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 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.

Omotoke Olowo   Olugbode is a passionate inclusive education advocate with over 5 years’ experience in education, community service, and advocating for children with disabilities. She is the Founder and CEO of The Autism Awareness Foundation, an organization that is focused on inclusive education for children living with disability especially children on the Autism spectrum disorders. She is also the CEO at Theraconnect an online mobile App that connects parents of children with special needs to the nearest and affordable therapist.

Omotoke holds a Bachelor Degree in Education (Educational Foundation and Counseling) from Obafemi Awolowo University and a certificate in Youth Mental Health First Aid in USA. She is a Mandela Washington fellow and a 2020 LEAP Africa SIP Fellow.

Omotoke has spoken at International conferences including, The Concordia Summit at the Grand Hyatt, Voice of women at Wagner College. She also had an internship opportunity with the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability, Philadelphia, USA

Omotoke believes education is the bedrock of everything and without it she would not have been able to achieve all she has.

She shares her “Ruby Girl” story in this interview.

1. Who is Omotoke Olowo Olugbode?

Omotoke Olowo Olugbode is a passionate inclusive education advocate with over 5 years’ experience in education, community service, and advocating for children with disabilities. She is the Founder and CEO of The Autism Awareness Foundation, an organization that is focused on inclusive education for children living with disability especially children on the Autism spectrum disorder, while also raising awareness and advocacy in the community to change perspective and myths about Autism as she believes that each child counts and each child can learn irrespective of their disability, mental health or environment.

She is also the CEO at Theraconnect an online mobile App that connects parents of children with special needs to the nearest and affordable therapist.

Omotoke holds a Bachelor Degree in Education (Educational Foundation and Counseling) from Obafemi Awolowo University and a certificate in Youth Mental Health First Aid in USA. She is a Mandela Washington fellow, Outstanding Global Youth Ambassador for TheirWorld UK where numerous articles on her advocacy has been published, an Ashoka ChangemakerXchnage Fellow and a Robert Stiffing Alumni. She is also a 2020 LEAP Africa SIP Fellow.

She was awarded The Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders New Jersey, and also awarded as International Associates on civic Leadership at Wagner College, New York.

Omotoke has spoken at International conferences including the MakeImpossiblePossible Summit at United Nations General Assembly, The Concordia Summit at the Grand Hyatt, Voice of women at Wagner College. She also had an internship opportunity with the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability, Philadelphia, USA

2. ‎ What is The Autism Awareness Foundation (TAAF)?

The Autism Awareness Foundation is a not for profit organization that raises awareness about disability and inclusion of children with disability in the classroom and society while eradicating stigmatization and marginalization. We ensure children with disability especially children on the autism spectrum disorder get access to good and quality therapy for early intervention to function and get included in the school system as most children with disability are always denied access to inclusive and quality education.

The Autism Awareness Foundation started in 2017 as a not for profit where we create awareness for children on the Autism spectrum disorder, we have been involved in active teachers training and parental support group, due to our work expansion and experience we set up the social enterprise of THERACONNECT as physical connecting platform before thinking of the App. Currently, since May 2018, we have been involved in outsourcing over 50 therapist and special needs educators to parents, teachers and school.

3. What prompted you to start an inclusive education?

I am a Teacher by profession and I got into the Teaching sector as a zeal I have for Teaching which was further influenced by my friend who had a disability during my secondary school days, and I watched how he couldn’t get the adequate and efficient education during our school days.

Teachers would rather not have her in their classroom and she most often does not come to school at all. So, from there I developed a passion to become a teacher and a deep commitment for children living with disability so that I could be able to teach them in the classroom. After going through my University Education, I discovered that my Teachers then could not teach my friend because they do not have the knowledge and skills to teach children with disability.

The spark and motivation to start my Social Initiative come after reading an online article about a mother with a child with Autism, about how people refer to her child as being possessed, this brought back memories of my experience in secondary school with my friend.

Autism as a disability was strange to me and foreign, and as such I wonder if children in my community has this disability and they don’t have access to education.

I decided I want to advocate for children living with Autism because its disability in which a lot of parents and teachers are not familiar with and a lot of stigmatization and marginalization.

4. ‎ Apart from running an inclusive education that other thing to you into?

Apart from my NGO, The Autism Awareness Foundation, I am also an Innovator, I am currently working on an online App where parents can connect with Therapist without leaving their home which saves them stress, money and time.

I am a social Entrepreneur, I currently run a social enterprise called “The Sensory Place” that focuses on sensory materials, Toys and Montessori schools equipment for parents and schools owner while also consulting for schools on issues pertaining to inclusion in their classroom and connecting with therapist to schools and parents.

“We ensure children with disability especially children on the autism spectrum disorder get access to good and quality therapy for early intervention.”

5.How do you relax despite your busy schedule?

Netflix and gist is my friend when I am less busy. As a person who provide support in issues relating to mental health of parents and disabilities, I take my mental health seriously too, I know when I need to close my laptop, turn off my phone data, decline a speaking engagement and just relax, either with talking long hours on the phone with friends, watching amazing series on Netflix or just sleeping. I am more of an indoor person than outdoor.

“I decided I want to advocate for children living with Autism because its a disability in which a lot of parents and teachers are not familiar with and a lot of stigmatization and marginalization”.

6. ‎ What has the pandemic taught you?

The pandemic has taught me how to prioritize, most time we waste our time on things that are not really important but the pandemic has really taught me to cherish each moment, love people around and check on my families more. It awakened my sense of commitment and knowing how to show love to others too, even during the pandemic, I was still on long calls with parents on how they can support their kids at home in terms of therapy and achieving their milestones

 

7. ‎As a global youth figure, what has been your achievements on inclusion?

My achievement on inclusion has always come through my NGO, my impact has made over 100 parents accessed therapy for their children for early intervention, increase the awareness around autism spectrum disorder to over 5000 people in the community, through our annual Walk Aware Autism and trained over 1000 teachers on skills needed to include children on the spectrum in their classroom both online and physical training, with the advent of our online support for 30 parents as a form of continued training and counseling.

In all of this, my greatest achievement is when parents call me after their kids have been able to achieve a developmental milestone and when they get accepted in an inclusive school, the joy and smiles on parents at such moments always mean everything to me.

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

Growing up was a bit challenging but I grew up in a family full of love. Both my parents are quite loving and amazing people, my mum is the disciplinarian of the house while my dad condones me a lot, people will say it’s because we look alike.
I never had all I wanted while growing up but received love from sisters all the time, we shared everything and we could confide in each other.

Well, I will say my upbringing definitely contribute to what I do now, because I could feel what it means to be like one is unworthy or not enough. I understand the pain of women with children with disabilities in rural communities having being born and raised in one at Oworonshoki community, so yes my passion for setting up The Autism Awareness Foundation definitely stemed up from my own personal experience too.

9. ‎What are the challenges you faced when you became an inclusive educator? Do you still experience them? And also how were you able to overcome them?

Challenges are bound to happen, will happen and they still happen, one of the challenges I faced is the stigmatization and marginalization that comes with working with children with disability which is a big problem of acceptance and inclusion, another challenge is the myth associated with children with disability as a punishment from God as such most parents in my community prefer to keep their children at home and lock them inside rather than bring them out for assessment and therapy, as most schools won’t accept them and when schools finally accept them, other parents in the school sometimes withdraw their children from the school, saying they don’t want their children to catch the disability. And finally I am faced with the challenge of lack of trained teachers to facilitate learning in the classroom. I have been able to overcome these challenges through trainings and holding meetings with school owners to explain that disabilities are not contagious and children benefit more when they learn in inclusive settings.

 

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

If I were to be the president of Nigeria for a day, I would change the Educational sector. The Educational sector has become a shadow of itself and what it is supposed to achieve, most public schools lack trained teachers, use outdated curriculum and old teaching methods that does not facilitate independent and collaborative thinking on the part of students. Our graduates can’t even compete globally and our state of inclusive education is nothing to write home about especially with no therapist and special educators to facilitate learning. After changing the Educational sector, I will definitely reform and change the health sector, too much death, misdiagnosis and sometimes lack of doctors to train patient has led to more death than anything in recent years.

11. ‎Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

One of the women who inspire me is Clare Henshaw, she runs Girls Inspired Foundation, she has gone off to inspire many girls and yet with an humble and kind spirit, I am surely learning humility from her.

Another woman that inspires me is Jasmine, Jasmine is a mother to a child on the autism spectrum disorder who I met in Philadelphia, despite her position she has constantly been reaching out to me on how to provide support for more mothers in Africa and especially Nigeria.
Lastly is my Mother, being a mother to four ladies without a boy child, I know we all know how the narrative would have been, but she have kept it all together, fireful and always there for us her children, she constantly teaches faith and trust in the most difficult time.

 

12. ‎Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

In the next five years, I see myself running The Sensory Place into a big social enterprise, settling up a safe center for therapy and play center for inclusion of children with special needs and disabilities while they also learn a skill through our coder dojo club. I see myself running different starts up into big businesses and ensuring that I am constantly giving back to the society. I also see myself in a place of policy advocacy and implementation at the government level to ensure policy reform on inclusive education and ensuring inclusion in the workplace where each child can truly count.

 

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?

I will tell them to explore all the opportunity they have at their disposal, aim for the sky and land among the moon, dare the impossible and to keep showing up for themselves. I will tell them that impossible is nothing and they are born to do great and amazing things. They should never underestimate themselves and to keep shattering limits and breaking new grounds.

Joshua Onyinyechi who hails from Ebonyi state is a final year student of University of Abuja
in the department of Biological Sciences.

Oyinye is an entrepreneur and CEO of Gift and Souvenir. She also runs a firm that connects prospective interns to their desired organizations. She shares her Ruby girl story with the team

1. Who is Joshua Onyinyechi Esther?

I’m an entrepreneur with extra sauce and grace, a strong and focused lady who believes I can succeed at anything I set my mind to do.

2. ‎ What is the inspiration behind Gift and Souvenir?

My passion for business. I’ve always wanted to have a business that has to do with problem solving.

3. ‎What is your greatest fear?

Not living purposefully.

4. ‎ How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected you as a student and entrepreneur. What have you been able to learn from it?

As a student it affected me because I’m supposed to be a graduate by now but with the whole pandemic graduating this year is not feasible.

As an entrepreneur the pandemic affected sales, But I’m glad everything is coming back to normal.

I learnt to trust God’s plan.

5. ‎What led to the birth of Internship opportunity?

Internship opportunity is a God given idea.
I noticed how graduates and undergraduates struggle to fit into the right place for interns, most graduate or undergraduate just apply for internship anywhere not minding if it’s in line with what they want to do, simply because they just want to get busy.

That was how interns was birthed, to help connect graduate and undergraduate with the right company that will allow them to grow, develop and advance their professional goals/career.

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

My phone please.

7. ‎How has internship opportunity been able to help people with placement?

It has been helpful to people especially in this pandemic, graduate and undergraduate have gotten paid interns opportunity in different states via our platform.

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 Nigerian home is one of the best though it wasn’t all rosy. Because I lost my dad at a very tender age, growing up was just with my mum and siblings..and yes it has contributed alot.

My dad taught me not to be dependent on anyone and it has helped me alot, I started having passion for business at age 9, when I return from school I joyfully hawk pure water and the likes in the market, which made me have a business mindset from early stage.

After secondary school it continued, but this time I applied for a job and I got it which also helped my marketing skills, people management etc today by God’s grace I have a business of my own and all I went through contributed to what I am and do today.

9. ‎What are the challenges you faced when you started the gift shop and internship opportunity? Do you still experience them? And also how were you able to overcome them?

Challenges I faced when I started gift and Souvenirs was sales, before I started the business I had people who were like “oh wow I’ll be the first to patronize you,” but when I started all of them were no where to be found (japa).

I didn’t really make sales when I started, I’ll advertise for one week nobody will even ask me how much by mistake (laughs) but I don’t experience such anymore by God’s grace.

I was able to overcome through consistency, despite not making sales then I kept advertising Because I know people are watching and when they think of gift I’ll come to their mind first because I’m always advertising.

Challenges I faced when I started interns was looking for organizations seeking to engage the services to Interns to register on our website( www.internsopportunity.com) Registration and Job listing is free (Internship Only)

I still experience this, I’ve not been able to get lots of organisations as expected to register on our website, I’m putting more efforts to get them register.

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

I’ll change the policy in hospital ( especially government hospitals) that says you have to pay first before doctors attend to you, all fingers aren’t equal and no one makes budget for sickness. Lots of people have been rushed to the hospital on emergency and probably don’t have money at hand to deposit first. Doctors will not touch you until you pay money, they won’t even attend to you to save your life first while your family members run around for money, at the end the person might end up dying.

As president l’ll make provisions too for that.

Secondly about NHIS card which is made available for only government workers will be accessible also to those who can’t fully pay their bills, the less privileged.

Provisions will be made for sickle cell warriors/people living with disabilities.

Good water and electricity will be fixed in some villages where people drink dirty water to survive.

11. ‎Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

My Mum, Mrs Nike Adekunle, Ma Esther Ijewere.

My Mum is a strong woman, she has a large heart, despite what life throws at her, she never gives up. I’ve seen her fight so many battles and still standing tall.

She trained my siblings and I right from childhood when we lost our DAD. Not all mothers can do that, some will just share their kids to different family members. But my Mum stood her ground, held us close we are what we are today because of God and her.
I’m grateful for her.

Mrs Nike Adekunle is a goal getter, she is so humble despite all her achievement. She gives listening ears always, she inspires me alot. She made walking in purpose for me easy. And I see myself in her always.

Ma Esther Ijewere is a strong woman, I admire her alot.

With her story she is still making impacts and touching lives.

I love her passion for humanity.

12. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Next five years, I see myself at the top controlling businesses, and owning a shoe line.

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? Not to let anyone pressure them, not even social media, they can succeed in anything they set their mind to do.

Be grateful for the small and big wins!

It’s okay to make mistakes, mistakes are part of success!
Never allow your background put your back on ground.
No matter what life throws at you please keep moving forward, lastly ever depend
on anyone financially.