Monday, January 16, 2012

Leaving a Legacy Behind

"Ayo you have to meet him. This guy is planning to do something great and you need to get him on your show”

Surprisingly that was all it took to get Segun on the radio program “I am the Future.”
Segun Akin-Olugbade is a young man who has a vision to design the first sports car exclusively created, and put together in Nigeria. He’s the CEO/Director of development at SE Automotive Limited and studied Automotive Design at Coventry University.

I immediately collected Segun’s email address from my friend and sent him an email. He responded and we set up a date for our interview.

On the day of the interview, I sat down with Segun for about 10 minutes to get a feel of who he was and also introduce myself to him and explain the concept of the show. I was immediately blown away by this young man. Segun arrived on time looking stylishly dressed with a ‘protégé’ right by his side. As we spoke, I observed Segun was a confident, laid-back, soft-spoken, young man who had an amazing vision. Segun was the kind of guy that knew what he wanted to do and knew what he had to do to get there. As we continued our conversation, I asked Segun to show me a few samples of the cars he’s looking to design and here was what I was shown.

I recently saw a tweet message from P Diddy. It said “Some people are creating the future right now. What are you doing?”
Segun Akin-Olugbade is busy creating a future for himself and the Nigerian AutomobileI. Segun’s creating a future for tomorrow’s engineers, car makers and visionaries. Segun is looking to take the African automobile industry to newer heights. What future are you creating?
Do you have a plan for your life? Do you know what industry you want to impact with your skills and talents? Do you have a vision that scares? Are you creating a future for yourself today?
It was a pleasure having Segun on the show. I was moved by his vision, his passion and his confidence. I must say my one hour with him truly touched me and challenged me to create a future for myself and my family. How about you?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Taiwo Bankole On My Radio Show

Today was definitely a great day on 'I am the Future on Rainbow 94.1FM'.I had Taiwo Bankole on the show today. He is a young man who spent 10 years in the rather unpredictable Nigerian school system (due to strikes) yet made the decision to touch lives.While in school, this young man started programs to empower the youths in his community and eventually moved on to Warri to start an NGO. When I asked Taiwo why he picked Warri, he simply said "I've heard a lot about the situation with militants in Warri and I wanted to help empower their youths". What a brave young man.

Let me take things back a lil bit and let you know about the first time I spoke to Taiwo. The first 30 seconds of our very first phone conversation left me a little shocked. It went something like this…

Me: “Hi bro This is Ayo on the line”

Taiwo: “Hello sir, please I need you in Warri tomorrow morning”

Me: “Excuse Me? What? Who are you?”

Taiwo: “My name is Taiwo Bankole. I’m running a program in Warri and I need you here to speak to my youths tomorrow morning. Can you make it?”

Needless to say I didn’t really know Taiwo so I didn't trust him, besides Warri for me was a no go area because of all the dangerous things and state of chaos I had heard about the place. So I 'dodged' Taiwo and ended up not going.

Now after my lil confession, I must say it was great to finally meet Taiwo and hear his amazing story.

Two years ago,I had a great friend teach a short class in church that really blew me away. As we were all entering the church premises for our little devotional, we were all given little pieces of paper that had a few words in it. After sitting down for about 10 minutes eagerly anticipating what to do with my paper, My friend,Julius said “okay everyone you can look at your notes now but please do not share what it says with anyone.” I eagerly opened my note with a sense of joy inside (the curious cat as they’d say) and began to read it to myself. It said “You are a carpenter looking to work with the main character.”

I tried to figure out by myself what that meant since we had been instructed not to ask any questions but to simply listen. After pondering for about a minute or two and trying to figure out what everyone else’s paper said, I decided to give up and just wait for further instructions. Just as I made this decision, Julius walked up to the stage and began to share a story.

“ A young man pulled his car into the garage and walked into his house. As he opened the door of the garage to enter the house, he noticed the door was slightly slanted and wasn’t shutting properly. He was so tired that he ignored the door,walked into the living room and slouched on his couch. He turned on his TV and smiled with joy and satisfaction. See he just purchased a brand new 56 inch flat screen TV with the latest surround sound at the local entertainment store and also refurnished his entire living room. The young man, though exhausted, was happy and proud.”

Julius stopped reading and then asked, “what stuck out to you in this story?”

The first person raised his hand and said “He has a garage that can fit a car". The second person stood up and said “He has a brand new 56 inch flat screen tv”. The third person looked and said “he has a car and a house”.At that point,I immediately jumped up and yelled out "Can’t you guys notice this guy’s garage door was not shutting properly? He needs a carpenter".

After my response, Julius smiled and asked us a very simple question.He said “why were there so many different responses to the same exact story?” At first, no one could answer the question but after looking at each other’s papers again, we came to discover that we all had different roles. My close friend,David was asked to be a real estate agent looking to sell the house. Another friend, Johnny, was asked to be a thief looking to steal something from the house.

The exercise seemed cool but we needed Julius to finish the story for us,connecting the exercise with his lesson. Julius concluded by saying “the truth is we were all right but our response to the story was based on our perspective which was dependent on who we are, what we do and what we've been through. Now just because you have a perspective on a story or a situation doesn’t mean it’s the full picture. Another person can have a completely different perspective and still have part of the answer. ”

A lot of us in Nigeria have a negative perspective of our country. I’ve heard people say things like “Nigeria ti baje”(Nigeria has gone bad) and Nothing good is coming out of this country”. However, I want to challenge us to change our perspective and re-channel our thinking. Your statements are based on what you've been exposed to and what you've heard. Is your opinion the complete view of what Nigeria is really about?, or just like the story of the young man, Is your statement a small piece of a big picture?

On the show today, Taiwo said “Ayo, It is the people that make the country and not the other way round.” I totally agree with that.

Taiwo spent 10 years in school due to all the crazy school strikes,yet he made the decision to be a part of the change in his country. He could have stayed sad and focused on what he didn’t have (a degree or certificate) but he decided to make an impact. He currently runs a Not- for- Profit Organization in Warri called 'The Visionaries Academy' that serves hundreds of people and has full time working staff.

Taiwo's story is part of the Nigerian story. A story of hope, perseverance and most importantly a story of victory.

Taiwo is trying to build a better Nigeria. I am trying to build a better Nigeria. What are you doing to help build a better Nigeria?