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Inspiration

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A notable Author once said; “There is no friend as loyal as a book”. Reading is like a voyage through time, the more that you read, the more things you will know. We can’t downplay the culture of reading, and authors who write and curate the contents we digest.

Award-winning Amazon bestselling author, Esther Enewerome Odafe is one of such authors promoting reading culture, and also helping professionals, entrepreneurs, organizations and individuals fulfill their dreams of becoming published authors.

The famous writer has worked with local and international clients to birth top-notch quality books that reflect their personal or business brands with 0% plagiarism. Her passion for equipping individuals with the right knowledge and skill set for decent work and economic development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 8) has led her to birth a Facebook community of passionate and talented individuals who want to earn from their skills and grow their business.

Esther was shortlisted for the 2018 African Writer’s Award- Flash fiction category; 2020 SME100 Nigeria 25Under25 Awards- Creative Writing & Content Creation category; and her book won the 2021 Bookney Book of the Year Award.

She is also the founder of The Midas Touch Literary Services and co-founder of Bookney. Her works have appeared on local and international magazines, blogs and television programmes including Writers Space Africa magazine, Freelancers magazine, and Patabah books blog

She shares her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive and insightful interview.

Childhood Influence

Growing up, my parents would buy me storybooks to read, and I believe it was their way of helping me to cultivate a reading habit. The great thing about reading is that it sharpens your mind and makes you want to bring your imaginations to life through writing. Today, as a ghostwriter, writing a brilliant book involves a lot of research, which has to do with intensive reading. So, yes, my childhood prepared me for what I do.

Inspiration behind  Bookney and From Hobby To Career Africa

Bookney was founded by me and Precious Osikha in 2020. In 2019, we noticed many authors complained about intellectual property theft, people selling their books and making money off them. This was what prompted us to start a unique and safe platform for book reading and publishing with better incentives for both authors and readers. I started the Facebook group, From Hobby to Career Africa out of a passion for equipping individuals with the right knowledge and skill set for decent work and economic development in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 8). My goal is to help passionate and talented individuals who want to earn from their skills and grow their business.

The journey so far

 It has been an interesting journey so far, but not without challenges. However, persistence and seeing the bigger picture of my dreams has kept me going.

Being an author, ghostwriter, editor, and managing all the hats I wear

 For me, it all boils down to knowing what jobs to take and how to arrange my schedule. Anytime I feel pumped to work, I do all the ‘heavy-lifting’ jobs and reserve the more fun ones for when I am lethargic and need an energy boost.

Ripple effect of training 100 newbie writers

This is certainly one of the most fulfilling things I have done. Getting testimonials and seeing milestones from past students about how they have put the training to use either by working for companies or running their businesses makes me happy. Also, helping clients who never thought they could become authors write their books and become bestsellers is fulfilling.

Challenges of my work

The major challenge for me would be meeting several deadlines around the same time. As someone who wears many hats, jobs come in at different times with varying deadlines. Sometimes they are so close, and it becomes hectic meeting those deadlines.

3 women who inspire me and why

 My mum is my number one inspiration because of how resilient she is. The next person would be Esther Ijewere for her doggedness in helping people notwithstanding the outcome. Last but not the least, I would say to myself because of how determined I am to achieve my dreams.

Nuggets on how to become a successful ghostwriter and editor

The first thing I would recommend is love knowledge. Whichever way you want to gain knowledge about new things is up to you although, I would recommend reading wide as your best shot. Also, develop the habit of being meticulous if you are not, because you need this trait to deliver excellent work. Finally, learn the act of marketing your services and closing sales because without sales, you are just not in business.

Being a Woman of Rubies

I am a woman of rubies because I am valuable, strong, and giving. Every business venture I have started, every book I have written, has all been intending 

Contact details;

Social media handles:
Instagram: @enewerome
Facebook: Esther Enewerome Odafe-Ohakah

Petra Akinti Onyegbule wears many hats graciously, the hardworking sociologist and political communications strategist with experience which spans 15 years in the areas of advocacy and public relations campaigns in the public and private sectors is also a successful entrepreneur and advocate.

She was the Chief Press Secretary to the Kogi State Governor between 2016 and 2019, and Senior Special Assistant on Electronic Media prior to that.   Her foray into advocacy started in 2006 on the Advocacy efforts of the Catholic Church on Oil and Gas Resource Utilisation in Nigeria.

She is currently the founder of Tiny Beating Hearts Initiative where she rallies support to save premature babies using her resources and mobilizing skills to create awareness on prematurity in Nigeria.

Petra is also the director of Libraprime Communications – a public relations agency that has pitched and executed strategic briefs, leveraging strong media contacts and reach in the industry ecosystem, for delivering high-value to client projects. The multi-tasking entrepreneur is the brain behind fast rising clothing line; Anike Robert Clothing (ARC) a brand that provides integrated marketing for experiential and point of sales channels.

She shares her inspiring story, her passion to save preterm babies, and how her clothing line is gaining momentum in this exclusive interview with Esther Ijewere.

Growing Up

I never really thought about my childhood in relation to the work I have done since my adulthood. But I would say that I grew up in a liberal environment; where even though, it was not the norm to question myths, to question how things were done, to question culture, I was too inquisitive to obey the rules. I have such an inquisitive mind that it was just natural for me to question. So I kept questioning and I kept doing what I now see to be some sort of informal and loose advocacy because I wondered why things were done in a certain way and why they couldn’t be done in a certain way. So it was informal but you know, yes, I did that. I was encouraged by what I saw my mom and siblings did to always speak and stand up up for those who couldn’t do so for themselves. So I would say that yes, in some way, my growing up helped. But more importantly, I grew up having some sort of self-independence. I could do a lot of things for myself at a very early age. So it helped shape my perspective on life and the fact that If I want or need something done, I have to work for it. Yes, it did.

Tiny Beating Hearts Initiative

The inspiration for Tiny Beating Hearts Initiative came from experiencing prematurity from my own daughter who was born at 25 weeks. She was in the neonatal intensive care unit of the national hospital, Abuja for 80 days. She was so helpless it broke my heart. She couldn’t even breath on her own for so long and she had to be on assisted respiration. By the time she was discharged, and we went home, the experience was a different level from what I had in the hospital. Going home meant I was the nurse, I was the primary carer and that I was basically responsible for her. A lot of responsibilities that the doctors, the nurses and the other health workers took on in charge of her in the hospital were transferred basically to me. And in the hospital I saw how tough it was for some families. Oh they  had it tough and rough. Showed me that there is a socio-economic nexus to survival of premature babies and small babies. So I set up Tiny Beating Hearts Iniative to advocate for the rights of every child to live  regardless of the socio-economic background into which they are born and to also help provide material and psychological support for parents with premature babies, the kind I didn’t have twelve years ago when I had my own baby.

The journey so far

The journey has been tough, chiefly because it takes its psychological toll on me and on some of the team members I have worked with over time. I have never had to make it an organisation where I paid people to work with me to ensure that the vision is kept alive. I have always relied on volunteers. It’s been tough, because it’s the same people over and over again, who have been supporting us. Of course, there are situations where in certain places, it is so difficult for us to get access to facilities with incubators. Facilities that are actually well equipped to take on these babies and we have to teach Kangaroo Mothercare, excellent hygiene and nutrition so that bigger premature babies can have their shot at life and are saved. So it’s been tough but what keeps us  going is the fact that you know, you see babies whose parents appear helpless, are actually helpless at the time when they need our intervention and you get testimonies from their parents 5 years later, 6 years later, 10years later and they are saying thank you and they are giving you progress reports. It makes all the stress, makes all the efforts, makes all the heartache worth it. Of course, we had situations where that no matter what we did the baby didn’t survive, that’s really heartbreaking. But over all, it’s been a fulfilling experience because the whole essence is to ensure that no child is left to die regardless, so long as the heart is beating however tiny, it deserves to live. That’s the philosophy. And so we go out of our way, we bend over, backwards we go above and beyond to make sure that happens. Our supporters and partners, they’ve been very steadfast, as a matter of fact, their belief in the project is what has kept us going for long. We are grateful to them and we are thankful for all the lives we have been able to save.

Libra Prime Communications

Libra Prime Communications is a perception management firm which deals largely with regulatory compliance audits. What we do is we undertake perception management on behalf of firms and sometimes, individuals. It is a PR firm but PR in such a way that when firms have issues with their regulators, we step in for  independent audit on whether the firms have complied with recommendations by regulators.

Politics and Advocacy

I didn’t switch from politics to advocacy. Advocacy is what I have always done; my first job post NYSC was as an advocacy officer on a Catholic Church’s project. I have also done advocacy as an independent consultant for a long time. I worked at CBAN – Credit Bureau Association of Nigeria as the first Executive Secretary and Advocacy officer. So advocacy is what I have always done, that’s my major forte. Politics is ubiquitous and I am very interested in the political processes because they determine governance to a significant extent. drawn to politics because there is nothing we do in life that  politics has no bearing on, so I decided to be involved in the political process. I have not switched, I basically just do both hand- in- hand. Because when you talk about advocacy, you are advocating for something to be done, for a policy to be implemented or promulgated. How do you do that without getting involved in the political process? I mean the very basic definition of politics is who gets what, when and how, the how could be through advocacy so I think they both go hand-in-hand. But I have not even left politics. I didn’t switch, I am still a politician. Because I believe that we need to get involved. We need to get involved as much as possible in the political process. Otherwise we lose all the rights to complain about how certain things are done or not done. So it is not a switch. It is just that at the moment, I am giving more prominence to the job which pays me. Because politics is not my job as it were. Unless at a time when I was appointed in a political role. I was given a political appointment in my state, I did a job. But day-to-day politics doesn’t feed me. And I think that every politician needs a job to go back to everyday. That you know, puts food on the table, that adds to the economy which is what I do with LibraPrime Communications and Àníké Robert Clothing.

Work-Life Balance

I am not going to lie that it’s been easy being a Mommy whilst businesswoman and an advocate. It’s not easy. It is not easy at all. But one thing that has helped me is having a supporting husband, one who sometimes steps up when I have to slack on my duties as a wife and mom. Because something always gives; when there is credit somewhere then an account has been debited. So when there is a credit on my advocacy part, it is probably because my business woman role is suffering or my role as a wife is taking a hit or my role as a mom is taking you know, some hit. So at the end of the day, my balance is in getting people to help, getting people to step in when I am unable to be there. So we just continue to balance it up that way. It is not easy, I am not going to lie. It is not easy. Having a husband who supports, family members,  having a good structure in the office, at work,  having a good business partner, a good social support system,  they all help. And these are how I balance my roles as a wife, an entrepreneur,  a consultant and an advocate on multiple issues.

Motivation behind Anike Robert Clothing Line

I love casual wears. There is a saying about wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeves. I love to wear my feelings on my body. So sometimes I brand   the way I feel and I wear that feeling as a tshirt, tracksuit, hoodie, sweatshirt. I  realised along the line that i couldn’t be the only one whose dressing affected their   moods. I am a mental health advocate, and I strongly believe that the environment,  that the way we dress, our outlook, and people’s perception of us affect our mental health. What better way to control people’s perception of you at first glance than appearance? So you have a philosophy, an outlook, what we sum up as attitude?  You should give that attitude a 100%, brand it, wear it. So that is what the Àníké Robert Clothing is about.

There is an economic side to it,not course. I needed something for daily income, you know, like a side hustle. But somehow, it’s such that, it’s surpassed my expectations such that it is now as important as  LibraPrime Communications as the main game.

And my journey in the last one year has been phenomenal; a testament to my philosophy that everything in life has got its pros and cons. Because you see I owe part of the initial success of  Àníké Robert Clothing partly to the pandemic. Because more and more, the way people work and live generally has changed; with companies telling people to work from home,  people not necessarily having to meet at a particular location for a meeting and so more and more, people had to and having to a little less formally. People are beginning to go casual. People are beginning to wear their attitude. So these are some external factors that have  contributed to the pace with which we are growing. Others are the fact that we sell more than the quality of our clothes, which is great if I say so myself; we sell pleasant business experience which keeps over 80% of our clientele as repeat customers.

In the next five years, I see this brand having its own factory and scaling up in the manufacturing of shirts, hoodies and tracksuits. I  see us going into other areas of merchandising and clothing and hopefully, that will happen in the coming five years. That’s the dream.

There have been a lot of challenges of course, but the rewards, both monetary, growth and  lessons  learnt have been awesome.

Challenges 

Number 1 challenge I faced at the beginning and for months  was staffing . Getting my staff to  understand the concept and embody the spirit of excellence, now that was a challenge.  But we have surmounted the hardest part of this and continue to strive to be better. At ARC, now they know that there is nothing like “na small remain. Díẹ̀ lo ku. It is nearly perfect”. If a customer has paid for something, then we’ve got to deliver that. We have all adjusted to this philosophy and making excellence a culture.

The other challenge would be electricity. The erratic supply and rates. Tariff has changed twice in one year. Yet, I don’t get optimal value. Then inflation. My goodness! Production cost keeps fluctuating and highly unpredictable. That’s quite unnerving. Because it makes planning more difficult.

Everyday, there is a price increase in this and that. And this makes the market unpredictable. This unpredictability of it affects me a lot, it leaves me in a fix. Sometimes, we say “oh, the difference is just ₦20 per piece or yard for this particular material but then  I calculate how many of that item I am getting and there are times I  want to throw my hands up in the  air.

3 Women who Inspire me and why

The first person who inspires me to be a better human is my mom. She is incredibly kind, compassionate and humane. That inspires me a great deal. I learnt about dignity in labour and contentment from her. And regardless of everything life has thrown her way, her spirit has remained strong. Even her name inspires me because it becomes some prayer for me every day – Oluwamajente – God, please do not let me be disgraced. Let me not fall from this pedestal. So her life, her person, her name inspires me.

The second person is Prof Dora Akunyili for being a woman of strong conviction and sticking no matter what.

Since you’re limiting to three, the third will be Indira  Nooyi, the former president of Pepsi Co.

Women’s participation in Politics

My views on women participation in politics is that it is not enough. We need to do more. We really  need to do more. And that we need to have an agenda. We need to go all the way, we need to be with partners who understand what it takes for a woman to be involved in politics and would support us to make the sacrifices that a woman needs to make in politics. Now, I think that women also need to, we are doing it, we are doing it; more and more, women need to develop thicker skin because there is a lot of slut-shaming of women in politics. However, it is not going to stop, it is not stopping anytime soon. So whilst we continue to make that advocacy so to say let us deal with women on the merits of their credentials, on the merits of their capacities, and on the merits of the value that they can bring into the political space and processes, we also need to continue to forge ahead and ensure that if there’s a meeting lasting into the dead of the night, we are participating all the way and not giving excuses. We should not expect anything to be handed over to us on platter. And we should understand that we need to be tenacious. Of course, there are challenges of money politics, prebendal godfatherism, etc but if we are focused and purposeful and ambitious, something will keep giving until we have a whole new structure and system and landscape. Do I see myself contesting for any position in the future? I say never say never but I do not see myself contesting.

Advice to young women trying to navigate through life

My advice to young women who are trying to navigate through life and find their purpose is this: YOU ARE ENOUGH. Live your life, make your mistakes but always learn from them; when you fall, you rise. Never stay down. Never ever, allow anybody define you by what you’re not. Never allow anyone define you by your limitations. We all have strengths and weaknesses; we can continue to work on our strengths and we develop our weaknesses to ensure that our weaknesses do not define us. In the age of social media, a lot of people are under pressure to fake it till they make it. How about work the course till you become a force? Behind every story, there is a history. Therefore, look for the history and learn the lesson therein.

If you’re reading this and wondering how you can save a preemie, please reach me.

I am also an advocate of mental health, I champion destigmatisation of mental illnesses and encourage those who suffer any illness on the spectrum to seek help.

Have you ever pictured a seven-year-old girl having her period? We need to drop the shame and start talking more openly and honestly about menstruation. We are gradually getting to a point where this age, will be the starting age for menstruation as opposed to starting as a teenager. There is a need to further sensitize future mothers and fathers about this. It is not something to shy away from. It is a normal biological process every woman must go through. Bisola Adeyemi is a Chartered Accountant, Entrepreneur, Affiliate Marketer, and Girl Child Advocate. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Babcock University, Ilishan Remo, Ogun State, and an associate certificate from the prestigious Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

She also recently got certified as a Programme Presenter under the Global Goodwill Ambassadors Foundation for their “My Body is My Body” campaign.Bisola started her NGO in her final year at the University, in 2016. Despite all odds and restrictions she experienced in school, she was able to reach out to communities around Ilishan Remo and Iperu Remo Ogun State, with information about menstruation, menstrual hygiene, including its truths, and myths. This was made possible with the help of volunteers and friends. She later registered her NGO, Bevy of the Elites Foundation with the Corporate Affairs Commission in 2018. Since its inception, the organization has reached out to over 4500 girls with information and sanitary pads.

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

 

1. Let’s meet you, Bisola. How can you describe your childhood?

My full name is Adeyemi Bisola Elizabeth. I am a believer in Jesus Christ and his finished works. I am the 3rd of 6 children- 5 girls and a boy. I am from Osun State. I love to travel and have meaningful conversations. I had the most memorable childhood, from attending school to outdoor games, church activities, school and church competitions, amongst others that have helped shape me into who I am today.

2. When did you conceive Bevy of the Elites Foundation? Any major event that led to it?

It was in 2016. I went for a group mentorship session, and I heard God clearly instruct that I start a foundation to teach girls about menstruation, menstrual hygiene, chastity, body awareness, and family involvement in children’s development. It was formerly “The Girl Child Foundation” but due to the popularity of the name, we were not able to register it with the Corporate Affairs Commission. This prompted my siblings and I to come up with the name “Bevy of the Elites Foundation” which clearly explains our vision and mission, that is: Group of the learned where people, particularly the female gender can learn about their body and development.

3. What are the greatest myths that have affected menstruation and menstrual hygiene over the years?

The very common myth- If any guy touches you as a lady, you’ll get pregnant. This myth has been around for as long as I can remember, and I think it is one that has come to stay. Of course, as we grow older, we get to know that not physical touch, but sexual intercourse gets a lady pregnant. This has caused a lot of girls their self-esteem. This has also led to a lot of issues ranging from lesbianism, rage amongst others because teenagers are not told the clear truth from their childhood.

Another myth is that purchasing sanitary materials like pads should be kept private and hidden in non-transparent nylons. Whereas sanitary pad is like buying toothpaste, bathing soap, and the rest. They are all personal hygiene products.

I also hear a lot that a girl should not talk about her period in public as it is a shameful thing and makes one vulnerable when in fact it is not something to be ashamed of.

4. Your favorite quote/mantra?

My favorite quote/mantra is “Menstruation matters.”

5. Was there ever the need to sacrifice school for the execution of a project at Bevy of Elites Foundation?

I attended a school where we were only allowed to leave the school environment once a week. I had to plan my calendar to accommodate the NGO programs, in schools around Ilishan Remo and Iperu Remo Ogun State. Most of the time, I usually convey with my friends after the day’s lectures which must have been well planned out.

So, have I ever sacrificed school for any of the Foundation’s execution of a project? Yes! Many times! Shout out to my friends and volunteers that always come through.

6. Despite having a tight schedule as an undergraduate in a private institution, how were you able to scale through making your dream a reality?

I am a go-getter. Once I set my mind to do something, I do! So as an undergraduate, who has heard God speak about this vision. I immediately ran with it. There were times that I also had issues with the hall administrator due to the time of arrival in the hostel, but I had to explain all these over and again and God always show up for us; me and my friends. I must confess, it was not easy, but it only lasted for 1 year in University, after I graduated, I had all the time to do several projects.

7. As a Girl Child advocate, what is your stake on the ever-rising issue of rape in the country?

A common assumption is that rapes are mostly committed by strangers which is wrong. The majority of rapes are committed by someone known to the victim. Also, no type of clothing is an invitation for sex or implies consent. What a woman was wearing when she was raped is simply not relevant. Rape is never the victim’s fault.

That established, the issue of rape in Nigeria is increasing by the day and all children and teenagers should be educated about this. Parents have a role to play as well. Most children communicate assault to their parent/guardian, but they do not take the kids seriously which is why rape gets through most of the time.

In many of our programs at Bevy of the Elites Foundation, we have now incorporated the ‘My Body is My Body Campaign’ because we get several girls speaking out about their rape incidence and how they are not safe around particular set of people and we are also trying our best to ensure that the information about rape is well communicated and handled appropriately.

8. Has Accounting always been your dream profession? Any childhood ambitions?
Well, I will say growing up, it was either you choose to be a Lawyer, Accountant, Medical Doctor, or Engineer. I went with the trend at the time and settled to be an Accountant since I chose the commercial line back in secondary school. I would otherwise have become a teacher. I love to teach and that’s one of the things I enjoy doing at Bevy of the Elites Foundation and some other places like the church I attend, Celebration Church International.

9. If you were to be the president of Nigeria for a day, which policies would you implement, or changes would you effect?
Changes as regards menstruation and availability of sanitary pads. I will make sure every school has a sanitary pad bank where girls can walk in freely to pick up pads on or before their period.
I will also sign a bill for all girls to attend school up to the University level. No girl should be left behind because of some cultural beliefs that girls are meant to be in the kitchen.
I will also make sure that the educational curriculum in primary and secondary schools is revamped to reflect the reality of the world we live in.

10. Any memorable event since the inception of Bevy of the Elites Foundation or most tasking outreach?
All our events/outreaches are memorable as we get to meet different girls. I will say the most memorable event was when we reached out to girls in Babs Fafunwa (Senior and Grammar Schools) Ojodu, Berger in 2019. The girls came out in their numbers. Everyone got a sanitary pad and was happy. You could literally see the glow in their eyes. I also remembered a community outreach we had in Ikenne Palace, Ogun State where myself and a partner had to publicize the programme on HOPE FM. Many young girls were enlightened and I also learnt a lot from that community with regard to their way of life and hygiene practices.

11. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?
My mum- she is a go-getter. Ever heard of anyone who always knocks out her goals, she does every single time.
Ola Sulaimon- She inspires me because she runs an NGO and is a Chartered Accountant. We have a lot of things in common from the university we attended to how we have patterned our life to be.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala- The first woman appointed to lead the World Trade Organisation (WTO). I mean, she is a woman changing the status quo for the rest of us.

12. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I see myself exactly where God will have me be. Reaching the world for God and contributing my quota to humanity.

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?
Put societal pressure out of the way. Societal pressure reduces the level of self-esteem and self-confidence. Some examples are, the ways in which ladies are pressured to get married and have children, and even after having a child, the pressure continues as to when the next child will come, pressures like judgment solely on appearance, pressure to have sex, and abuse substance amongst others. I will let them know that they should not pattern their lives after societal pressure, or they will burn out.

Thank you for your time, ma.

Folakemi Adesina is the Founder of Do Good Charity Initiative; a foundation through which she has impacted well over 5000 children and women across different states in Nigeria. She is a seasoned lawyer with exceptional work ethics and a passion for Property Law and Company Secretarial Practice.

 The Olabisi Onabanjo University graduate, and award winning innovative leader is the Lagos State Coordinator for Good deeds day international, a global movement for doing good, she is also the Ambassador for Global Impact Network.

Under her leadership, Do Good Charity Initiative launched JEANS FOR SOCIAL IMPACT PROJECT; where used jeans are upcycled into eco-friendly school bags. This project has impacted over 2000 children in underserved communities

Folakemi is a passionate change agent and humanitarian fuelled by real life situations of children and women living in underserved communities. She strongly believes in poverty eradication amongst people

She  is happily married and blessed with kids. The amazing amazon shared her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive interview.

Childhood Influence

I was born into a Godly family. My parents were educationists and disciplinarians who valued education and believed in raising a child in a Godly way. As the only girl in the family, I was taught to be useful and responsible, engaging in different activities in the house. I learnt how to work with others, lead with confidence, and contribute my quota to my community in my little way. My parents actively participate in community services in church and with their permission, I started volunteering at a tender age. Growing up, I was essentially taught to stand up for what I believe in.

Inspiration behind Do Good Charity Initiative

I am happy to be amongst people making positive changes in the world. I founded Do Good Charity Initiative because I want to give children and women a VOICE and a chance at a better life. I started volunteering at a very tender age, as far back as 2004. My volunteering experience started with Garnet Youth Foundation in Osogbo, Osun State. As a serial volunteer working with children, I had a better understanding of their struggles. I have seen how hard children and women work to meet their basic needs. This fueled a desire in me to address real-life situations of children and women living in slums and underserved communities. The organisation was founded to lift children and women out of poverty.

Our activities include (but not limited to):,Food banking, Love Without Limits (an annual food and clothing drive outreach), Jeans for social impact (school bags and shoes swap program),Undies for every child (awareness on prevention of child sexual abuse), Women Empowerment programs

The journey so far

The journey has been fantastic, filled with different experiences and challenges. Putting smiles on people’s faces makes me fulfilled. The major challenges that comes with running an NGO are Management and Fundraising. As a nonprofit organization, we rely solely on public financial support, and seeking such funds comes with accountability and transparency on public benevolence. To ensure this, we carry out in-depth research to identify the most vulnerable, ascertain their exact needs and work towards meeting those needs.

Jeans for social impact project

Growing up as the only girl in the family was so much fun. My mum made it a priority, despite all odds to always give me the best. She so much believed in UPCYCLING – not that I knew what it was called at the time. But you see, she never allows any of her Ankara (printed) or lace materials to go to waste. Before you know it, an ‘anko’ (uniform attires) has been made from those materials for my brothers and I; with matching slippers for me.This fueled my passion when I founded Do Good Charity Initiative; to address the physical and psychological needs of children living in underserved communities. JEANS FOR SOCIAL IMPACT was born out of a desire to meet the major needs of children while saving the environment. It is an upcycling project where jean wears are turned into school bags and lunch boxes for children in need of them.

Textile waste is the third-largest contributor to dry waste in Nigeria and is a massive environmental problem. Therefore, if a pair of jeans is upcycled, the electricity and water needed to make a new product can be conserved.

Impacting over 5000 children across Nigeria through my work

As an advocate, I’m able to go beyond ‘passion’ and ‘talks’ to identify needs and solve tangible problems people (orphans, widows, women, and children living in slums) face. Illiteracy is part of the non-education problem, with Nigeria having one of the highest out-of-school rates. This is why I’m working to ensure that these children are enrolled in schools; provided with books, bags, shoes, uniforms, and encouragement. Beyond immediate needs, empowering women through vocational training, to be able to cater for their children, are parts of the projects I am working on. I believe, and it’s important, we don’t leave any child behind because they all matter. Anybody can be an advocate for anything as long as the interest is honest. I also feel that there’s so much more I need to do so, so many lives to be touched

The  society, the act of giving and it’s knowledge of Charity

To an extent. Nigerians are known to be among the most generous people on the planet. In a recent global survey conducted by the World Giving Index, it was discovered that almost two-thirds of Nigerians spend time helping another human being.

The goodness of heart of the Nigerian people is reflected in their donations to the needy. The act of giving brings together Nigerians, to help them achieve a common goal of helping those who are less privileged than them. However, we need to keep creating awareness on generosity and kindness; celebrating acts of giving and the importance of giving back to the society.

Challenges

Getting the required funding and sponsorship to support our projects is one of the major challenges we face. From companies to partnering with other Non-governmental organizations, to seeking support from our local audience, this challenge has posed itself as an opportunity to put our best foot forward by engaging in strategic communication, follow-ups, networking activities, and strategically positioning ourselves for better prospects. There’s still a long way to go through.

Another challenge we are faced with is identifying beneficiaries that are truly in need and streamlining their numerous needs. With operations in one of the largest cities in Africa, the rate of poverty and illiteracy is relatively higher. However, we can only reach a number of communities (and people) due to limited resources.

Some other challenges include; lack of fairer distribution of resources, political interference in development issues, and the lack of potential human resources. As a humanitarian, I believe in empowering people and as we seek to expand our reach, we ensure that whatever resources we get are fully utilized to meet the direst needs (in line with the organization’s mission and value).

 3 women who inspire you to be better and why?

Malala Yousafzai, her story inspires me a lot and I admire her love for girls and her passion for access to quality education.

Mrs. Ibukun Awosika is another extraordinary woman who inspires me through her works. From her teachings, I have understood how I can multitask; being a wife, a mother and at the same time a workaholic. She’s one worthy of emulation.

Michelle Obama. She stands out as one of the most passionate and accomplished First Ladies in history because of her charisma, compassion and powerful speeches. I’m also inspired through her works with girls – funding girls’ education and tackling everything from leadership to poverty.

Being  a woman of rubies 

Folakemi Adesina is a woman of rubies and more. She is just the right blend of beauty and brains. Comfortable in her own skin, releasing positive vibes, innovative, and with quick wits. I’m a lady of good values and one of those unique individuals with a heart for humanity.

Other projects and activities

Good Deeds Day is an annual tradition of good deeds. All over the world, hundreds of thousands choose to volunteer and help others, putting into practice the simple idea that every single person can do something good, be it large or small, to improve the lives of others and positively change the world. I’m privileged to be the Lagos State Coordinator of Good deeds day Network

Good deeds day was launched in Lagos state on October 6th, 2021, Lagos is the commercial nerve center of Nigeria. The city is home to so many wonderful organizations working hard to make Nigeria a better place. A lot of young individuals are hungry for change who are willing to devote their time and resources to making the world a better place. We want these individuals to be part of this network of change agents within Lagos and other states in Nigeria. Our aim is to make this day where we will bring together all good-doers, volunteers, charity organizations, schools, universities, religious groups, companies etc. to do good. The initiative’s aim is to promote generosity and Kindness. The initiative makes it easy for people to #InspireGoodness. The next Good deeds day comes on April 3rd, 2022. The initiative allows citizens across the globe to make a difference in their communities throughout the year.

GRACE INIOBONG EKA is an Entrepreneur who holds a BSC in Marketing and OND in Accounting.

Being raised as a Christian and a lover of God, She is a worker in the church serving God in the Choir department as a Praise leader and Treasurer, In the drama department she displays her acting skill by ministering through drama and also the department Treasurer. As a Youth in the Church, She handles the welfare as an Executive.

Having gathered experience in Events and Experiential marketing as a coordinator, coordinating Event Staffs and training brand representatives.; She founded her own company named *QG* _*AGENCY* . QG Agency is a company that trains and provides professional marketers/brand representatives, Event Staffs and Models., Also into Real Estate and Telecommunication services.

She holds certificate of training in Fashion design crafts , Catering services, Intensive training in Business from BSC Brand Consult.

As an *Entrepreneur* , She is a member of Neca’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW).

*GRACE INIOBONG EKA* is an ex beauty queen of Miss Akwa Ibom Lagos through which she made her way into modelling and Entertainment industry and she joined the Association of Beauty Queens and Kings and Currently the Deputy Coordinator of Lagos State branch

She believes in giving and impacting lives and this has made her known as an humanitarian and given her the joy to launch THE GRACE HUMANITARIAN FOUNDATION.

She Shared her Ruby Girl story with the team.

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

Firstly, I would like to appreciate this platform for having me.

My childhood was an exciting one as both of my parents were disciplinarians. I wasn’t allowed to keep friends and being the first child I had to learn how to consider my siblings first before myself. It was quite interesting! The very first female friend I tried to keep after my secondary school education my Dad instructed me never to bring her home again. The only friends I had then were my colleagues at work and people in church and they mustn’t visit and I don’t visit too. Yea! My secondary education was quite fast and I started working at age 14 the day after having my last paper for WAEC.

The part I enjoyed more in my childhood is falling in love with God at a young age. I spent most of my time being in God’s presence and my parents were very supportive. I think it is what they wanted because they would prefer that I go to church rather than visiting anyone.

One thing I learnt from my parents while growing up was the attribute of “giving and caring for others”. I can recall how my dad would pay rents for people and help people with money to start up businesses then. Each time my mom buys foodstuffs she will call some women and share amongst them. This happened during my childhood and I adapted, I could recall sharing my food allowance with friends in school that didn’t have. This happened when I was 8 years old and at age 15 when I started working I had started sharing my salary with some people in church.

My childhood taught me the principle of sharing.
I’ll say I really enjoyed my childhood.

2. ‎Any childhood ambition or aspiration nursed by you?

I have always wanted to be an independent woman and a great leader. I believe so much in giving and I’ve always prayed to be a giver and the grace to touch the lives of everyone that deserves to be happy.

3. What motivated the launch of THE GRACE HUMANITARIAN FOUNDATION?

God!
The feelings was just too strong that I couldn’t resist it. Even while I was a reigning beauty queen and I knew I could have used the platform but fear of Funds and supports didn’t allow me.
But God allowed the launch of THE GRACE HUMANITARIAN FOUNDATION happen because it was just the right time!.

4. ‎Was your decision to pursue modelling and being a Beauty Queen supported by your close contacts?

(Smiles) Not at all. I had no contacts and supports. My dad didn’t even support my decision to venture into the industry because he was scared I would lose focus. Only God can tell how I became the winner of MISS AKWA IBOM LAGOS 2015/16 because I only know I got the form for #5000 then and the rest I can’t explain. All outfits I used during the competition were given. Though I was working but I couldn’t have sponsored myself if not by His grace.

5. ‎What are the challenges young entrepreneurs in the real estate, fashion and modelling world face and is there any specific one you encountered?

There are so many challenges that if you aren’t strong enough and determined in your career you could give up easily so, I’ll advise that whatever the challenge may be just stay put, believe you can and pray.

Some of the challenges I’m facing as an entrepreneur are:

Mental stress: Being a young entrepreneur and managing a growing business is hardwork. It is not really easy coping financially and employing people to relieve you stress of managing social media, attending to people calling for enquiries, graphic designing, etc so do all these myself…Yes, I do everything myself for now and it’s really stressful you know.

Office space: This is a major challenge that I really need to sort as soon as possible because it’s affecting my business growth. Most people appreciate you more and feel safer to do business with you when they are able to meet you at a physical place that is comfortable and not just online meeting.

6. What are the requirements or qualifications of a beauty queen?

For you to qualify as beauty queen you need to be bold, beautiful, intelligent, smart and self confident.

7. ‎What are the services QC Agency provides?

QG_Agency is CAC Certified and we offer the following services:

Providing of well trained professional models for brands, video shoot and adverts.

Providing of well trained Event Staff i.e Ushers, Escorts, Bottle girls, party starters.

Handling of Experiential marketing for brands for creating awareness and increase in sales making.

Real Estates and property management.

8. ‎Business principles life has taught you?

We are in the time where business has really changed compare to the 1990’s. It takes a passionate and determined person to do business now because of the number of competitors in all businesses and so I’ve learnt to carve my business on quality service which is “Professionalism,” take advantage of every opportunity in promoting my business and build a great team.

9. ‎ If you were to be the President of Nigeria, what are the changes you would effect?

Economic change.

10. Mention 3 women who inspire you and why?

Mrs Hannah Iniobong, that’s my mom. She is a virtuous woman, if you meet my mom you can’t help but call her mother because she will treat you like her own child. She is a mother that every child would want to have.

Second woman that inspires me is Mrs Funmilayo Awoogun. She is a kind of Leader you will appreciate to have. I admire her so much as she is the President of NNEW, a Pastor, a wife, a mother and a mentor and yet so humble and she manages these roles excellently.

The third woman that inspires me is a famous popular Actor, Aunty Kate Henshaw. I love her from the first time I saw her movie when I was about 10 years old. She is the realest Actor I have known and I learnt to be a Humanitarian through her. So many things to talk about Aunty Kate but I can’t say it all now.

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

(Laughs) In the next five years, I see myself fulfilled.

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?

Ladies, don’t be desperate, take one step at a time, seek God first in everything and work hard to be an independent woman.

Stephanie Obi is popularly referred to as the Queen of Online Courses, as she helps women entrepreneurs create, launch and sell online courses. She has an online business school, Steph B-School, that teaches women entrepreneurs how to get more customers online.


Growing up, all the women entrepreneurs she saw owned mom and pop shops. They never grew to be CEOs of big companies and so Stephanie didn’t even know that women could be CEOs. It was not on the cards for her and she thought the best she could be was to rise up the career ladder in a good job, get married, have children and be satisfied.

Her perception started to change when she started to see other women who were mothers and wives and had founded successful businesses. She started to see that it was possible for her. What made their stories so profound was that they were just like her. African Women.

Representation matters. If young girls see other women who look and sound like them founding companies, it helps to build a pipeline of women founders.

This for Stephanie, is why she believes that the biggest hindrance to women founding companies is the lack of representation. If women see women who are just like them founding companies, they will be inspired to start.

To empower women to become founders, Stephanie’s company has helped thousands of women to start an online course business using their different training programs.

In the course of the trainings, she also noticed that a lot of women were not tech inclined and this stopped them from really growing. In order to resolve this challenge, they built an easy to use online business platform, TrainQuarters which makes it easy for women to create and sell all their training products online.

Stephanie believes that female entrepreneurship will go a long way to alleviate the effect of poverty in African households. With more disposable income in the household, children can be exposed to more opportunities.

Stephanie is particular about women empowerment because she believes that when women are empowered, communities become empowered.

She also believes that there are problems that women are in a better position to solve just because of their feminine nature. If women become founders, they will be able to contribute their innovative ideas to solving problems that society has.

Stephanie mentioned practical ways that women can be empowered and in her own words, “One powerful way to empower more women to become women founders is just by showcasing the stories of diverse women entrepreneurs from different backgrounds. Women should be exposed to more female founders as they grow up, and as much as possible, entrepreneurship should be a part of the curriculum in schools.”

“Access to funding will help a lot of women to become founders however a lot of women struggle to access the available funds because they cannot pitch themselves. There should be training programs focused on teaching women how to pitch and to access funds. It will also help if women can become investors because investors tend to invest in people who look like them.”

Through her website, www.stephanieobi.com, she has reached over 82,000 people in over 10 countries.

She has also been recognised as one of the 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria, and won First Prize at the Wimbiz Impact Investment Competition.

According to a notable artist; Art should be something that liberates your soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further.” This is what Stephanie Unaeze’s Modern Afro-Pop-Surrealism artwork represents.

A self-taught  Visual Artist currently living and working in Lagos Nigeria, her practice aims to understand and document the effects that society, culture, and tradition have on the proverbial self. Tackling issues such as globalisation, post-colonial consumerism and identity. She credits her multicultural upbringing as one of her main influences.Through her form, which she describes as ‘Modern Afro- Pop- Surrealism’, she is able to juxtapose fact against fantasy traversing through the conscious and subconscious with ease.

Her work acts as a conduit for history, bringing it into the new age whilst maintaining its authenticity. Stephanie uses her art to express and document the nuances, complexities and layers that surround the modern African lifestyle. With the use of patterns, geometric design, and vibrant colours, she evokes the strong flavours of the continent and the spirit of its people. Her use of minimal, often faceless figures, projects the idea that the self is always present through cultural shifts, new forms of expression and societal changes. The talented artist shares her inspiring story with Esther Ijewere.

Childhood Influence
Growing up, I was a very shy and introverted child, who loved reading and drawing. My Father was a Diplomat in the Air-force, so we moved around a lot; I got to live in a lot of different places and experience different cultures and different ways of living. Books were a form of stability for me; being able to escape into those worlds helped me deal with the constant changes happening in my life.

I first started drawing by copying the illustrations I saw in the books I read. I was enthralled by the striking simplicity of Nick Sharratt’s illustrations and that inspired me to want to create my own. Fortunately for me, I always had Art teachers who saw my talent and encouraged me, especially my art teacher in my first secondary school (St Mary’s College Bishops Stortford ) who enrolled me into a gifted and talented program for the Arts, which opened my mind to the idea of being an Artist.

Why I Became a Visual Artist
On my 21st birthday, I went to the MoMa (Museum of Modern Art, New York) to visit the Warhol Exhibition. I had been a huge fan of his work (as well as other artists such as Frida Khalo and Kehinde Wiley). But something about seeing his work in person and hearing them talk about him and the impact his work had on society and modern culture made me realise that Art was more than just visual images. It’s a way to tell a story, capture a time, speak up about injustice, and for me personally an opportunity to change the singular narrative of Africa and African Art.

The Journey So Far
My journey since I started has been filled with ups arms downs initially, because I didn’t go to Art school; I always felt that I was at a disadvantage. There are so many opportunities Art school gives you to connect with established artists and institutions that I just didn’t get, so I always had to work twice as hard.

I’ve been working as an artist professionally for about five years and there were many times I wanted to give up, because my works weren’t selling and people didn’t understand my style, but I pushed through because I knew I was offering something new that people weren’t used to. I’m still on my journey and I know the best is yet to come.

Modern Afro- Pop- Surrealism’
‘Modern Afro-Pop-Surrealism’ is a mix of several art genres that I draw inspiration from. Surrealism is about the sub-conscious, the dreamlike, quintessentially an expression of the subconscious, made famous by artists such as Salvador Dali. Whilst Pop-Art is more culturally relevant and was created as a way to introduce art to masses by depicting popular culture and imagery in striking compositions and a simplified art style, whilst taking advantage of modern technology such as screen printing, digital art and photography. With my work, I aim to merge these two concepts together in a modern way to showcase African Culture and lifestyles.

Inspiration Behind My Work
It’s very intentional. With my work, I aim to show black people in a divine light. I also believe that artistic talent is a gift from God.

How Twitter Helped My Work
In terms of visibility, it’s been really impactful, it helped me gain a new audience and with how important social media is in these times, it’s really great to have something like that happen.

The pandemic and its impact on my work
I worked through the pandemic and some of my pieces were influenced by what was happening around me and around the world. I honestly think that making artwork was what helped me keep my mental health in check and provide a sense of normalcy.

Challenges as a Visual Artist
I’m a self-taught artist, so learning my craft was a challenge, learning how the art world works was a challenge and learning how to create a career from your talent was also a challenge.

Three Women Who Inspire Me
Lynette Yiadom Boakye, my sisters, and Maya Angelou. Each of these women inspire me with their resilience, hard work, determination, and grace. They’ve taught me to never give up and to always focus on reaching my maximum potential.

Being A Woman Of Rubies
What makes Stephanie Unaeze a woman of rubies and more… her spirit, her determination, her kindness, and her ability to overcome everything that is put in front of her. She is a woman who knows herself and her worth.

Other Projects And Activities
I have a functional Art studio that I just started, Stephanie Unaeze Studio’s. It is a Functional and Applied Art Studio that draws inspiration from the Mbari cultural practice of Eastern Nigeria, inspired by the idea of making art more accessible, interactive, and tactile. Using locally sourced and crafted sustainable materials from around Africa, our goal is to transform the everyday and mundane into art, creating a more enriching life experience.

The Art Industry In Nigeria & Female Artist
The art industry in Nigeria right now has an amazing crop of female artists who are making powerful work and showing these works across the world. What we have now is a good foundation, but we need to build on it. We need to go to the grassroots, primary and secondary schools and put structures in place that will allow more girls to rise up and become the future female artists that will one day lead the industry.

As CEO Obi Ibekwe will advance the team’s mission of leading Nigeria’s transformation as Africa’s premier financial services center

EnterpriseNGR, Nigeria’s newly-established professional policy and advocacy group representing members of the Financial and Professional Services (FPS) sector, announced the appointment of Obi Ibekwe as its founding Chief Executive Officer on October 4, 2021.

With more than three decades of experience in the FPS industry, Ibekwe will lead the EnterpriseNGR management team in close partnership with the organization’s Board of Directors and strategic partners.

“EnterpriseNGR is led by a board of seasoned industry professionals with broad experience and expertise across all aspects of the financial and related professional services sector”, said EnterpriseNGR Chairman Aigboje Aig- Imoukhuede.

“We are very pleased to have Obi Ibekwe leading our management team as our founding CEO. She will lead a world-class team of well-trained, experienced, agile, and dynamic professionals, committed to a culture of execution excellence in delivering on the mission of EnterpriseNGR vision.”

Ibekwe joins EnterpriseNGR from the banking industry with a background in commercial law. She has held leadership roles at Diamond BankZenith Bank, and United Bank for Africa where she retired as an Executive Director. She has also worked as a member of the senior management team at Accenture Nigeria and as a Non-Executive Director of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc and Saroafrica International Limited.

With experience in areas spanning Credit and Marketing, Credit Risk Management, Human Resources, and Customer Services, Ibekwe says she aims to work with EnterprisNGR to demonstrate the importance and value of the Nigerian FPS sector and its contribution to national development.

“I am passionate about the vision of EnterpriseNGR,  It’s a vision of a unified financial and professional services industry in which all sectors are enabled to achieve their potential and contribute to the transformation of Nigeria into the premier financial center of Africa” said the new CEO in a statement.

Our goal at EnterpriseNGR is to work collaboratively with the entire ecosystem of the financial and professional services industry and Government to develop and implement policies that will promote growth, efficiency, and transparency in our financial system. I am honored and feel very privileged to be leading these efforts as our founding CEO and will work every day to help build that one big voice of enterprise™ for the financial and professional services industry.”

Ibekwe holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts, U.S.A. She earned her Law degree from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1986. She also holds an MBA degree from the prestigious Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, U.S.A.

Angela F. Williams is making history as the first Black woman to become the CEO of United Way Worldwide in the organization’s 130+ year history, AfroTech reports.

Williams has an extensive background spanning 30 years, serving as management for a number of major non-profits including the YMCA of the USA. She currently serves as president and CEO of Easterseals, which provides disability services for those in need and was recently named as one of Forbes’ 2021 Women 50 Over 50 Creating Social Change at Scale. Now, the leadership veteran has been named as the next president and CEO of United Way Worldwide.

Dr. Juliette M. Tuakli, Chair of United Way Worldwide Board of Trustees, spoke about the significance of Williams’ appointment.

“We wanted a leader who could mobilize our United Way Network, our supporters and United Way Worldwide around a clear vision grounded in the imperative to create greater impact, equity and growth in communities,” Tuakli said.

“Angela’s background and experience make her uniquely suited to create and drive this vision. The CEO search committee was impressed by her strategic acumen, innovative thinking, and purpose-driven mindset, which we believe will offer a fresh perspective in reimagining United Way and ensuring that we remain relevant and impactful for years to come,” Tuakli added via statement.

Williams is set to begin her new role this October 15th and says she’s excited to get to work.

“I am absolutely honored to join the world’s leading charity at a key moment in the organization’s history and world events. Around the world, issues of health, education and economic sustainability are at the forefront of ensuring equality and access to a good quality of life. I recognize and appreciate the tremendous role that United Way Worldwide plays in supporting individuals and families and transforming communities,” she said.

Congratulations, Angela!!

Source: Becauseofthem

Popularly known as Niyola, Eniola Akinbo is famous for her unique voice and stage presence. With a music career spanning over 20 years, the former EME artiste has paid her dues in the entertainment industry.

Niyola’s late father first noticed her talent when she was 8 years old. In 2000, she took part in a talent show and emerged as the first runner up, which marked the beginning of her journey in the music industry. Aside from singing, she has also done soundtracks for movies.

While her journey has not been a walk in the park, with determination, Eniola has managed to stay relevant for over 20 years. She recently made her acting debut in Kunle Afolayan’s movie Swallow, where she played ‘Tolani.’ She shares her inspiring journey, goals, challenges as an entertainer, and how she’s been able to stay grounded in this exclusive interview with Esther Ijewere.

Childhood Influence
I grew up in a large family where it was literally always like a movie set; different characters, different age groups. Incidentally, my dad was one involved in each of his children’s day-to-day lives; he noticed things even my mother didn’t. He was the one who discovered and really helped me nurture my talent. He had incentive parties every year where whoever came top of their class would be awarded a price. We would come up with acts for the day of the event; singing, action drama and other fun stuff.

Most importantly, he made me write songs for morning devotion and took me to my first concert at age 8 or 9; it was a Funmi Adams concert. So, there are different things in my childhood that prepared me for where I am now.

Why I Pitched My Tent In The Music Industry
I stumbled on the Nigerian music industry at an early age through a talent hunt I did, and I just somehow found myself delving deeper and becoming more grounded. I had the likes of Sound Sultan, Faze, Paul play and many more encouraging me to forge ahead

Staying Relevant Since 2000
It’s a tricky one, but I honestly think that the fact that we are doing this interview in 2021 is an answer in itself. I think I have somehow managed to; I don’t know how, but I am grateful to God.

My Acting Debut In Kunle Afolayan’s Movie Swallow
It’s one of those experiences that will forever be a milestone. It’s new; it’s different, and a learning curve, which I am so intrigued by. I have always been a fan of Kunle Afolayan; I never dreamt that I would one day star as a lead in one of his works. It’s particularly interesting and significant for me because everything about Swallow is authentically Nigerian! The writer, Sefi Atta, wrote the story.

It’s the perfect film for anyone to find out what Lagos and Nigeria truly was like in the 80s, and that could explain a lot about certain belief systems and behavioural patterns in our society today
Playing ‘Tolani’ In The Movie

Too many to mention, but it’s the age-old ‘To thyself be true.’ At the end of it all, it’s important to know oneself and always do what works for oneself and not bow to peer pressure, because the grass seems greener on the other side.

Plans For The Movie Industry
Anything is possible. I am open to exploring anything that helps me express myself, so, I am open to it. Yes!

My Music Career And The Next Phase
I have been working on music mostly for film and other artistes, so you will probably find music I have performed on like King Of Boys and Swallow. There are two others coming soon, which I am not sure I am allowed to mention

I will be releasing Niyola music at some point. I wish I could say when, but I honestly can’t for now, as I am not quite there yet; I am working on it though

Challenges As An Entertainer
Hmmm, I think about having so many ideas and choosing the ones that best express what I am feeling and intend to share in that moment. Sometimes, how you feel months ago when you wrote a song or four isn’t the same as when you’re done with it. Most times, it’s important for me to share what I feel, so I move to what I am feeling and it could be an endless cycle.

That’s why we have teams that help us because we can’t separate our emotions from it. Also, the fact that everyone has an opinion about what’s best for you or feel that you’re made of stone and don’t have feelings; it’s hilarious and can be frustrating.

Three Women Who Inspire Me To Be Better And Why
Too many, but I will try to narrow it down and bring it home.

First-person is Chimamanda Adichie; She is so intelligent and unapologetically herself. She inspires me to wear my Africaness

Secondly, Kemi Adetiba is a good friend of mine and that woman is forever trying to do the impossible, and it’s all so selfless because it’s never for herself. She’s also not afraid to be vulnerable and I think that’s a huge strength in itself; that’s inspiring for me.

Finally, Sarah Jakes Roberts; I love anyone who loves God. She wears it boldly and she shows that knowing and serving doesn’t make you any less cool, it’s in fact a superpower. She inspires me to draw closer to God

Being A Woman Of Rubies
Being a woman at all, and getting where I am, despite the odds stacked against women in Nigeria and in the industry I work in.

Other Projects And Activities Aside From Movies And Music
There’s definitely more of me that I would like to share in due time, until then, please watch Swallow, stream the music and thank you so much for your continued unwavering support; I do not take it for granted.