On the 12th of June 1998, an event occurs that shook the whole of my existence and everything I called beauty disappeared before my own eyes. I was on the assembly ground, a 9-year-old when I got the news my two siblings were involved in a car accident that claimed their lives. This was hard for our single mother to get over and her business collapsed and it became terribly difficult for us to earn a living. I had to withdraw from private school to a public school because she could not afford my school fee any longer. I lost every hope of a great future ahead, no aspirations I just wanted to survive at the very least. I did a whole lot of stuff, from hawking to being a house maid. I can’t start to state different kinds of Maniar jobs my mum has to do for us to get by, maybe that will be a story for some other time.
I literally only showed up during my junior year in high school, which explains my decline in performance. I remember at the time I had to forge my own report card because my mum knew me to be a high-performance kid and she would give anything she could to give us an education, even at the basic minimal she could afford. Because she never had the opportunity herself.
During this darkest seasons of my life, something happens that changed my life forever. It was the last day of school and I got my horrible report card as usual kept it in my inner pocket ready to go home and enjoy another circle of holiday, as I was walking past the hallway I saw a group of seniors gathered around a tall fair looking guy with a uniquely clean uniform, I am always dirty you guess; I play my heart out to make up for my emptiness. I went to see what was so interesting about him that attracted such a crowd and admiration. I moved closer and peep it was his report card they were all discussing he got 9 straight A’s. I have never seen a report card so blue and beautiful, my results are always red, term in and term out. And a bright light shines through my darkest mind, if he can do it I can do it also.
I went back home that day inspired and ready to give it all I can to be the best student I can be. In the midst of the troubles, poverty and seeing my mother struggle all I have to do is read and this gives me a renewed hope, dream and aspiration: I wanted to become a doctor, take my family out of poverty and impact as many lives as I could. I found a coach Mr Koiku a brilliant senior student who put me through my studies and challenged me to be better. I started teaching other students and also coaching my peers. We formed a reading club and I went from being a failure to becoming an inspiration to my peers; and represent my school and state in national biology, mathematics and the Junior Science Olympiad.
In 2006 after my high school I discover the power of a PC as someone who has cultivated the culture of reading. I read everything I found on computing, I taught myself graphics, web design and programming. As I become more passionate about computing my desire to help others become more obvious, using technology to solve problems around me I worked with private organizations, start-ups as a freelancer, volunteered with nonprofit organizations, teach evening class on web design and started a group Young Developers Network in 2009 to help undergraduate understand emerging technologies. Before moving on to get an associate degree in computing and a degree in IT Security, I got a job with one of the biggest printing press in Nigeria and it’s like I had everything I ever wished for.
In 2015 I started having this strong feeling of emptiness and lack of satisfaction. A feeling that I can do more, that I can touch more lives and make a real impact; than staying in my comfort zone and enjoying my comfortable salary. I resigned my job just 3 months to my wedding day. It was the riskiest decision I have ever made in my life. I joined the development sector also start Rhoda.Co a Civic-Tech Organization that helps Government, NGO and Individuals put technology to work.
I started searching for problems areas and how I can use technology to solve some of the daunting problem facing us as a nation. In 2016 I launched OpenHealth Nigeria with Dr Gbemisola a platform that is using Technology & OpenData for Quality, Personalised and Accessible Health Care for all.
I kept on researching the problems in the Education Sector which is an area I am most passionate about and I found some of these insights: