Nigeria and Africa at large have a lot of problems – some conspicuous – some not. It’s easy to point a hand at corruption and poor governance, etc. but one mistake we make is we often overlook the roots and want to treat the symptoms. For example, bad roads in Nigeria are not the root problem it’s a symptom and effect of a lack of accountability and poor Governance. This is also a symptom of exploitation in Politics which is a symptom of a lack of proper education.
One of the roots of Nigeria’s economic backwardness is a mindset that isn’t geared towards economic prosperity and development at the individual level. Seeing that Individuals constitute society, it is imperious for every individual to think advanced for society to advance.
Ahmad Tubo and some friends had this ideology and founded Ednue Initiative on it. I had the privilege of Interviewing Ahmad. Read our Enlightening Conversation below.
Ahmad, kindly tell us about yourself.
My name is Ahmad Tubo. I like to describe myself as an entrepreneur who believes in social impact investments; also as a passionate millennial who understands to a significant degree African challenges of inefficiency and believes the gift of life can be an influence to live a purposeful life of selfless service.
I’m so excited about this story. Before we progress, What is your word for anyone with a non-conventional idea?
To just Step on it, Start and Make a Move. I love sharing my experience, because when we started the ‘Ednue Initiative’, we didn’t think it’ll get this far. Still, we had a vision of our impact on the development of the well-being of people in our societies, and we just did what we could from what we had access to at that time. We were able to make an impact because we tried as much as possible to be precise when it comes to making decisions and designing programs that sensitised our audience. So what I’d say to anyone with an unconventional idea is to believe that it only gets better if you make an effort and keep trying. Always work harder and focus on the vision without listening to the doubts of others who don’t buy into the idea.
Please introduce your work
Well, “Ednue Initiative” is an educational foundation founded by Spotacle group which aimed to create a platform that analyses social behaviour and creates solutions that would foster socio-economic development and stability in our respective communities. The Initiative has a board of directors consisting of economists and psychologists who are passionate about the state of mind of citizens in our country. The board annually makes an effort to design targeted programs, strategically placed to stimulate conversations and ignite an ideal thought process to aid in the emergence of a new brand of people, purposeful in their dealings and demand for a prosperous and more productive society through ideal means.
You mention using psychology as a tool for a mindset shift and eventually economic prosperity. How can this shift happen?
Well, to understand the genesis of the idea, the story can’t be told without mentioning the influence of Spotacle group in its creation. When we started Spotacle group in 2018, it was because we saw ourselves as solutions in our society and lived as ideal citizens who always tried to make a difference. The whole idea of the company was to create solutions that are relative to our problems here in Africa and work hard enough to see that those solutions become impactful tools of development in African communities. So on one occasion, we were discussing Nigerian problems and how we as millennials had to make an effort in making a change rather than just using platforms to protest with our opinions only. We felt that it was important that we acted on our ideas of ideal living as citizens of a nation. As we tried to understand the deep problems of the Nigerian or African society at large, we found conspicuous the deficit of an ideal mindset and why it is an essential backbone to any developmental venture.
It is hard for someone to build roads in villages that do not know the use of those roads and one can build schools in places that have people who see no need to go to school. One must try to bridge that gap of information and create an information pool that keenly relates to grassroots education on social amenities and economic structures placed to have an efficiently running system of governance. This deep understanding of the education problem led to the creation of the Ednue initiative where I gave a directive to make it a crucial part of Spotacles investments and here we are today.
What statistics can be used to back up the project?
The National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education (NMEC) said recently that 35 per cent of the nation’s adult population was illiterate. When you put into thought the resources and efforts that the country has committed to numerous mass literacy programmes – including the Universal Primary Education (UPE) scheme launched about 33 years ago – it becomes a worrisome factor that more than a third of our national population are still illiterates. It is a known fact that literacy is very critical to any nation’s development that it should not be considered second to any sector apart from health in regards to the well-being of our people. Hence, when we started Ednue, the whole idea was to try and see that we made an effort in solving a part of our many issues in society. Digging deeper through a public survey we conducted with questionnaires; we realised that mindset and the gap between information and comprehension in the Nigerian community were pretty much full.
The hypothesis was that a lot of people do not understand why some laws exist or why some institutions exist, how they should demand new policies or how they can debate on them, why they should live a certain ideal way and how they should address progress and prosperity with their contributions to the development of the society. That last statement is our purpose of operations in Ednue; it is the core driving force of our ideology. We intend to be part of the people that see themselves as a solution that bridges the gap with our small efforts in making a change for the better.
How important is mindset and social conditioning generally?
I see mindset as an essential factor in an individual’s development of healthy self-esteem that represents an ideal way of life. It is a valuable tool that affects our daily thought processes and our most intimate beliefs. It also partly dictates where we as a people would find ourselves within our communities. So as I mentioned earlier, yes we need basic amenities in these modern times to live a universal experience of comfort but are the people of that society ready to accept those amenities or solutions? So this makes it essential to learn advanced procedures that would help in the orientation of the people in our community – To Either learn how to take advantage of existing opportunities within the system or to learn how to demand the needed opportunities that would aid the progress of sustainable development in the society.
How has it been doing a sort of “Socio-Economic” evangelism for people?
I would say, so far so good. The feedback has been quite motivating, and people welcome the idea with enthusiasm. I think it is because people enjoy learning about the opportunities they have as citizens and the endless possibilities of influence they have available to make necessary demands for their own needs and success as a community
What are the challenges to your work? How have you overcome some and what are the most prominent ones?
Our challenges are not any more different than problems faced by organisations making efforts to be solutions to our existing issues within the Nigerian system. There are challenges of limited accessibility to remote communities and the struggle of acceptance of presented programs by the locals in small communities.
How do you recommend governments and individuals and Private Organizations like yours remedy this problem?
Well like I said earlier, its always about trying harder to strategically study a given problem at any given time and then putting in the effort to create a solution that would foster significant socio-economic development at the grassroots in our respective communities
How can readers engage you?
Readers can join our ideal team and be a part of the solution to achieve the vision of socio-economic growth and development on www.ednue.com.
The work Ahmad and Ednue Initiative do is not a job left for them alone. It is up to me and you reading this to make our bid in our corner to educate those around us and spark a paradigm shift in our local communities.
Thank you for reading and see you next time on the Impacting Nigeria Series.