International Day of Education 2024: Interview with Esther Taiwo

Esther Taiwo

Esther Taiwo is a driven and purposeful young woman who has grown rapidly in her chosen career path. She is currently an Audit Semi Senior at Deloitte Nigeria. In this interview, Esther celebrates the International Day of Education by sharing her story and encouraging young people like herself who want to make meaning of their lives.

Can I get to know you?

My name is Esther Taiwo. I am currently based in Lagos, Nigeria and I am a dedicated and value-driven Chartered Accountant with a drive for excellence in the accounting profession. Also, I am passionate about self-development and continuous professional growth. My primary school education was at POWA, Abuja and my secondary school education at Command Secondary School. I went further to complete my degree at Landmark University and was privileged to have graduated with a first-class degree. I am pro-literacy and an advocate for good education.

Why did you choose to study accounting? Have you always loved numbers?

My dad inspired my interest in accounting. He was a Federal Auditor when I was much younger. There were times that he let me count his money for him and I enjoyed doing that. Also, I had the privilege of assisting my dad to write reports and this allowed me to understand more about auditing. I haven’t always loved numbers. I wasn’t so great at Mathematics when I was younger so I haven’t always known that this was the path I was going to take. Apart from my dad who inspired my interest in accounting, a lecturer at the university made my colleagues and I read a book titled “Smartest Guys in the Room” by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind and reading this book gave me a sense of purpose to want to solve the problems of individuals and corporations with my skill set.

You graduated with a first-class degree and that is impressive. A lot of people believe that just gaining an education is enough and don’t strive for excellence. They are satisfied with just a degree and not necessarily being on top. On the other side, a lot of people automatically assume that a good degree will land one a good job after school. What are your thoughts on that?

While at the university, I was at the university mentally. I did not focus much on after school because I decided to focus completely on what I was doing at that time. Also, I was privileged to attend a good private school, and I had it at the back of my mind that I had to maximise the privilege I had.

I would say that the most important thing in life is that you in your very best in all that you do. It is very satisfying to know you gave whatever it was, your all. About 90% of the time when you give it your best, you end up with favourable outcomes. I was lucky enough to be the second best graduating student in her department. This did not happen by chance, I had likeminded friends that kept me accountable.

Whilst getting a degree is important, it is not enough; there are several sacrifices one must make to access available opportunities. After university, by the grace of God, I completed my ICAN during my NYSC. I had to defer my NYSC to study thoroughly for my ICAN examinations. For this reason, I was also privileged to work at different organizations before landing my job at a Big 4 Company.

I must say, my university results influenced my getting a role at Deloitte. It is always important to give your best wherever you find yourself.

Esther Taiwo

No man is an island, nothing is new under the sun. Everyone needs guidance, do you have career mentors or people you look up to?

There is a system for that in Deloitte. You are automatically put in teams and you get close guidance. Consulting others is a popular thing at my place of work. When you start this journey, you will face a lot of alien things, but it is a process and one must always seek guidance. I have had instances where I needed close guidance and it was duly given to me with patience and kindness. One of my mum’s friends also gave me some form of mentorship and guidance when I began my career.

I also have women I look up to, Mrs Owen Omogiafo and Mrs Dupe Olusola. They embody work-life balance and they are excellent at what they do. They seem to do all of these effortlessly and this inspires me greatly.

There shouldn’t be gender discrimination when it comes to education or even at all. When you take your daughter to school, you are positioning her to do exceedingly well in life. Education imparts confidence and when you educate a girl, you give her confidence to take on the world. Girls should be given the opportunity to make something out of their lives.

There are girls out of school and will probably not get the chance to gain formal education. This is one of the harsh realities for girls in Nigeria. What are your thoughts?

There shouldn’t be gender discrimination when it comes to education or even at all. When you take your daughter to school, you are positioning her to do exceedingly well in life. Education imparts confidence and when you educate a girl, you give her confidence to take on the world. Girls should be allowed to make something out of their lives.

There is a quote by Malcolm X that says; “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” I think education is a means to help people discover their identity. It is the first step to understanding their place in society and the rights available to them. Denying girls access to education deprives them of possibilities in the future.

Do you think it is possible to attain balance in all areas of one’s life at all seasons of one’s life?

As someone who works a corporate job, it has been quite difficult to balance work and social life. There are seasons in your life where everything will be focused on work and that will take a huge chunk of your time. However, there will be seasons where things are not as busy and you can indulge more in social activities.

There are always some compromises you will have to make and some things will suffer. I think a person can have it all. You can have it all, in my opinion, which means you don’t have to necessarily give up anything 100%. You can reduce efforts, time and dedication, and not necessarily allow something die completely.

UNESCO suggests that a country should fund education with at least 15% to 20% of the annual budget. However, Nigeria is within the 5% to 6% range. When you check other neighbouring countries, they are doing better as their percentage almost meets the UNESCO recommended range. If you educate people, they are empowered to contribute more to the country; street crime is reduced, credible elections are guaranteed amongst many other positive things.

What do you think can be improved about the Nigerian education sector?

When it comes to fixing education in Nigeria, a lot has to do with policies and funding. If I were in a room with President Bola Tinubu, I would suggest that the government improve the funding of the education sector. Education is key and should be for all members of the society.

UNESCO suggest that a country should fund education with at least 15% to 20% of the annual budget. However, Nigeria is within the 5% to 6% range. When you check other neighbouring countries, they are doing better as their percentage almost meets the UNESCO recommended range. If you educate people, they are empowered to contribute more to the country; street crime is reduced, and credible elections are guaranteed amongst many other positive things. There should be adequate funding for education as Nigerians pay taxes for infrastructure. Teachers should be paid well also. The quality of education will improve when academic providers are compensated well. Compulsory basic education should be enforced by the executive.

Thank you so much for your time, Esther. I trust your story will inspire young people like us around the continent. Wishing you the very best with all that you do!

You can find more about Esther Taiwo here.

For more from Sarauta Spotlight click here

Related Posts

2 Responses
  1. Emoka

    Esther is just a brilliant girl, im glad she seem to be on the right path, which is not easy to be on in this part of the world. More of this need to be mainstream so lots of young individuals most especially girl get inspired. Happy Education day!!!

Leave a Reply

My New Stories

Incredible Music Festival
visa-free
Cherry Silas
Esther Adelana
Ruth Adeyemi
Esther Taiwo
Meumbur Praise Tule
International Day of Education
touring