Posts Tagged ‘Adebola Williams’

Hey you!

Hope you had a good week… Mine was great. Could have been better, maybe I would have done some things differently, but I have no regrets. I went to Lagos for a meeting and got back into Abuja the next day, and as always I’m grateful for traveling mercies. Very grateful.

Beyond sharing ideas and knowledge for a company I sit on the board of at the meeting, it was a time of great learning and reflection, and that’s what this post is about.

Where do you learn? Are you one of those professional, it must be in a class/board room setting, with set objectives and goals type of people? And that’s fine, we’re all wired differently. Or, are you one of those ‘we see life lessons in the sun, moon and stars’ kind of people who pick tips and tricks from everything?

I think I’m becoming more of the latter, while fully retaining the former part of me that does very well with formal learning situations. I have a friend, Adebola Williams, Co-Founder of Red Media Africa who makes me feel like I should have a Moleskine and a pen whenever I’m around him. It’s in the little things he does; the way he greets people, how he manages to make people (even strangers) feel noticed and special, the natural thought about optics and how things will be perceived or not, how he thinks so quickly about everything before it’s done, I could go on and on and on.

I have another friend, Francesca, who believes there’s a lesson in everything, and therefore will never let me give in to dreary situations, who always looks for the silver lining even in pitch darkness, who has a positive outlook on life that will put motivational speakers to shame. And so from her I learn to put my melancholic bits under control.

Errr, it’s just occurred to me that mentioning some and not mentioning others might start a fight (lol) so let’s generalize for the rest of this please.

There are a number of them of who send me things to read because they know these pieces will be useful to me, who push me with questions like “what new thing have you learned today, what book have you read, what’s new with you (that has nothing to do with boys or fashion, lol), etc.”  There are some who will tease me endlessly when I mispronounce a word, one who has tapped my head even (sigh), but who push me to continuously ‘upgrade’ my knowledge.

Do you have those kinds of people? Don’t have to do exactly what my friends do (like hit my head) but I think everyone should have someone (or some people) who are ‘devoted’ to their improvement, and we should be that for others too. Only fair abi?

Now, to my crush. Whoosh! I’m so in love! It’s the twinkle in their eye as they talk about rising from adversity and uncertainty to becoming (Francesca’s favorite word and I know she’s going to have my head on a platter for this, lol). It’s the calculated defiance, the refusal to be boxed in, hindered by limitations that were hitherto acceptable by everyone else. It’s their being able to stand in the face of grief and loss, and still be so awesome my heart is leaping within my chest just because I’m typing about them.

My new crush is Dame Stephanie Shirley. She’s only got space for one ‘crusher’, my honorable self so please, move back! The Telegraph said of her “If there is a constant thread running through the life of Dame Stephanie Shirley it is the refusal to let difficulty and disaster stand in her way”.

Such an inspiration! Big thank you to Tolu for sending the link to her TedTalk to me. I am a good person so I’m sharing it with you. I took out two things (actually I took out a lot of things but here are two I tweeted).

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And these below, are her keys to success. She says there are only two.

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She’s incredible. She has so far given away over £100million to both the development of technology (including being the Founding Donor to the Oxford Internet Institute) and especially to research around autism and management of people who are autistic. Why she gives away that much? She said, “The fact that I almost died in the Holocaust means that I’m motivated to make sure that each day is worth living, that my life was worth saving. I do it because of my personal history; I need to justify the fact that my life was saved.”

I have now found a much longer video which I will watch as soon as I can get some free time from my nephew, which is an hour-long speech she made at Gresham College which traces her life growing up, coming to the United Kingdom via Kindertransport, her career and breaking several glass ceilings, her son and his autism, etc. It’s like her biography, only in the flesh. Excited, and I haven’t even watched it yet!

I’m off now, have tons of work to get through this morning.

Have a brilliant Saturday (and weekend), and never stop learning.

I was invited to this event –

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and can I start by saying a big kudos to Play Network for putting this together? To my mind Play is a club/lounge and so the social consciousness and thought that went into staging this event is commendable. More than commendable.

So the IV said 6pm; by 6.30pm I saw a tweet saying the hall was empty so I sat back at home and continued working on the documents I had to ready for this week.

Apparently there was a rendition of the national anthem by Eve Urrah and Magnificent, a welcome address by PLAY Network CEO Charles Okpaleke, and then Adebola Williams presented a speech. Gleaned this sentence off tweets, did I miss anything?

Got there about 7.30pm to meet about 15 minutes of Oby Ezekwesili’s keynote – fiery, hardcore, and igniting. Not like anyone who knows her would expect anything else. Some of the things I took away?

  • “Weak governments produce weak outcomes. Strong intelligent governments produce strong, sustainable outcomes”
  • “You must join public service. Apathy cannot give you the answers/results you’re looking for/expecting

And then there was this!

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Ok, after her keynote which ended with a question on what our (us young people) parameters for measuring competence, character, and capacity were, there was the electrifying performance by JaiyeGuitar. Really lovely! And that rendition of Michael Jackson’s Earth Song? Loved it! Even though that bit with kneeling down was a bit too much for me, I loved it! And yes, my honest, purest thoughts Sir? Don’t sing, just play!

Next up was Frank Nweke who started with a riveting question: what’s wrong with being partisan? He asked because apparently the organizers of the event had come to him as a ‘non-partisan’ organization et al, and he said except this was an event strictly about voter education etc., humans were naturally partisan and he wouldn’t give up that part of him. I agree. Sometimes we act like being political is a bad thing.

His was quite interesting to be honest, hard truths about continuity and how he’s been in the same political party for the past 15 or 16 years (take your sub). He re-echoed some of Madam Oby’s thoughts about change being impossible without active political participation, leadership now being a responsibility rather than an option, and my only grouse with the entire presentation was I was checking the time and looking at the other things we had to get through.

Timi Dakolo was up next, and he performed ‘Nigeria’. Soon as he climbed the podium, half the audience was on their feet; the other half joined less than a minute into his performance. Can I just say that if/when I become president, Nigeria is getting a new anthem? An anthem truly representative of everything we’ve seen, are, and hope to be. Timi Dakolo is an incredible performer. End of.

There were cakes and NON-ALCOHOLIC drinks in the foyer, and it was nice to get a bite and a sip – if I’d organized the event maybe there’d have been an interlude for this to happen without people leaving the hall during speeches but hey, learning curve for Play.

Then it was time for the debate. Whoop! I was excited, watching people go at it mentally is one of my favorite past times. Tolu Ogunlesi was invited up to moderate, and he introduced the panelists. Four for each team (APC and PDP); they sat on the stage while Tolu and Chigurl gave the modalities for the debate. Opening statements from both sides, and then there would be questions from the audience both parties would respond to, taking a minute or so per answer if I remember correctly.

Time check? About 10pm or a couple minutes before.

APC started the opening statements (that way because ‘A’ comes before ‘P’ – in Tolu’s voice). First I noticed grammar (one of the speakers used ‘avuncular’ and ‘nexus’ in one sentence and I almost thought ‘Higi Haga’ was in the building).

And the questions went on from there.

Of course there had to be that Nigerian who would raise his hands to ask a question and then say, “actually I don’t have a question, but a comment”. Sigh.

As the question and answer session went on (and I won’t comment on the strength of their answers because I only remember three names of all the panelists and I zoned out as soon as the panelists started yelling), it was obvious people were becoming just a bit more disorderly, voices were just a little higher than normal, and it gradually descended/degenerated into a shouting bout.

Even among the lady debaters.

Calling everyone to order time and time again. I wondered why we bothered dressing up (code was black tie) if we were going to coming within inches of fisticuffs.

Calling everyone to order time and time again. I wondered why we bothered dressing up (code was black tie) if we were going to coming within inches of fisticuffs.

Somehow we got to the end of the event (with half the hall standing and holding mini debates at their seats), and then Doyin Okupe who was on the PDP team but had not said a word the entire time, was going to speak for his team. And then folks who support APC started shouting. From ‘Sai Buhari’ to ‘APC’, to several other unintelligible things, the event hit rock bottom. They rushed to the front of the stage, chanting, hands in the air, and it occurred to me why young people are very far from being taken seriously, why we are far from the future we seek. It was a riot, and I became afraid. Truly afraid.

There was nothing left. Nothing. Only suits and fancy makeup distinguished the yelping animals I was watching from the thugs we see/have seen on TV.

To be honest, I don’t know what Doyin Okupe spoke for, closing argument or something but you must know this: from listening to him last night, he tweets for himself. One and the same. I will not repeat the things he said here either because this is more about us young people than it is about the elders we keep saying have failed.

I think I saw someone push Tolu Ogunlesi in the midst of this ruckus, and Chigurl was super upset because people were calling her names. All because she insisted on following the announced modalities for the mic going round (three questions from each row).

I stayed till the end – left Congress Hall a few minutes to  midnight. These three tweets sum up my thoughts on this event.

Screenshot 2015-02-02 14.32.19 Screenshot 2015-02-02 14.32.48 Screenshot 2015-02-02 14.32.58We are not ready.