I was born in the 80s in Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State, a City with over five million inhabitants where agriculture is the order of the day for every business, as well as for household survival. I grew up in a wealthy polygamous family where everything was done for me, from my laundry to feeding and transportation to the school during my early life. When I reached my teenage years, I recall that my parents, particularly my mother, started passing on some chores to me, such as doing my own laundry, learning how to cook, regular domestic sanitation work, learning how to pray, self-medical treatment for mild body aches and keeping my own up-keep money. During all those years in my early life, I always thought that everyone’s life in the society was just like mine in terms of my privileges and basic domestic chores, as I did not understand then the real meaning of poverty and its spread in the country.
I also grew up with my twin stepbrother, Yusuf, from our early life in Nigeria up to the universities for our Bachelor’s and Masters’ Degrees in Budapest, Hungary. Since we arrived on earth in the same year in 1987 but Yusuf was born in May and I in December, our Father always ensured that we had the same privileges from clothing to food, schools and workplace. On our return from Budapest after completion of our degrees, our Father again ensured that we both work with the same company, Sterling Bank where we spent close to 6 years, after which we both joined a new workplace, Heritage Bank in September 2015. Now even without our Father’s influence, we have both embarked on our PhD Journeys on Integral Development. Sometimes, I say to myself that may be it is just destiny that says that we will grow up, experience and mature together into the same passion to change, and impact on the lives of the poor.
Through tying together my past experiences with my potentials and possibilities, my research-to-innovation journey hinges on the societal suffering of over 70 million Nigerians living below $2USD a day, as I believe that access to credit (or sustainable empowerment) for the poor with the right culturally and communally grounded practices will contribute meaningfully to co-creation of livelihoods for the common good of the society. As I continue to critically evolve (via the integral research methodologies) from my dominant exogenous thoughts toward a more grounded indigenous understanding, I am working to create a new form of entrepreneurship grounded in the Yoruba heritage called “Isejoseneurship”, which is defined as a process and system of starting and managing viable and sustainable indigenous businesses in a communal manner towards a common good of the society. Co-creation of isejoseneurs in relegated indigenous communities is one of the principal goals of myself as well as my research community, expressed through our joined integral center called CISER and its collaboration with the African Centre for Integral Research and Development (ACIRD) and Paxherbals in Ewu Village, Edo State of Nigeria – jointly committed to achieving and sustaining indigenous knowledge and harmony.