Have you ever wondered why some people choose to carry their burdens silently while others speak out loudly against injustice? In a world where silence can sometimes trump justice, the act of speaking up can often be misunderstood, misinterpreted, or even twisted to make the brave soul raising their voice seem like the problem. Today, on Nigeria’s Independence Day, we reflect on the importance of finding your tribe, the power of speaking up, and the strength to overcome adversity.

The Imole’s Issue

Not too long ago, someone asked me why I vocally supported Imole’s issue, why I carried it on my head as they say. I explained to them that I understand how silence can sometimes overshadow the pursuit of justice. I’ve witnessed firsthand how speaking up can be manipulated to portray you as the troublemaker, the one in the wrong.

Late Nigerian Singer, Mohbad ( Oladimeji Aloba) also known as “Imole”

Imole’s case serves as a stark reminder of the diverse effects of sharing your problems with the wrong people. People may hear you, but they won’t actively listen because they’ve already formed their opinions. Imole’s story was no different; they painted him as depressed ,mentally unstable, and ungrateful all because he was at their mercy.

The Consequences of Misjudgment

Imole’s situation shed light on why so many people get blacklisted by their friends and family without even having the grace to be heard. It’s the same reason why individuals suffer in abusive elationships because the very people who should support and protect them end up judging and condemning them.

Furthermore, Imole’s case highlighted why people are often advised to tolerate disrespect in exchange for opportunities or money. The fear of being labeled, misunderstood, or ostracized can sometimes make individuals compromise their self-respect and integrity.

A Prayer for Independence Day

As we celebrate Nigeria’s Independence Day, my heartfelt prayer goes out to anyone who has experienced any of the above. Perhaps your image has been tarnished to the point where people see you as an outcast who doesn’t deserve a seat at the table. Maybe you’ve been treated as someone who should be avoided at all costs simply because you refuse to tolerate disrespect.

My prayer is that you find your tribe, those who will listen actively, correct with love, and stand by you through thick and thin. I hope you encounter people who will love the parts of you that others have been asked to avoid, and who will support you on your journey, helping you access the necessary support when needed.

For every moment you’ve been mocked, may God celebrate you. For every instance of bullying, harassment, or disgrace, may you find the courage to defend yourself and rise above.

May our lights shine so brightly that no one has the power, network, or money to extinguish them. In a world where speaking up can sometimes be misunderstood, it’s essential to find your tribe, those who will lift you up and celebrate your strength. Remember, your voice matters, and your journey deserves recognition and support.

About the Author

Esther Ijewere, a prominent author, activist, and media strategist, is the passionate voice behind this article. She’s not only a prolific writer but also the visionary founder of Women of Rubies, a platform dedicated to empowering women and promoting social change.

With her expertise and commitment to amplifying marginalized voices, Esther’s work beautifully complements the themes explored in this article. Connect with her via her social media account here

Her Network’s highly anticipated second annual Her Summit, which took place on Saturday, September 16, 2023, in Lagos, Nigeria, was undeniably a resounding success. The event, meticulously crafted to inspire and empower progressive women, provided an immersive experience brimming with transformative insights and empowering messages.

In her welcome address, Nkem Onwudiwe, the founder of Her Network and convener, Her Summit, expressed her excitement for the event, stating, “The energy and enthusiasm at Her Summit 2023 are truly electrifying. This is a day of empowerment, connection, and transformation for every woman in attendance. The interactions among women today will shape the future. I guarantee that no one will leave this summit the same way they came; it’s a life-changing experience.” She emphasized the significance of self-improvement and seizing opportunities whenever and wherever they arise.

The summit’s keynote speaker, Betty Irabor, the founder of Genevieve Magazine, Africa’s leading lifestyle publication, and an accomplished author and executive leader with extensive experience and accomplishments in publishing, entrepreneurship, public speaking, and advocacy for mental health and wellness, delivered an inspiring speech. She challenged attendees to break free from their comfort zones and pursue their dreams with unwavering courage and determination. She imparted, “Extend grace to yourself and remember to live, love, laugh, dance, give, show kindness, make time for self-care, and steer clear of toxicity. To move Her Forward, you must first move yourself.

The summit featured a stellar lineup of speakers like Stephanie Busari, Senior Editor of CNN Africa; Tinuade Sanda, Managing Director/CEO of Eko Electricity Distribution Company; Oluwatosin Olaseinde, Founder/CEO Money Africa & Ladda Invest; Dr Tewa Onasanya, Founder Exquisite Magazine, Ibijioke Faborode, Founder/CEO Elect Her; Debbie Larry-Izamoje, Chief Operating Officer at Brila Media, Derin Adefulu, Executive Head of Governance at Old Mutual Nigeria; Yolanda Okereke, Fashion Entrepreneur, Motunde Ibironke, Head of Partnerships and Projects at Bella Naija, Onyekachi Eke, Director for Global Markets, West Africa at IE University, Spain; Mayokun Owolabi, Regional Operations & Partnerships Manager West Africa, Flutterwave; Victoria Ajayi, Deputy Chief Financial Officer at TVC Communications; Sandra Tuboereni, Creative Director of TUBO; Ireayomide Oladunjoye, Managing Director and CEO of Endeavor in Nigeria; Oluwatosin Olaseinde, Founder/CEO, Money Africa & Ladda Invest; Queen Murielle, CEO and founder of Raising The Standard International; Chinonso Arubayi, Actor/Filmmaker and Founder of Lookartme and Alvena Ode, Head of Brand and Marketing Communications at FibreOne who shared their wisdom, experiences, and motivational messages in line with the theme of the summit, “Moving Her Forward” leaving attendees inspired and ready to take charge of their lives. Her Summit was hosted by award-winning MC, actress, and model, Mojibade Sosanya.

Nkem Onwudiwe
Nkem Onwudiwe- Founder, Her Network

Each session during the summit was distinctive, covering a wide array of topics including digital transformation, monetization and investment, career development, leadership, artificial intelligence, sports, and politics. A recurring theme emphasized by the speakers was the paramount importance of bolstering self-confidence, expressing oneself assertively, nurturing self-awareness, approaching one’s aspirations with deliberate intention, and persisting resolutely even when faced with outcomes that may not align with the initial goals, but instead, to keep moving forward.

Her Summit 2023 received support from various sponsors and partners including Flutterwave, a supporter of entrepreneurs, Elect Her, IE University, and Heirs General Insurance. Attendees also received professional headshots for personal branding, along with goodies from Estee Lauder, Milani Cosmetics Nigeria, Jack Daniels, and Olores while Nestle Pure Life Nigeria kept the attendees refreshed.