Lola Adesioye: The Black Wordsmith

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It is known to be a country blessed with lush vegetation and large oil reserves, but more than all these is a plethora of talents who have their roots in the country. Nigeria is one of the most blessed countries in terms of brains as sons and daughters of the country have proven themselves in all walks of life. Nigerians have won ingenuity battles both from home and while they reside in foreign lands. We can speak of Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Emeka Emegwali, Okonjo Iweala, Oris Erhuero (Chris Aire), Taio Cruz, Wale (rapper), Adewale Agbaje Akinnuoye, Asa. I could go on and on till you get tired of reading, but I won’t be doing us both any good if I bore you before talking of the great black lady making Africa proud in the US and the UK. She may not have achieved the iconic figure she’s due in Nigeria and Africa at large, but that doesn’t negate the fact that she is doing us all proud, and writing her name in the sands of time.

Lola Adesioye was born in theUnited Kingdomin 1980. She attended James Allen’s Girls’ School. As a secondary school student, she played the saxophone, recorder, and piano. Besides playing these instruments well, she was also a good singer and founded a gospel choir in her school in 1998. Summer work she did back then became the foundation for who she has become today. She has worked with Atlantic Records, Nokia (On New Year’s Eve concerts), to mention a few. In 2004, she started her own industry-focused website called Verse Online. She has also published a motivational book.

She’s well educated with a B.A and M.A in Social and Political Science from RobinsonCollege,Cambridge University. After graduating, she was one of the six black students who featured in a groundbreaking BBC documentary, “Black Ambition” which documented their lives at Cambridge. I don’t need a soothsayer to tell me she likes reading. She also likes learning and traveling. She believes in “multi-dimensional human beings with the ability to question myths and commonly held assumptions, and contribute meaningfully and positively to the world”. She calls herself a self-confessed geek. I’ll be sure to air my views when I personally meet her. Lola is working on her first non-fiction book which her passion makes me believe it’s about the plight of an African child, or slightly related to that in a way.

Lola is a writer, social commentator, activist, singer/songwriter and entrepreneur. Her commentary and analysis has been featured in The Guardian, The Economist, The Huffington Post, TIME Magazine, The Washington Post’s, and several other publications. She appears regularly on BBC, CNN, BET, and other Tv networks. Despite her busy schedule, she still finds time for social work. She’s a member of Young Professional Committee for The Hunger Project, and also an alumna of the Nigeria Leadership Initiative. She also started a fund for the students of African and Carribbean descent at Cambridge University. She says is at every chance she’s got that Nigerian blood flows in her veins. She is one of the illustrious daughters of Nigeria doing our great country proud in the US.

I just hope someday these faithful sons and daughters making our country proud would gather together somewhere and discuss how they can help to further bolster the country’s growth and allow young Nigerians relate with them in other to easily see them as role models and believe again that something good can actually come out of this country. The truth is that a lot of youths have lost hope, but here is Lola Adesioye, a Nigerian like you rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in media in the world. You also can be great.


Follow Lola on twitter @lolaadesioye


Facebook Lessons

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In the years before Facebook, nobody cared about theWhite Plains,New Yorkborn Mark Elliot Zuckerberg. Although he excelled in science and could read and write French, Hebrew, Latin, and ancient Greek before college, he didn’t catch anybody’s attention and no one could have thought he’d end up being one of the youngest billionaires in the world. He showed his genius in computer quite early.

In the early 90s, Mark’s father, Edward Zuckerberg, a dentist taught his son Atari BASIC programming. He later hired a private tutor, David Newman, a software developer to build on Mark’s background. Newman called Mark a prodigy and said it was tough to stay ahead of him. Writer, Jose Antonio Vargas wrote; “Some kids played computer games, Mark created them.” Mark’s music player called the Synapse Media Player built during his high school years caught the eyes of Microsoft and AOL. They made efforts to purchase Synapse and recruit Zuckerberg, but he turned down their offer and enrolled atHarvardUniversity.

On February 4, 2004, Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his Harvard dormitory. With roommate, Dustin Moskovitz’s help, Facebook changed from just being a “Harvard thing” and spread to other schools (Stanford,Dartmouth,Columbia,New YorkUniversity, Cornell, Penn, Brown, and Yale)

Mark moved toPalo Alto,Californiawith his roomie and some friends. They leased a small house that served as an office. Peter Thiel later invested in the company.

A lot of big offers came in for Facebook, but Mark was not distracted from his mission of “making the world open.”

Mark Zuckerberg has written many programs. He is the chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Facebook with 24% stake worth $16.9billion in the company which went on Nasdaq last week with the IPO price set at $38. He became the world’s youngest billionaire as of 2008 at age 24. He married 27year old Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician whom he met in 2003 at age 28. He has sat with the great men of this universe. He has dined with kings and has employed Ph.Ds, but he didn’t finish at Harvard. He dropped out and went after his dreams.

It’s so sad thatNigeriais a country where talents are not appreciated except recently musical talents. We seem to lack parents who could discover their kids’ talents early in life and help foster it like Zuckerberg’s father did. We also lack kids with guts who would follow their dreams and not give a damn about what people will say. More pathetically, we lack an environment that support genius and pay for brains.

Mark Zuckerberg is today one of the most successful young men in history. He didn’t achieve all he has achieved with a university degree. Nigeria can be great again if we will start looking beyond certificates, start identifying sheer genius and nurturing it.