Xquisite – Tribune Online https://tribuneonlineng.com Breaking News in Nigeria Today Fri, 24 Jan 2020 18:53:44 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://tribuneonlineng.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/logo.jpg Xquisite – Tribune Online https://tribuneonlineng.com 32 32 118125416 Nigerian govt has continually misplaced its priorities —Faustina Anyanwu, health professional and media practitioner https://tribuneonlineng.com/nigerian-govt-has-continually-misplaced-its-priorities-faustina-anyanwu-health-professional-and-media-practitioner/ Sat, 25 Jan 2020 02:51:30 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=287480 Tribune Online
Nigerian govt has continually misplaced its priorities —Faustina Anyanwu, health professional and media practitioner

Anyanwu

Faustina Anyanwu is a Nigerian-UK-based health professional, media practitioner, writer and publisher. CEO of Divas of Colour and a wellbeing coach, her works have earned her many awards, including the 2016 finalist of the Great British Entrepreneur Award. In this interview by KINGSLEY ALUMONA, she speaks about her media and publishing careers, her book, the proposed social media and hate speech bills by Nigerian senate, and what she wishes for her birthday.

Nigerian govt has continually misplaced its priorities —Faustina Anyanwu, health professional and media practitioner
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Nigerian govt has continually misplaced its priorities —Faustina Anyanwu, health professional and media practitioner

Anyanwu

YOU are a health professional and a life coach. What kind of health practitioner are you? And what does a life coach imply?

I am a qualified nurse and midwife. I worked for over 5 years at Havana Specialist Hospital, Surulere at Lagos, Nigeria before joining my husband in the United Kingdom. A life coach is a form of talking therapy, using guidance and empowerment tools to provide an individual with the support to widen their horizon in achieving optimal success in every area of their lives—career, family, financial, business or social life.

 

What motivated your interest in media and publishing? Did you undergo any special training before venturing into them?

At a young age, I took an interest in the media and wanted to study mass communication at the university. But my parents wanted me to become a nurse. However, while practising nursing my interest in the media never died. Thankfully, on arriving in the UK, I attended some journalism and creative writing courses and training, and I was on my way to venturing back to my first love.

 

You and your husband are business partners in media practice. What inspired this partnership? Do you think you would not have done well in the business without your husband?

Great question. First, my husband and I are best friends. Besides, living abroad brings its own challenges and if couples are not on the same page, it could be disastrous. With my husband, as a business partner, it’s easier for us to deal with the challenges that come with running a business and growing a young family. With him, there is no issue of trust or arguments. We share the same value and everyone brings their utmost best. It makes it all easier and enjoyable.

 

Tell us about Faunteewrites and C. Hub magazine. How do you currently run and manage them?

Faunteewrites Limited is the parent company. We have products in forms of magazines, book publishing platform and the Divas of Colour forum. We continue to explore different ways to produce a better quality product.

 

You run a business for Women of Colour in Business and Entertainment. What kind of services do you provide for this category of women? And why are men excluded from such services?

Firstly, men are not excluded at all. It is just that women are the primary target for this project.

When I arrived in the UK, I observed the hugely negative media stereotypes, almost propaganda on black women. Over the years, it has become a great challenge for Black women, with most struggling with confidence issues as a result of these attacks on their features. I thought we could do something about it. We created the Divas of Colour International Women’s Forum as a safe haven for women to find themselves, build their confidence and be able to excel. Our flagship event—the Divas of Colour Festival creates an opportunity for women to have a high-end space to showcase their businesses and as such find the network to break into the larger market. Over the years, our approach is proving successful and thousands of women have kicked off their career or business experiences from our platform.

 

You are the CEO of Divas of Colour International Women’s Forum. Which kinds of women are allowed to be members, and how does the membership benefit them?

The Divas of Colour membership is open to every woman who wants to excel in all areas of their lives.

 

Do you miss medical practice? Have you thought of using your media expertise to foster health/medical awareness and journalism?

No. I don’t miss medical practice at all. I never wanted to work in healthcare. However, I learnt a lot in the profession. I think it shaped me for the better to become who I am today—for which I remain grateful.

Through our magazines, we frequently address health issues with well-informed and professional tips. Also, through the Divas of Colour, I’ve been campaigning and teaching women on issues such as mental health and wellbeing, gynaecological cancers and other issues that affect women. In 2018, we launched our Mind Your Mind, which was a mental health awareness campaign at the House of Lords UK with two of the most influential Black women Baronesses—Baroness Rosalind Howells and Baroness Floella Benjamin—who are members of the UK House of Lords. And, this year, we are back with the same campaign at the Divas of Colour Festival in March, with mental health at the centre—maternal mental health postpartum depression, post success syndrome, and socio-cultural influences on mental health.

 

As a media practitioner, what is your take on the Hate Speech and the Social Media bills proposed by Nigeria’s National Assembly?

Nigerian government has continually misplaced its priorities. As a nation with enormous challenges, it is ludicrously senseless for the government in a democracy to be so focused on silencing the citizens. This is a dangerous move, and every Nigerian everywhere must rise against it. Social media, so far, remains the last hope for ordinary citizens to get their message across the world and be heard. This government has been reckless with it’s human rights abuses and if they succeed with this bill, Nigeria will never be the same again. The government is there to serve the people and must be willing to receive feedback from the citizens which may or not be in the favour of the government. It is the right of citizens to criticise the government without fear.

 

You’re currently based in the United Kingdom.  Does your media service extend to Nigerians? What do you miss more about Nigeria while in the UK?

Yes. Our media platform and other services are open to the Nigerian market. Through our online presence, we have a great connection with our Nigerian audience.  In fact, the majority of our writers are young Nigerians.

Nigeria is home and that is where the heart is. I miss Nigeria, the happiness, the sense of community, the food, and the people. However, it has been heart-breaking to read all the bad news coming from Nigeria—the bandits, Fulani herdsmen rampage, Boko Haram, all the agitations and bad governance both at the federal, state and local government levels. We should be growing and competing in the larger world. So it has been disappointing and scary to have to watch our dear nation descend to such chaos in our generation.

 

Tell us about your book, ‘Tune In’.

‘Tune In’ is an autobiography filled with memorable and actionable quotes, drawn from deep personal experiences with clear lens to embracing and profiting from your personal challenges.

 

Apart from writing, media and publishing, what else do you do? And, what are the challenges you face in your career?

We are always brainstorming, creating and adding more ideas and products to our overall business. Besides that, I am a full-time mother of 4. My youngest is 16 months, and two are still in primary school. So, it’s a full-time job for me joggling and coordinating the business and a young family.

 

What do you like doing at your leisure? If you were to make a wish for your next birthday, what would it be?

I love playing with my children, reading or watching reality TV shows. My birthday is on 28th January and my wish would be to have an interview chat with Michelle Obama or Oprah Winfrey. Meeting these women one-on-one takes the largest space in my bucket list.

 

What advice do you have for young people, especially the female ones, who are aspiring to be like you?

First of all, never aspire to be like anyone; rather be inspired by their work to discover your unique self and talent. When I first came to Lagos in 2001, my elder brother told me: “There is no free lunch anywhere.” These words guided me throughout my stay in Lagos and while living here. Make developing yourself your priority and start creating your own world. Finally, know that if you keep your head up the world will see your face.

Nigerian govt has continually misplaced its priorities —Faustina Anyanwu, health professional and media practitioner
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I almost blew up the laboratory in secondary school —Prof  Adeyinka Falusi https://tribuneonlineng.com/i-almost-blew-up-the-laboratory-in-secondary-school-prof-adeyinka-falusi/ Sat, 18 Jan 2020 02:49:48 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=284870 Tribune Online
I almost blew up the laboratory in secondary school —Prof  Adeyinka Falusi

Professor Adeyinka Falusi is an award-winning  Professor of Haematology, former Director, Institute for Advanced Medical Research and Training, College of Medicine, University College Hospital  (UCH) and the founder, Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation (SCHAF). In this interview by TAYO GESINDE, she tells the price she paid to get to the peak of her career; winning the L’OREAL UNESCO Outstanding Woman of Science Award in 2001 and why she is still relevant in her field at 74.

I almost blew up the laboratory in secondary school —Prof  Adeyinka Falusi
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I almost blew up the laboratory in secondary school —Prof  Adeyinka Falusi

I was born many years ago to the family of Chief Ologbenla of Efon Alaye. I went to Queen School, Ede, Osun State and University of Ibadan (UI), where I studied Chemistry. After leaving UI, I got married to my heartthrob, Abiodun Falusi, now a professor. We are happily married. We lived in the United State of America for the first five years of our marriage, so we got used to each other before returning to Nigeria. He is a professor of Agricultural Economics, while I moved from Chemistry to Haematology (blood study) at the College of Medicine, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan. From there, I got my M.Phil in 1981 and my PhD in 1986. I was able to find a novel  information  about Thalassaemia  incidence in Nigeria. It was a first and novel finding. The Lord blessed the work and since then, the genetic world  has expanded, the scope of my work  has expanded. Before  I became a professor, I had visited many countries doing research of Genetics of Sickle Cell Disease. I became a director in UCH and was able to lead the ethics in the University of Ibadan. Under my leadership, the first well-organised and functional Institutional Ethics Committee in Nigeria  was  established in the University of Ibadan. So, we made the first publication to set up a proper establishment that was acceptable worldwide for institutional, operational aspect of medicine on ethics or research. How to do research properly, take community into confidence and share your result properly. I became a professor in 2000. I got many awards along the way, notable among them was L’OREAL UNESCO Outstanding Woman of Science in 2001. The award took place in Paris and it was one woman per continent. There I was told to raise champions and bring more women up. That has been my passion and that is what I have been working on. When I retired in 2010, from the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan,  I took up the challenge of looking after sickle cell patients in my own way with the assistance of professionals. I retired without blemish. Even now, I still have a vibrant laboratory at the College of Medicine where I still do my research work. I still get grants to do research.

 

Why did you move from Chemistry to haematology?

Chemistry is a science that is applicable to many fields of life because it is analytical. I had always wanted to do research. When I was in Queen’s School, there was a day I went to the lab after school hours and was mixing chemicals, I almost blew up the lab. I  put water  into acid instead of the other way round. I was disciplined by my principal the next day. I have always had penchant for wanting to find out things. While in the United States, I realised chemistry can be useful in water resources, medicine, everywhere. When I came back and was asked to teach, I said no, I wanted to do research. So, I was home until I got a job in UCH, based on my qualification I was to be a junior research fellow but I opted to be a technician so I could be closing at five because of my children. So, I could take care of them. My professor, however, gave me the job and salary of a junior research fellow. Later, I went to UI and registered for part time Masters degree. That was how I moved to academics from technical line. However, my Chemistry knowledge brought a difference to Haematology because my work was different from everyone else’s it was analytical. I was finding out a lot  about  research of blood disorders.  Till today, I am still challenged by research ideas in my head. My chemistry background has helped me a lot. It stands me out from the medical people.

 

What price did you pay to get to where you are today?

I paid a lot of prices. My husband was a year ahead of me in the university. When we got married, I felt we could not  both go for higher degrees so I decided he should go ahead and get his PhD, while I took care of the children. My family was my priority. I didn’t know I would ever become anything. I just wanted to take care of the children, we have five of them and today, I have no regret. Today, they are my backbone after my husband. They are all doing well because I paid the price to take care of them. For many years, I was a technician but when I moved to academics the Lord blessed my work, everything I found out was new. It took me a long time to get to where I am today because I devoted myself to my family. However, when I joined academics, my husband gave me all the necessary support. Even when I was always in the lab and would get home late, he didn’t complain. So, I had peace. I sacrificed a lot but God has rewarded me more than I could ever ask for.

 

How easy was it for you to combine your career with the home front?

It was not easy. When I went to do research at Oxford, I left my baby, the only son who was one and a half years in Nigeria, crying. However, the work I was to do for one year, I did it in seven months. No laxity, working hard so I could get back home in time. My husband and my mother supported me. In the African setting, if you have a good home, you can make it. If your husband is not in support of what you are doing, you  are in trouble. There is no template. If God places you in a family where your husband and in-laws like you, you will combine the two successfully. As a woman, you need the love, support and cooperation of your husband. Both of you must ensure that your children too face their studies so they too can be successful. When God gives you a vision and you do it, with His help you will succeed. When I have challenges, I go to God and He helps me out. As a woman you can achieve a lot by being nice to people. Be charismatic. Always leave your problem at home. Pray and ask God to help you, He is always there to help.

 

What motivated you to start SCHAF?

Sickle Cell Hope Alive Foundation (SCHAF) came from scarf which is something you put on your head to look beautiful. SCHAF is about giving hope to people born with sickle cell disorder. God gave me the ability to transform peoples’ lives by talking to them.  When I talk to people, they understand the purpose of God in their lives. So, I decided  to create awareness to people with sickle cell disorder and give them hope. While still in UCH, one day, my director, Prof Tomori, told me to translate my research to the community so I would leave the lab and run to Yemetu and Adeoyo hospitals to tell them about what they can do, that was how I started. Later, Dr Obembe and I formed Sickle Cell Association of Nigeria (SCAN). We were going to churches and organisations to create awareness about sickle cell disorder. When I retired from UCH, I could not continue using SCAN, that was how SCHAF started. We have expanded the scope from awareness alone to  “make prevention by making,” Know Your Genotype (KYG), a point of care today. My friends and pharmaceutical  companies give me drugs, I  use my money to buy drugs too. People are joining me to take care of them.  In 2019, we started the leg ulcers treatment; which is N5,000 per week, per wound. We stopped it in December because we had spent over three million naira on it. We treated 21 wounds. We are doing more than we hoped.  It is expanding in leaps and bounds. Last year was the first time we got grants for SCHAF to do research from Gilead Sciences in America. We took 1,000 patients and found very interesting result of Hepatitis B, C and HIV. Contrary to what we thought these patients are now taking care of themselves better because of the awareness. They are not falling into the same pit that ordinary youths are falling into. We are making tremendous efforts and we are getting results.

 

Babies with sickle cell disorder are still being born in Nigeria today, what advice do you think is responsible for this?

The awareness in Nigeria is very low. How many people are doing what we are doing? My retirement money has been going into this project since 2012. My family and friends have been supporting me financially. However, I am not in it for monetary gain. The children we are doing it for are grateful and I am deriving joy from what I am doing. My advice is: Be aware, know your genotype as a youth, be educated about it and make informed decision later in life. That way, the frequency of SCD will gradually decrease and the burden of it will be reduced in Nigeria.

I almost blew up the laboratory in secondary school —Prof  Adeyinka Falusi
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It’s not good for any woman to manipulate herself into position of authority —Fawale, Poly Ibadan Registrar https://tribuneonlineng.com/its-not-good-for-any-woman-to-manipulate-herself-into-position-of-authority-fawale-poly-ibadan-registrar/ Sat, 11 Jan 2020 01:11:42 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=282681 Tribune Online
It’s not good for any woman to manipulate herself into position of authority —Fawale, Poly Ibadan Registrar

Mrs Modupe Theresa Fawale, the registrar of The Polytechnic Ibadan, Nigeria, in this interview by MODUPE GEORGE, speaks about how her growing up years prepared her for leadership, her passion for education and administrative journey. Excerpts:   C AN we have a peep into your growing up years? I’m the fifth of eight children. I’m […]

It’s not good for any woman to manipulate herself into position of authority —Fawale, Poly Ibadan Registrar
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It’s not good for any woman to manipulate herself into position of authority —Fawale, Poly Ibadan Registrar

Mrs Modupe Theresa Fawale, the registrar of The Polytechnic Ibadan, Nigeria, in this interview by MODUPE GEORGE, speaks about how her growing up years prepared her for leadership, her passion for education and administrative journey. Excerpts:

 

C AN we have a peep into your growing up years?

I’m the fifth of eight children. I’m the last of the four girls in the family. My father was the only child of his mother. Growing up was fun and it groomed me to view success in life as something one really needs to work towards.  My father was a teacher and he was always being transferred from one place to another. So, being the only child of his mother, at a stage he decided that he could not leave his mother behind, alone in the town. So, my mother was to go and stay with his mother. I felt it would not be nice for my mother to go alone so I opted to go with her. This decision didn’t go well with my father though. While my siblings kept moving on with my father from Ilesa, Abeokuta, Ijebu-Ode and so forth, I was with my mother. Then, my mother had a farm and the farm was about four and a half miles from home and we used to go there every day. On Saturdays, if we are to go to the farm, we would go as early as five O’clock and we would make up two trips to the farm. We would first of all carry firewood to a distance from like Sango through Poly to UI gate to our house and would return to carry cassava. When we reached home, they would put water on fire to make eba for us, but we would not be allowed to eat the eba, until we go back and fetch more firewood. This really taught me to be hard working. With my father you must be up as early as five O’clock, but one thing about him was that, you must be in bed once it is 8.00 p.m. If any child offended my father three times, my father would flog that child three times, which was one of the reasons that I followed my mother. He was such a disciplinarian. All of these experiences have made toughness a simple thing for me to go through. Both my parents were educationists. My father was a teacher and I think he taught in almost every sphere of education from the primary level, to teacher training, Ministry of Education and at tertiary level of education. He became the vice principal of Ayetoro Secondary school and from there he joined The Polytechnic, Ibadan as Deputy Principal II. My mother was a primary school teacher all through.

 

In what way did your growing up influence what you are doing today?

My growing up influenced my love for teaching and anything that has to do with it. Despite the fact that my Cambridge result was very good, I applied to study education at the University of Ibadan and immediately I was offered admission for English and Religious Studies. One of my colleagues who also had a good result, like a point higher than mine wanted me to study law, ditto one of my sisters’ husband then, Professor Onadeko, who was a lecturer at the University of Ife as well as Professor Okuniga, my aunt’s husband, who was the Dean of the Faculty of Law, but I said no, because I never liked Law. The reason was that I believed lawyers are good at turning white to red. So from my youthful days I disliked law. My parents prepared me for what I’m doing today, especially my father. He was very strict and I could say that out of all his children, I was the one who took after him. He was very diligent, neat and observant. He was kind to everyone. Even though we had many male servants, you must do your portion of the house chores. When we were growing, we had many extended family members’ children living in our house who were raised by my father. He gave them opportunity to have good education and some up to Masters Degree level and they are all successful people today. I learnt a lot of lessons from him.

 

How did your journey into administration begin?

After my Masters in 1987, I had to wait for almost a year before I could get a job. Later, there was an advertisement from the Ondo State Polytechnic and I applied as an administrator. My father was with the then Ondo State University, Ado Ekiti, before there was a split. I wrote the employment test and I made the cut off point. Only 16 of us were called for appointment, but out of the 16 people I was the only one who had a Masters Degree. I could remember that during the interview I told my employer that my dream was to be employed as the adminstrative officer I (one) and not two as advertised. Eventually I was given the job and that was how I started my career in tertiary education on November 29, 1988 as an administrative officer II (two). Later, I was promoted to administrative officer I in 1991. I got married to my husband the same year. He was in Ibadan and the best thing for me to do was to relocate to Ibadan. However, in 1992,someone assisted us and I was given a temporary appointment here at the Polytechnic Ibadan as an administrative officer 1, though I applied for the the position of a deputy registrar. Fortunately for me,  Osun was created out of Oyo, so, the non-teaching staff were transfered to Ire and Esa-Oke. There was another advertisment here at The Polytechnic Ibadan and I applied for the the position of a  deputy registrar, I got the job and it was a permanent one. So, I  requested that my services with the Ondo State Polytechnic be transfered here and it was duly granted.

 

What qualities do you think women need to rise through the rank ANDin their professional career?

I believe there must be some administrative qualities that a woman must have at the tip of your hands in order to get to the peak of her career. She must have integrity and knowledge of the rules and regulations guiding her duties. She cannot compromise either the truth or legacy. Whatever you are doing, you must do with every sense of responsibility and be dedicated to your duty. No matter what people are saying; if 10 people are saying this is the way and it is not within the ambit of the law, I won’t do it. I don’t mind being the odd one out of the 10 people. Also, you must also consider the God factor, if you will be justified for your action. I also don’t believe that if I’m fighting with you and I have to work on your file that that should be an opportunity to retaliate. I will only be mindful of what the law says about the situation that is before me. More so, she must rever God, honour her husband, have the support of his family members, her parents, as well as the people she is working with. Most importantly, if women who are under you are probably looking unto God for children or  are yet to be married or are battling with one sickness or the other, endeavour to be close to them and treat them well. The truth is if they are not happy, they cannot put in their best into whatever they are doing. You must always identify with their predicaments and show that you care about them.  Also, with the menfolk, there is no need of putting up an antagonistic attitude; there should be no basis for competition. You just do your work and it will show you forth that you are outstanding.

 

What would you say has worked for you to work in this capacity?

First and foremost, it’s God. I’m not from this state, but if God had destined something to happen, everything will fall in place for what He has destined to take its full course.

 

There is a belief that when a woman attains a key position she must have manoeuvred some things, what is your take?

I don’t believe in that assumption because as a woman, I can’t compromise my integrity for anything. I believe if a woman is hard working and focused and has not made money her priority in everything, nothing can stop such a woman from getting to the top. A woman of integrity will not belittle herself to attain a position of authority. It is not a good thing for any woman to manipulate herself to position of authority because, when you get there and you cannot perform, people will not be surprised because you’ve got whatever you have got through the back door or what they call ‘Bottom Power.’ It is better to stay focused, know what you are doing and implement decisions in accordance with official guidelines.

 

In what way has climbing the ladder of your professional career affected your home?

Like I said, I came to Ibadan in 1992 and since then, before I leave my house in the morning, even when I had to leave as early as 5.00 a.m breakfast and lunch must be ready. I could remember between 2001 to 2005 when I was working at the students’ affairs unit; there were so many issues with cultism. I had to leave the house by 5am and I would have made breakfast up unto the dinner. This was the time I learnt that during dry season one can cook rice and yam together. The yam will get boiled first; you will remove it from the rice and then leave the rice to be properly cooked.

Sometimes I prepare the dinner and I would still get to work on time. I always leave at the gate whichever cap or crown official duties have put on my head to take up my marital responsibilities. Some three year ago I took a decision that I would be using ‘sir’ whenever I’m talking to my husband. At a point my husband felt embarrassed and I could remember a sister of mine asking if it was my husband I was addressing with ‘sirs.’ For instance, I would say, ‘good morning sir, I’m going to work sir, etc.

However, I was disadvantage at some point in my relationship with my son, who had known me to be working and working. I did not have enough time for him, because I was working at the student affairs unit when he was growing up. Then, it was tough; I would be the last person to sleep and the first to wake up. I would always have a back log of work to take home. I could remember that whenever he had to do his home work and he asked that ‘mummy I don’t understand this,’ I would say go and check the example. He would check all by himself and say ‘mummy I have got it.’ It was difficult spending extra time with him. For my husband, he was the outgoing time, while I was a little conservative, so we complement each other. Even sometimes when I over react on issues due to stress, I come around to apologise, even to my messenger and that the kind of person I am.

It’s not good for any woman to manipulate herself into position of authority —Fawale, Poly Ibadan Registrar
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 A woman can make it without compromising on principles —Prof Oyedunni Arulogun, Director, UI Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation https://tribuneonlineng.com/a-woman-can-make-it-without-compromising-on-principles-prof-oyedunni-arulogun-director-ui-centre-for-entrepreneurship-and-innovation/ Sat, 04 Jan 2020 02:31:22 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=280606 Tribune Online
 A woman can make it without compromising on principles —Prof Oyedunni Arulogun, Director, UI Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Professor Oyedunni Arulogun of the Department of Public Health, University of Ibadan and the Director of Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CEI) of the premier university, in this interview by TAYO GESINDE, speaks about her childhood fantasy, her most defining moments, women’s roles in societal development and how she juggles her career with the home front, among other interesting issues.  

 A woman can make it without compromising on principles —Prof Oyedunni Arulogun, Director, UI Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
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 A woman can make it without compromising on principles —Prof Oyedunni Arulogun, Director, UI Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

WHAT was growing up like for you?

I am the second of five children. My dad is from Awe in Oyo State while my mum is from Ijebu in Ogun State. I had my primary education at UMC Demonstration School, Molete, Ibadan, and my secondary school at Federal Government College, Bida, Niger State. I  did my higher school at the defunct Oyo State College of Arts and Science, then had  my first degree in Special Education and a Masters degree in Public Health, as well as a PhD in Health Promotion and Education  from the University of Ibadan.

 

What was your childhood fantasy?

I toyed with all kinds of professions. I wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, accountant and so on. In my secondary school, we had an arm where you could do Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Further Mathematics, Literature, Geography, Economics  and  Religious Studies. I loved Literature and Mathematics, so I naturally belonged to that class. Being in that class, I could fit into all my childhood dreams. When I went for A Levels, I had the combination of Social Sciences which made me to have a broad background. At some point, I just told myself that it didn’t matter what I became, what would be my priority is excellence and wherever I found myself, I would excel. That was my driving force, excellence. When I was doing my HSC, I had a teacher who taught me  unseen poetry, in  unseen poetry, you are expected to visualise the story but this teacher would pick up his chalk and draw what the poem was saying. As a young girl, I would sit back and say, if I ever become a teacher, I would make sure that my students enjoy my class the way I was enjoying his class. That teacher is a professor in the University of Ibadan today. He didn’t recognise me but I went to him and introduced myself as one of his students and told him the impact he made on me. While in the university too, some lecturers too impacted my life. One of them was Professor Asaolu in English. I have never seen any man who is as meticulous as him. His office was always sparkling clean and when you want to sit for his exams, he would use his hand to write our matriculation numbers on our answers booklets and on the chalk board. All you need to do is enter the class, look at the chalk board and you know where to seat. That was extraordinary. These teachers made an impression on me. Though teaching was not in the scope of what I wanted to do but I found myself in the academia and I have enjoyed it because beyond teaching, I am able to talk to young people and encourage them to pursue their dreams..

 

Why did you move from education to public health?

When I gained admission to read Special Education, my uncle told me I could only get a job at the Federal College of Education, Special (SPED), Oyo. I looked at him and told him I was going to get one of the best jobs in the country. I didn’t know what I was saying then but I didn’t like the fact that he was trying to run my course down. I  have never taught at SPED though I had been there as a facilitator some times.  My choice of Special Education was divine in the first place so also my Public Health. I wanted to study English but I didn’t meet the cut off mark, so I had to decide on the spur of the moment the course to change to. I was given three options;  Special Education, Physical/Health Education and Adult Education, so I picked Special Education. When I got in, I discovered different specialisations and I went for Speech Pathology and Audiology  that would make me work in a hospital.  That was how I started my career as a speech therapist at the University College Hospital (UCH) in 1989. While there, I completed my Masters and had just began my PhD when my HOD advised me to do Masters in Public Health. That was how I suspended the PhD and went for Masters in Public Health, then did a PhD later. I was in UCH till 2002 when I joined UI as a Lecturer 1 in the Department of Health Promotion and Education. I rose through the ranks and became a professor in 2012.

 

What price did you pay to get to where you are today?

It is tough but with determination and support from people, especially my mum, I was able to be who God created me to be. We were three girls and two boys. My mum used to tell us that we were not different from the boys and the three of us rose to become professors, though one is late now. My parents gave us equal opportunities. Whoever got home first prepares the meal, whether it was the boy or girl. We all knew how to wash the car, change tyre and all that. That made us realise that we might be the weaker sex but we have the same potentials as the male child. So, I have always told myself, I would make it, I will excel. It is tough being a woman, I told myself, I can do it. I also wanted to show young girls that one could make it without compromising. It might take longer time but keep your prestige as a woman. One of the things that affect women is the cultural mindset of the level a woman is allowed to reach. We were brought up to say we were the weaker vessels and we were not supposed to do some things but unfortunately things are changing and that is why we are having domestic violence and it will continue if care is not taken because many more women are attaining positions that were traditionally meant for the men and most men are fast losing their jobs. The man who used to be breadwinner becomes bread eater, while the woman is now the breadwinner. If the woman doesn’t have native and emotional intelligence to manage that success there is going to be trouble.

 

What are the most defining moments of your career?

I have two. When I wanted to leave UCH for UI, we had done the interview and usually, you must give three months notice that you are going. Within the three months, the university wrote to say that the Federal Government told them to put new employment on hold so I was jobless for two weeks. I had to run back to my previous place of employment. I was asked to write a letter that I wanted to be reinstated, I did and started praying. Fortunately,  I was reinstated. The second one had to do with promotion. It was delayed and people were asking what was happening. Eventually when it came, it was like, so this is it after all!

 

How were you able to combine the home front with your career?

It is even much more difficult when you are married and you are still building a career but God blessed me with older women who told me; “when you are at work, you are the boss, when you are at home, you are not the boss.” So, when I am going home, I remove the gown of the boss and hang it in the office and when I get home, I wear the gown of the wife. I had people around me who were supportive and a husband who allowed me to be who God wants me to be and I appreciate him for that and I say it anywhere I go. Many times, I travel  and he allowed me to do so. I don’t take his support for granted. I respect and honour him. If he says sit down, I sit down.  Whenever he gives me advice and I don’t take it, I always regret it. The  cliche ‘women empowerment’ has been bastardised. Women empowerment does not mean you don’t show regard to people anymore. What it means is that you are able to take decisions that affect you, your health and peace of mind. I always tell people I am a core traditional African lady, at home, after God, it is my husband, he has that respect, his ego is protected. I have been able to divide the two responsibilities, when I am at home, I am a wife and mother. At work, I am the boss. If my husband is around,  I don’t do office work.  I don’t mix the two. Unfortunately, it is difficult for many people to strike a balance, especially if one is still building a career. It is tough but with God’s help and supportive people around, one can combine the two.

 

How has the journey been like since you became the director of CEI?

As the director, I oversee the activities of the centre. We run postgraduate programme and general studies course, Introduction to Entrepreneurship. The director is in charge of the day-to day running, making sure exams run smoothly. We also have collaborations with businesses, we help innovators register their patent so their intellectual property is kept safe. We do trainings and we act as a link between our students and the industry.

 

What advice do you have for Nigerian women?

The only person that can limit you from being who you want to be is yourself. The challenges are there but be determined to make it.  If you wait for the world to give you an opportunity, it may never come. Being a woman is great. It is an added value because God has put in us the capacity to be able to multi-task and do many things so, we must be able to believe in ourselves, value ourselves and know that you can make it without compromise.  We can stand tall and say I did it without compromise and  that is when people would begin to respect womanhood.

 A woman can make it without compromising on principles —Prof Oyedunni Arulogun, Director, UI Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
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I believe a woman will rule Nigeria as president —Loveth Ubi, tech enthusiast and women advocate https://tribuneonlineng.com/i-believe-a-woman-will-rule-nigeria-as-president-loveth-ubi-tech-enthusiast-and-women-advocate/ Sat, 28 Dec 2019 02:01:27 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=279140 Tribune Online
I believe a woman will rule Nigeria as president —Loveth Ubi, tech enthusiast and women advocate

Loveth Ubi is a geologist, a tech enthusiast and a social entrepreneur. A STEM facilitator and the Chief Operating Officer of WAAW Foundation, she has passion for the development of the girl child and women’s technological and leadership skills. In this interview by KINGSLEY ALUMONA, she speaks about her love for geology and technology, the foundation she works for, women leadership and what she would do if she were the Minister of Science and Technology.

I believe a woman will rule Nigeria as president —Loveth Ubi, tech enthusiast and women advocate
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I believe a woman will rule Nigeria as president —Loveth Ubi, tech enthusiast and women advocate

Tell us about yourself and why you decided to study geology?

I am an efficient, innovative and motivated professional with leadership, interpersonal and communication skills and proven ability to develop and promote social services demonstrating a strong capacity to work independently and collaboratively.  I decided to study geology because earth structure and formation has always appealed to me growing up. Studying geology resulted from my intent to solve a geographical problem in the society.

 

How has geology shaped your life and career? And, do you have any regrets for not practicing geology?

Geology availed me the opportunity to encounter technology and its enormous resources. I don’t regret practicing geology as I intend to get a doctorate in geophysics and serve as a consultant in geophysics.

 

When and where do you intend doing the doctorate? Have you thought of teaching in a university?

In three years, I intend to get a doctorate from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, United States. On the other hand, I don’t intend to teach in a university except to give mentorship talks to girls to encourage them to become better and strive for success.

 

You currently work at WAAW Foundation. What is the foundation about, and what is your job description there?

WAAW (Working to Advance STEM Education for African Women) Foundation is a 501(c) non-profit organisation founded in 2007. Our mission is to increase the participation of African girls in Computing, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (C-STEM) related disciplines, and to ensure that this talent is engaged in innovation and techpreneurship to benefit the African continent. WAAW Foundation provides college scholarships to African girls, organizes STEM Residential camps and operates in 17 university campuses across 10 African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and South Africa, impacting over 10,000 African youth each year.

My job description, in summary, is designing and implementing business operations, establishing policies that promote company culture and vision and overseeing operations of the company and the work of executives.

 

‘She Hacks Africa’ is one of the programmes of WAAW. What is the programme about and what categories of girls are qualified for it?

She Hacks Africa is a hands-on coding boot camp that aims to build self-confidence in African youths as change agents and technology innovators in their communities while giving them relevant skills to build technology enterprises. Young women (ages 18-35)

 

Does your foundation cater to young boys and unprivileged men?

WAAW Foundation caters to the needs of young boys and unprivileged men through our training like She Hacks Africa and College to Secondary mentorship.

 

How do you fund and run your foundation. And, what major challenges do you face in the foundation?

Sponsors, donors and grants. The major challenge we face is funding.

 

You were among the speakers at the Agbami STEM symposium recently held in Lagos. What is STEM, and what are the major highlights of the symposium?

STEM means Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The major highlight is that 15 schools were selected to participate in the 2019 Agbami STEM Project, a total of 30 teachers and 30 students participated during the project.  Hands-on project-based learning was organised by Agbami Parties with WAAW Foundation as the implementing partner for the teachers and students training component.

The main objective of the workshop was to familiarise the participants with the 2019 Agbami goals and successfully train and guide students to employ their acquired skills and engage STEM to solve societal problems. This in turn, improves job readiness and employability skills, improves potential for STEM entrepreneurial activity, and improves continued progress by connecting to peer networks.

The program also aimed to teach participants to work with various groups to understand the meaning of collaboration and teamwork in their present context; to enhance their communication, presentation, and interpersonal skills in order to function in social/workplace settings effectively; to enrich their technical skills (STEM initiatives) to understand effective planning, time management and implementation for setting and achieving both personal and team goals. They were tasked to come up with a solution to solve a societal problem using five themes: Solar energy, Robotics, Automation, Water Crisis, and Wind energy.

 

Do you think the Nigerian science and technology hub is predominantly a male space? If yes or no, explain.

Yes I do. In Nigeria, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), women make up on average just 22 per cent of the total number of engineering and technology university graduates each year. Women were heavily involved in pioneering and developing the computer programming industry, but this changed when the technology sector began to be perceived as a ‘man’s world’.

 

Do you engage in leadership and entrepreneurial training of young girls? And, do you see a woman becoming the president of Nigeria soon?

Yes. We engage in leadership and entrepreneurial training by teaching young girls how to start a business and business model.  Yes. I believe a woman will rule Nigeria as president because we are becoming more involved in the affairs of the country and every sector and not just regulated to the background anymore.

 

If you were the Minister of Science and Technology, what would you do to encourage the girl child and women to leverage technology to contribute to the society?

We know some of the reasons women and girls participate in STEM fields at lower rates: lack of encouragement, lack of role models, negative peer pressure and harassment. Studies show that it’s not an ability issue. Women from under-represented groups face prejudice twice over, both against their gender and their race. I’ll appeal directly to girls with coding programs and to start teaching kids the fundamentals of coding early by offering affordable and accessible technology training to women/girls across every state in Nigeria—even as early as kindergarten. An early start puts all kids on a level-playing field—before gender stereotypes sets in—and starts to prepare girls for the future.

 

Do you believe that: What a man can do, a woman can do it better? What three qualities do you admire in a man?

Yes, I do. In leadership, there are two traits with which women outscore men to the highest degree—taking initiative and driving for results. Unfortunately, these traits have been considered male-dominated. The three qualities I admire in a man are courage, leadership skills and confidence.

 

What do you like doing at your leisure? And, if you were to make a wish for your next birthday, what would it be?

I like playing games, usually video games. I’ll like to celebrate my birthday in an orphanage home because I’ll be touching lives there, even if it’s for a few hours, in a fun and personal level.

 

What advice do you have for young people, especially the female ones, who are aspiring to be like you?

The sky is just their starting point and they should keep striving for success. Nothing comes easy but with determination and hard work, they’ll get there. A quote from Mark Twain summarises it all: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

I believe a woman will rule Nigeria as president —Loveth Ubi, tech enthusiast and women advocate
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Family is first and best teacher of children —Professor Esther Oduolowu https://tribuneonlineng.com/family-is-first-and-best-teacher-of-children-professor-esther-oduolowu/ Sat, 14 Dec 2019 02:44:16 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=275485 Tribune Online
Family is first and best teacher of children —Professor Esther Oduolowu

children

Professor Esther Oduolowu is the Head of Department of Early Childhood and Educational Foundation, Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan, Oyo State. In this interview by TAYO GESINDE, she speaks about the importance of the home in the first one thousand days in the life of children and how it affects their development and growth.

Family is first and best teacher of children —Professor Esther Oduolowu
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Family is first and best teacher of children —Professor Esther Oduolowu

children

What informed your choice of career?

While growing up, I loved children and I wanted to be a teacher. Also, three of my uncles and two of my aunties were teachers, I loved them and aspired to be a teacher. That propelled me to attend Teachers Training, College of Education and University of Ibadan where I had my first degree in Early Childhood Education and History. After my first degree I decided to teach; I was first employed to teach in a secondary school but I was not fulfilled so I came back to teach at the University of Ibadan Staff School. There I found my passion and fulfillment working with children. From teaching at the staff school which is a primary school, I became a lecturer at the Department of Teacher Education in the Early Childhood Education Unit. I have been here since 1994.

 

What were the challenges you faced when you started your career?

Teaching as a profession is very good but people look down on teachers. As an undergraduate student, when you tell people you are studying Early Childhood Education, they think you are going to be a nanny or caregiver. Even when you are doing your higher degree and in the course of doing your research, you talk about play, tools, play materials they think it is not a serious course, they wonder whether it is an academic course. It took a while before people started appreciating what the course is all about. Early Childhood is digging the floor before laying the foundation. When you dig very well and you lay a foundation on that, the foundation will be strong. If the foundation of a child is not strong, building on the other levels is useless. Not many people realise the importance of early childhood education. Children are very unique and special, the first one thousand days of a child’s life (from conception to two plus) sixty per cent of the brain is developed and before age five, the child’s maturity has reached ninety per cent, the remaining ten per cent is for the rest of his life. So if nurturing care is not well taken care of at that very tender age, many problems would emanate from that, such as problems of learning and  living because it is at the early childhood stage that children acquire the learning and living skills. When they miss that stage, there are bound to be problems. However, because people didn’t know the importance of what we do, they underrated us because they felt what we were doing was not serious but we knew what we were studying was worthwhile.

 

Are you saying that it was due to lack of proper care that some children have difficulty in learning?

It is due to lack of adequate nurturing during the early childhood. This is because many problems would have been discovered and corrected during early childhood if children were screened early, observed and records of their growth, development and learning is kept. Many of these disabilities and difficulty would have been identified and remedies would have been provided. Children are vulnerable, if they are not well taken care of in the early childhood, it will affect them later in life.

 

Many women have to go to the workplace and have to leave their children with the nannies. How can this issue of nurturing be addressed?

What prompted the popularity of early childhood in Nigeria is the issue of women working outside the home, because there is a paradigm shift from what our traditional practices were. Then, when we had women staying at home and we were living with the extended family children were well catered for. Then it was not only the parents that were the caregivers, every knowledgeable adult in the environment looked after the child. But in the modern society where mothers have to work outside the home, children are left in the care of ill-equipped house helps who were not trained to take care of them. That is why it is important that early childhood facilities are there to fill the gap. Stimulating children, exposing them to activities and also engaging them help their brain development. Also it offers opportunity for them to interact and acquire skills of living. So, the pre-school should be designed to provide the services that the home cannot give to fill the gap.Children below the age of five should be exposed to hands on, minds on activities. They learn through play not cramming and memorising. Also, children should be taught in their mother tongue at that age, it makes it easier for them to conceptualise things. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, many of such facilities are sub-standard. Instead of focusing on holistic development of children and exposing them to physical and emotional activities, cognitive and language development activities, they concentrate only on the cognitive development which they interpret to mean just reading, writing and speaking in English. But where you have standard pre-schools, they provide quality service to children. They provide play activities, language activities and engage children in dialogue, conversation and so on. They also provide activity to develop their scientific skills by taking them out to observe their environment and name things around them not just sitting down in class memorising ABC and 123 alone. Early Childhood Facilities should be home away from home, providing rich environment and activities for children, filling the gap while the parents are at work. Then, the children should have warm friendly, caring adults, not children particularly professionals that are trained in that field to provide such services.

 

How were you able to combine the home front with your career?

It is not easy to combine career with family but there must be a balance. Learn to plan your time so that none of the two will suffer. Your career is as important as your family life. Spending quality time with your family is very important because the family is the first and best teacher for the child though people normally say it is the mother but it is both the father and mother. And they should not just be the first they should continue to engage the child, when they see that their parents are interested in what they do, they will be  very happy and this will boost their confidence and development. Also, don’t neglect your spouse. A wise man or woman will balance his or her career with the home front. When I was nursing my children, I tried not to carry office work home. So I can spend quality time with my family. I also made sure I did not go on sabbatical until my children were of age. Those were the challenges I faced but I was still able to catch up because I was not running a race with anybody.

 

 What would you say is the most defining moment of your career?

When you are in academics, if you don’t reach the peak there would be no job satisfaction. If I had remained in primary school, the highest post I would get to was head teacher and I would have retired four years ago at age sixty. But when I came into academics, I had to do my Masters. When I finished that, I discovered it was the starting point so I had to do my PhD and after that I had to keep on learning, researching and going for courses. I just finished a five week online course, two weeks ago, on ”How to streamline early childhood into government budget” so that government will vote enough money to make it work

.

What advice do you have for parents?

I will advice them to be more engaged in their children activities and also spend quality time with them. Quality time does not mean hours, it could be 30 minutes, talking with them. Have relationship with them, go out with them, do things together in the house. By so doing, it will be easy for them to  be open with you and to confide in you. There are dangers out there, children need to be protected. Don’t wait till open  day before you visit them at school, be friends with their teachers, it will kindle the interest of the teacher in your children and the children will be happy. Don’t over burden children. Don’t be in a hurry, allow them to mature before doing certain things, particularly when it comes to academics. It is detrimental to the mental development of the child. When a four year-old is doing primary one work you are putting too much pressure on the child. Then, allow them to play especially during holidays. Holidays should be for relaxation and fun and not academic works.

 

Family is first and best teacher of children —Professor Esther Oduolowu
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Forks, spoons, knives: Do you copy? https://tribuneonlineng.com/forks-spoons-knives-do-you-copy/ Sat, 14 Dec 2019 02:31:21 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=275505 Tribune Online
Forks, spoons, knives: Do you copy?

spoons

Anyone can get away with holding and using cutlery any way while at home, alone eating in bed; but when out at a nice restaurant, as a guest at a fancy dinner, on a date in a classy restaurant or just anywhere public, you need to know how to use your cutlery the right way.

Forks, spoons, knives: Do you copy?
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Tribune Online
Forks, spoons, knives: Do you copy?

spoons

Sitting on the dining table enjoying food is an awesome feeling, yes. And when you get the chance to enjoy the meal with family and friends it becomes a special moment.  But what happens when you are confused on where to place your cutlery, causing a messy meal intake?

 

Now let’s get educated on the three main cutleries; the fork, spoon and knife.

 

The spoon

This is for eating or serving; it is a scooped utensil with long handle which is often straight.

 

The fork

A utensil with spikes used to put solid food into the mouth, or to hold food down while cutting

 

The knife

A utensil designed for cutting, consisting of a flat piece of hard material, with the sharper and blunt end, the former used for the cutting.

 

When a table is set, how do you place either of these cutleries?

Place the fork on the left side of the plate, and the knife on the right side. If there is a spoon, place it by the right side of the knife.

 

When eating?

Place the fork in the left hand and the knife on the right which helps wheedle your food onto your fork.

 

Knowing the proper etiquette and style for using cutlery is important, especially in more formal dining settings. How do you use the three?

Cut a chunk of your food with the knife while using the fork to stabilise it. Only cut a bite at a time and eat it before you cut the next.

In some cases, it is acceptable to eat using only a fork. For instance, when eating just a salad or pasta, a knife is not needed.

You can use the knife to push food that can’t be speared, like beans, onto your fork.

Use a spoon with your dominant hand to eat soups or other liquids

Use your spoon for the right dishes. Spoons are used to eat liquid-based food, such as soups. Spoons are also used to eat mushier or softer foods such as ice cream, pap, or mashed potatoes. Avoid using spoons to eat solid foods.

 

What are the rules of cutlery placement?

Place your spoon on your plate when finished.

In general, you should not place your spoon back in a bowl when you finish eating. This could confuse the waiter, as they may think you’re still eating.

Do not use your fingers to push food onto your spoon. It is considered bad table manners. If you have to push food to eat with a spoon, then a fork is better used to eat this kind of food.

Place all cutleries for the meal, even if not used, back in the plate when you are finished.

Forks, spoons, knives: Do you copy?
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There’s nothing much a Nigerian passport can offer in terms of basic amenities —Temitope Owolabi, writer and editor https://tribuneonlineng.com/theres-nothing-much-nigerian-passport-can-offer-temitope-owolabi-award-winning-writer-editor/ Sat, 07 Dec 2019 02:33:58 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=273004 Tribune Online
There’s nothing much a Nigerian passport can offer in terms of basic amenities —Temitope Owolabi, writer and editor

Temitope Owolabi is a writer, editor and 2015 Farafina Trust writing workshop alumni. Her essay ‘The Smell of Oxford’ was shortlisted for the 2019 Brittle Paper Award and her fiction manuscript ‘Alien, Go Home’ won second place in the inaugural 2019 Mo Siewcharran Prize. In this interview by KINGSLEY ALUMONA, she speaks about her writing […]

There’s nothing much a Nigerian passport can offer in terms of basic amenities —Temitope Owolabi, writer and editor
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There’s nothing much a Nigerian passport can offer in terms of basic amenities —Temitope Owolabi, writer and editor

Temitope Owolabi is a writer, editor and 2015 Farafina Trust writing workshop alumni. Her essay ‘The Smell of Oxford’ was shortlisted for the 2019 Brittle Paper Award and her fiction manuscript ‘Alien, Go Home’ won second place in the inaugural 2019 Mo Siewcharran Prize. In this interview by KINGSLEY ALUMONA, she speaks about her writing career, Nigerian passport, life abroad, and her advice for young people.

 

How and when did you develop interest in writing and the arts?

I can’t put a time stamp to it unfortunately, but I’ve always enjoyed writing. Whether it’s writing for my school magazine or my blog or sending in weekly columns for a newspaper, writing has always been my means of escape. I just never quite saw it as my day job because growing up, I thought I would end up on TV. But I didn’t. My writing path was already marked clear from day one. I’m just glad I eventually found it. I’ve never not liked being a writer. And I think that’s a good thing.

 

Tell us about your work as an editor. I understand you worked as an editor at Kachifo Ltd, publisher of Farafina Books before leaving Nigeria. So you are both an editor and a writer.

Yes, correct. I edit across multiple literary genre, although fiction is my forte. While I’ve learnt and I’m still learning the art of writing fiction, being an editor has certainly made me a better writer, because editing is more than fixing grammar problems or deleting typos. Having that extra eye for editing helps me look at my work a little more critically and it is the same coherence I bring to people’s work, such that I’m able to give pointers as to how their manuscripts or stories can be better written and engaged with.

 

As a 2015 Farafina Trust writing workshop alumni, have you thought of organising a writing workshop for budding Nigerian writers?

This is definitely something I’m hopeful my writing will help me achieve in the future; because of course, I completely believe in giving back. I’ve been writing and blogging actively for nearly seven years now. However, I still largely consider myself a budding writer. To call myself anything more at the moment would be a lie.

 

Tell us about your literary work ‘Alien, Go Home’ and what motivated you to write it?

You know what they say about pregnant Nigerian women? They don’t tell anyone until the baby is actually out. It’s the same with my novel. I’ll keep the details in my belly till publication date. I can tell you though that the book is set in both Nigeria and Ghana, two countries where I’ve spent considerable time living in. A first motivation to write it was from the odd but interesting fact that when I lived in Ghana in 2013, it was coincidentally in the exact same town my dad had lived in 40 years before. It’s sort of an uncanny coincidence. if you think about it. But I guess history has a way of repeating itself and somehow, I wanted to write that history.

 

‘Alien, Go Home’ was the second runner up for the inaugural 2019 Mo Siewcharran Prize. Tell us about the prize and how you knew about it.

I randomly saw the call for submission on Twitter actually, in July. And the funny thing about it is that I saw it three days to the deadline. They wanted three chapters of an intending fiction novel and a full-length synopsis. I had been working on my manuscript before then and thought, well, I can actually do this. So, I spent three nights without sleep desperately trying to edit and polish off my first three chapters from its raw form into something decent enough. In September, the longlist was announced, and by October I had advanced to the shortlist. Three winners were announced in November and the ceremony took place in Carmelite House in London, which is home to Hachette UK and all its seven publishing divisions. Just being in there was thrilling.

 

Seddon Johnson’s adventure fiction, ‘Alien, Go Home!’, was originally published in 1990. Did you deliberately adopt Johnson’s title? If no, how would you react to it?

Before this interview, I had never heard of the person called Seddon Johnson, so there’s no way I would deliberately adopt someone else’s title. Thankfully, the thing about book titles is that you can’t claim copyright or say its your intellectual property. You can’t restrict book titles because there are many other instances where the title can be equally appropriate. Might be a song or a movie. The one thing that’s certain is that the context of my story is different from his. I’m assuming it’s a He from the name because I tried to Google the book and didn’t find much detail about the author.

 

What is your publishing plan for the book? And, are you currently working on any other literary project?

As a writer, your head is constantly buzzing with ideas. You think up stories, plot and characters in your sleep and in the shower. So you find yourself possibly working on several things, dipping your hand into different pies, but you know what I said earlier about pregnant Nigerian women? Same applies here. When you see the baby, you see the baby.

 

You have interests in films. Any plans of producing a film soon?

If someone is open to optioning my short stories and eventually long form fiction for film, I’m definitely open to that. I’m personally not into film production. But, I never say never. Ten years from now, I’m not sure the shape or form my work would possibly have taken.

 

In your October, 2019 Catapult Magazine essay titled ‘A Nigerian’s field guide to survival’ you said, “The Nigerian passport has never made it anywhere remarkable enough to be coveted by anyone.” What do you mean by this? Did you say this from personal experience?

There’s definitely data to back this, but it’s common knowledge. There’s absolutely no one trying to give themselves or their kids the option of a Nigerian passport in the way we hustle for an American or British passport, for instance. As a travel document, it‘s so restrictive and as a route to citizenship there’s not much that being Nigerian offers you in terms of basic amenities like electricity and food, speak less of bigger ones like security and health care. And for many middle-class Nigerians, the options are a lot more now than in the 90’s. Canada, Australia, Germany — people are flocking to these countries in droves, hoping for a better fighting chance. Who’s going to covet the citizenship of a country where you can be owed salaries? It’s unheard of.

 

How do you manage racism, if any, and homesickness in the UK? And, what do you miss much about Nigeria while in the UK?

I don’t think about racism much. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It means that anyone who still thinks they’re better than anyone by the reason of their skin colour is a mere distraction and I don’t pay distraction any mind. What I miss about Nigeria while in the UK would be Vitamin D. Glorious 26 degree sunshine.

 

What are your major challenges as a creative writer? If you were to make a wish for your next birthday, what would it be?

Finding concentrated time and space to do nothing else but write. For my birthday wish, I need a boxset of Jane Austen’s complete works.

 

What advice do you have for young people, especially the female ones, who are aspiring to be like you?

I hope nobody is aspiring to be like me. I hope every young person is aspiring to be the best version of themselves and putting in the work it requires. Anyone who wants to be a writer has one job and that is to keep writing. To keep making sure they get better at it. There’s no other way than to actually write. You can have established authors whose works inspire you, but your own work is cut out for you. Take classes, maximise internet use for learning, read and read more. There are no short cuts.

There’s nothing much a Nigerian passport can offer in terms of basic amenities —Temitope Owolabi, writer and editor
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‘Why we are raising teenage fashion enterprenuers’ https://tribuneonlineng.com/why-we-are-raising-teenage-fashion-enterprenuers/ Sat, 30 Nov 2019 02:19:23 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=270786 Tribune Online
‘Why we are raising teenage fashion enterprenuers’

fashion

Bisola Owokoniran is the creative director at Mastic Beads and Aso Oke. She speaks with ROTIMI IGE, in this interview, about their upcoming teens’ fashion training summit in the United Kingdom, among other topics. Excerpts

‘Why we are raising teenage fashion enterprenuers’
Tribune Online

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Tribune Online
‘Why we are raising teenage fashion enterprenuers’

fashion

TELL us about your outfit.

Mastic Commercial Enterprises is into training and trading business with fashion hub as the major arm. Our brand is Mastic Beads and Aso Oke and was awarded the best Aso Oke designer of 2019 by Ibadan Weddings.

 

Your brand has become one of the most sought after Aso Oke designers in the South West. How were you able to achieve this feat?

Our CEO as well as other team members believe in excellence and customer satisfaction, these attributes I believe is highly contributory to our success story, not underestimating the grace of God, though.

 

You are currently spearheading a fashion campaign for teenagers. Tell us about that?

As one of the creative directors at Mastic, the idea was spurred by the manner in which young adults in the university as well as the way in which youngsters get either raped or dismembered all in their quest to earn money. I just concluded my NYSC and returned to continue my work at Mastic. When I shared the experience of one of the teens who narrowly escaped being trapped by kidnappers all because she wanted to get a part-time job to earn additional income, which was also what I did during my undergraduate study, when I started work with Mastic in 2015; our CEO, Mrs Olumayowa Alajo, was moved and this fanned the flame of what she had always had passion for- building teenagers, having served as a teen teacher in Church during her spinsterhood and even currently being a role model for those that have contact with her, myself inclusive. The  idea for a Teenpreneurship training was birthed. And of course, it can only be kicked off with a focus on the main strength of the company which is fashion. This led to us reaching out to both local and international sponsors/collaborators and we currently have the support necessary to sail. Included in the support is a fashion school in the UK which has given  us the consent for  collaboration.

 

You mean they will be going to the United Kingdom for training? What are the expectations?

Yes, the best participating teen, which will be decided based on different criteria including  but not limited to training tests, will be the beneficiary of sponsorship for training in the UK Fashion School. The expectation is that such teen will be able to see how other teens in other climates are making waves in fashion, since the training will take place in UK along with other teenagers from different parts of the world. Also, it will be an opportunity for such teen to be exposed to such variety.

 

Is this open to everyone or only the students of your fashion school?

Everyone between the ages of 13 and 17 is welcome to register. And in the training every participant has something to go with in addition to the rich content of the training. It is “Santa’s” way of reaching out to teens this December.

 

Why did you decide to train teenagers in fashion designing?

We decided to start with this aspect since we have examples of those who have practised and benefited from fashion in earning money to support  themselves right from their teenage years. The CEO and even myself are such examples. More so while still brainstorming, we had the opportunity to attend the interview of one of the most influential women in  the fashion industry and she mentioned that she developed the inkling for fashion from the age of 10!

 

What do they stand to gain?

Participants stand to gain a lot. Starting from the opportunity to meet influencers in the fashion business, who incidentally are young people and positive mentors, thus giving them opportunity for mentorship, exposure to a  source of livelihood and means to earn funds while studying (particularly as the target age involves those that are preparing for next level of study after secondary,which is often times the first time they will become their own self managers, having to leave the direct custody of their parents and usually, the “pocket money” do not usually hold the pocket tight till next supply. The privileges of freebies provided by our collaborators and sponsors which include discounted shopping in December  and so on.

 

Do you agree that enterprenuership is the future for young people in Nigeria?

Yes, I do. And this is why we want to ensure we entrench the mentality right from now.

 

Your fashion influences are?

Numerous: nature, mood, culture and age.

‘Why we are raising teenage fashion enterprenuers’
Tribune Online

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We aim to train 100 fashionistas for free by 2020 —Omojola,CEO KAF https://tribuneonlineng.com/we-aim-to-train-100-fashionistas-for-free-by-2020-omojolaceo-kaf/ Sat, 30 Nov 2019 02:10:59 +0000 https://tribuneonlineng.com/?p=270789 Tribune Online
We aim to train 100 fashionistas for free by 2020 —Omojola,CEO KAF

KAF

Doyin Omojola, in this interview speaks about her new foundation and why she is passionate about the uplift of the less previledged, especially the girl-child.

We aim to train 100 fashionistas for free by 2020 —Omojola,CEO KAF
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We aim to train 100 fashionistas for free by 2020 —Omojola,CEO KAF

KAF

Tell us briefly about yourself?

I am privileged to be the founder/ team head of KAF. I am a fashion entrepreneur, an administrator and a firm believer in the empowerment of women and the girl-child especially in Africa. I am married and we are blessed with two wonderful children.

 

What is KAF?

KAF is Kowoforola Aderonke Foundation which is named after my late mum. We are committed to sharing our knowledge with all women who want to build their career in the fashion and baking industry completely free of charge.

 

What inspired KAF?

When I was trusting God for the next step to take after having spent ten years in the fashion industry,  the Holy Spirit reminded me  of how I was trained free of charge by a woman who had a shop in the front of my hostel when I was an undergraduate. He instructed me to do the same for others especially women who want to have a niche in the fashion industry.

 

Why did you choose to reach out to women only?

I believe if women are empowered, we can have better and  peaceful societies. Moreover, women are multipliers, whatever you give a woman, she will make it greater. Give a woman a seed, she will give you a forest.

 

What are the challenges you encountered at the start of the foundation? 

We had a challenge in getting a location and also students were not stable when we first started because people tend to abuse free things, but by the grace of God we were able to come up with a structure that helped us overcome those challenges.

 

 How many have you trained successfully so far and how many courses?

We are currently teaching eight courses and 24 students will be graduating by December 1st, 2019.

 

What are your future aspirations for KAF? To have as many free training centres across Africa and in other parts of the world.

 

Are you fulfilled with all that KAF has achieved so far?

I am not yet fulfilled but we are aspiring to have 100 people who have passed through our school by 2020.

 

Funding is a common challenge  for this kind of non profit initiative. How have you surmounted this?

When God gives you a vision, He will give you provision for it. God has always sent helpers to us.  Our trainers are not paid by industry standard and this is a way of them contributing as well. My personal resources, my husband and some other people God has laid it in their hearts to support us in one way or the other have also been very helpful.

 

 Since the foundation is in honour of your late mother; she must have left a very great mark on you. What are your fondest memories of her?

My mum taught me about God and how to be hardworking, disciplined and be committed and consistent in whatever it is he has put in one’s care.

We aim to train 100 fashionistas for free by 2020 —Omojola,CEO KAF
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