My phone rang at 12:03am and the caller said, “I’ve been trying to get through to you so I could be the first to wish you a happy birthday.” I turned 30 on July 27 and I can’t but look back and thank God for His many mercies and for the endless opportunities that I have had in what I believe is the first phase of my life. It wasn’t planned to be an exceptional day because I had decided (owing to many factors) to spend the day in a different way. While all the gifts, text messages, calls and eMails are very much appreciated, I wanted to use the 30th birthday to spend time with select people who could benefit from the input that has been made into my life by various people and through various opportunities.
My day started — after the calls, some sleep and calling my two other birthday mates: Tosin Sesan (my younger sister) and Funmi Iyanda — with a Korean birthday song (the group of 4 volunteers who are working with us on the Ajegunle.org project presented me with a Korean-style reading lamp and birthday song to match) and continued on to the two groups I decided to spend the day with. I spent some time with 25 selected young people who will be the first beneficiaries of our relay training (in ICTs and entrepreneurship) program at Ajegunle. Please see Ajegunle.org for more details. It was then the turn of the National Association of Computer Science Students at the Yaba College of Technology, where I spent some time giving out my 2007 birthday gift — the challenge to students in the area of ICT-enabled entrepreneurship.
Little did I know that my day would involve a quick mentorship opportunity! I got a call to meet with the Vice Chancellor of the Open University (please see www.nou.edu.ng) and thought it was okay since we (the Korean Internet Volunteers and myself) had a meeting with the Korean Embassy in Nigeria in the evening. Traffic into Victoria Island did not disappoint me and we made our way to the 11th Floor office of Prof. Olugbemiro J. Jegede. After a few minutes, he walked out to welcome us and by the time we were through with the discussions, my heart was glad for Nigeria because of the eLearning opportunities that the Open University provides. I just hope that the school’s leadership isn’t subject to political interference because the present VC combined the ease of an ICT-friendly young mind with the sharpness of an agile mature administrative mind!
We were joined by Ayo, Tope, Ugo and Temilade before making our way to the Koream Embassy where we met with the Consellor/Head of Lagos Office. It was then time to end the day with an unplanned birthday dinner and celebrity photo opportunity. 🙂 We had dinner at the popular Golden Gate restaurant and discovered that it was also celebration time for KWAM 1 (one of Nigeria’s music icons). While dinner was being enjoyed, KWAM 1 and Pasuma (another popular musician) made their way to the other half of the 6th floor and my Korean guests though it would be great to catch a photograph with the duo. I walked past the protocol officers and asked the two music icons for a photo opportunity with my friends and I was impressed that Paso actually offered his seat.
The entire day was dotted with calls and messages (and my sincere apologies to those whose calls I couldn’t take) but another birthday gift was an eMail message from the British Council — the announcement of my selection as one of the 30 Fellows who will be part of the 2007 British Council InterAction program. With another leadership program opportunity, I am increasingly glad at the opportunity to contribute to the development of Nigeria and Africa — especially through the use of ICTs. The entire day also came with the reflections on What Next, at least for the first part of the next 30 years. Fortunately, the plans did not have to be scripted on the 27th of July since this has been a continuous process in my life.
What’s next? Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, my PhD program, my Fellowship involvements, my book (the project manager has told me the delivery date is circa September 1, 2007!) and impact through seminars. And for those who asked if the next birthday would be celebrated with a Mrs. sesan by my side, the answer is no, but the elegant lady who I intend to marry a few days after my 31st birthday has finally had mercy on me! With her support, I believe that my ability to impact my generation is now on the increase, and that the good news of her own PhD scholarship comes as an all-important birthday gift. Thanks Temilade!
After another meeting with young people yesterday, I got into a discussion with a young man who wanted to know where he could get the chance to listen to more of my thoughts about the various issues I am passionate about. I asked him to check this page today, and here are the confirmed meetings I will be contributing to over the next 2 months:
– August 4: International Youth Networking Day by PIN/NiPRO (7pm-9pm @ The Triangle, 28 Kodesoh Street, Ikeja Bus Stop, Beside Cash ‘n’ Carry, Ikeja, Lagos; NOTE: All guests will bear refreshment costs)
– August 8: ICT & Entrepreneurship Seminar by JCI UNILAG (1pm @ UNILAG Conference Centre, Lagos — RSVP: 0802 814 73 20)
– August 10-12: Youth ICT Seminar (Peggy Hotel Hall, Opp Delta Careers College, Along Airport Rd — RSVP: 0805 063 72 52)
– August 12: Alliance of Change Empowerment Speakers’ Monthly meeting (2pm @ Banquet Hall, Tamarin Hotels, Lagos)
– August 12: International Youth Day Cocktail (Lagos — RSVP: 0803 74 74 312)
– August 18: Youth ICT Seminar by Covenant University/UNILAG/YabaTech (11am on 8th August 2007 @ Main Auditorium, Lagos — RSVP: akinstuctome[at]yahoo.com)
– August 19: Mentorship Session with Adeolu Akinyemi & ‘Gbenga Sesan (2pm @ Generis Solutions, 3rd Floor, Oluwatobi House, 71 Allen Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos — RSVP: omosolatola[at]yahoo.com — Ticket: NGN 1,000)
– August 16 -24: Ajegunle.org Entrepreneurship Training
– August 25: Speakers’ Empowerment Academy 2007 (Lagos: Contact Leo Thomas @ 0802 717 15 60 for registration)
– August 26-31: Youth Employment Summit 2007 (Alexandria)
– September 1-4: International Youth Forum by Suzane Mubarak Foundation (Cairo)
– September 5-6: British Council InterAction Workshop (Abuja)
– September 6-13: Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellows’ Workshop (London)
– September 15: Nigerian by Choice Conference — A gathering of young Nigerians in the UK, to discuss the future of Nigeria (London)
– September 17-18: SatWiBB and VOIP Conference by AITEC Africa (MUSON Centre, Lagos — RSVP: info[at]aitecafrica.com — Conference Fee: GBP 270)
– September 19: NYSC Conference by NCCF (NYSC Camp, Iyana Ipaja, Lagos)
– September 20: CareerFirst Workshop (Lagos — RSVP: 01 895 46 11)
– September 23-27: Global Forum on ICTs and Development by GAID/ITU (Switzerland)
If you’ll be in any of these cities on the said dates, write to ugo.nwosu[at]ajegunle.org for additional details on participation. Thanks for being part of the first 30, let’s walk together for the next. The whole world stands aside for us if we know where we are going, let’s walk the talk!