How Kolawole Salis rose from a very humble background to hanging out with a president. 

​Can we meet you?

I am Kolawole Salis also known as E-SKY (Eligible – Salis Kolawole Yusuf)

Where do you reside and your state of origin?

I reside in Lagos and I originated from Abeokuta in Ogun state

Can you tell us about your family background ?

I am an indigene  of Abeokuta Egba Oke-Ona. I have a very humble backgroud; I was given birth to in a colossal polygamous home of Mr. Salis Omobaanu a prominent chief (Akinrogun) in Ilupeju Oke-Odo Abeokuta and Mrs. Rukayah Shorunke from Owu kingdom. I am the fourth child of my mum and the beloved. Though not born with silver spoon, my life has been graced by God. Let me just say I am like the biblical Joseph in Salis’s family

Can you share with us Your academic background and educational attainments?

I attended Comprehensive Children’s School (a private school), in Lafenwa Abeokuta and graduated in 1999.

After which I got admission into Baptist Boys’ High School, Oke-Saje Abeokuta; where I spent my JSS1 and got one of the best results in class. But afterwards, in line with my mum’s willingness to give me the best quality education, in the year 2000 I joined Comprehensive Academy, Lafenwa Abeokuta, then being a newly established secondary school of my previous primary school. So I was one of the pioneer students, a highly competitive school.

I chose to be a social science student based on my desired career but also took few science courses, and while in the school, I was very disciplined and determined for excellence; I represented the school in virtually all events ranging from Quizes, Debate, Sports, Social and Televised contests and triumphed in all. I became the most popular student and equally won the award for the Best Academic/Debating student in Abeokuta North local Government, Ogun state in 2004. I graduated in 2005 and by God’s grace, I equally had the best WASSCE result in my school. 
I wrote my first JAMB the following year but the result was delayed so I took up enrolment at Brightway Computers and Continuing Education College Abeokuta, where I studied Computer Science and competed with graduates. However, I emerged the Overall Best Graduating Student and upon graduation I was offered an appointment letter to lecture in the same college as instructor and tutor of post secondary school students.

While taking this role I wrote another JAMB and got admission into Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife in 2007 to study Political Science and education though I had applied to study Economics. However, after my first year, I kept firm and struggled to have a leading result in the department and thereafter changed to Economics and education. While in OAU, I was academically and socially active right from my first year since I was used to combining multiple roles right from my secondary school experience.

From year one, I contested and won the seat of Financial Secretary of National Association of Egba Students, OAU chapter. With my flair for writing,  I equally joined the Association of Campus Journalist and I rose to the position of Editor-in-Chief of two news media outfits. 

I was partially into the school’s student unionism, I contested for the Presidency of education faculty and I was an active member of MSSN. While maintaining my academic stance, I represented OAU in an oratory contest orgnised amongst universities in Nigeria and I emerged the Best Orator while I lifted the school to the First position in the inter-varsity contest.I graduated in 2011 as one of the best in my department.

I was mobilised for NYSC in November 2012 and was posted to Enugu state. I was selected as Corpers’ Liaison Officer in my posted unit, Achi Oji-River Local Government Area and won NYSC Enugu state Commendation Award on Personal Community Development Service projects.

Two years after NYSC completion and having worked on appointment under an Associate Professor in University of Lagos, as a Graduate Assistant,  I got admission to study M.Sc Economics at same university in 2014. I graduated with merit in 2015.  Upon completing my final exams, I got a job offer to work as Research Analyst in an investment bank Lead Capital Plc, Lagos in January 2016.

I am currently a prospective PhD holder at University of Lagos.

What do you do for a living sir?

I am a Consultant and Research Analyst at Lead Capital Plc, Victoria Island, Lagos

Can you tell us about your marital status ?

I am single

What are the challenges you face in your line of occupation?

I actually faced no intense challenge. I am not under any pressure whatsoever, with God everything is going seamlessly. Save for the traffic jam in going to and coming from work which is a normal routine in Lagos.

What is your inspiration sir?

Purely God, God and God. I get divine insights via dreams, readings, scriptures, instinct, happenings of nature and relations with people. And a few special people inspire me, my Mum she is ultimate and some people I  have met and work with.

What lessons have you learnt that you think every forward looking youth should know?

First, everyone must realise that our creation is for a purpose in tandem with God’s ordain; purely we are meant to live for God. One thing I have learnt is that every human is created with speciality and unlimited potentials with which one can attain a desired height. But to achieve greatness, one must pay the sacrifice by living a disciplined life and being dedicated to one’s duties. As a youth, you must explore every avenue to advance in knowledge, and develop ideas to solve societal problems from which one can amass wealth and greatness without losing contact with God. Life has constantly taught me that to achieve greatness one must think different and do things in a different way and also sacrifice some leisure. So every forward looking youth should note that “No good thing comes easily, even gold must go through fire if it must shine”.

What aspect of your educational background helps you the most in your current occupation?

From being a toddler I was nurtured as a thinker to take note of nature and happenings around me. While in secondary school I trained as a debater, orator and public speaker which got me widely developed in research subject matters. It is after thorough findings (research) that you can speak genuinely in public, so I kept tabs on every subject writing that stimulated my interest in general research. As a research analyst and consultant, I built basic skills in the university, by virtue of my course of study, Economics, I acquired skills in data analysis, statistics and calculations, financials and information processing. And more importantly, I was actively involved in student journalism (even though I wasnt a mass comm or English student), I got enormous skills in writing and making findings on happenings as a student journalist and News Editor. I have equally worked voluntarily as a Graduate Research Assistant at University of Lagos prior to the commencement of my Master’s degree.  All of these have contributed to my effectiveness in my present job.

How do you define success ?

My definition for SUCCESS goes in four expressions; 

I see success as being fulfilled in one’s dreams, living a comfortable life, helping others and putting smiles on the faces of people around,  living a godly life and being aligned with God. 

What were the defining moments when you started as a consultant and Research Analyst ?

I joined the investment banking industry just a month after I completed my Master’s  degree final exams, so I had no prior practical experience on the job. However starting was rather interesting and my my defining moment was aided by my zeal for learning and inquisitive nature. I kept calm, humble and put up much courage to learn as fast as I could. I noted and jotted all relevant contents while I functioned under superior guidance, discharging assigned duties with much care and accuracy.

Have you ever won Awards, Honors or special recognition as an individual?

Yes, to the glory of God I have a number of awards/honours to my credit. This dates back to my secondary school

– I won the Best Academic/Debating Student in Abeokuta North LG Ogun state (NYF 2004). 

-I had the Best WASSCE result in my school.

-I emerged as the Overall Best Graduating Student Award 2006/2007 in BRICOMCEC with an appointment to tutor in same college.

– I got the Best Tutor of the year award at Royal International School, Abeokuta where I worked for a year.

– I represented Obafemi Awolowo University and I won the Best Orator Award in an inter-varsity contest in the country organised by University of Ibadan 2011. 

– I graduated with one of the best results in my department.

– In the course of my NYSC at Enugu state, I was honoured as the Outstanding Leader and Liaison Officer in my LG. 

-I also received the NYSC Enugu State Government Merit Award of Commendation. 

-I had my master’s degree on Merit grade

What will you describe as your secret formula to success?

I put so much trust God, I believe in myself with much discipline and dedication and i do not copy people’s lifestyle; i do things in my own special ways and i keep to prayers. I operate on a philosophy: to achieve greatness, one must live special; for a person that is successful has simply formed the habit of doing things that unsuccessful people will not do”

What living person do you admire the most and why?

I really don’t admire people except for faith and knowledge based qualities. So, anyone in the globe with ascetic faith and beneficial knowledge has my admiration. But in all I admire my Mum a lot, why? she is so intelligent and insightful. 

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

So far, God has used me to build people intellectual wise, career wise and religion wise, these i consider as my greatest achievements.

What are your future plans?

I hold a proficiency certificate in Management as a chartered Manager from the Nigerian Institute of Management and I am upgrading as an Associate Member of the institute. I believe my natural ardour lies in human capacity building, so my plan is to get established in Human capacity development and also institute business and corporate services that will promote human and societal wellbeing. In an aspect, I want to lecture and keep imparting beneficial knowledge to people, so I am working to obtain my PhD degree. On the other hand, i want to set up companies and institutions where I can employ and empower people, and give beneficial outputs that will promote the society.

What legacy do you want to leave behind?

I want to always be known and remembered for living a simple sincere life and making life better for others  without loosing connection with God.

How can a Nigerian youth discover his talent or creative side ?

Reading books of any kind and frequent meditation, focusing on their positive sides, relating with people (small, young, old) and seeking their lofty views, travelling and going on adventures, and taking action by putting things into practice. I have some of my potentials that was discovered via meditation, and some I discovered after relating with some certain people.

Interview by: Odeyemi Qawiy Bamidele

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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