Adesina Adewole is the Chief Executive Officer of YorubaConnect, a platform that has been clamouring for the revival of Yoruba cultural values. In this interview with OLAKUNLE TAIWO, he speaks about what has kept his dream going and the next project of the organisation. Excerpts:
How has it been as the Chief Executive of YorubaConnect?
Seriously, it has not been easy. As my father ones told me when I was in school, “for someone to lead 20 youths successfully, he can lead a nation”. He believed that youths are difficult to lead because of their exuberance. Indeed, it has been challenging, but I thank God for being my strength.
You are the CEO of YorubaConnect. What does your organisation do?
The idea is to propagate the Yoruba culture. It is unfortunate that the Western culture has forsaken the Nigerian culture, which has made it possible to have influence on our thinking and behaviour. The beauty of people living together is to remain original. If you look at the way some people greet the elderly, you will notice that they bend instead of prostrating. Some people don’t actually speak more of Yoruba again; rather English Language has overshadowed the totality of our beautiful language. It is unfortunate that I am a victim.
So, we, as a team in YorubaConnect, wish that our language and mode of dressing can improve. We also promote other Yoruba youth platforms. To further sensitise the people the resuscitation of our culture in terms of our mode of dressing and hair styles, which are part of our tradition, we are putting together an event tagged “Runway Rhapsody”. It is about making corporate dresses out of ankara fabrics. Some people already have the perception that ankara and other native are usually worn on weekends. We want a situation whereby people can make wedding gown out of ankara. So, the event intends to correct the stereotype by displaying a mix of ankara with modernity.
Are you getting support from the government or organisations to really support the idea?
I have to be honest with you here. I approached an office related to culture in Ibadan and I was told to bring N50, 000 before they could register us. It was disheartening. But, I told the person that they were supposed to buy into ideas that will improve the society and not to massacre young people’s dreams. But, she replied that it is about connections and that I have to see some people at the top before our event could be funded.
How has that affected your ideas to change some things in the society?
It has really given me more strength instead of pulling me down. It is not about the fame or money, but what people will say after us. So, for me and my team, we have been preparing with the money we get from our parents. I can say, on behalf of my team members that our parents have been our strength in making sure that we achieve our dreams.
What then is your advice for Nigerian youths?
My advice is that the youth should be truthful to themselves. A Yoruba proverb says: Lehin okunkun biribiri, imole atan- meaning after pitch darkness, most assuredly comes the dawn. They should keep hope alive and not relent in what they do and should know that education is important in whatever they do.
What is your advice for government?
My advice for the government is to make sure they create a platform for youths to grow and create more jobs so as not to make them idle. We have seen some consequences in terms of violence and robbery. It is the duty of the government to make sure that youths are well taken care of because we are the future of this great nation.