THE MAKING OF GENIUSES SERIES
THE YOUNG ACHIEVERS — SUCCEEDING IN LIFE — NO MAGIC WAND
HARD WORK, DETERMINATION, PRAYERS & A BIT OF LUCK
‘’In terms of developing a positive global vision, the sharing of information is key. ‘’We must work hard to present people with a different range of ideas, interests and visions, and introduce different types of people, information and values in an attempt to bring about understanding. ”There is always room for learning’’ – Cardinal John Onaiyekan – Retd Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Abuja
Successes are attainable through hard work, prayers and a bit of luck. Two successful Cambridge businesses attribute success to: ‘’luck, clear vision and sheer hard work’’. The faith that I profess believes and recognizes God as a Master Planner, with the Holy Spirit leading the way. Today, Africa parades a paradox of opulence, growth and pervasive poverty. Generally, it is believed that Africa’s future may very well depend on the ability of the target audience described above, to evolve workable systems that would produce sustainable and viable cultures of governance and democracy.
THE MAKING OF GENIUSES SERIES
CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE – THE LITERARY GIANT & HER ‘’BUY NIGERIAN TO GROW THE NAIRA’’ CAMPAIGN — A Shining Example for Nigerian Youths
‘’Originality is the essence of true scholarship. Creativity is the soul of the true scholar. Israel has created a new image of the Jew in the world – the image of a working and an intellectual people, of a people that can fight with heroism.’’ – Nnamdi Azikiwe.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” “When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.” “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it’’ – Nelson Mandela
I think that feeling that if one believed absolutely in any cause, then one must have the confidence, the self-certainty, to go through with that particular course of action. – Wole Soyinka
HARD WORK, DETERMINATION, PRAYERS & A BIT OF LUCK: Only in rare cases would you encounter cheap sources of making money in the United States where Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose reputation as a novelist and public speaker is fast spreading globally makes a living. She resides in the United States where spends the better part of the year, with occasional visits to her native country – Nigeria. Chimamanda is married to a Nigeria medical practitioner – Ivara Esege and both live in Baltimore, Maryland. From her literary works and speaking engagements, Chimamanda has an estimated net worth of US$5 million as of 2019.
Actually, Adichie comes under one of the richest and influential authors today. Since she is a rising public personality, her net worth will definitely increase. I just write. I have to write. I like to say that I didn’t choose writing, writing chose me. ‘’This may sound slightly mythical, but I sometimes feel as if my writing is something bigger than I am’’. The prime reason for writing on Chimamanda is to promote the feelings of empathy in Nigerian youths so they know that they could also develop their faculties and endowments to be huge successes in life. It is also to prove to them that hard work and creativity pays in any part of the world. They could still reside in Nigeria and dream big. If all of us run away through legal and illegal routes, then who develops Nigeria?
WHY WE CELEBRATE PEOPLE — TERRIFIC HEADLINES has written a few times about the importance of developing faculties and endowments. How many youths read today? Many parents no longer pay adequate attention to the development of their children. Development and encouragement are joint tasks among stakeholders – principally parents who are fast abandoning their responsibilities. Other stakeholders are: Government, organizations with parental responsibilities, civil society organizations and the civil society itself. One way of creating awareness is through special recognitions. We must correct the issue of poor reading culture. Whoever wishes to accomplish his/her goals in life must broaden his/her horizon.
The experiences stated here shows that anybody in any discipline could emerge a successful fiction writer. Ngozi Adichie’s experience is slightly similar to that of her influencer. She studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria then moved to the US to study communications and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University. She gained a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, United States. She also studied at Drexel in Philadelphia and Eastern Connecticut State University. Adichie earned master’s degrees from both Johns Hopkins and Yale. We must continue to examine how our heroes of the past worked tirelessly for the growth of Nigeria. And we must celebrate successes because it influences others which is why young people with remarkable attainments are ushered before the Queen of England for recognition; and Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji was in June 2011 invited to the White House by Michelle Obama, then First Lady of the United States, as one of her personal inspirations in a televised address to America as a prelude to her arrival in Africa for the Young African Women Leaders Forum.
And when she was to launch her book in the United Kingdom, Mitchele Obama looked in the direction of Chimamanda Adichie and requested her to moderate the event in a global community of 3.8 billion females. That is a great recognition for Nigeria. Those societies harbour our brothers and sisters with patents and brains worth several billions of dollars and pounds sterling. It is possible that the United States would soon make overtures to Ofure Mary Ebhomielen, the lady who emerged the best all-round students at the University of Ibadan, assist her to develop her potentials to the fullest by relocating to the U.S and end up contributing to the development of that country as a Computer Scientist.
It is also possible that the story that was published to encourage and invite attention was not even read by young ones who prefer soft stories like making love, divorce, and dancing wildly to music with lyrics they might not even understand.
SOME ARE BORN GREAT: It was that famous dramatist, poet, writer, and author, William Shakespeare who asserted that: ‘’Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them’’. Out of curiosity and learning, particularly with regard to how greatness could be thrust upon an individual, I probed further and discovered that the quote is contained in the work of that great playwright:, in one of his works titled: ‘’Twelfth Night’’ which was written around the year 1602.
According to records, the play under reference is a comedy about two twins who got caught in a storm that caused their ship to wreck. ‘’This shipwreck caused the twins to become separated. One of the characters in the play, Malvolio, utters this quote as he reads a letter: ‘’In my stars I am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them’’: The letter says that the writer of the letter was born into greatness, due to having noble or high ranking parents. The letter urges the addressee to accept his fate, and therefore accept his greatness’’
Given this interpretation of the words of Williams Shakespeare, it could be declared that burgeoning Nigerian relatively young author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie had greatness thrust on her be reason of birth. Ngozi is a scion of the family of Prof. James Adichie, the first Nigerian professor of Statistics and Mrs. Ifeoma Adichie. Both parents worked at the University of Nigeria Nsukka where Ifeoma Adichie emerged the first female Registrar of the University.
One remarkable factor however, is that it is possible for greatness to be thrust upon a personality, who could also end up a failure. Without any doubt, greatness could turn to failure is the blessed fails to move further to advance the cause of the inheritance. The success story of Ngozi Adichie is indeed one that should thrill young Nigerians and African youths that accomplishments are not by race or colour. Some determinants include hard work, resilience and a bit of luck.
THE EARLY YEARS: Chimamanda, described by Wikipedia as a novelist, short story writer, and non-fiction writer was born in Enugu, Enugu State of Nigeria in September, 1977. She is the fifth out of the six children of her parents. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie started her writing vocation this way: At the age of 10 years, she read ‘’Things Fall Apart’’ authored by that great Nigerian writer and novelist, Prof. Chinua Achebe.
A publication by Ikechukwu Anya titled: ‘’In the Footsteps of Achebe — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigeria’s Newest Literary Voice’, Adichie is quoted as stating that: ‘’My writing comes from melancholy, from rage, from curiousity, from hope’’ Those words form the pivot around which her writings revolve. From that small beginning in the literary world, Chimamanda has transformed into a globally acclaimed author and public speaker, appearing at several ‘’A Class’’ events to inspire and promote learning.
HARD WORK: Only in rare cases would you encounter cheap sources for making money in the United States where Chimamanda spends the better part of the year. Chimamanda is married to a Nigeria medical practitioner – Ivara Esege and both reside in Baltimore, Maryland. From her literary works and speaking engagements, Chimamanda has an estimated net worth of US$5 million as of 2019. Actually, Adichie comes under one of the richest and influential authors today. Since she is a rising public personality, her net worth will definitely increase. I just write. I have to write. I like to say that I didn’t choose writing, writing chose me. This may sound slightly mythical, but I sometimes feel as if my writing is something bigger than I am’’
THE BREAKTHROUGH: It first came through the publication by Adichie of a collection of poems in 1997 (Decisions) and a play (For Love of Biafra) in 1998. She was shortlisted in 2002 for the Caine Prize] for her short story “You in America”, The Caine Prize for African Writing is an annual literary award for the best original short story by an African writer, whether in Africa or elsewhere, published in the English language. The £10,000 prize was founded in the United Kingdom in 2000, and was named in memory of Sir Michael Harris Caine, former Chairman of Booker Group plc.
Since that memorable feat was recorded at the prime age of 20 years, Adichie has literally swam in awards and honours. Among several others, she was awarded the 2018 PEN Pinter prize. She was commended as a writer who embodies “those qualities of courage and outspokenness. The PEN Pinter prize honours a writer of “outstanding literary merit” who – in the words of Pinter’s speech on winning the Nobel prize in 2005 – casts an “unflinching, unswerving” gaze upon the world and shows a “fierce intellectual determination … to define the real truth of our lives and our societies”. (The Guardian of London)
A WONDERFUL PATRIOT: Chimamanda Adichie runs a project named: BUY NIGERIAN; TO GROW THE NAIRA that she commenced in 2017. She champions buying Nigerian-made products’ to help the economy following the downturn in the economy. She has not relented. In a statement made via her Facebook account, she said: “If we are to grasp for a silver lining, then the “Buy Nigerian to GrowThe Naira” rhetoric is one. In that spirit, I recently decided to wear mostly Nigerian brands for my public appearances.”She decided that she would attend every event in outfits made by Nigerians and she hasn’t faltered.
Take a trip to her Instagram page (managed by her nieces Chisom and Amaka) and enjoy the beautiful display of Nigerian and African fashion. Chimamanda says she chose to wear Nigerian-made pieces because she wants to do her own quota by supporting our super talented designers and also make a case for how fashion can tell a story.
AS A FEMINIST: She had personal encounters with Hillary Clinton. As published in The Atlantic, Chimamanda said about Clinton: Hillary Clinton was guilty immediately when she stepped into the view of the American public as the first lady of Arkansas. She was a lawyer full of dreams. She had made sacrifices for the man she loved, waived her plans, and moved to his state. But she also dared to think herself her husband’s equal, to assume herself competent enough to take on expanding access to healthcare and reforming the Arkansas public education system. She was guilty of not being a traditional first lady. She offended the old patriarchal order. The conservative media loathed her.
SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS & THE LOVE FOR NIGERIA: Her You tube posts reveal that Adichie is a beautiful orator. And she is a wonderful patriot, always appearing at public functions in colourul Nigerian dresses. Within ten days, she received the three awards in highly-rated American Universities. These are: American University (Washing to receive an honorary degree and also deliver a commencement speech for the university’s College of Arts and Science; Georgetown University to deliver a commencement speech for Georgetown College, and Yale’s University in New Haven, Connecticut, at the 318th commencement ceremony, where she received her third honorary degree. During her Yale class day address, Ngozi reportedly got a resounding standing ovation. Adichie spoke about the state of affairs in the United States, figuratively using Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” in her description of the current US sociopolitical climate.
- 2010 Listed among The New Yorker′s “20 Under
- 2013 Listed among The New York Times′ “Ten Best Books of 2013”, for Americanah
- 2013 Listed among BBC’s “Top Ten Books of 2013”, for Americanah
- 2013 Foreign Policymagazine “Top Global Thinkers of 2013
- 2013 Listed among the New African′s “100 Most Influential Africans 2013”
- 2014 Listed among Africa39project of 39 writers aged under 40
- 2015 Listed among Time Magazine’s “The 100 Most Influential People
- 2015 Commencement Speaker at Wellesley College
- 2017 Commencement Speaker at Williams College
- 2018 Class Day Speaker for Harvard University
- 2019 Class Day Speaker for Yale University
YOUNG HIGH FLYERS & MOTIVATORS SERIES
TOYOSI AKERELE-OGUNSIJI — ‘’Born A Woman – Blessed with the heart and voice of a King’’
‘’It’s always been my dream that the World will come to see, experience, enjoy and respect the inherent greatness, talent, hospitality and hidden treasures of my Country and Countrymen.’ — TOYOSI AKERELE-OGUNSIJI
Highlighting activities of the young and the old; male and female; form part of the campaign that TERRIFIC HEADLINES is running, with intent to encourage the target audience to adopt preventive over and above reactive measures in combating widespread moral decadence that has eaten into the very fabrics of the society. Regrettably, this issue is not limited to youths alone; but also, some renegades who have reached ages of maturity. We believe that this type of campaign could assist in preventing criminal and social vices; while also getting the target audience – Government, parents and organizations with parental responsibilities, and even the civil society – to be more aware of their responsibilities, particularly preventing social and criminal vices, as well as inculcate in every facet of the society, the right values, ethics, and morals.
LONG RANGE VISIONING & PLANNING: So many factors influence several interests in an increasingly interdependent world.In advanced societies, policies are woven to include long range planning and visioning that guarantee periodic measurement of achievements as a means of putting implementation on track. Our young achievers on whom we are focussing, commencing with Toyosi are described as: ”change makers, trendsetters, visionaries and thinkers, builders, and young global leaders” Some of the most educated immigrants in the United States are Nigerians’’ According to an online publication: OZY:‘’29 percent of Nigerian-Americans over the age of 25 hold a graduate degree, compared to 11 percent of the overall U.S. population, according to the Migrations Policy Institute. ‘’Among Nigerian-American professionals, 45 percent work in education services. ‘’The 2016 American Community Survey found, and many are professors at top universities. ‘’A growing number of Nigerian-Americans are becoming entrepreneurs and CEOs, building technology companies in the United States to help people back home.’’
THE YOUNG ACHIEVER: We are working towards enlightening the target audience on how to lead peaceable and productive lives, like the Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsijis have done, and have at prime ages emerged international celebrities on account of their sharp intellect, ingenuity, creativity and ability to see success where others see failure. There have emerged in the recent past, very young Nigerians who made entries into FORBES Magazine as ‘’20 Youngest Power Women in Africa’’
One of them is the lady we celebrate in this piece: MRS TOYOSI AKERELE-OGUNSIJI, FOUNDER RISE NETWORKS. The magazine refers to those high-flyers recognized by it as: ‘’Influential female leaders, groundbreakers and ceiling crashers who are transforming the continent from their different communities, changing the world around them and impacting young lives’’
We publish this piece to make a point. And that is the truth that our young ones; and even old people, could be successful in life by following the honourable path, work hard, pray, and achieve their goals and aspirations without any crooked behaviour or influence. At the age of 37 years, Toyosi is already an international figure, and by all measurable standards a superstar in positive terms.
I first viewed Toyosi on a television channel four years ago, and saw her speak eloquently and intelligently as a motivational speaker, scoring logical and reasonable points. Her driving cliché is: -Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji- ‘’Born a Woman – Blessed with the heart and voice of a King’’
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Toyosi is just 37; but I am happy reporting her activities; though we have never met physically, except on the social media. Described by BellaNaija, owned by another high-flyer that will soon come under our focus as ‘’a social entrepreneur, Public sector leadership and effectiveness champion’’, Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji co-hosted, in partnership with the Lagos State government, students of Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to a one week Public Sector and Innovation Field Trip in Nigeria Hear her on what drives her passion: ‘’It’s always been my dream that the World will come to see, experience, enjoy and respect the inherent greatness, talent, hospitality and hidden treasures of my Country and Countrymen.’’
The story must be rewritten. Nigeria is not a country of scammers. Only a negligible percentage of Nigerians may be discovered to be dubious. But let us never forget that it takes two to commit the fraud dubbed: Advanced Fee Fraud, usually called 419. FRAUDSTERS: One ‘fraudster is resident in Nigeria; while the other, a ’fantastically corrupt’’ and ill-intentioned foreigner who is resident abroad, wants to illegally empty to vaults of the Central Bank of Nigeria; or lift crude oil clandestinely. In the process, he/she falls into the hands of fellow fraudsters. Such foreigners should ideally not be pitied, but should be shipped back into Nigeria to answer to criminal charges of complicity rather than helped to retrieve their scammed funds.
After all, his/her progenitors never banked with the Central Bank of Nigeria; and had no oil block in Nigeria. But the likes of Toyosi (I know many in her age bracket) are doing the nation proud as investors, inventors, geniuses, and creative people with imaginative talents that they are putting to profitable use. Indeed, they have stoutly challenged their contemporaries who are into shady deals and dirty acts who utilize their brains negatively.
Toyosi has proven that one could stay in Nigeria and make use of best opportunities available. Toyosi has established that success does not depend on making illegal trips to the United States or Europe. She has proven that you could reside in Nigeria and yet get invited to the White House or 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the British Prime Minister.
CREDENTIALS: It is noteworthy that at her age, Toyosi already has intimidation credentials and the reason is partly because she is determined, bold and resolute to break new grounds While some of her peers try their hands on dirty deals and behaviour, Toyosi creates advocacy and learning opportunities for the inclusive growth of youths with the core objective of preparing them for leadership and social change. Her words: ‘’I am one of the 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa who are resolute in their resolve to change, to build, to inspire and transform the world. We are out there making it happen. We are change makers, trendsetters, visionaries and thinkers, builders, and young global leaders. We are at the vanguard of Africa’s imminent socio-economic revolution and its contemporary renaissance.’’ She got an endorsement in 2011, by Michelle Obama, of the United States, ‘’as one of her personal inspirations in a televised address to America as a prelude to her arrival in Africa for the Young African Women Leaders Forum of which Akerele-Ogunsiji emerged a member’’
WISDOM: A wise lady, Toyosi decided not to be wasteful when she got married to Adekunle Ogunsiji, an ICT professional, in a low-key wedding at her family house in Ikeja, Lagos. Toyosi attended public schools in Lagos. It was later in life that she got recognized by dint of her work, as one of the most promising emerging Leaders of Africa’s new generation is an Edward Mason Fellow and Mid-Career Master in Public Administration Graduate of Harvard University John F Kennedy School of Government where she also served as Vice President for International Student Affairs and Chair of the International Student Affairs Committee She studied Strategic Management at Executive Level at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, obtained a Certificate in Youth Inclusive Financial Services from University of New Hampshire, Durham, USA, holds a Certificate in Media Enterprise from the School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University and an Executive Masters’ Certificate in Project Management from The Project Management College, UK.
ROLE MODELS: In an ‘’Aluta’’ gathering, this citation would have provoked cries of: … more, more… ‘’She has also studied Digital Marketing Strategy at the UK Institute of Digital Marketing and she received a 2nd Class Upper Bachelors’ degree in Civil Law from the University of Jos. She is a mindful leader who is celebrated for Leadership on the Continent in the service of a larger cause, a worthy alumnus of the United States Government’s Prestigious International Visitor Leadership Program and she was described by a former First Lady of the United States, Mrs. Michelle Obama as one of her personal inspirations.’’
More information from her BLOG reveals that ‘’Toyosi spent most of her growing years shaping Nigerian Communities through her Youth.She is a devoted Mentor to hundreds of Young People in Business, Politics, Non-Profit and Tertiary Institutions across Africa. In turn, she regards some successful women like Mrs Folorunsho Alakija, Mrs Audrey Joe-Ezigbo of FALCON Oils and Mrs Bola Adesola, newly-promoted Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank Limited, Nigeria as mentors. Other mentors are: Mrs. IquioUkoh, Mrs Jumoke Adenowo, Mrs. Funke Egbemode; and Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi. Looking up to these great women has apparently been a good challenge for Toyosi. She has successfully collected the following honours:
- Recognition by Crans Montana Forum in Europe as a New Leader of Tomorrow
- Recipient of This Day Awards for Nigeria’s Women of Distinction
- Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 of Success Digest Entrepreneurial Awards
- Recipient of the 2011 Excellence Awards of the School of Media and Communication, Pan African University
- Recipient of the 2008 Future Africa Awards Best Use of Advocacy Category and the Nigerian Youth Leadership Awards jointly organized by Leap Africa, International Youth Foundation and NOKIA
- One of the honorees’ of the Top 100 Young Leaders’ Recognition at the Nigeria’s Centenary Celebrations by the Federal Government
- Honoured by 234 GIVE, a Social Initiative that encourages Nigerians to donate to the adopted Charities and improve livelihoods for the less privileged
- In May 2010, Toyosi was selected for the Nigeria Leadership Initiative’s Future Leaders Fellowship. NLI is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network
- Member of The Right to Know Initiative, a Nonprofit focused on Human Rights and Open Data Issues and their social impact on Citizens in 2011 * Appointed the Youngest Member of the Victims of Terrorism Funds Committee.
- Jury Member of the Get Started Africa Entrepreneurship Challenge initiated by NESCAFÉ to empower Youth across the Continent
- Member and a Mentor of the African Entrepreneurship Awards & a Mentor on the Bank of Africa’s Africa Entrepreneurship Awards
- Named on the 2015 Honours List of Genevieve Magazine’s Top 21 most Outstanding Nigerian Women and in 2016 as one of Nigeria’s youngest achievers
She has delivered Papers and presentations as well as led focused group discussions at the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, Women in Management, Business and Public Sector, Youth Africamp organized annually by Open Society Institute of East Africa, Women of West African Entrepreneurship, Africa Wide Consultation on Post 2015 Development Agenda and Expert Group Meeting, and the United Nations Media Workshop on Africa Governance Report.
Her media commentary and interviews include appearances on Channels Television, BET, Nigerian Television Authority, Africa Independent Television and South African Broadcasting Corporation.(credit: Wikipedia
PROMOTING THE FEELINGS OF EMPATHY: Toyosi Akerele-, was born into the family of Mr. James Ayodele & Felicia Mopelola Akerele. She attended Ebun Oluwa Nursery and Primary School, Oregun Lagos from where she headed to Lagos State Model College Kankon Badagry, for her Junior Secondary Education from 1994 to 1996. She then went to Egbado College (now Yewa College) from 1998 till June 2000 for her Senior Secondary Education. Later, she obtained a Second Class Upper Degree in Civil Law from the University of Jos in April 2007. ‘’Ogunsiji is an alumnus of the United States Government’s International Visitor Leadership Program. According to her records, the participants at the US Leadership programme are branded ‘’change makers, trendsetters, visionaries and thinkers, builders, and young global leaders.‘’They are at the vanguard of Africa’s imminent socio-economic revolution and its contemporary renaissance.’’
If Toyosi could on her own attain this height without funny movements and antics, why would some of her peers take plunge into the dark world of fraud, get-rich quick disposition, love and inordinate ambition for wealth without legitimate jobs. People like Toyosi are telling their colleagues that you could succeed without going into prostituition. In the past few decades, conscious attempts have been made globally and through the United Nations to accord women their pride of place. These have come in the form of several Conventions and Regulations to which most nations of the world have subscribed. But a lot still has to be done to get women to shake off the huge deprivations of the past and aspire to the same heights that men have attained. Indeed, the situation is fast changing with the emergence of female Heads of State and Presidents, Commonwealth Secretary-General, and Deputy UN Secretary General, among other important positions of responsibility.
NIGERIA WILL BE GREAT AGAIN: Toyosi’s dream is that Nigeria will be great in her lifetime and she hopes to be part of the nation’s revolution and rebuilding. Lastly, it is axiomatic that everyone in the society has some basic functions to perform; as influencing development is a joint task of the government and the governed, as well as organizations with parental responsibilities. Let us teach our young ones that dedication is not a gift; but a choice. As you lay your beds, so you lie on them. Forthrightness, focus, making the right choices, boldness, discovering your goals, and taking the correct steps will make individuals and nations successful. Today, Toyosi doesn’t need to tell lies or make false declarations for her to be issued entry visas into foreign countries. If a youth could achieve this much at her age, all her contemporaries who are in shady deals need to do is to reexamine their ways.