overhaul the education sector. Really, our education sector needs a complete overhauling. Review teachers’ salary to commensurate with the task; renovate our dilapidated school buildings, decongest our classrooms. Integrate ICT in our curriculum not only in principle, but also in practice.

One Thing I Wish To Change In The Educational Sector
Elevate the social status of the teacher. Give him/her generous monetary reward for his service. Make him proud of his job. He will do more if he is proud of what he is doing.

Being A Woman Of Rubies
I am a woman of rubies, because I am making an impact in the education sector. I have helped many students discover and harnessed their talents. Presently, the 80 students participating in my project, CALL, have exclusive licences to English Learning Centre (ELC) afforded by Education Testing Service in the U.S. because of me. They have access to resources in the American classroom.

These are students from very poor backgrounds who had never come close to a computer previously. I often run into former students of mine who are now school owners and teachers or teachers in training. They would tell me how much I inspired them and made the teaching profession so endearing.


Dr. Adetoun Is an indispensable brand Resource using her multi-potentiality and excellent tools to build and strengthen individual and corporate brands. She is a multi-preneur, the MD of Prontotherapy, an offline/online based service provider where “on the spot” therapy is being rendered to individuals/corporate organizations via talk therapy sessions and suicide rates are minimized/completely erased. Advocacy for mental health. Prontotherapy deals with “The mind’’, ‘’Self-awareness”, “personal development and relationships.

She is also the founder of ‘‘EYINJU FOUNDATION’’, an NGO borne out of passion for mentoring/motivating/sensitizing younger ones who are being referred to as the ‘‘leaders of tomorrow’’ on the importance of being relevant/thriving in the society and generation as well as running a ‘FEED THE DESTITUTE’ bi-monthly program via the foundation. She also runs a successful travels and tourism business called TUSH TRAVELS AND TOURS.

The YALI network and American Psychology Association member has certifications in different courses. She shares her inspiring story with Esther Ijewere in this interview.

Childhood Influence

Not really. I am privileged to be the second of four children and we practically went through a lot from silver spoon to abject poverty before picking up back to average. Growing up for me was just there. I hawked a lot. It was from one problem to the other, one church to the other. Though prayer works! I was literally the “GOAT” in the house and was always in the black book for doing things….lol..aka certified trouble maker. But my troubles were for good.

Inspiration behind Prontotherapy and Eyinju Foundation?

Prontotherapy is a mental health firm with specialization on “THE MIND”, “SELF AWARENESS/PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT & “RELATIONSHIPS” and what inspired it was me wanting to help people in the little way I can stay sane regardless. A lot is happening in different homes, people are daily falling into abject poverty, depression, people are tired and contemplating suicide so I decided to contribute my own quota and leave the rest for God. With self awareness comes Self Discovery and when one discovers himself/herself, you would be able to leverage on your strengths whilst you work on your weaknesses. You will be able to put your gifts and abilities to good use instead of doing nothing and whining when you have a gold mine on the inside of you wasting away. God has deposited everything we need to be great in life on the inside of us, we just have to do our part by finding it and making good use of it to his glory. At Eyinju foundation, we sensitize young adults between the ages of 7-19years on Puberty, Talent discovery, Opposite Attraction, Self Love, Abuse of all kinds, Rape Prevention, Thriving in a negative environment, Emotional Intelligence. A lot of parents focus on book -book and book but refuse to understand that every child needs to have IQ ,EQ and SQ {Intelligent Quotient, Emotional Quotient and Social Quotient}. If it’s not at par or balanced then there is already a problem somewhere which will definitely affect the society sooner or later. Also the “FEED THE DESTITUTE” is just a bonus initiative we inculcated into THE EYINJU FOUNDATION.

Being a member of several organisations across the globe

I am really all about service to humanity, I started volunteering when I was 17 so serving humanity naturally became a part of me. It gives me a sense of Self Worth and it’s been an amazing ride all along even with challenges I encounter. I realize that we all can actually make a difference from any sphere of influence if only there’s a will. I don’t have to be the President of a club or organization before I can make a difference if truly I want to make a difference. I can always be a part of a sect that’s willing and then we get things done. It has impacted my life positively because I am someone who manages relationships well, I am very blunt to a fault. I know when to stop, and when to keep going. I have been able to define my “WHAT”, “WHY”, “WHEN”, “HOW” & “WITH WHOM” so I seldom have clashes with people or organizations.

The Journey so far

It’s not been easy, which is expected but it’s been enlightening and rewarding. When I do things for people who cannot reward me and THANK YOU is all they have, I feel like I have birthed a life…lol. God takes all the glory still because I am a sucker for Christ and I talk to him about everything and anything and he’s been the one helping me so far.

Ripple effect of training over 300,000 youths

Training that number of people in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya is a privilege for me and I do not take it for granted. The feedback has been amazing and satisfying as it made me know that my team and I have not been working in futility. We have had people tap into their inner self to say “I am doing this because I can” and stick to it. With Eyinju, my inner caucus which consists of some destiny & purpose supporting friends, have been able to gather funds to sponsor about 36 SMEs, paid for WAEC for 63 Students and COMMON ENTRANCE EXAM of 12 Students. We have also been able to single-handedly pay for 18 people who need training on Sewing, Catering, Make-up respectively.


Just like every other work in life, there will always be challenges. Instead of panicking, I simply take it to GOD in prayer and like the awesome GOD that he is, he always makes a way. MONEY is good and it’s a defense. When I newly started EYINJU FOUNDATION in 2017, I would practically take my salary from TUSH TRAVELS AND TOURS and use it to run projects in terms of Logistics, Accommodation, Feeding, Training Materials. I remember sometimes in 2019 when we needed money to pay for some projects we partnered with some organizations on, it was like two weeks to deadline and I began to panic so much that when I remember what’s to come, I have heart palpitations because they actually didn’t beg me to commit, I was the one who was moved by the spirit to. I kept praying and talking to people to solicit for funds. Everyone I spoke to promised to get back but help wasn’t forthcoming so I gave up when it was 48hrs to the deadline and as I was composing an email to send to them, I was shedding tears because at that moment, I felt like a failure…lol. I found myself in the situation of self loathing and went to bed only to wake up to something huge from a friend in the states and my joy could not be quantified, I was hyper all day and people noticed. lol

Another challenge I encounter in this line of work is rejection. Some people decline the help you want to render thinking we are diabolical and we will collect their destiny {the African belief syndrome} once they receive help from us. There was a time my team and I bought food and decided to share it with the community, some people rejected it and said they are not hungry…yinmu….you are not hungry in this slum? Issokay…lol. Some even think we are politicians when we go out for outreaches and we will have to explain ourselves over and over and over again till they understand we are for the people. Sometimes too we encounter language barriers but all in all, GOD has been faithful and we are grateful we are useful vessels.

Other projects and activities

We are still sticking with our: A. WAEC & COMMON ENTRANCE FEES PAYMENT for 20. B. FEED THE DESTITUTE {Bi-monthly}

A new project we recently took on is “PAD UP A GIRL” and the reason why I want to do this is because I realize that in 2022, some students still don’t have money for PAD and make use of tissue or cloth during menstruation which is so dangerous to their health. Some don’t even have an idea of what menstrual hygiene means….SAD!

I believe GOD will show up as usual because it is capital intensive and a few people I spoke to are already interested.

Why I love my job

I enjoy everything about everything I do from planning to execution because when I am on my own reminiscing about everything, I laugh and cry at the same time and I am just grateful that this small girl is doing good things for people.

3 women who inspire me and why

A lot of women inspire me to be honest but the striking ones are:

{i} DR KEMI DASILVA -IBRU -The founder of WOMEN AT RISK INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION. I was very much aware when WARIF started in 2016 and I instantly fell in love with all what they stand for. I have an history of rape hence the reason I could relate with what they do and how they do it and the impact it would make and is making in the society. I was happy that a woman could dedicate her life and service to other people in order to save them and that made me fall in love with her though I haven’t been privilege to meet her on on one but I have been to their facility in Yaba thrice and I have referred countless people to them for help.

{ii} RACQUEL KASHAM DANIEL: Racquel is an amazing personality is all I can say and what she’s doing for people and community is simply commendable. I met her on the day of her engagement and we have kept in touch since then.

{iii} EJIRO OSAKEDE : She was one of the people who trained me on Public speaking in Dec 2014 at Pro-Emcee Academy and I have followed her bumper to bumper…lol. Even when she did an outreach in Ghana and hosted us, she was so supportive, always pushing the narrative “YOU HAVE A VOICE, USE IT” . She is an advocate for hope, she spreads the message like butter on a

Volunteering for several organisations and my  passion for community service

I have been volunteering since I was 17yrs so it has become part of me. When I have free time, I make use of it to serve other people. Life is all about give and take. What you give, the universe multiplies it and brings it back to you in multiple folds so people need to be careful and watch what they give. Community service is what people need to commit to because if we don’t take care of what and who is around us, it will still come back to haunt us in ways we won’t envisage.

What can the Government  do to support stakeholders in the GBV sector

If the government wants to be fully involved in this GBV of a thing , they should:

{A} Provide more Shelters and Care Centres for Survivors

{B} Increase the capacity of Police to deal with crimes of Gender Based Violence

{C} Challenge the normalization of violence against women and children

{D} Challenge gender stereotype and roles

{E} Challenge sexist jokes and remarks about women

{F} Support training and employment program for women


What we can  do better as a society to educate women on the importance of leaving abusive marriages

A lot of women need a Mindset Paradigm. Many were raised for husband house, meaning they were raised for men and to please men so instead of acknowledging the fact that they are a person who needs to discover her womanhood and strengths and blossom as an entity, they would rather have a man be their Alpha and Omega forgetting it takes two to tangle and each person’s duty in the home can never be substituted. So when they experience DV, they find it hard to leave their abusers because most of them see their abusers as their benefactor, some also don’t leave due to “FEAR OF MISSING OUT”, “FEAR OF OPPOSITION” & “STIGMATIZATION”. When they go through Self Awareness and Personal Development training which is one of my expertise, they become more informed and can make their decision from there.

One thing you could change in the advocacy and development sector

Develop a grassroot strategy with focus on building relationships

Being a Woman of Rubies

I am a Woman of Rubies because all the times the gemstone occurred in the bible, it was associated with attributes of Wisdom and Beauty which I am damn sure I have…looooooooool. I can also boldly call myself a woman of rubies because I have a unique and specific purpose for which I was created which keeps unfolding in bits as I keep growing. It’s so amazing having to be a convener of hope and tranquility to people and I do not take that privilege for granted at all. Ruby is known to increase creativity, spirituality, confidence and wisdom and all these are what I stand for


Media practitioner and author, Tosin Ajibade-Oladeinde on Friday, June 24, 2022 successfully hosted the New Media Conference School Debate at Chalcedony School, Abijo G.R.A, Ibeju-Lekki. This year’s edition is themed ‘Does Social Media Enrich Education or take away from Education?’

The event featured award-winning Nigerian dancer and choreographer Kaffy Shafau, award-winning Tiktoker Rodney Umeh, and Communications Manager for Anglophone West Africa at Meta, Sola Obagbemi.

The students between year nine and eleven in their arguments emphasized on the importance of social media and how the excessive use of it can be curbed. Some of the points argued during the debate include; cyber bullying, adult content, fake news dissemination, plagiarism, social media control mechanism among others.

Speaking at the event, Kaffy advised the students to always make sure they take advantage of the social media platforms in a positive way. She added that “social media is a tool and you’re the driver, adding that the good the bad will always exist but who is behind the keyboard is what matters.”

Sola Obagbemi admonished the children to be good ambassadors irrespective of the social media they use. She said children should learn to make use of social to benefit them in the area education, and self improvement.

The organizer of the event, Oluwatosin Ajibade-Oladeinde in her remarks thanked the host school, the panelists and the students for making it a success. She further assures that she would continue to do her best to sensitize and educate children about the use of new media.

Prizes were awarded to groups of  student who came first and second while each student at the venue got a copy of the book ‘Olori Supergal from Social Misfit to Social Media Hero’ written by Tosin Ajibade and Alajota by Kafayat ‘Kaffy’Shafau.

NMC is an annual networking event that focuses on digital marketers, vloggers, podcasters, influencers, content creators, bloggers, tech enthusiasts, and more in the field of media and communications.

The school debate was powered by OSG MEDIA.

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Mariam Adeyemi and Omotoyosi’s   passion and commitment to unlock potential is admirable. With their technology-training platform; TechaVilly, they are breaking stereotypes.

Both Co-founders of TechaVilly, a technology training platform aimed at empowering the black community through skills and knowledge transfer. Mariam founded the company alongside her college friend, Omotoyosi Ogunbanwo who is also a tech enthusiast and currently works at Amazon USA.

Since 2020, Techavilly has trained over10,000 black people from 2020 till date, helping them to fit into today’s dynamic job market. They rolled out the company’s very first training in 2020 in the middle of the pandemic. According to Mariam they chose that period to give back by sharing knowledge for free and giving people hope for a better life.

In 2021, , TechaVilly provided scholarships for girls to cover their exam fee, transcripts, visa, Sevis fee and flight ticket to the United States for their masters and PhD respectively.

Omotoyosi had this to say about the feat; “Our scholars are currently in the University of Colorado, Oklahoma and Jefferson university – all studying tech related degrees. Techavilly helped these scholars to achieve their study abroad dreams. We believe there are thousands of people who want to take this bold step to improve their lives and get an international degree but don’t know how or where to get started. We guide people in this category through the process, helping them with the information they need and holding them by the hand through the process to ensure a smooth sail all through.”

Omotoyosi Ogunbanwo – Co-founder, Techavilly

Speaking further on their journey so far, Mariam said ; “It’s been amazing. I never thought people are this hungry for knowledge and are willing to pay hundreds of dollars to acquire new tech skills and knowledge. It’s been rewarding I must say. One thing that makes technology evergreen is INNOVATION. Nigeria needs to embrace technology and its benefits to the generations unborn. We would do our  part to change people’s orientation about tech. Yes, it has its bad side, but there is always a good side to every story.

Mariam Adeyemi, Co-founder, Techavilly

Mariam, who has worked with reputable companies, moved to the United States of America in 2017 to improve her skills, and remain relevant in the job market. She got her master’s degree in Business Analytics from Texas A&M University and was privileged to work with organisations such as Samsung Electronics America and other mid-sized companies in the United States. Mariam is the first female EdTech (Educational Technology) founder to launch an educational communication app in Africa. She is committed to bridging parent-teacher communication while developing and transforming the child in the process.

According to her, the goal is to expand across African schools and integrate technology into the school curriculum. Discorz App, which is gradually expanding, and penetration is improving, is currently available for download on Google Play and App Store.

Omotoyosi Ogunbanwo is a Finance and Data Expert, DeFi enthusiast, passionate about emerging technologies in consumer finance. She currently works at Amazon – Physical Stores Tech and she is the co-founder of TechAvilly, where she leads some projects.  Omotoyosi is a mentor to tens of young women, helping them get into tech and scale their career effectively. She is the Co-Founder of Local.y a blockchain payments platform redefining the future of DeFi and how SMB’s in sub-sahara access funds.



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A popular author once said that your personal brand follows you wherever you go and sometimes even lingers behind when you leave a room. That’s exactly what Omobabinrin Adeola Osideko is advocating for in the society, training people to prioritise their personal brand and discover their potential.

Trained Accountant, chartered in Nigeria, the UK and Canada, Adeola works full time with the African Development Bank in Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire, as finance professional.

MINTA (Mummy In the Abroad) as she’s fondly called by her fans, she is a First-class graduate of Accounting and holds an MSc in Accounting from the prestigious University of London. Senior Director of Crystal Edge professional Services (a training and branding consulting company), she is a personal development coach, branding expert and social media influencer. An international and TEDx speaker, she has spoken in different countries (online and offline) and has published six books and 14 e-books. She has successfully coached over 10,000 people in personal development and branding. Over the last three years, Adeola has helped individuals and business owners build strong and reputable brands online and offline. She is also the founder of the Coached By Omobabirin, a Facebook community of over 20,000 members.  The Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire -based coach shares her inspiring story with ESTHER IJEWERE in this Interview.

Childhood Influence
My childhood wasn’t that rosy. I grew up with my two siblings and my mother who was widowed at age 27. Growing up was a bit tough; because she had to solely fend for herself and us from her meager salary as a teacher.

But there are so many things my childhood taught me that I am grateful for today. They are; independence, living within your means, good planning and never being entitled to other people’s things. All these I picked up from my mum who was so determined to educate us no matter what. I picked up these life skills unconsciously, but later, they became very useful to me as I navigate life as an adult.

I grew up as a very outspoken child, audacious and very confident. I am daring about life and would do all I can to get what I want; I believe in the saying that when there is a will, there’s a way. My childhood wasn’t without some cracks too, which affected me negatively as an adult, but self-awareness and personal development have been helpful in smoothing these areas.

In all, my childhood has shaped and prepared me to be the responsible, self-driven, and audacious adult I have grown up to be.

Inspiration Behind Coached By OMOBABIRIN
Coached By Omobabinrin is a Facebook group where people of like minds gather to share values about purpose, business, various entrepreneurship skills, digital skills and so many other personal development skills. The group was founded as a community where people can share ideas and grow together.

Personal development is a necessity for everyone and should be made available as much as possible; that is one of the reasons why the group was founded so that members can learn from one another by posting meaningful content.

Omobabinrin Adeola Osideko

Studying Accounting
Accounting for me was borne out of the passion and love I had for mathematics then. In my early secondary school, I wasn’t doing so well in my Mathematics though, which was a big concern for my mum; she later got a Mathematics teacher for me, which changed the whole narrative. I fell in love with calculation and that made me opt-in for Accounting. And yes, Accounting has been interesting for me; it’s been close to 14 years of practicing and no regret whatsoever.

The Journey So Far
It hasn’t been rosy, but we keep going. The fact that I am only available to manage it part-time makes it more challenging. Based on my choleric nature, I love to be in charge and do my stuff my way (because I feel nobody can do it like me), but I had to learn to delegate and communicate what I want to achieve to my team members, while I watch them do it. This has also helped me raise awesome people with whom I can confidently leave the job, because I trust their abilities. Delegation is one of the major area’s leaders must learn and I am glad I adjusted fast to this reality.

Impact Of Coaching Over 10,000 People On Personal Development
Sasha Azevedo said, ‘when you love people and have the desire to make a profound positive impact upon the world, you have accomplished the meaning to live.’ One of the things that bring so much joy to me is transferring knowledge and impacting lives; it comes so easily. I do it with so much excitement and a sense of fulfillment follows.

Personal Development is a journey that makes us better as humans and I am glad I can impact people to become a better version of themselves on a daily basis; either directly or indirectly.

Being The Publisher Of Six Books And 14 e-books
Almost every day, I get one or two pieces of feedback from people about my books and how helpful it has been to them. My favorite is my first book, Building Great Relationships, because it’s a book that preserves humanity and our social values and humans.

The six books I have published are Building great relationships, Building a personal brand that makes money, The chronicles of MINTA series 1, My dreams are valid, The business of coaching, and The chronicles of MINTA series 2. The other 16 unpublished books and some of the e-books; I use them for my training and coaching programmes.

Omobabinrin Adeola Osideko

Working In a Francophone Country As An Accountant, And Managing Other Commitments
My passion for what I do drives me ‘Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you -Oprah Winfrey.’

When you are passionate about what you do, it will be easy to make room for it, no matter how tight your work schedule is. Yes, passion is the fuel that drives my energy and I have also learned to ask for help when I need it. ‘You are never strong enough that you don’t need help – Cesar Chavez.’ Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign that you value yourself, as well as other people.

Abidjan as a Francophone country has been a great place to live, although there is a little struggle with learning the French language. To be honest, it has not been easy living in a French country as an Anglophone person, but change is the only constant thing and I just had to adapt. I have a bit of struggle, but my children have been helping me. For children, it is quite easy to pick up the language fast than an adult, but generally, Cote d’Ivoire is a good country; they are hospitable and friendly. Even though there are some of their culture and norms that are strange to me as an Anglophone, we’ve got no choice than to adapt. That is part of what personal development is all about.

There are so many of them, but I will mention a few. Gender bias is still prevalent; some male clients and audiences tend to be disrespectful sometimes and I can attribute that to me being a woman. This may not be true though, but that’s how I see it.

Another thing is having to do so much, managing time and balancing life, family, work, business, faith, and social life. But I have come to realise that at the end of the day, we cannot achieve a balance. Oftentimes, one aspect of our lives demands a lot more from us than the rest. What is important is to prioritise, ask for help and take good care of yourself. Rest, eat well and take a break when the need arises.

Another one is unhealthy competition in the coaching industry. This one is really deep, but then we have got to learn how to manage it. I believe it’s everywhere and as humans, we feel somehow insecure, especially when we have low self-esteem.

Other Projects And Activities
My major project, for now, is The Iconic Brand Award coming up in November 2022. This is the 4th edition, and it has always been within Nigeria, but this time around, we are planning to have it in Lagos Nigeria, and the London United Kingdom. recently released an infographic all about why employees quit their jobs. 82 per cent of employees report they don’t receive enough recognition. The Iconic Brand Awards is an annual event organised by my business, Crystal Edge Professional Services, and it’s all about recognising brands (personal brands and business brands) doing well in their various fields. Asides from that, it’s a networking and dinner event where people can meet, greet, connect, wine and dine and have some really good ‘year-end’ time.

Three Women Who Inspire Me And Why
I admire all women out there doing exploits, but since I am to mention just three, I will go with these three. Dupe Olusola: I met her not quite long on Instagram and I am totally in love with her personality; I love her dress sense and her smartness as a woman. We literally share a few things in common and this made her relatable on all levels. I love how she balances work and her social life; I do not like boring people, so she is a spec of a bubbling career woman.

The second person is Ibukun Awosika: I love her love for God and the things of God. Being a person of deep faith myself, I love people who are dedicated to serving God even in the marketplace place. She is a good example of a proverbs 31 woman; I love her bluntness, entrepreneurship spirit and her commitment to youth and women empowerment.

The third person is my former boss, Morenike Ogunnowo; she is a woman I love and respect. We worked together some years back and since then, we have grown a bond of sisterhood. She is hardworking, kind and very industrious; she inspires me a lot to know a healthy work-life balance is achievable.

My Role As The Editor Of Crystal Magazine
My organisation published a magazine in 2020 called The Crystals. It’s a magazine that showcases various brands and their work; it also has some educational content and industry news. That was the first edition, and we plan to have another edition very soon.

Educating The Society On Personal Branding
Creating awareness online via content creation on social media platforms is one of the best ways to educate people on personal branding. Branding is no longer what it used to be when it is just for business. An individual is a brand and must nurture that brand to blossom.

Personal branding is now important at all levels, unfortunately, most business owners do not realise the importance of personal branding, because they think branding is all about their business only. However, the truth is that if you want to create a successful business, you must create a successful personal brand. Personal branding helps people know you, like you, and trust you. And people who know you will trust you more and do business with you.

Achievements Recorded As A personal Development Coach And Influencer
I started the journey in 2015, took a break in 2017, and came back with full force towards the end of 2018. Since then, it’s been an amazing journey, not without its ups and down though. Some of my achievements are that I have coached, trained, and groomed thousands of people who are also doing well in their respective niches. I am a role model to so many people and I have inspired them positively, which I see as a big achievement. Other achievements are that I have been able to build a lot of brands with my name in terms of businesses and events such as The Iconic Brand Award event, The Global Brand Summit, the Personal branding Affirmation Challenge, Crystal Edge professional services and I have spoken on so many platforms, both globally and locally. I have been able to organise a TEDx event and become a TEDx organizer. I have also received multiple awards from different quarters recognising my works, impact, and influence.

What I Wish To Change In The Branding Sector
It will be to ensure people who portray themselves as coaches and experts, get enough training and certifications. The coaching industry is not well regulated, and anyone can wake up one morning to say ‘I am now a coach.’ As much as we can say this is okay to allow people to become whatever they want to be, it may also mean we will be having some bad eggs with poor quality of services, which may affect the goodwill and reputation of the industry. A well-regulated industry will help to checkmate individual activities and protect the image of the profession. Your brand is your personality; polish it.

Being A Woman Of Rubies
My price is far above rubies. I am a woman of impact who is making a significant change in society. I am a positive influence on young people, professionals, and business owners and I have successfully helped a lot of people build profitable, sustainable, and reputable personal and business brands.

I am a woman who supports other women and is always looking out for how to add value and make significant changes in society. I am a woman who is not afraid to see other people soar; I am a woman of rubies.

In Five years…
I see myself as an industry leader who has built capacity, who has grown, and someone who’s work is now recognised globally. I want to see myself on international platforms more, sharing my message to inspire, educate and empower people. I want to be able to confidently say I have coached, trained, and mentored thousands of people all over the globe.

Advice For Young People Setting Out To Build An Influential Brand
Be focused, avoid distractions, know what you want and go for it, regardless of what people think about it. Be kind, confident, and bold, the world is yours. Growth is not a day work; growth is a gradual process. Don’t compare your journey with someone else’s; your fight is different. Believe in yourself and never give up on your dreams.

The Real Estate Industry in Nigeria is as interesting as it is challenging. Interesting because of the immense and boundless socioeconomic potentials locked up in the sector but equally, it is challenging for the onerous tasks required to effectively unlock, release and exploit the huge economic potentials of the Nigerian Housing Sector.

The CEO, The Drake Homes Ltd, Adeniyi Adeoye, has said that the firm is shaping the real estate industry in Nigeria.

The Drake Woodworks Limited is a multi-faceted company that has fast become a major player in the most demanding sectors of the Nigerian economy, ranging from the lucrative real estate to construction, property development, oil and gas and many others.

Incorporated in 2018, The Drake Woodworks Ltd boast an impressive profile in its area of operations, particularly in the real estate industry where its flagship company, The Drake Homes Limited, continues to offer a broad range of cutting-edge services in the property market.

“At The Drake Homes, we’re on a mission to ensure our clients and investors get the best value for their property in a timely fashion.
Established on the core values of honesty and integrity spiced with an uncompromising stand on professionalism, The Drake Homes have built a strong reputation as one of the most trusted and most sought-after real estate companies in the country,” says Adeoye.

For the CEO, it’s no coincidence that they have won the admiration of top industry professionals and investors alike.

The company, which has become one of the most sought after in the real estate industry, is owned by Adeniyi Adeoye, one of Nigeria’s bravest entrepreneurs and Luxury Real Estate mogul.

He is an amazing entrepreneur known for a strategic and focused approach with extensive accolades for limiting risk and marching his company to global prominence.

Over time, Adeoye has carved an enviable niche as one of Nigeria’s young entrepreneurs giving the older business generals a good run for their money.

He is described as unassuming and easy-going, with impressive credentials in the real estate industry. The businessman who returned home after several years of active practice in the United States of America (USA), turned his company into one of the biggest players in of the most demanding sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Speaking on the growth of The Drakes Home since 2018, Adeniyi said, “We are established on the core values of honesty and integrity spiced with an uncompromising stand on professionalism.

We’ve built a strong reputation as one of the most trusted and most sought-after real estate companies in the country. It’s no coincidence that we’ve won the admiration of top industry professionals and investors alike.”

He added that they have built a reputation for performance in the construction and property development sectors in Lagos and beyond, handling major projects, both for government and private sector contracts across the country without any hitches.

At The Drake Homes, “we understand the power of collaboration and strategic partnership. We have a working relationship with top real estate companies within and outside the shores of the country”.

Apart from being contracted by high-profile companies and individuals to handle their major property projects, the CEO said The Drake Homes Limited has a long list of luxury real estate projects located in strategic locations across the country, and their projects cover property development, construction (roads and bridges), property sales and facility management.

The amount of time spent by the world population on social media continues to grow with many spending their time on their mobile phones.

In Nigeria, social media is a major news dissemination vehicle. It plays a critical role in how people consume news. One of the individuals championing the transformation is Kemi Adebayo, the publisher of Kemi Filani News.

On how the news platform was created, she said:”Kemi Filani’s blog started as a personal community blog in 2012 and was birthed out of the passion for being heard after being inspired by Channel’s TV during my compulsory national service youth corps at the media house as an online writer. The blog focused and thrived on entertainment stories and content focused on love and wedding stories” .

Kemi Filani, Publisher, KFN

Asked how the news platform’s reinvention, she said: “In 2018, after six years of being solely run, Kemi Filani Blog metamorphosed into Kemi Filani News, a full-fledged online Nigerian Newspaper with well-trained writers, reporters, and editors with all hands on deck to serve millions of seeking readers daily”.

Shedding light on the highpoints of the KFN brand so far, she said:”In 2016, Kemi was named one of the top 100 below 30 influential Nigerian writers, and nominated as the best female blogger for 2019.
Today, Kemi Filani News is being recognized as a credible News Platform, thus becoming one of the leading voices redefining online information consumption”.

Also Adebayo noted that what makes the news platform unique is their insightful way of presenting news.

“What makes Kemi Filani News unique, is our insightful way of presenting news, everyday issues, features, and analysis in a professional manner that respects the rules of journalism”.

Olufunmilayo Adeleye -Oladejo has a special calling to give people hope. Empathy and generosity are the words that come to mind when you think of Olufunmilayo Adeleye Oladejo. She is an entrepreneur and a humanitarian. The power woman’s heart of generosity made her start Project Hope Nigeria, PHN , a non-profit  focused collaboration, envisioned to cater to the needs of Nigerians in these struggling times amidst unstable policies affecting the populace.

In the same vein, she co-founded Diaspora Relief with Ijeoma Onyekwere in response to the horrific situation with the Ukraine war. Diaspora Relief is a collection of members across the pan-African Diaspora who are deeply concerned about the difficulty experienced by Black people in their attempt to escape the war conditions currently unfolding in Ukraine. The non-profit  currently has operations in Ukraine (Uzhhorod only) Poland, Hungary, Netherlands, Germany, and Nigeria.

The amazon who wears many hats is also the CEO at Fum Bam Agro -investment company, a business venture with the aim of providing quality products in the agricultural sphere.  Funmi is also the Executive Director of CTCAfrica, a tech NGO providing free tech training and certification to secondary students in Nigeria. The NGO also empowers them and connects them to universities for scholarship opportunities, showcasing their talent to tech companies for recruitment and building a silicon valley in Nigeria.

She also doubles as a Senior project manager at Fibo Construction services. The accounting graduate from University of District of Columbia also has certifications in Computer information system, Project Management certification amongst others. Funmi also expresses her passion for humanity through Thechatroomng on Twitter, her online talkshow which runs every Saturday at 5pm. The show puts the spotlight on everything that has to do with having a healthy relationship. When Olufunmilayo is not working, she loves to spend time with her family, whom she describes as her entire world. She shares her story with ESTHER IJEWERE  this exclusive interview.

My Childhood played a vital role in who I am today. My paternal grandparents raised me and my grandfather of blessed memory instilled high values in me. From the moment I could walk, he was there with me at every step of the way. He was an academia, had 2 PhD degrees from Oxford University and UCLA, so you can imagine just how smart the man was.

He taught me everything from academics, to politics (he loved politics way too much and his honesty with it cost him so much and himself and Awolowo suffered bitter betrayal from their very own people) to leadership, and the most important, was leading me to Jesus. He gave his life to Christ after the whole political madness and he showed me how to have a relationship with God, taught me how to pray and how to understand God and this is the bedrock of it all.

God is everything to me and he continues to open mighty doors and I know my Grandpapa is super happy in heaven right now, watching me proudly and cheering me on!

Inspiration behind Fum Bam Agro -investment company

My husband is the main brain behind Fum Bam. He gave me the go-ahead to run it because of his current work engagements. The vision is to open a secured and trustworthy partway for Nigerians in the Diaspora to invest in agriculture. It’s time we all come together to begin to tackle the problems in our nation by ourselves since the government continues to fail us. Agriculture is a very important and vital department, very profitable and so necessary for the economy of any nation. The North knows that but the southern seems to be more interested in the regular 9-5 white collar stressful jobs. At Fumbam we consult with you, help source, and procure farmlands, farm management services and liaison goods with prospective buyers.

My role as the  executive director of a tech company and senior project manager of a construction company

Yes! So, the Tech Ngo, CTCAfrica is my newest engagement, and I am super proud and happy to be on the board. What we do at CTCAfrica to provide free tech training to secondary school students across Nigeria and Africa. We need to invest in our future. We cannot have our children suffer the same fate most of us suffered.

Giving them this training with certifications will equip them to make a living, be industrious, be creative, curb crime, give them a better chance, open doors of greater opportunities and make them noble and notable citizens of the society. CTCAfrica launched in May and to date we have 200 students from 5 secondary schools already enrolled. Denis Ayomide is the Founder of this NGO and I am super honored to be doing this with him.

I love construction. I love to bring an empty spot to life. It’s a man’s world but I love all the challenges it brings. I started working in a construction company at the age of 24, but in the accounting department curiosity got the best of me, and I started following the project manager to the sites and carefully learned it all with his help.

He encouraged me to get my project management certification which I did, and my boss immediately switched my role from accountant to a project manager and the rest is me doing what I truly love. Construction is super fun, easy and just super simple for me. I mean you get to build something that will last for years for people to live in, network while at work and share a drink with the guys after every project completion!

My Flagship Humanitarian Project – Project Hope Nigeria 

Project Hope Nigeria was created in response to provide aid and relief to the June 12 protesters last year. The shock we all experienced as the rights of Nigerians were violated on democracy day and the Twitter ban happened at the same time. We launched into action, we had solidarity groups protesting in Lagos, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Kaduna, Abuja and Ekiti.

We got lawyers that bailed out protesters for free, donated data for online protester and configured free VPN access points to trend the hashtag #keepiton. After everything, I sat down and wept, got up, prayed and told my husband I had to do more, to continue the work, and he gave me his full backing.

Project Hope Nigeria is a Humanitarian focused collaboration envisioned to cater to the needs of Nigerians in these struggling times amidst unstable policies affecting the populace. Our end-goal is to empower people through different grants and assistance programs to those who are in need. Project Hope Nigeria is about compassion, spreading love and giving hope, especially to the helpless. Helping others is not restricted to monetary values, we also channel to build bridges to financial freedom, development of entrepreneurship skills, self-improvement workshops and so on.

Vision of  Diaspora Relief  Initiative 

Diaspora Relief was founded by me and Ijeoma Onyekwere in response to the horrific situation with the Ukraine war. Two Nigerian women came together for the sake of humanity. Diaspora Relief is a collection of members across the pan-African Diaspora who are deeply concerned with the difficulty experienced by Black people in their attempt to escape the war conditions currently unfolding in Ukraine.

We catered for students and families within our reach with evacuation, accommodation, feeding, therapy, academic consultancy amongst other basic amenities. We currently have operations in Ukraine (Uzhhorod only) Poland, Hungary, Netherlands, Germany, and Nigeria. We are working to set up in Finland and Portugal in the coming weeks as we continue to help resettle these students and their families.

Our core vision is to be there wherever black people of African descent need emergency aid anywhere in the world.

The Journey So Far

The journey has been great, I cannot even lie. I have met so many good people in Nigeria that have made this journey somewhat easy. I mean reliable and disciplined people that yearn to do something impactful. I met them all on Twitter. Yes, Twitter is super powerful, and my team have made this journey way easier than expected.

My Twitter initiative TheChatroom Ng

Thechatroomng is my joy and pride! It’s a Twitter space talk show that runs every Saturday at 5pm WAT. The audio show is based on very thin relationships! We talk about everything that has to do with having a healthy relationship, we cruise and vibe the entire time but learning as we go.

My main objective with the show is creating a comfortable, no judgement zone space to talk, network, mingle and just have fun. My friends are the best and support the show by donating data, cash and various prize giveaways for the attendees. We laugh a whole lot, and the feedback is always so positive and encouraging. We call Thechatroomng the Relationship VIBE’s Machine

How I achieve Work-life Balance 

My Husband is my greatest support, he helps me with everything. He is always there to help me out when it gets overwhelming and encourages me to keep going. In the early days of the Ukraine war, during the evacuation stages, I barely slept, kept 23 hours a day shift, just working non-stop to get Nigerians and black people to safety.

My husband held it all down for me and I will be forever grateful to him for that. He acts like my grandpapa, always holding my hands and leading me all the way to victory.

 Three women who inspire me and why

My mother — Olabisi Dayo-Kayode — this woman right here is everything! I learnt so much from her. So, she had me at a young age, but she went back regardless of everything and overcame it. She holds two master’s degrees, a CFO of a microfinance company, runs multiple owned businesses and currently in the States working as a Senior Auditor. Her life and all that she continues to achieve is super amazing.

Olamide Ogidan-Odeseye -Lammy is just a unique human being, her kind is super rare, her energy is premium! Lammy is super intelligent, kind-hearted and her heart is pure. She inspires me to do it all, she wears multiple hats, and she can juggle all roles brilliantly.

Myself. I inspire myself daily as when I see all that God has done in my life, I am completely amazed. From the delivery room in Bauchi, Nigeria, that tiny baby to this wonderful, beautiful, and intelligent woman, having scaled thousands of obstacles and overcame them!  Look at God, look at me!