Just yesterday, I had a terrific time at Orisun Fm in Ile-Ife Osun State. The fantabulous Awosusi Kehinde Samuel and his pretty co-anchors interviewed me on SELF-RELIANCE: AN ANTIDOTE TO POVERTY.


It was a pure Yoruba program, my second time on the show, and I certainly flowed better this time. Now, for the benefit of all those who missed the program (especially all of you outside Osun state) including those who neither understand nor speak Yoruba, here is the abridged transcript of the interview.


Anchor: What is self-reliance?

Me: In very simple terms, it is relying on one’s own efforts and abilities. Today, most people rely on friends, family, the government (which in turn relies on crude oil price which relies on international politics) and for others, it is relatives in the diaspora. That brother in the UK or that uncle in the US. Relying on such external factors usually end in frustration, hence, the call for self-reliance.


Anchor: That’s deep, but does self-reliance work?

Me: Absolutely yes. Self-reliance forces you to think outside the box. Most people don’t realize just how powerful they are. You are powerful beyond measure. You have talents and potentials just lying fallow, and it is your job, your duty even, to bring them to life.

The difference between success and failure is the alignment of strategy, the alignment of our plans. Success is found in engaging our mind, in using it. Like Sam Adeyemi once said ‘poverty is not the absence of money but the absence of ideas’.


Anchor: Wow, dear listeners, like I told you just before we introduced our guest, words are coming out powerfully today. I am sure youths and parents are listening and learning one or two things. Mr Ogunbowale Olugbenga, a lot of youths complain about government not giving them the opportunity and blame government for everything that goes wrong in their lives, what is your response to this?

Me: That is true. Lots of youths are blaming the government but the first thing we have to understand as youth of this great nation is that we are in charge of our own lives. Most youths are sleeping, some are even snoring, wake up! There is something you can do, something every youth can do. Let me share a story I also shared during an interview with Tribune some weeks ago.

When I finished my secondary school education, all my siblings were in higher institution and I knew my parents were investing heavily in that area and had no spare cash for my computer school ambition. I didn’t cry about it or get discouraged, instead I strategized. I actually paid for my own computer training. How did I do it? First of all, I went to teach in a nursery and primary school for six months. I knew I was going to do computer engineering and desktop publishing, so, I saved my salaries and went for the desktop publishing training followed by computer engineering training. By the time I was admitted into the university, I had skills. Even when I was not even thinking business, I was making money by helping people repair laptops, design graphics. I was so good that people would come to me and I started billing people around N5,000 and to my surprise, they were paying. It got to a point that I stopped asking money from my parents.

I share this story because some of my fellow youths just believe that somebody somewhere must send money to them somehow, that manna will fall from heaven. My dear, wake up; you are the one you have been waiting for, no one is coming to your rescue. Get up! There is something you can do. If I saved money from teaching in a primary school to achieve my dreams of being computer literate, you can too.


Anchor: That is simply incredible sir. You started so early…..

Me: That’s not all. I remember a lady, Lolade by name. While I was an undergraduate on campus, She was a photocopy machine operator. Anytime I needed photocopies, I would patronize her stand. I later got to know She was the bread winner of her family and just before I graduated, She gained admission into my Faculty! Can you believe that? That photocopy girl has now stepped up. She now has multiple photocopy machines and She is funding her own education.


Anchor: Thank you very much, once again, Mr Ogunbowale Olugbenga, for coming all the way from the city of Ibadan. Now, our time is far spent, can you quickly share with us, tips on becoming self-reliant?

Me: Let me share 3 steps. One: Define your passion (what do you love to do?), define your mission (how can I use what I love to do to contribute to society?) and finally, define your vision (what you intend to achieve and how you will change the world in a few short years). Two: Set goals for the year, the month and every single day. Be specific about how you will achieve it. You may need to change your friends, you may need to let go of bad habits or even change your location. Three: Take action. A lot of us want change and talk about change but nothing changes. Why? We take no action! Slow motion is better than no motion.

Outside the studio

Anchor: Just before we go, I would like my able co-anchors to ask Mr Ogunbowale 1 or 2 questions.

Co-anchor: Sir, you have advised the youths, however, what is your advice to parents and to the government?

Me: Thank you. My advice to parents is simple: train up a child in the way He should go and when He is old, He will not depart from it. The holy scriptures admonish us to train our children simply because it is much easier to train children than it is to fix broken adults. It is our responsibility to look after our children, to train our youths, to teach them values. We can do more.

To the government, we need to train our youths in intellectual and physical skills. The government must give youths a chance because there can be no representation for us without us. Thank you.


Anchor: Thank you dear listeners for listening. Once again, we are delighted to have you here, Mr Ogunbowale, thank you. To my co-anchors, thank you, to the producer of this program and to the entire production crew, a huge thanks. Till same time, next time, don’t forget that SELF-RELIANCE IS THE ANTIDOTE TO POVERTY.

Published by Ogunbowale Olugbenga

Ogunbowale Olugbenga is a multiple award winning social entrepreneur & digital skills expert. An alumnus of the Leadership in Business Institute of Kellogg School of Management (USA), He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria). Inspired by the plight of millions of unemployed youths, Olugbenga founded, a digital agency passionately growing businesses & accelerating the application of digital skills for economic prosperity across Africa. To help institutions prevent scandals & promote performance, Gbenga founded Polivoice.Work, an anonymous employee feedback tool that captures & analyses feedback anonymously in real time to detect, predict & improve work place conditions. A Mandela Washington Fellow, Tony Elumelu Fellow, Royal Common wealth society fellow, YALI star of business & YALI network influencer, Olugbenga is the founder of Africa’s biggest orphanage outreach, The Orphan Empowerment Society, with a 5,000 strong volunteer force and a presence in 19 African countries empowering thousands of orphans with free vocational skills, medical care, & food. He is also the co-founder of the communication & leadership organization, Pacesetters Leadership Club.

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