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Rafiat Atanda is a Communications Officer at a leading financial institution, and with a heart in the social impact space. She is a 2021 Carrington Youth Fellow, 2021 Margaret Ekpo Youth Fellow, 2020 ONE Champion, Advocate, quintessential Public Speaker, Host, and Freelance Presenter with over five years of experience.

In her capacity as a 2020 ONE Champion in Nigeria, she was privileged to join the high-level Tortoise G7bn Summit and shared her thoughts on the kind of leadership the world should be aiming for.

Also, she has hosted a number of top-level events, judged several debate competitions, moderated a number of panel sessions and trained individuals in the art of excellent public speaking. A one-time presenter on LASU Radio 95.7FM and “Insight on Politics” on LTV, she continues to trailblaze and inspire action whenever she talks. She is the host of “TalkWithRaffy” on Instagram, a platform where she teaches people how to speak and communicate effectively.
Rafiat Atanda is passionate about women, girls and youth.

She shared her Ruby Girl story with the team.

1. Tell us about your childhood, Rafiat. What was growing up like for you?

Growing up was a blend of fun, fear, faith and hope. Like many kids in semi-urban areas, I grew up playing table tennis with boys, seasonally going to Mr Biggs, defending other girls from male oppression, living with caution because my parents were principled and entrenched in spirituality. It was a tough environment characterised by juvenile delinquency, little or no regard for education and other social vices but thankfully, I had parents who checkmated my steps and served as great anchors; instilled a profound moral compass in me; taught me the way of the Lord; charged me to believe in myself and not be defined by my immediate environment; and taught me that being female, even in a male-dominated world is a rare blessing. I didn’t have access to luxury but I had access to parental guidance, and the understanding of what genuine love for humanity is.

2. ‎Have you or people around you always known you would be interested in public speaking?

Yes. I have always had an undiluted love for public speaking. As a student of Sari Iganmu Secondary School and undergraduate at the Lagos State University, I represented my schools in different debate competitions and won trophies. This interest spurred from childhood; I loved talking. I remember how I used to rush to put on the generator, whenever it was time for “The Debaters (a debate competition for adults organised by Mo Abudu) “and there was no power supply. After English tutorial classes taken by my teacher Ganiu Bamgbose who is now “Dr Ganiu Bamgbose”, I would consciously practice speaking right with my good friend Grace Uzoh.

Communicating with poise and the right diction became a crucial component of my being. People always told (they still do) me that they like the way I speak and at some point, my coursemates at the university labelled me “Diction mistress”.

It’s been quite a ride, so they’re not surprised I’m interested in public speaking and communication.

3. ‎Can you enlighten those who are currently nursing the desire to be a Margaret Ekpo Youth Fellow or Carrington Youth Fellow someday how they can achieve this ambition? Also what do you intend to do as a fellow?

I’m very grateful for the opportunity to learn, engage and impact through the Margaret Ekpo Fellowship and Carrington Youth Fellowship. As a corporate communication officer, it’s delightful to know that the little work I do in the social impact space advancing the lives of youth, women and girls isn’t so little after all. For anyone willing to be part of these incredible initiatives, I implore you to put in the work and tell your stories the right way. Endeavour to increase your digital footprints with inspiring and humanised stories. Organisers are looking for passionate and empathetic changemakers; you need to demonstrate that you are the one they’re looking for. Also, seek guidance from alumni; it will help strengthen your application and increase your chances of being selected.

As a Carrington Youth Fellow, I currently work with the civil liberty team and we are looking to work on a project based on juvenile justice. This project is dear to my heart because upon my visit to a correctional center, I noticed that these juveniles are not adequately prepared to be well reintegrated back to the society. It was a devastating experience and I have never stopped thinking about them. I will be engaging individuals to teach these kids monetisable digital skills, as well as work with other members of my team to better ease the entry and exit process of these juveniles.

On the other hand, I have realized that there’s the feminisation of poverty, the erasure of women in history and the underrepresentation of women in governance. So, as a Margaret Ekpo Fellow, I intend to document the stories of women- past and present- as well as champion or support empowering initiatives that will help more women take up leadership spaces, be economically buoyant and live wholly as humans.

4. Judging by your years of practice in the Communications sector, what have you noticed most organizations and institutions are lacking and need to improve on?

Lots of organisations are upping their communications game. It’s interesting seeing how they strategically jump on trends, engage influencers, put some marketing budget on traditional and new media advertising, and try not to hard-sell their products or services.

However, I believe that many organisations still need to learn how to humanise their stories, especially by standing with the people on issues affecting their collective existence. No sitting on the fence; they should join them or back out! No more robotic response to customers, too. In addition, organisations need to ensure they’re domesticating their communication assets.

5. ‎Any particular or general challenges you encounter in the course of practicing and teaching public speaking? Any tips on how you have been able to overcome them?

The challenges I encountered as an early stage public speaker were:

– Overcoming stage fright
– Speaking with confidence, clarity and the right diction
– Getting the right response/emotions from the audience

Here are tips that have worked for me…

Every time I get to talk about public speaking, I particularly share the power of the “3Rs”; Research, Rehearsals and Reflection.
I have come to realise that the challenges I stated above stem from a lack of mastery of the 3Rs. Before you speak to an audience, endeavour to have researched about them and the topic of discussion. This will influence your 5Ws and H. Remember people have come, so you can educate, entertain and inform them.

In addition, you must rehearse your presentation. That is, practice! Do this with friends, family members or even the mirror (the mirror is my best part). Treat it like the serious business that it is. You can not master what doesn’t matter to you.

When you reflect on your speech beforehand, it gives you an idea of what the tone of your voice should be, your choice of words, your looks, etc. You’re ultimately doing this to elicit some kind of emotions/feedback from the audience.

For the challenges stated above, the 3Rs have helped me address them. When you have sufficient knowledge of the topic and people, practice in whatever way you can and reflect, against all odds, you will most likely deliver a memorable presentation.

6. ‎A random fact about your talk show, “TalkWithRaffy.”

The ideas of many of the content I have worked on in the past came while I was in the restroom.

7. To many, feminism means not being submissive, proud, rude and wanting to be in control, what’s your take on feminism?

There are lots of misconceptions about what feminism is in this part of the world, and I believe they largely stem from a place of patriarchal privilege, power domination and unhealthy social constructs. At the heart of feminism is the advancement of women’s issues- ones that everyone should be deeply concerned about. But no, when a woman takes the bull by the horns and decides to deconstruct unprogressive practices, she is labelled “proud, rude, etc.”.

For far too long, the trajectories of women have been laced with underrepresentation and dehumanisation across human endeavours. Women make the numbers but sadly, these numbers are mere statistics that do not translate to shared opportunities. I have met many ladies who have shrunk to fit because the audacity in their voices is a threat that could cost them marriage to a man in the nearest future. They continue to wallow in the pit of social constructs and living wholly as humans does not seem like an option to them.

Regardless of the labels, I understand that a person’s experience can be learned from but not be universalised. Equal opportunity is not a luxury and should not be gender specific. I believe in the social, economic and cultural inclusion of everyone. I believe in the freedom of women and girls to be simply humans who nurture their individualities. This is what feminism means to me.

8. ‎Your major takeaways from advocacy over the years?

– Advocacy isn’t cheap; you need resources (money, time, manpower, etc.) and an undying passion to do great advocacy.
– Emotions alone doesn’t push advocacy, you need facts, a strong network, diplomacy and good lobbying skills.
– When you do advocacy, tell your story in a compelling way. It will not only advance your cause and improve the lives of the people, but aid your personal development.
– You can pursue a career in a different sector and still do great advocacy. I am a Corporate Communications Practitioner who has leveraged my learnings and skills over the year in driving sustainable development. For instance, I ran on online campaign during the rise of the 2nd wave of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria. The hashtag used “#MoreThanAMask” garnered about 2.5million organic impressions.
– As much as possible, advocate without being provocative. A smart advocate doesn’t shut the door; they leave it ajar.

9. ‎ If you were to be the President of the Nigeria, which changes would you implement?

It’s very appalling that politics in this part of the world isn’t largely based on ideas and ideals; but on the size of your pocket and your loyalty to “constituted authorities”. Politics is perceived as a business that people venture into for profit, and not an avenue to genuinely serve God and humanity.

If I were President, I would reduce the cost of governance, so more parts of the budget can be allocated to sectors such as education, health, justice, etc; and passionate individuals are attracted to politics. I would elevate and regard “The Office of the Citizen”, lead by example, entrench the rule of law and democracy, provide an enabling environment for young people to innovate and thrive, and increase women representation in government.

I would improve communications in a way that citizens are addressed with empathy and compassion.
I would strengthen the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, so we produce most of what we consume and eradicate poverty. I would put a strong monitoring and evaluation mechanism in place, so resources are better utilised. My people will enjoy the dividends of democracy and everyone will have equal opportunities to live a life of dignity.

10. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

Mo Abudu: What else to say about her cross-sectoral experience, grit, poise, intelligence, persistence and determination. One of my inspirations for being a public speaker- especially, a hijabi public speaker- was watching “The Debater”, an initiative of Mo Abudu. She is an amazon who is constantly changing the African narratives. She wears so many hats, and does so excellently.

The Squad (Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Cori Bush of Missouri): I like that these audacious women represent different “Firsts” and together, they have built a resilient and forward-thinking sisterhood. They will rather be honest and feel the heat, than be neutral. For them, the interest of the populace supersedes the party’s interest. They are smart, knowledgeable, graceful and radical. What a breath of fresh air they are!

Christiane Amanpour:

A stellar outlier and outstanding storyteller. Despite being so long in the game, Amanpour continues to grace our screens with incredible stories of people, places and possibilities. She has shown that hard work and passion are major ingredients to attaining success and significance.

11. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I like the intersection of media and communication, politics, policy and development. In the next 5 years, I see myself occupying an international role that brings everything together and allows me do great, impactful work.

12. If you were given the opportunity to address a group of girls five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

You’re bigger than your current environment; don’t let it define you. Own your truths, take up spaces and do not be enveloped by social constructs. Live wholly as humans, breathe! Do not let the fear of failing stop you from trying. Tell your story because no one understands what it feels to be you like you. Seek guidance, you do not have to thread the rocky path of life cluelessly. Embrace humanity and spirituality, it will help you live a more fulfilled life.

_Thank you for your time, ma. We’re most grateful._

Prisca Chika Onuegbu is a Public health professional with keen interest in education and advocacy for children with special needs. She believes every child is unique, with untapped potentials waiting to be rightly harnessed.

Prisca holds a Masters in Public health (Child and Adolescent Health) at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She holds a B. Sc in Child Development and Family relations from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. She has facilitated and attended several trainings to support her cause for children with special needs in Nigeria.

As the Director of Programs at The Autism Awareness Foundation (TAAF NG), she is actively involved in support and advocacy for individuals with autism and other related developmental disorders. She has worked as a therapist at Patrick Speech and Languages Centre, Ikeja, the foremost centre for Autism in Nigeria.

In 2018, Prisca got the ‘Talent of the Future’ awards by Ideation Hub Africa. She was also a 2019 fellow at the Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative (CYFI), U.S. Consulate, Nigeria.

Prisca is passionate about leadership, excellence and positive impact. She believes a love-infested, inclusive society is possible.

She shares her ‘RUBY GIRL’ story with the team.

1. Tell us about your childhood. What was growing up like for you?

I had a normal childhood. Born into a Christian home and an academic environment, I was always the caregiver for babies in my compound and parents felt safe leaving their kids with me. I was also given enough room for expression and exploration, so I grew up to making my choices and owning them, of course with the support of my family.

2. What inspired your interest in children with special needs?

Well, I’ve always loved children generally. Then my course of study exposed me to developmental milestones and challenges. It was then that I stumbled on the word AUTISM. I was going to make it my project topic but I was discouraged from going that route, partly because most of my lecturers were not familiar with the condition and partly because there had been little research done on Autism in Nigeria.

The backlash I received strengthened my resolve to connect and work with children on the Autism spectrum. Thankfully, I met a woman who owned a centre for Autism in Ile-Ife. I visited the centre, saw the peculiarities of the children there, and decided that this was a cause I was going to stand for – enlightening more people about Autism and other special needs.

3. What inspired you to study Child Development and Family Relation?

The background story is that I gained admission into two institutions of my choice, one was to study Medicine and the other to study Child Development and Family Relation. I never really liked the idea of studying Medicine, my childhood dream was to be a journalist but somehow I found myself in science class. In all, my love for children, the idea of escaping medicine, and staying away from home was how I got here (grins).

4. How has serving as a volunteer for children with special needs influenced you?

It has made me more empathetic. Empathy is different from sympathy. You can’t pity them, in fact, they don’t love to be pitied. They want you to see the strength in them and help them thrive. I have also learnt patience. My family members are still amazed at how soft I can be around children with special needs when I could be the ‘madam’ at home (laughs). But then, I guess it’s what passion does to you – brings out your soft and creative skills.

5. ‎ Can you give us an insight into Child and Adolescent Health?

Child and Adolescent Health is an arm of Public Health that focuses on improving the health and well-being of children and adolescents. Childhood is the foundation of life and adolescence is when most children are trying to discover their essence as they transition into adulthood.

Children and Adolescents are usually faced with different health challenges including developmental delays and disabilities, mental health conditions, injuries, communicable and non-communicable diseases. While growing up, it is important that they are provided with adequate caregiving and health-care services, nutrition, and safe environments. Child and Adolescent health shows us that the extent to which society invests in the health and well-being of children and adolescents will determine the future – not just for them, but for everyone.

6. You received the “Talent of the future” awards in 2018, how did that make you feel?

I felt really elated and encouraged to keep showing up. First of all, I am not the Founder of The Autism Awareness Foundation but the founder felt I deserved it because of how invested I was in the Initiative. Someone called it ‘passionately owning a vision in other people’s vision’. Maybe that was it but I’ve always believed that value never goes unrewarded. So, it was a great reward to be
recognised at that time.

7. What was your experience in the foremost centre for Autism in Nigeria as a Therapist?

Working at Patrick Speech as a Special needs therapist armed me with most of the experiences and skills I needed to work with children with Autism and other developmental disabilities. It’s one thing to be knowledgeable and it’s another thing to be experienced. I have seen and worked with children on different aspects of the Autism spectrum which has boosted my confidence in advocating for them.

8. What is the highest and lowest point of your journey as a volunteer, advocate and leader and how did you overcome them?

Highest point, I’ll say is the recognition of my work. I’m always glad when people see opportunities and the person who comes to mind is Prisca. I have gotten referrals and job connections simply by volunteering and speaking up about what I know.

Lowest point is trying to convince people that I don’t have the kind of money they think I have. Because you are quite loud about what you do on social media, some people think it’s synonymous to you making money and then you start dealing with pressures from different fronts. But you see this money people think I have /ehn/, I will have plenty of it /ooo/ (laughs).

9. What would you like to change about yourself?

Hmm…I’m not sure there’s anything I really want to change about myself for now except that I’m really introverted and I get to hold back on meeting new people. But it’s being worked on. Networking is key in the development space.

10. As a Carrington Youth Fellow, what are the lessons and project you learnt and implemented during your stay as a fellow?

The first lesson was ‘the decision of the team overrides your personal decision’. So, you must do everything to ensure your team excels. I also picked the value of interdependence, we all need one another to make things happen. I was in the economic empowerment team and during our cycle, we worked with the US consulate to empower 30 Nigerian youths with Data Analysis and Management skills.

11. If you were the President of Nigeria for a day, what would you change?

I’ll change the system of accountability. It’s a major thing we lack in Nigeria. We must begin to hold ourselves accountable for our actions and promises. And it doesn’t just start from being the President of a nation, it starts from the smallest unit of the society – the home.

12. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next 5 years?

In key leadership and decision-making position, thriving and 10 times better than I am today.

13. If you were given the opportunity to address a group of girls five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

Always strive to be a person of value. Before you think about what you stand to gain, be sure you are bringing something to the table. Value always begets value, and preserves your relevance.

_Thank you for your time, ma. We’re most grateful_

 

 

 

 Abati Esther is the third child in a family of six. She was born on the 10th of May, 1999. She is an Indigene of Ogun State. She is currently in her fourth year in Olabisi Onabanjo University studying Law. She is a blogger, an aspiring model and an humanitarian.

She shares her “RUBY GIRL” story with the team

1. Let’s Know You. Who is Abati Esther? 

I am Abati Esther, the third child in a family of six. I am 21 years, clocking 22 soon by May.  A penultimate law student of Olabisi Onabanjo University, a blogger, an aspiring model and an humanitarian. I am a co founder of PREESIM FOUNDATION and a member of Pealim Foundation, the CEO of Ayo_Stitches, a brand that deals with male and female materials, wears amongst others.

 Has Law always been your dream course? If not, what prompted you to study Law?

Yes, Law has always been my dream. And I’m also happy that my dad loves the profession so I was not forced to study the course.

You’re the co-founder of PREESIM FOUNDATION. What birthed the vision and what does it entail?

Hmmm, PREESIM FOUNDATION is a non-governmental organization established by two of my best friends and me, the name of the foundation was derived from our names: Precious, Esther and Simi. After the death of one of my friends, I saw all what she accomplished before she died, she made sure she impacted lives and helped the less privileged through the establishment of a foundation. May her Soul Rest in Peace. Then, I thought that if my friend who knew she had short stay on earth could do something so inspiring like this, why can’t I also impact lives and make people happy? So, on August 9, 2020, a day after Precious’ birthday, I messaged my two best friends and discussed with them, they were happy because they also thought of establishing a foundation. I gave them the name of the foundation and they loved it.

The foundation was fully established on September 1, 2020. The main aim of the foundation is to provide for the needy and help the less privileged. Though there are lots of foundations around, yet they can not reach everyone, this is why we are joining the other foundations in reaching out to lives. We are not just providing material needs, we are also trying to impact lives.

And ever since the establishment of PREESIM FOUNDATION, we’ve had the privilege of reaching out to the less privileged, educating the female students on how to be sexually safe and personal hygiene. Also, on March 26, 2021, we were able to reach out to the needy at Ijebu Igbo and the students of Imere Moslem School at Ago Iwoye on April 1, 2021. We are not stopping there. By the special grace of God, we will be reaching out to the orphans to celebrate children’s day with them in May. You can check our page on Instagram @preesim_foundation.

4. Your greatest fear?

My greatest fear is losing my loved ones.

5. What is the influence of your black ebony skin on your modelling career?

Like I said earlier, I’m an an aspiring model, I’m not in any agency for now due to some factors. But my complexion is a blessing from God which I don’t have any intention of tampering with. Most people do appreciate my complexion and I’m always happy, it is part of the reason why I want to venture into modelling but I don’t want it to affect my education. I believe if I work more, I can achieve something great with it.

 What are the topics or subjects you address in your blog and what inspires your writing?

Some of the topics I address in my blog are: Addiction, Rape, Social Injustices and Racial Discrimination, Unfriendly Wife-Beaters… Others can be found at wwwtheabatisblogonline.wordpress.com .

What inspires my writing? Well, I’m not the type that writes always. The main thing that inspires my writing is the society.

 You’re a member of Pealin Foundation, what is the significance of foundations like this in the society and what are the major challenges they face?

Pealim Foundation is also a non-governmental organization whose aim is to help a child live well. I am also a member of this foundation.

Foundations like these have lots of impacts in the society. They help in improving the standards of living of millions of families in the society. They educate and enlighten the society on things they are not aware of. They help to fight hunger in the society. People are really suffering, when you get to different communities, you will know that lots of people in the society needs help, financially, emotionally, spiritually and even health wise. These are the reasons why foundations like these exist.

Although to carry out any project in foundations is not easy. Because there is no project you will want to carry out that will not involve money. I can remember the first outreach of my foundation, PREESIM FOUNDATION which was on December 11, 2020. We made graphics to call for donations and we asked members to pay any amount and as at then, we were just six members including the three founders. On December 2, when I called Precious to ask whether we’ve been able to get some cash, she said no money has entered the account. I became unhappy, I told her that we have less than two weeks to carry out the project, she said this foundation is not for us Esther, it is for God, so trust him, He will do something about it. Well, I trusted God, I started praying. Some days later, one of my friend’s sister called me and said she will like to sponsor the foundation, she asked for the foundation’s account details which I gave her. I was so happy. To cut the long story short, we were able to gather some money to carry out the project, in fact, the rice we shared was bought for us by one of our sponsors. Then, I believed that WHAT GOD CAN NOT DO DOES NOT EXIST.

Besides this, foundations do have problems with their members. Some members are not committed and you know that you can’t force people. Most people don’t understand why they are volunteers. They become volunteers because they want people to know that they are in a foundation. Not knowing that it has to do with lots of sacrifices and commitments.

 Your favourite quote?
As earlier said, my favorite quote is “What God can not do does not exist”

You have your own fashion line, Ayo_Stitches. How do you cater for the fashion needs of your customers?

As I always say, I’m not a professional, I’m still learning. The idea of owning a fashion line came during the covid 19 lockdown period, I must say that I achieved a lot during this period.
Ayo_Stitches is a brand that deals with male and female materials and wears. Well, catering for the fashion needs of my customers have not been easy because I only have opportunity to sew at home, I rarely do that in school because I don’t have sewing machine in school and my parents won’t allow me to bring my sewing machine to school. But most times, when it’s not during exam period and my customers want to sew, I usually borrow my friend’s sewing machine to do that and if I’m busy and I noticed that my customer really needs it, I will ask one of my friends to help me with that. God really blessed me with good friends.

You serve as the Financial Secretary of Justice Cloaks Chambers. How has the experience been for you?

Well, I’m still the financial secretary of JCC. Though I’m new to holding posts because I’ve never held one before but I’m learning. Sometimes, when we want to have meeting, I would have forgotten because I’m not used to it. But the President has been helpful.

Mention 3 women who inspire you and why.

My mum is the first woman that inspires me. That woman is a strong woman, infact she is my role model. She perseveres a lot and never gave up. The second woman is Precious’ mum that is my best friend’s mum. She constantly lets me know that without God, I am nothing. She helps my spiritual growth.

The third woman is Mrs Funke Felix-Adejumo. I love the way she dedicates herself towards impacting lives and her seminars do inspires me. I love everything about her

 If you were the president of Nigeria for one day, what changes will you put in place?

Hmmm, a lot. One of them is youth empowerment. The second is that I will try my possible best to fight hunger in the society. Also, I will improve the educational sector and make sure the less privileged get educated. There are lots of children out there who are willing to go to school but are not capable financially. Also, I will improve the health sector. In fact, I will change a lot.

Your advice to young females five years younger than you

My advice to young females younger than me is that your life matters a lot to you. Don’t allow what people say to affect your life. Lots of girls out there are going through a lot but don’t have anyone to speak with which is why they do things like committing suicide.

You are a woman even though you are young so be strong and be happy. And always put God first, with Him, everything is possible.

Amaka Nwabeke who is fondly called Amakason is a poet, fiction writer and ultimately a Christian.
She began performing poetry in 2014 and has since then performed on a number of notable platforms alongside distinguished personalities.

She is the convener of The Spoken Word Poetry Conference (S.W.P.C). A poetry conference which she pioneered in 2014, the very same year she started performing poetry.

In 2020, she released her debut Spoken Word album titled ‘EMERGENCE’, in the same year, she also released her first book titled: ‘THE SUN’

She can be contacted via her social media channels listed below:

Instagram: @amakasonlj
Twitter: @amakason_
Linktr.ee: Linktr.ee/Amakason
YouTube Channel: Amakason
Email: bookamakason@gmail.com

She shares her “RUBY GIRL” story with the team.

 1. Let’s meet you. Who is Amakason?

I am a spoken word poet and fiction writer. I love Jesus and consider Him the crust of my identity.

2. What inspired you to venture into poetry and fiction writing?

As cliche as it might sound, God inspired my venture into spoken word poetry. I wrote my first poem on a sad day. When I saw how writing about how I was feeling helped me feel better, I started writing poems consistently. At first, I would just read out from my book to the audience. Then in 2014, I went to Calabar to write an exam and that was where I met the guy that changed my life. He simply just told me that instead of reading the poem from my book, I could try putting the words in my head and then say them without this book. I thought it was pretty cool, and proceeded to try it. At this point, I still didn’t know it was called spoken word poetry or that it even had a name.
I took that guy’s advice and performed a piece the next day to a small gathering of people in Calabar. I didn’t take it too seriously. I was simply just reading my poem without the book. I got back to Lagos shortly after that and was having a chat with my friend Jessica Ibazebo. I can’t remember if it was a chat or even an argument but I do know that she asked me if I had heard about someone called Jackie Hill Perry. I told her that I hadn’t. She proceeded to show me Jackie Hill Perry’s poetry video called Jig-a-boo. I remember watching Jackie perform and feeling a kind of knowing in my heart that I could do what she was doing.

A week after that, I performed my first ‘official’ spoken word poem titled AMAKASON.
How I got into writing fiction is another story on its own. I’ll try and shorten it. We were told to write a drama script in ministry I used to be a part of. It was some of challenge for us to try our hands at script writing. I took the challenge pretty seriously and wrote my ‘supposed’ script. I say supposed because I was later then told by Lekan Aremo who was the drama co-ordinator that I had written a novel not a script. He then told me to try my hands at writing fiction. I shrugged it off at first but one night I picked a book and a pen and wrote a novel of some sort. And I have never stopped since then.

3.  You authored your very first book, THE SUN in 2020. What is the inspiration behind it and what does it entails?

THE SUN is a story that was majorly inspired by life in general. Its about a promising girl named Dikachi. Who was born out of wedlock and dropped at the feet of her aging grandmother. The SUN is centered around my life and most of the questions I received after the book came out was, “it is your life story”, “did it happen to you”.
In the book, Dikachi was raised by her grandmother who took care of her in the best if her ability buy couldn’t do much because she was limited in her knowledge and people live or teach you based on what they understand. Technically, it’s about my life but not fully about me just a few things, no writer writer without putting a bit if themselves, so the SUN is a bit of me but not my life story.

4. ‎What is The Spoken Word Poetry Conference(S.W. P. C) about and what are the feats recorded through it?

SWPC is an event where people come together to listen to wholesome amazing poetry accompanied with music and worshipping of God through words, life and everything that comes contact with it.

‎The feats recorded; we had full halls of almost 500 people, likes of Nosa, Folabi Nuel, Gaise Baba come perform. So far, we’ve had 9 editions of consistent community and just gathering people to come hear the word of God, we have people who make SWPC their festival yearly, it’s held first Saturday of every year.

I’m really proud of what SWPC has been able to do particularly because I didn’t know it would get this far, when God told me to do a conference, I remember we didn’t even have a team, I just called a couple of guys asking if they could perform poetry, now we have a 16 man team put together that makes the conference happen. We started very small, first conference was about 30 people in attendance and the first conference was the same year I started poetry in 2014.

5. ‎ As a spoken word poet, how do you get inspiration?

I get inspiration from life, people’s experiences, my experiences, the Bible, and so many other things. I don’t see inspiration as some air that falls on us once a while. I believe that we can be inspired everyday if we are deliberate about seeing life from a place of wonder and awe.

6. What do you do at your lowest moments?

I listen to music. I sleep. I talk to Jesus about how I’m feeling.

7. You released your debut spoken word album EMERGENCE, same year you released your first book. Was it planned and how were you able to pull through the two feats?

No, it wasn’t exactly planned. I didn’t begin the year with either of those two things on my to-do-list. It truly just happened. I had written THE SUN years ago but everytime thoughts of publishing it crosses my mind, I just always developed cold feet. 2020 was just the year where I dammed it all and walked on water.
Releasing EMERGENCE was very time consuming for me. I had to write at nights a lot. Which wouldn’t have been an issue if I was going to be indoors the next day, but I had work during the day. But God filled me with an immense amount of strength and I am truly grateful to Him for that.

8. Most memorable moment while performing on stage?

I was performing a poem at this event in Lagos and a lady was crying in the hall while I performed. I made a mental note to speak to her later to perhaps give her a hug and find out what I had said that hit her that deeply. But unfortunately I forgot. Prayed for her when I remembered though. Never forgot that moment. It made me realize the impact that words can have.

9. What are the messages or themes you addressed in EMERGENCE?

Brokenness, The Lekki Masaccre, Temptations and dying to self, Worship, Competition between creatives and how unwise it is and many more.

10. What are the challenges young writers and poet face in Nigeria? Which improvement will you like to suggest?

Generally poet are not very respected in Nigeria, we have come a long way, I have to say, it’s an art form that people are gradually respecting but we still haven’t gotten to the pinnacle yet. We would get there, some of the improvement is by pulling out great content, working hard to make people realize it’s not a joke, this is serious and a beautiful art. Another issue we have which also stems from the first one that I mentioned which is the fact that we are not as respected is that because we are not as respected, we are not as paid as should. We are underpaid. Some people just think that it’s just poetry, you just write words and put it together and that’s just silly, it’s creativity the fact that I made it simple doesn’t mean it’s simple but shows that I am good at what I do.

Poets need to make demands, if you believe that what you are doing deserves this particular amount call it out. There are unique dynamics to all these things, if it’s free or paid, all I’m saying, we should demand because people don’t know.

11. If you were the President of Nigeria for a day, what would you change?

I would make quality education more accessible to the poor especially at the primary and secondary School level. Emphasis on ‘quality’ though. People shouldn’t have to break the bank to get a good education. I don’t know how possible it is to get that done in a day, but it’s something I will put in the works. Maybe sign a lot of scholarships in one-day.

12. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why.

Jackie Hill Perry, because of how much of an awesome poet she is. I love how ‘herself’ she is.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie because of how well read she is and how she has placed Nigeria on the global map as a writer. I mean, who has 16 honorary degrees from several universities around the world if not an absolute genius. I love her complete courage in standing for what she believes to be true and damning the consequences.

TY BELLO, because of her deep connection to God and vast level of creativity. I love her.

13 .Where do you see yourself and your brand in the next 5 years?

It’s always hard for me to answer this question. Plus no one really knows the future. I am at a much better place than where I thought I would be 5 years ago. But, wherever I am in five years, I hope to still be pleasing Jesus. That’s the most important thing.

14. If you were given the opportunity to address a group of girls five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

Live like it’s your last day, love without holding back and never let fear dictate what you do or don’t do.

 Tiwalade Aderemi is a penultimate year student at Olabisi Onabanjo University. She is passionate about the interjection between technology and the administration of Justice in the legal system.
She is an energy enthusiast who believes in clean energy and environmental sustainability.
In 2018, she was elected as the Public Relations Officer of the Law Students Society, OOU.
She serves as the Vice President of the law students society, OOU. She is the co-founder of Tech Savvy Law Students Club,OOU.

In her bid to build cutting edge relevance in the field of law, she has interned at top tier law firms in Nigeria; Omaplex law firm, Hilton Top Solicitors, Digital Lawyers Rights Intiative among others.

She shares her RUBY GIRL story with the team.

1. Let’s know you. Who is Tiwalade Aderemi?

My name is Tiwalade Aderemi, I hail from Aramoko, Ekiti state. I am presently undergoing an undergraduate degree in Law at Olabisi onabanjo University.

2. Has Law always been your dream course? If not, what prompted you to study Law?

Not exactly, during my secondary school days, I always told my parents about my interest in theatre arts. However, my passion for law was inspired by my aunty who is a Lawyer.

3. You’re the co-founder of Tech Savvy Law Students, OOU. Why Tech Law?

Technology is the tool that ensures our relevance in the society.
As a 21st century lawyer, it is expedient to be technology oriented.
In my bid to help students build capacity in the tech industry, I co-founded the technology savvy law students’ club OOU chapter, an organization set up to expose students to the intricacies of technology law.

4. You recently launched a podcast on Energy, “Tiwa Talks Green.” What prompted it and what are we to look forward to?

Tiwa Talks Green (T.T.G.) is an energy series podcast organized to educate the public on the nitty gritty of the energy sector.
I am passionate about causing a change in the energy sector and TTG was founded out of my passion towards enlightening people about the activities in this sector.
Look forward to educative and enlightening sessions on TTG. It’s all about energy

5. Technology Law is an emerging sector in the Nigerian Law practice. What is your advice to students or fresh graduates who want to choose it as a career path? What are the challenges they might face and how can they overcome them?

Technology is an important part of life.
Technology is as old as the world.
Remember, there were times we used typewriter. A typewriter in this century is almost useless but at that time, it was the technology.
For students who are interested in starting a career in technology law, I say technology law is different from technology itself.
Technology law is all about regulating the smooth running of technology users through a law; that is, it is the law that regulates the activities of the technology space.

Thus, technology law includes financial technology laws, crypto currency regulations, digital rights laws, block chain laws, inter alia.

My advise to students who are thinking or considering a career in technology law, is that they read extensively on technology itself, understand several areas in tech and the law that regulates it, take online courses which would further expand your knowledge and do internships at technology firms, or technology companies.
For example, my internship with Digital Rights Lawyers’ Initiative sharpened my tech skills and handed me first hand experience. Also, my internship with Omaplex Law firm, Hiltontop solicitors technology law firms equipped me with requisite skills needed in the technology space.

It is true that technology law is an emerging practice area in the legal profession, and the major challenge to me is not chasing your dreams because of challenges. The answer is this, “start by taking a step and be focused.”

6. You’re passionate about energy and a sustainable environment. How does the legal practice contribute to this area?

A short rhetoric question, is there any sector that doesn’t need law?

Even in our households we have laws, some would say, “we lock our gates by 9pm, anyone that comes after 9pm would pay a fine of N500.”
Again, I say, there is no place that the law is not needed.

The impact of the law has positively influenced the energy sector.
For example, the Petroleum Act of 2010, inter alia, was set up to regulate the activities in the energy sector.
Where there are no laws, the society becomes crimeless and man becomes more brutish, nasty, wicked , and evil.
Hence, it is my submission that the energy sector in my country, Nigeria, is alive because of the legal practice.

7. You’ve  won elections into the office of the Public Relations Officer of the Law Students Society, OOU and you’re presently serving as the Vice President of the same society. How has serving at the faculty level impacted you as a Law student and an individual?

My service to the law students society has taught me servant leadership, resilience, teamwork, effective multitasking, courage and strength.

My experience has helped me understand the value of hard work.
Working with other executives has built my teamwork skills, being able to approach issues is a great skill I own all thanks to my service.

As a law student, I have been able to strike a balance between my education and the positions I occupy.
Having to resume weeks before the official resumption, attending tutorials etc. I have learnt excellent multi tasking skills.

However, as an individual, I have been equipped with requisite skills and experience that would help me excellently in my future endeavors

8. You are in your penultimate year? How do you balance your education with the activities and offices you occupy?

Over the years, I have been able to strike an excellent balance with my education and offices I occupy through my multitasking skills. To me, the offices I occupy are registered courses in my “personal course form” and it is compulsory I pass all my courses. To this end, I say my activities, positions occupied all form a part of my LLB.

9. What are the greatest challenges you’ve had to face due to the positions and offices you occupy?

Challenges form part of our success stories. Behind every story, there are challenges and it’s just natural. For me, there are several challenges I have experienced in my several offices.
The major challenge that every administration faces is always finance related. Every administration has a goal, a plan and a beautiful picture of what they wish to achieve. However, getting finances is one of the greatest challenges we face.

10. You love space and recently participated in an hackaton competition where your team won. What endeared you to space and what was the competition like for you?

The DARA BIG DATA Hackathon competition exposed me to a journey beyond the legal profession.
During the competition, I was challenged to expand my learning horizon to experience technology and science at play. Prior to the competition, I restricted myself to only learn the law, however the competition made me understand the interjectory between Technology, Science and the law itself. Working on Sentiment Analysis was an unimagined dream for me in 2020. I wouldn’t have thought to be part of a successful project.

Winning as Team Amazons was something I was prepared for, Sir Andrew never gave room for us to think otherwise. He fed us with inspiring words, making us to believe in our capabilities. I am particularly grateful to him for his immense support and guide all through the competition. I remember asking him to explain python theory over 2times because I was lost.

I am glad that we won and the Hackathon Competition is one of the things that stood out for me in 2020.
I am grateful to the DARA BIG DATA for the support and passion to breed excellence in the space industry.

11. If you were the President of Nigeria for a day, what would you change?

Hmmmmm, this is not a movie, this is reality. Being the president for 24hours cannot change everything.

To be realistic, if I am the President for 24 hours, I would pick just one thing I am passionate about, which is Energy and sustainable environment. Energy is the heart of Nigeria’s economy. I would use 24hours to ensure that there is an adequate provision for renewable energy and also make provisions for the relief of residents who are deserted as a result of oil spill, gas flaring etc

12. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why.

My mother, her spirit of resilience and hard-work inspires me to always be the best version of myself, unrelenting and always strong.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I am inspired by the historical impacts she made as the former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Her great feats in the legal profession is a motivation that as a female, I can also stand out and never stop impacting lives.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, an economist and international development expert. I am inspired by her resilience and exceptional excellence which has made a name for the country, Nigeria, globally.

13. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I see myself achieving my dreams of leading a frontline career in the legal industry, making impacts in the energy sector and helping the less privileged.

14. If you were given the opportunity to address a group of girls five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

God is the only source of my success thus far, and I am glad to share two things with you today.
Dear teens, it is my advise that you build a relationship with God.
Be focused and don’t get distracted by present gratifications, success comes with a price; godliness, hardwork, excellence, consistency and determination. There are times you’ll feel unhappy, in these times, focus on one thing, God. Don’t give up , at the center of it all, see God only.

Oluwabukola Ogunwale is the fourth child in a family of six and a native of Oyo state. She is a believer.
She’s 21 years old and she loves to relate well with everyone. She’s also a 500 level law undergraduate at Bowen University Iwo Osun State. She’s the Chamber Governor for Acquitters Chamber, Bowen University. She is also the Head of Academic Committee Diverse Law.

She is the Founder of Glime’s Beauty, a business centered around health and beauty needs. She’s a baker, decorator, a makeup artist and a cosmetics dealer.
Her hobbies include cooking and reading.

She shares her “Ruby Girl” story with the team .

1. Let’s meet you. Who is Oluwabukola…?

My full name is OGUNWALE Oluwabukola Victoria. Sometimes, I call myself
Oluwalobukunolatemi.

I’m a believer in Jesus Christ.
I relate well with everyone regardless of their gender, race, colour, belief, background or whatever.

I’m from a family of 6 and I’m the last child.
I’m from Oyo State, Nigeria.
I’m a 500 level law undergraduate at the Prestigious Bowen University, Iwo, Osun State.

I’m a cake Baker, decorator, a makeup artist and a cosmetics dealer. I also love to train people to do these things as I have special interest in the beauty and fashion Industry generally.

I love to cook, play games, shop and go on adventures.
I’m an extrovert and I love to have meaningful conversations with older people.

I’m in a relationship and I’m always grateful for the supportive and loving man I have.

2. One accessory you can’t leave home without?

My earrings.

3. Is Law your dream course of study? If not, what prompted you to study Law?

Law was never my dream course. My dad encouraged me to study law and he insisted that all his children must study a professional course.

4. You’re the Chamber Governor for Acquitters Chamber, Bowen University and also the Head of Academic Committee, Diverse Law Organisation. How have you been able to handle both tasking roles effectively? And what influence did occupying both positions have on you as a Law student?

First of all I don’t bite more than I can chew. I don’t take up a responsibility when I know that I wouldn’t be able to deliver appropriately and give it my best.
However, God has been the major helping factor.

Then I’ve also built multitasking skills. Overtime by being responsible for different things both at home and in school. I’ve also learnt the importance of setting priorities and being disciplined and these has helped alot in striking a balance.

5. ‎What is the inspiration behind your beauty outfit, Glime’s Beauty? And which services does Glime’s Beauty offer to the general public?

Well, Glime’s Beauty is a brand that acknowledges the greatness inside every woman.
The word GLIME itself is an acronym that stands for *Greatness Lives Inside ME*

Women love to look beautiful and that’s why we offer services that would reflect the true beauty of every individual and alter every imperfection of the face.


Also, it’s our aim that every woman who represents or patronises our brand would not just look beautiful and elegant but also carry the consciousness that they’re born great and they have the responsibility of making Greatness break forth from inside them in all spheres of their life.

We also deal in:
-Personal makeover. Services for events and outings.
-Skin care and beauty treatments.
-Cosmetics.

 

What is the significance of the EndSars Campaign to you as a Nigerian Youth

The significance of the campaign to me as a young Nigerian youth is that People, old or young have a right to life and such right shouldn’t be taken away from them in any unlawful manner. Also, the Youths have a voice in influencing Government’s decisions, regulations and policies.

However, it’s very unfortunate that the Government doesn’t lend an ear to our voices and that proves the fact that alot of things are wrong about today’s government.

7. What has been your greatest challenge so far as a beauty preneur and what other challenges do you feel other young Nigerians in your niche encounter as well?

Well…the greatest challenge for me is inadequate finance and lack of parental support.
Another challenge is academic demands.Its important to be consistent in business and it’s also necessary to maintain good grades. This takes a lot of extra efforts to scale through.

8. What are the possible solutions to the challenges raised in question seven?

1. Acknowledge who you are and who God has purposed you to be.
2. Know that you have your life to live and you owe yourself a lot of hard-work to secure a great future.
3. Take savings and investments seriously, it’s helps alot in future endeavours.
4. Trust God with all your heart and always remember that he has your back.
5. Recognise and appreciate the people who support your dreams and goals and also leverage on them till your dreams come true. Then, if the people who don’t support you later acknowledge their wrong then so be it and if they don’t, keep pushing until you make it. There’s no Limit to greatness; just spread your wings and fly.

9. Your favourite quote?

“You’re too amazing to be anyone else; just be you.”

 

10. If you were the President of Nigeria for a day, what would you change?

If I’m to be the President of Nigeria for a day, I’ll change the system of Electricity supply. I know how important that is to my fellow Nigerians.

 

11. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why.

Marcia Kilgore
Coco Chanel
Foluke Felix Adejumo.

These women are classy, beautiful and they’ve been able to do extraordinary things in their respective positions.

12. Where do you see yourself and your brand in the next 5 years?

I see myself managing a beauty industry that offers quality beauty services to both genders and also doing well in my legal practice.

 

13. Did your upbringing in anyway contribute to who you are today and all you do now?

Yes, my upbringing shaped my core values which are Greatness, Decency, Integrity and Self-respect.

14) If you were given the opportunity to address a group of girls five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

Try to develop a high self esteem right from now and it’s not too early to start having dreams and aspirations and to start pursuing them; because any opportunity that doesn’t meet preparation will turn out to be a failure.

Favour Posu is a penultimate law student of Olabisi Onabanjo University. She is an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conclliators with a uncanny zest of problem solving.

Being an ardent believer in information as a tool of transformation, she has engaged in Public speaking and Debate to which she has won several laurels to her name. With a natural inclination to impact making, she is committed towards personal and people development

Her excellent leadership skills has been exhibited in the various positions currently held – Alumnus, Pan Africa Youth Leadership Program, President, CLASFON OOU, Co-Founder, Tech Savvy Law student, OOU, Legal Officer, NISS OOU, Secretary, The Vanguard Africa, Campus Ambassador, Mediate Guru, Secretary Omaplex Virtual Internship Alumni Network, Brand Ambassador, Legally Engaged among several others.

She shares her RUBY GIRL story with the team.

1. Let’s meet you. Who is Favour Posu?

Favour Posu hails from Badagry, Nigeria. She was born into the family of Dr and Mrs Posu. She is a penultimate law student of Olabisi Onabanjo University. She has core interests in Technology Law, Corporate Law, International Trade and Alternative Dispute Resolution. She is an outstanding law student with a grave commitment to excellence. Sequel to her passion for conflict resolution, she is an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators.

Being an ardent believer in information as a tool for transformation, she has engaged in Public speaking and Debate of which she has won several laurels to her name. She is a volunteer Speaker, Mentor and Poet who impact lives through the usage of words.

Her topnotch leadership skills is palpable from the various positions held – President, Christian Law Students’ Fellowship of Nigeria, Olabisi Onabanjo University Chapter, Co-founder, Tech Savvy Law Student Club, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Legal Officer, Noble Intellect Student Society, Secretary, Omaplex Virtual Internship Alumni Network, Campus Ambassador, Mediate Guru. To that end, she is committed towards personal development and carer advancement. She is loved and helped of God from which her essence is hinged on.

2. Has Law always been your dream course? If not, what prompted you to study Law?

 As a young, bubbling and cheerful girl with good communication and persuasive skills, The word “Baby Lawyer” has always been reinforced to my person. The conviction was so strong in the minds of family and family and friends that got me thinking if the Legal Profession was really what I wanted or what my people wanted for me. Also, I felt I was also going to be good in Acting. Still in a state of dilemma, however with a strong push, I embarked on the legal sojourn. I must say I have no regrets, although the decision to study law was not absolutely self willed. I am instead grateful for the great push towards the path of destiny. With the diverse nature of the Legal Profession, I have been able to test the waters and set on a journey of carving a niche in the noble Profession.

3. How has working as an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Concillators right from your undergraduate days been?

Being an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators, I recently concluded a three month internship at Ogun State Multi Door Court House where I was privileged to understudy 8 mediators and co – facilitated several mediation sessions.

4. You’re the co-founder of Tech Savvy Law Students, OOU. Why Tech Law?

Tech Law is the new oil.

5. Your most memorable moment on stage during Public speaking and Debate?

My most memorable moment during Public Speaking was when I was in JSS 3 and I had the privilege to speak on the topic “Corruption, a clog in the wheel of Progress”. The five minutes speech was characterised with utmost attention on the part of over 2,000 senior school students including Principals, Vice principals and teachers at the Assembly ground.

Upon completion of the speech, round of applauds and eyes of admiration and prayers escorted me down the stairs. I was not only able to make a name for myself. Also, I was able to make a lasting impact in the mind of the youths by preaching against the evils of corruption.

6. Tech Law is an emerging sector in the Nigerian Law practice. What is your advice to students or fresh graduates who want to choose it as a career path? What are the challenges they might face and how can they overcome them?

The world is fast evolving with the use of technology in various practise areas. It is no news that the value of technology in the 21st Century cannot be undermined as it is the tool to staying relevant in the society of today. Indeed! Technology is the new oil that has come to stay in the Legal profession.

It is important for Technology Law enthusiasts like myself to read extensively on the diverse areas of Technology Law. Find a path and carve a niche. Seek for mentors in the field. Write articles and register your visibility as a Tech Law enthusiast on social media account like LinkedIn. There are really no challenges aside the need to be consistently up on your toes and be abreast of the trends in the industry. Lastly, subscribe to Newsletters in the Tech Law Industry.

7. You are in your penultimate year. How do you balance your education with the many other activities and offices you occupy?

Sincerely it has really been by the grace and wisdom of God. However it is expedient to note my little efforts with God’s blessings. Sequel to the understanding of my identity in Christ, the passion for excellence became aggressively heightened. Hence, Excellence is not an option but a must. Core values such as Diligence, Excellence, Discipline and Resiliency are greatly valued coupled with a strong passion for personal development, people development, career advancement and impact making.

Inspiration is gotten from a long term gratification, zest for knowledge and the impacts made. I must not fail to mention the fact that God has always been my biggest motivator.

8. How has your office as the President of CLASFON OOU influenced and shapened you as a Christian Law student?

The priviledge to serve as the President of Christian Law Student Fellowship of Nigeria has been a defining phase for me. It has greatly helped in building capacity spiritually, intellectually and academically. Through the undiluted word of God, I have been guarded with wisdom for practical living with great friend from the body of Christ. Also, my service unto God has helped to instill in me similarly striking values of Christ and the legal profession. These values are Integrity, Honesty, Truthfulness, Diligence and Fairness.

9. What are the greatest challenges you’ve had to face due to the positions and offices you occupy?

One of the greatest challenges faced is People Management. In my quest to keep surmounting these challenges, I have been able to hone my communication, organisation, problem solving, critical analysis and administration skills.

10. What is your favourite quote?

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all other things shall be added unto you”. Matthew 6:33.

11. If you were the President of Nigeria for a day, what would you change?

Recognising Education as the milestone of a nation’s development and the foundation of society which brings economic wealth, social prosperity and political stability and considering the poor Education system of the country, I would revitalise and reform the Education system according to best international standards. A revolution in the Education sector will automatically cause a substantial improvement in other sectors such as Government, Economy and Health.

12. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why.

My mother, Mrs Abosede Posu inspires me in so many ways. Her passion for excellence has been well cultivated. Her dependence in God as the secret of her amazing display of strength is admirable. She is full of virtues and highly industrious. Watching her as a young girl performing excellently as a wife, mother, entrepreneur, teacher and friend has always rekindled the passion of greatness in me. She is indeed rare.

Bettina Shobanke is another woman that inspires me a lot. In her, I see the manifest love of God at work.

Lastly, the woman that inspires me is Esther in the Bible who is zealous about her country and through the help of God, she was used in the salvation of the children of Israel from death.

13. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

By God’s grace, I see myself pursuing my LLM post graduate program at an Ivy League School in the United States of America. By God’s grace, I should be with my help mate.

14. If you were given the opportunity to address a group of girls five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

I would make them understand few but sacrosanct pieces of information such as:

1. The seasons of life: These are two major seasons in the life of a man. The time to sow and reap. The law of nature whatever is sown shall be reap is applicable to human. To that end, the sowing time (Youth) is the most important as it determines what is to be harvested. Hence, the need to be diligent, resourceful and purposeful.

2. The greatest influencers: What you see, what you hear and what you read. Just like food, feeding on the right thing would enhance healthy and overall development. Hence, the need to guard your heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issue of life. Surround yourself with the right set of people, choose friends that are nourishing and destructive. A quick one! To get good friends, be a good one. Read good books, watch good movies. Flee from every appearances of evil either written or played.

3. The importance of God first as the secret to fulfilling Purpose, know God in the days of thy youth. That cannot be overemphasised.

Oluwatoyin Olayemi holds a Bachelor’s degree in Library and Information Science from Delta State University, Abraka. A Fashion Designer(unisex clothing),An experienced, Competent and Passionate Teen Coach and Child Safety Advocate trained by Piece of My Heart Foundation.

She is currently the program manager at Piece Of My Heart Foundation (POMHF)

Driven by love for change, humanity, helping teenagers live a healthy and purposeful life, Oluwatoyin Volunteers with POMHF to coach teens.

Oluwatoyin is keen at helping to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4&5 by helping Women and children understand the concept of sex education, seeing that children have a healthy and safe upbringing void of abuse via sensitization_

Oluwatoyin has a platform @chatwith_toyin where she reach out to teenage girls in her community.

She was the president of her fellowship during her undergraduate days also the NCCF Kwara State Sisters Cord while serving her father’s land.

She is a Yali Member, a Public Speaker, a passionate youth advocate and a serial Volunteer with years of experience.

She shares her “Ruby Girl” story with the team .

1. Let’s meet you. Who is Oluwatoyin Olayemi?

Oluwatoyin Olayemi is the 4th child from the family of seven parent inclusive.
I’m a graduate of Library and Information Science from Delta State University..
Oluwatoyin is a passionate lover of Jesus Christ, a change maker, a hope giver, a teen coach and a fashion designer.
She lives because Christ lives in her.
I am the programs manager @piece of my heart foundation, I have a platform where I reach out to teens @chatwith_toyin and I’m also a co founder of Rhakel’s couture.

2. What inspired you to study Library and Information Science ?

Hmmm, inspiration ke? Well, I studied LIS because I didn’t have any choice.
I did Pre Degree, I was admitted to study Geography and Regional Planning but I didn’t have Geography in Waec so I was transferred to LIS which is the second option for social science students who enrolled for pre degree. That was how I became a Library student.

3. As a volunteer, what has it taught you.

Volunteering has taught me to be kind and compassionate, to love more and to appreciate God more for who and where I am. Volunteering has also helped me to appreciate the gift of men.. People! We can’t do without people in our lives

4. What is the greatest challenge for young entrepreneurs in Nigeria?

As a young entrepreneur, there are so many challenges we face in Nigeria. Some of the perceived challenges include lack of information on what entrepreneurship entails , taxation and regulatory issues, limited understanding of market structure and lack of proper mentorship amidst others.

 

5. Why did you become a teens coach?

Being a teens coach was birthed from the desire to see young people tread on the right path. To lend an helping hand through the journey of teenagehood.

For me, I had no one to put me through life, I figured life out myself with the help of God.
My former boss said he graduated at 19 because he got it right on time. He had a mentor that helped him through his journey early enough.

6. What are the challenges you encountered as a teens coach and child safety advocate?

Some teenagers are hard to help, they feel they know everything and don’t like people intruding into their life’s affairs. So, you have to be very strategic to help the ‘I know it all’ teenagers.

Another challenge is that parents feel they know all too. For example, I am not married and don’t have my own kids yet, because of this some parents will be like ‘what do you know about children’? Go and give birth to your own first before you talk to us.
Most of these parents aren’t willing to come out of their ignorance.

3. Finance: Sometimes I wish to reach out to young girls in the slum but I don’t have enough resources to make my desire a reality.

4. The right against women and children should be well preserved by the Government and perpetrators should be brought to book irrespective.

7. There is a decline of Library usage by students, as a Library graduate what do you think is the way out?

We Nigerians don’t like to read, we aren’t even familiar with the library.
The only way out is for parents to imbibe a good reading culture in their children.
Thereby reading won’t be a challenge when they are grown.

Secondly, the Government should establish more libraries in all cities and make them very conducive for learning. This will help increase our appetite for reading.

Thirdly, they should make it free. I wanted to visit the Museum recently and I was asked to pay a sum of N300. That’s not encouraging.

 

 

8. What was growing up in a Nigerian home like for you? Did it in anyway contribute to everything you do now?

Beautiful question. Growing up for me was not fun. I played though but I went through a lot.
I battled with self esteem for a long time, I was a slow child and wasn’t doing well academically.

I had so much battles that I can’t even state here.

I didn’t have any body to put me through life which led to my desire to help young ones.

 

9. If you were to be the President of Nigeria for a day, what would you change?

1. Projects and Programs on a paradigm shift in mindset.. This country can only be better when we have the right mindset towards life.

2. Our Educational System

3. There should be a market price policy whereby no individual can just wake up to inflate the prices of goods and services.. Nothing should be monopolized.

4. Equal right to life. Ensuring that the human right is preserved.

5. Electricity

10. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

There are so many wonderful women in my life but I will mention just 3 as requested.

1. My mom. The super industrious and super amazing woman. A business woman per excellence. Very meticulous and accountable.

2.DDK… Debola Deji Kurumi is one woman that inspires me so much. How she balance her ministry, family and organization so well amazes me.

3. Adebara Adebimpe. Her passion, her resilient spirit, her commitment is second to none.

11. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

I see myself ministered to over 5000 teenagers. I see myself taking Rhakel’s Couture to the next level and I also see myself doing whatever He (God) says I should do.

12. How do you juggle being a teens coach, child safety advocate and running a fashion house?

For now there is no much juggling because I’m just coming up. Taking things one step at a time.

13. If you were allowed to address a group of young females five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

This is the best time to marry yourself and birth the best out of you. You are enough with God on your side.

Blessing Okebe is a Facebook and Google certified Digital Marketer, a project manager and a corporate event host.

She is the founder of ‘Building Influential Brands’. A Facebook community focused on helping individuals discover what they want to be known for, build influence and visibility around it and make money out of it.

She is also the Lead Trainer at ‘The Brand Mastery Academy’ where she trains industry experts, career professionals, impact drivers and business owners to build and grow a profitable Brand and position it for Influence.

She is an OAP, Writer, speaker and teacher and has spoken on a number of media platforms across Nigeria.

She has also been nominated for several awards to which she was awarded some.

She believes in every man’s capability to live a life they truly desire and deserve.

She shares her “RUBY GIRL” story in this interview.

1. Let’s meet you. Who is Blessing Okebe?

Blessing Okebe is a Facebook and Google certified Digital Marketer, a project manager and a corporate event host.

She is the founder of ‘Building Influential Brands’. A Facebook community focused on helping individuals discover what they want to be known for, build influence and visibility around it and make money out of it.

She is also the Lead Trainer at ‘The Brand Mastery Academy’ where she trains industry experts, career professionals, impact drivers and business owners to build and grow a profitable Brand and position it for Influence.

She is an OAP, Writer, speaker and teacher and has spoken on a number of media platforms across Nigeria.

She has also been nominated for several awards to which she was awarded some.

She believes in every man’s capability to live a life they truly desire and deserve

2. What inspired you to choose a career in Mass Communication?

I have always loved to talk. Been in front of the Camera or a large number of people puts me in my element and this is something I can do even without getting paid.

3. What does being a brandpreneur entail? And what made you choose to become one?

BrandPreneur is a combination of Branding + Entrepreneur. Just like a modern day entrepreneur, I provide solutions to problems surrounding Branding. I help people go from obscurity to visibility and influence. I choose to become one because I am committed to helping people become the best version of themselves and being a BrandPreneur helps me achieve that.

 

4. As a digital marketing strategist, what do you feel is the greatest challenge of Nigerian businesses and brands in relation to digital marketing?

How to Sell without Selling. Most businesses migrate online with the same mindset they had offline, the mindset of making sales. While this is good, businesses must understand that promoting a business online comes with a different strategy. Relationship building is key. People come to interact and build relationships online and not to buy, that is why it is called SOCIAL media. Every business owner must therefore key into this to make money online.
They should focus on interactions and building relationships through creating valuable, relatable and consistent content around their business and around themselves. These content should focus around solving the problem of their target audience as regards to their brand/business. When this is done, it makes the target audience trust the business owner enough to do business with him/her and this is where they make the most sales

5. Your most memorable moment as a corporate event host?

Seeing the smiles on people’s faces, especially my hosts as they watch me do what I am definitely good at. Oh and the picture moments too.

6. One accessory you can’t leave home without?

My earpiece/headset. Helps me listen to podcasts on the go or while waiting. Enjoying good music is an added benefit too.

7. What are some challenges young people in Nigeria face in the process of carving out a name and brand for themselves?

Primarily confusion especially if they find what they can offer as value or if they are into several things and can’t find which to choose. I help them out by asking certain questions. Some of which are
Which are you most passionate about?
Which can you make money from?
Which have you built expertise or gotten results in?
Is there a ready market for it in your current environment?
Which do you see yourself doing in the next 3 to 5 years.
They also have issue on the kind of content to create and how to position themselves online for opportunities and influence. I solve this through my trainings and coaching sessions.

8. Mention five tips for young people trying to build their brand or venture into the digital marketing space.

– Define your WHY. Don’t start out on something because of pressure or because everyone is doing it.

– Understand that clarity is a journey. You will never have it all figured at once. The further you go, the clearer it becomes.

– Have the mind to SERVE and not to make money. Doing the first guarantees the second.

– Never take relationships for granted. Build profitable relationships with people below you, within you and above you.

– Never stop investing in yourself. The market out there is a very dynamic one. If you stop growing, you get left behind

9. If you were to be the President of Nigeria for a day, what would you change?

The educational curriculum. Infuse more practicals than theories and equip students with the right knowledge and tools they need to succeed in Nigeria. Knowledge surrounding money, entrepreneurship and business.

10. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

Adebola Deji-Kurunmi.
She is a pure definition of FireBrand and Slaying it.

Joyce Daniels.
She does exactly what I will achieve in my ‘Event Hosting’ career and she does it so well.

Adaora Lumina
Her creativity, thoughts and processes are not the usual, they are different.

11. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

Travelling round the world, hosting corporate events, speaking to people and helping them go from obscurity to visibility and influence

12. How do you juggle academics and all other ventures?

Definitely not easy but I have learnt to prioritize which comes first in a particular season and for now it is my academics.

I manage my time productively for my business, work and trainings. Though this makes me miss out on some of the activities my mates are fortunate to engage in, I know my future self will thank me for it.

13. If you were given the opportunity to address a group of young females five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

JUST START. Start anything, it doesn’t mean you always have to continue with it. Stop over thinking, most of these thoughts are just in your head and may not happen.

Expose yourself to new ideas, relationships and places.

Be selfless when building relationships especially with people you admire. Serve them with your skills and knowledge and don’t always think of what they can give you.

Whatever journey you embark on won’t be easy so prepare to be disappointed, confused, discouraged etc. But not matter what happens, keep pushing. Keep tweaking until you see what works, take a break if you must but make sure you come back stronger.

Imiesor Ojo is a fifth year pharmacy student at the university of Benin. She’s a peer educator and a SRH(Sexual and Reproductive Health) advocate.

She volunteers at The Medvocacy Initiative (TMI), where she’s the programs director. She is also a volunteer with the Girls’ In Charge foundation(GIC).

She shares her story with the Ruby Girls team.

1. Let’s meet you. Who is Imiesor Ojo?

Imiesor Ojo is a young female entrepreneur with a passion for gender eqality and SRH advocacy. She is also a Pharmacy student at the prestigious University of Benin. In a bid to gain further knowledge and competency in sexual and reproductive health advocacy, she has participated in several certification programs. One of which is the prevention of campus sexual violence program courtesy the EU-UN spotlight initiative and WARIF (Women At Risk Foundation). She also volunteers with The Medvocacy Initiative and Girls In Charge Foundation, which serves as outlets to effecting positive changes around her immediate environment and beyond.

2. What inspired you to choose a career in pharmacy?

My love for chemistry at the time (back in secondary school) made me choose Pharmacy as my course of study despite the fact that my siblings wanted me to opt for Medicine.

*3. What is the greatest challenge for young entrepreneurs in Nigeria?*

The inability to properly manage finances. As much as people credit a lack of substantial capital as a major challenge, the fundamental problem lies with the management of funds. Poor financial management will most certainly lead to the ruin of any business.

4. Did your field of study motivate you to become a sexual reproductive health advocate?

Yes it did, although not entirely. I was also partly motivated by the negative impact that misinformation regarding sexual and reproductive health had on young people. Especially when a host of these consequences, which stems from uninformed choices, can be avoided by being privy to the right information.

5. Most people are still ignorant of the fundamentals of sexual and reproductive health, how can you address this?

The cure for ignorance is knowledge (education). Educating the masses, especially young adult, is my duty as a peer educator and a Sexual and Reproductive Health advocate. By using every platform available, I’ll be able to reach out to as many persons as possible and educate them on the subject matter.

6. Your greatest fear?

Not being able to harness all of my potentials.

7. What are some challenges you face as an advocate of sexual and reproductive health?

Lack of policy formation, review and implementation on the part of the government.

8. What was growing up in a Nigerian home like for you? Did it in anyway contribute to everything you do now?

Growing up in a family like mine hasn’t been the sweetest experience. Amidst all the disciplinary actions and strict upbringing I can gladly say it has contributed to who I am and what I do now.

9. If you were to be the President of Nigeria for a day, what would you change?

Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day, but if I were the president of Nigeria I would love to make changes to the educational sector of the country. The implications of poor/lack of education is devasting for self and the nation and it’s economy.

10. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

Mrs Florunsho Alakija inspires me a great deal. Albeit her status as a wealthy and prominent woman, she’s a symbol of sheer doggedness and hard work, and most importantly, she’s a woman of God. She’s a breathing evidence that women can achieve whatever they set their minds to, despite the odds.

Prof. Dora Akinyuli stands tall in that regard. she’s a symbol of intergrity, courage and passion in the Pharmacy profession.

Miss Chioma Uzoma, even though she’s a colleague of mine, has been a huge part of my success story so far. She’s purpose-driven, likes to carry everyone along and also she’s fearless (whatever she sets out to do, nothing stops her) and that motivates me.

11. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

As a well-established pharmacist, SRH and gender equality advocate. A woman that has come to the complete knowledge of herself, a woman of influence and power.

12. How do you juggle being a student, reproductive health advocate and running a hair business?

Time management cannot be over emphasized. Knowing how to share/manage my time has made my life a lot easier because quite honestly, school can be quite demanding.

13. If you were given the opportunity to address a group of young females five years younger than you, what will be your advice to them?

Whatever it is in life you want to do never relegate your education and the ministry of you to the background. Also, do not let people’s opinion of you validate/define who you are. And whatever it is you are called to do, do it, whether you’re scared, unsure, or inexperienced, do it anyway because there is no better time to do it than now.