interviewBy Victor Gotevbe
Dumebi is another interesting person who couldn't graduate from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, after spending five years studying Metallurgical& Materials Engineering due to some outstanding courses. In 2006, he took what he expressed as the best decision of his life amidst peer pressure or ridicule he faced amongst friends to start University all over again. This led him to study in Singapore and Malaysia, and today, he has to his credit an internet radio station with over 25,000 connections . He had a chat with Saturday Youthful Vibes on this adventurous journey. Excerpts:
What inspired your passion?
My core passion is undoubtedly Public Speaking. I started following and understudying President Barack Obama in November 2007 from my residence in Singapore till his inauguration in January 2009. His ability to get people listen to him was amazing. His Iowa victory speech in January 2008 was something else. I started public speaking way back at my secondary school, Command Day Secondary School Ikeja. I was so appreciatedthat I became the President of the Literary and Debating Society.
I won a number of competitions. Since then I have always found myself in such positions and have been honoured to speak on global platforms. Our Nigerian government officials need to understand that there's more to "Fellow Nigerians". It's about emotion, gesture, right choice of words, an unbiased belief and moral system. I love speaking to people, not that I'm a talkative, on the contrary I'm reserved. You can't be a Public Speaker without a passion for addressing needs. This passion basically fuels your engine to go that extra mile. Barack Obama understands this. That's why he ended the Berlin speech with "Yes We Can". Up tilll today the world has not recovered from that speech.
Please tell us about your upbringing.
I was born in Kaduna State to the family of Emmanuel &Rufina O. Emmanuel, but we hail from Nawfija, in Orumba South L.G.A. of Anambra State. I spent my early childhood at NigercemNkalagu because my Dad was the Quarry Manager at Nigercem, that's a cement producing company. We later moved to Abuja and finally Lagos in 1995.
I gained admission into NnamdiAzikiwe University in 2000 to study Metallurgical & Materials Engineering. At first I had no idea what that meant. Never liked it because I never had passion for metals. In 2005, I failed to graduate as I had outstanding courses. By 2006, I took the best decision of my life, to start school all over again. I then proceeded to study Information Technology in Singapore where I acquired a Diploma in Computing (Networking). I further moved to Malaysia where I studied Computer Networks at Stamford College and obtained my BSc in Computer Networks (Magna Cum Laude) from the prestigious University of East London.
Why and how did you become different to make a difference?
I wanted to do something no one on the planet had done before. At least none that I've heard of. I had to explore the possibilities, once I was sure I could bring my imagination to life I went ahead with it. A number of folks did tell me it wasn't possible. A fool's venture. Well, I went ahead with it. The idea's simple. One radio platform where different people can connect and host their shows from all over the world. We provide the platform, you log in with your access details, regular and quality internet connection, good computer and you're on.
We had 380 connections when we started in February 2011. By June we had over 25,000 connections. It's totally free and voluntary. The show hosts are responsible for the sustainability of their shows. For us we have other businesses, the profit from which is used to sustain the radio. We haven't started generating income because that depends on the success and involvement of webcasters from around the world. A lot is involved. It's huge stuff because the Technical team too are scattered around the world. It's an insanely busy back-end at the admin side.
Your plate must be full. How do you measure the impact of your work?
Hmmm. I'll share something with you. I'm currently serving my beautiful Nigeria in Rivers State. I arrived at a school where I was told there were vagabonds, hoodlums and they manufactured weapons. I walked in there, connected with these young guys, and till today there's been serious change. My work is not separate from myself. I am my work and my work is me. How do I measure or access the impact? Feedback.
When your mobile phone battery runs down due to calls, email is filled, text messages keep coming, and when no one sees your facebook status update for three days and you already have 43 inbox messages asking if you're okay. That is the true measure of self value. That is the true measure of impact. I got a call the other day from one of my students and he said "Sir, please I will like you to be my mentor", at the end of the call I turned to my younger brother and said "A mentor at 29? What on earth do I know?" he laughed at me silly.
Do you intend to stick to the vision of being an entrepreneur or looking forward to being an employee?
Employee? [He laughs] I'm not a fan of that word but I leave my entire being in God's able hands. If HE feels I could meet my future wife as an employee in the United Nations that won't be a bad idea at all. [Laughs]. Don't mind me; I have a natural affiliation to selfless, enterprising and resourceful ladies. I love them too much. [Laughs]. Ok, seriously, I and my genius friends, Abraham Katung, Frank AsohSnr, Pere Bessman and Mohammed Al-Jabri own an IT-based company.
We are currently trying to get a few business deals in Nigeria. We develop software, market and propose enterprise solutions, and also conduct trainings on presentation and communication skills. We currently have a tourism deal with the Republic of Maldives and another deal with the Exchange Trade Centre International in Malaysia. This provides an opportunity to host and promote African business exhibitions in Malaysia.
Also, with our business connections outside Nigeria we are working on promoting business relations with Nigerian entrepreneurs and other countries. One of our tourism projects won an international award in New York last month. So for now, we'll be doing our own thing. If any organization wants me? We'll have to discuss serious terms.. Except the President needs a 21st century public speaking coach, [Laughs] then I can consider the employee status.
What would you tell Nigerian youth who want to follow your path?
I'll quote Charles S. Dutton from the movie FAME: "Everything that you want to change about yourself, all the parts of yourself that you keep secret, it's your power. It's who you are". Surround yourself with positive minds. I remember a business presentation in which an Executive said to us "This thing you want to do sound impossible" but my brother & partner, Abraham Katung was quick to respond "Sir, with all due respect we will be delighted to prove you wrong". I've had my own fair share of suffering, started school all over again, but I can sure tell you that when you are driven by passion, passion for what you love doing, then work becomes fun and you will hit success like you never imagined. Now that's what I know for sure.
YOUNG NIGERIANS MAKING THE DIFFERENCE
Stephen o. Ifeanyi - Ajegunle, Lagos state
Stephen is a 22 years old from Mbaitolu Local Government Area in Imo State. He grew up in Ajegunle, Lagos where he currently resides. He attended Randle Senior Secondary school, Apapa. Stephen's childhood was very challenging having to contend with environmental factor, Peer group infleunce, financial difficulty and ghetto lifestyle.
Against all odds, She has consistently remain focus with a mandate to affect lives positively. He is a writer and a motivational speaker. He started motivating and challenging youngsters as a High school student to awaken the giant inside of them.
Out of this burden, he wrote his first book titled "UNDERSTANDING TIME AND CHANCE" which reveals the power of preparation, proper time management, information, the impact of the rights relationship and the place of our potentials. It also reveals how to recognize, use and create opportunities. He is on the verge of founding an organization with a mission to raise outstanding leaders of vision, character and charisma.
In his own words to young Nigerians: "You are a solution to this generation. You came as an answer to the prayers of many. You are an asset to the world. It is not only about amassing wealth but it's about adding value, and affecting the lives of others. It is not only about fulfilling days but fulfilling destiny. Start preparing for a wonderful future NOW! The world is awaiting your manifestation. Always remember, THE MISSION IS POSSIBLE!!!"