“A Mentor Helps Me Separate Emotional Sentiments from Purpose”

Q: Tell us a few things about your country, and also your life's story!

A: My country - Nigeria; one of the greatest ironies on earth is having everything and lacking everything! This may sound strange to anyone but a Nigerian.

Nigeria is beautiful on several sides, people are hardworking and always happy. We love colours, our lives are coloured with zeal, music, awesome dance steps and happiness. But; everything cracks when reality sets in. No food, no access to electricity, low levels of security and government who focus on enriching themselves, living large and spending money in Dubai

I come from the oil rich part of Nigeria - responsible for making Nigeria the 7th largest producer of oil in the world!

The oil money has driven a strange madness which has impoverished the people of South-south Nigeria also called Niger-Delta. The oil exploration and exploitation has rendered many happy homes sad. Oil spills are common due to poor engineering, carelessness and vandalism. The spills contaminate soils, so badly that farmers can no longer farm. Rivers are not left behind, the spill contaminates rivers and destroys the aquatic flora and fauna; hence fishermen are left with no source of livelihood.

This lead to the Niger Delta militancy as a lot of the people affected decided to rebel. Several lives have been lost to the so-called struggle as government refuses to meet their demand and the Nigerian Army goes to any length to keep the oil flowing. So technically, agriculture is dead! We depend on other regions for food. This prompted me to study crop production at the university.

I hope later in the future I can be a leader in developing practical ways of food and fish production in such a way that the effects of the oil spillage do not affect food production.

I developed vertical farming systems and I am still working on making it cost effective so that everyone can access it. Soilless cultivation is the way out to farm in areas of contaminated soils

Q: What is your view of the world as it is today? And how do you define the concept of a better world?

A: The world is growing fast with people more connected than ever before. Technology and advanced to a very high degree and everything keeps improving. While this is amazing, we know that bad things keep improving too!

More sophisticated weapons that can deliver havoc faster anywhere in the world, a monopolistic tendency of large tech companies to own information and manipulate global decisions - this is a dangerous weapon of mass destruction too.

An ideal world is a world with conscience, free from greed, hatred and power drunkenness. A world where people conduct themselves with respect and love. Where global peace is the ultimate goal and economic prosperity does not involve tradeoffs that leave millions hungry.

An ideal world is a world of peace, work, technology and zero hunger.

Q: What are some of the key challenges in your society?

A: My society is plagued with challenges borne out basic needs to function effectively. Lack of electricity, cultism, high criminal activities and a prevailing condition of poverty.

A huge part of the challenge faced is as a result of very bad government who have failed severely to deliver utility to its people.

Q: As a young individual what are a few of the hurdles that you had to overcome up until today?

A: I remember how I struggled through the university, I was unable to pay the school fees; I had to work as a construction labourer for 6 months until I was able to the scholarships.

The story of more struggles presented itself after I graduated from university. I couldn't get a job, I went through the most difficult phase of my life.

Interestingly, every day presents a new hurdle. One more reason to keep going and not give up.

Q: Why is the role of a mentor important for you?

A: A mentor gives information and guidance from a wealth of experience and exposure that could guide and improve mentees' situations faster.

I need a mentor to guide me and help me clear the cloudiness of confusion associated with being young - separating imaginations from reality and emotional sentiments from purpose.

Q: Do you have a lesson that life has taught you and you would like to share?

A: Life has taught me that diligence, hardworking and resilience never go unrewarded.

Q: Name a project, a foundation or a person in your country that you think is doing great work in helping improve other people's lives!

A: One child project

Q: What are some of the challenges that women in your country face and what efforts are made towards gender equality?

A: Women are often seen as the lesser gender, they are regarded as people who should take care of the home. This is changing really fast as more there is a wave of women consciousness of their position in the society beyond been home makers. Women now run for top government positions and control large companies.

Q: Athena40 is the first ever global selection of the top 40 women forward thinkers, commentators, activists, authors, academics, entrepreneurs, executives, innovators. Can you think of a truly innovative and forward-thinking woman from your country that you wish to nominate for the Athena40 global list?

A: Amaka Ndukwu

She is driving rural development and empowering women and youths through agriculture under the aegis of AgroHive.

Q: Share with us a phrase, a poem or a story that you love or you find interesting!

A: Man is the architect of his life and the custodian of his destiny.

Q: Tell us one thing that you have learned from your mentor.

A: My mentor is really amazing and has changed my views on many issues. He taught me that attitude precedes skills and having a good character is best to function in this modern world.