Mary Ekah

THISDAY - - COVER -

So far, what plat­forms have you ex­hib­ited your tal­ent as a trans­for­ma­tional speaker?

I have done count­less of ra­dio pro­grammes. I am known in ma­jor ra­dio sta­tions in Ibadan, I have done some pro­grammes with the na­tional tele­vi­sion, NTA Ibadan. I have done pro­grammes in al­most all the ma­jor ra­dio sta­tions in Nige­ria in­clud­ing Abuja. I have trav­elled to other African coun­tries where I held pro­grammes. Over the years, I have spon­sored and or­gan­ised trans­for­ma­tional pro­grammes in ma­jor­ity of the ra­dio and TV sta­tions in Nige­ria. I have also used my so­cial me­dia plat­forms to campaign against child abuse, rape, hu­man traf­fick­ing, do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, re­la­tion­ship and mar­riage, the im­por­tance of men­tal and emo­tional health in work­ing en­vi­ron­ment, re­la­tion­ship, mar­riage and the need for re-mod­ernising our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in Nige­ria. I have been to many schools to talk to stu­dents. I re­ally think we have two prob­lems in Nige­ria and if we can fix those ar­eas, the fu­ture will be bright but if we do not fix those ar­eas, I guar­an­tee you ev­ery other ef­fort we are mak­ing will only end in dis­as­ter. One of these prob­lems has to do with par­ent­ing – How we are rais­ing our chil­dren. Num­ber two is the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem. The ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem right now is broke. The stan­dard of ed­u­ca­tion in Nige­ria is noth­ing to write home about and the level of em­ploy­ment is poor be­cause no­body wants to in­vest in some­thing with­out some level of guar­an­tee. The ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem does not give you money-back guar­an­tee. What is the guar­an­tee of a Nige­rian grad­u­ate who have stud­ied in school af­ter five years that he/she would be suc­cess­ful. That is why I ad­vise peo­ple that while you are go­ing to school, make sure you are learn­ing a skill and then use your ed­u­ca­tional qual­i­fi­ca­tion as a boost be­cause when peo­ple see that you are ed­u­cated, they re­spect you a lot. The ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem is not bring­ing out the best in the stu­dents and that is why a lot of grad­u­ate are un­em­ploy­able. We re­ally need to work on the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem in Nige­ria if we ac­tu­ally need a brighter fu­ture. But then it is very dif­fi­cult for the school to han­dle a child that has been raised by neg­li­gent par­ents. Those are the chil­dren who be­come nui­sance in the so­ci­ety. Par­ents should un­der­stand that they are images for their chil­dren, chil­dren don’t learn by in­struc­tions, they learn by im­i­ta­tions. I was raised by my mother and she had to go through sev­eral chal­lenges to make sure she took care of me to grow up to be­come the per­son I am to­day. So be­ing some­one who has ex­pe­ri­enced all kinds of se­vere chal­lenges and trauma, I un­der­stand what it is for a child to ex­pe­ri­ence such and that is why I ad­vo­cate for men­tal health.

How re­ally was your child­hood, which ap­par­ently has got so much in­flu­ence on you to­day?

My child­hood is some­thing you can re­late to. One, my dad was a young man whose dad prob­a­bly wasn’t there for him. Prob­a­bly my dad’s grand­fa­ther wasn’t there for his dad too. So the jinx con­tin­ued that way, so when my own dad had me, he wasn’t able to re­late like a fa­ther. So when I was grow­ing up, I was al­ways think­ing he was a wicked man and so we be­came like enemies but when I grew up I started to un­der­stand his predica­ments. That is why you re­ally need to take time and look at some­one’s back­ground be­fore you go into a re­la­tion­ship be­cause if they were raised as vic­tims, they be­come vic­tims too.

Apart from be­ing a trans­for­ma­tional coach, what else do you do?

I am a busi­ness­man. I buy and sell. I run an e-com­merce web­site and we sell a whole lot of things. You can say I am a good or­a­tor. I en­joy talk­ing and I know how to con­vince peo­ple, so I de­cided to use that tal­ent in busi­ness. I dis­cov­ered that there were so many peo­ple who have won­der­ful prod­ucts but they don’t have good com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills and so they don’t know how to con­vince peo­ple and I de­cide to bridge that gap. So I started a so­cial me­dia plat­form with a web­site where we sell all kinds of goods and I have made a good amount of money from it.

You are ap­par­ently a man of many parts, where re­ally lies your in­ter­est?

I have so many things I am in­ter­ested in – busi­ness, pol­i­tics, re­li­gion, psy­chol­ogy, phi­los­o­phy but I re­ally love psy­chol­ogy be­cause psy­chol­ogy is very close to what I iden­tify my­self as. First and fore­most, I want to know what makes peo­ple do and why they do them. And if you un­der­stand psy­chol­ogy, you can op­er­ate in any level. All these started when I was a very lit­tle boy. I wanted to know more about the hu­man be­ings; what causes hu­man be­ings to take the de­ci­sions they take; why some peo­ple are poor while oth­ers are rich; what makes some coun­tries bet­ter than other coun­tries, is it just re­sources or is about in­tel­li­gence. I wanted to know all these things which led me to study­ing these things early in life. For­tu­nate enough, I grew up with peo­ple who are spir­i­tu­ally and philo­soph­i­cally in­clined; peo­ple who were in­tel­lec­tu­ally ma­tured and ex­pe­ri­enced. That ex­posed me a lot to all kinds of knowl­edge, in­for­ma­tion, in­sight and un­der­stand­ing about things that my peers and con­tem­po­raries don’t even have in­for­ma­tion about. I re­ally love Psy­chol­ogy be­cause it is a sci­en­tific study of the be­hav­iour and men­tal pro­cesses of an­i­mals and hu­man be­ings. So a psy­chol­o­gist wants to as­sess mea­sure, eval­u­ate, con­trol and pre­dict. So I re­ally see psy­chol­ogy as my main in­ter­est and psy­chol­ogy has given me that un­der­stand­ing to be able to work with every­body at any place.

That means you stud­ied Psy­chol­ogy at school. Didn’t you?

Yes, I did pro­fes­sional Psy­chol­ogy, which is holis­tic be­cause usu­ally the Psy­chol­ogy we do at school; don’t usu­ally give us enough in­for­ma­tion about the hu­man mind. Psy­chol­ogy de­fine the mind as an en­tity of its own but it does not re­ally give you so much de­tail but holis­tic Psy­chol­ogy goes be­hold that. Holis­tic Psy­chol­ogy has to do with body, mind and soul. So study­ing Psy­chol­ogy at school gave me a dif­fer­ent perspective of Psy­chol­ogy and be­cause I had al­ready had psy­cho­log­i­cal back­ground, peo­ple who are men­tors and who are even PhD doc­tor­ates in var­i­ous cour­ses do not even un­der­stand the way I do. If a psy­chol­o­gist is talk­ing to me now, I could know where he is stuck. I could know where his knowl­edge ends and from there I can carry on. So study­ing Psy­chol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Ibadan wasn’t re­ally a big deal be­cause I had al­ready had a holis­tic back­ground and that is why I am dif­fer­ent from all other psy­chol­o­gists. I don’t just use cog­ni­tive ther­apy but I use meditation, af­fir­ma­tion and my SDP, which means Self-de­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme, to help peo­ple come out of de­pres­sion. I don’t just treat your de­pres­sion or coach you, I trans­form you and also in­crease your awareness about your­self.

Now the only rea­son why we have prob­lems in this world is be­cause most of us don’t know who we are and what we are ca­pa­ble of do­ing. Our big­gest prob­lem is ig­no­rance be­cause if every­body knows who they are, what they are ca­pa­ble of do­ing and what they can achieve, we won’t have any prob­lem. This ig­no­rance has been trans­lated in so many ter­mi­nolo­gies. So for me, Psy­chol­ogy is a big deal and it is some­thing I will prob­a­bly study all my life be­cause there is no boundary, there is no limit when it comes to knowl­edge and then, its per­sonal de­vel­op­ment as­pect is such a very im­por­tant part of hu­man life.

If you look at the world to­day, peo­ple are al­ways look­ing out­side for so­lu­tion. You see peo­ple trav­el­ling out­side their coun­tries to look for solutions to their prob­lems but the so­lu­tion to ev­ery­thing is in­side of you. Ev­ery­thing comes from in­side. So my kind of psy­chol­ogy is rare, my kind of coach­ing is rare and my kind of ex­pe­ri­ence is rare.

In this part of the world we are no longer prac­ti­cal, we are be­com­ing more the­o­ret­i­cal and life is beyond just talks, it has to do with re­sult. If I haven’t demon­strated by re­sult, I don’t have any right to talk about any­thing. Psy­chol­ogy for me is won­der­ful and it was just two years ago that I de­cided to go get a de­gree at the Univer­sity of Ibadan in Psy­chol­ogy oth­er­wise; I have al­ready had the back­ground.

Would it be right to say that your prac­ti­cal in­volve­ment with peo­ple sharp­ened your psy­cho­log­i­cal prow­ess?

One of my spir­i­tual men­tors was ac­tu­ally a psy­chol­o­gist and that also helped me lay the foun­da­tion. I also have the same story as the av­er­age Nige­rian boy who comes from a bro­ken home, so when I add up all these neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ences, that are not good for men­tal health, all of those things ac­tu­ally mo­ti­vated me to be­come a psy­chol­o­gist.

You said you started think­ing out­side box at a very ten­der age. Ex­actly at what age was that?

I started won­der­ing about the hu­man ex­is­tence from the age of 13. One in­ci­dent hap­pened where a close pal of mine died and that was the first time in my life, I heard that some­one was dead and I was like, how come? Do peo­ple re­ally die? And I went on and on to ask so many ques­tions. Again, I come from a very spir­i­tual back­ground and we prac­tise the East­ern phi­los­o­phy. My par­ents prac­tise Hin­duism and be­cause of this, they laid foun­da­tion for me to know early enough the hu­man makeup. So I had al­ready known who I am. I know I am a spir­i­tual be­ing hav­ing phys­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ences. I had al­ready known my iden­tity right from when I was a very lit­tle boy be­cause of the kind of en­vi­ron­ment I grew. And the only way I could re­late to the out­side world was be­cause I was some­how con­nected to psy­chol­ogy, oth­er­wise if I speak where other peo­ple don’t un­der­stand these things, they would lose their minds. So for me to be able to re­late with peo­ple around me, I had to study some form of psy­chol­ogy so that my so­cial life would not be con­tin­u­ously af­fected.

At what point were you able to rec­on­cile your be­lief with the var­i­ous be­liefs that other peo­ple around you had with­out it af­fect­ing your so­cial life?

My be­lief ac­tu­ally af­fected my so­cial life at first but I just re­alised one day that I was do­ing the right thing. We have all been raised in a cer­tain way and we all are work­ing ac­cord­ing to what we have been told. We have all been pro­grammed right from when we were ba­bies to think and see things in a par­tic­u­lar way. At a par­tic­u­lar point, I asked my­self if I re­ally knew what I was do­ing. Those who un­der­stand and know what they are do­ing that de­cide how much money peo­ple pay to them. They write their own tick­ets in life.

What is your vi­sion for Nige­ria, Africa and the world?

I only have one goal and that is the goal I want to be re­mem­bered for and I think I am al­ready achiev­ing it. My one goal is to awaken peo­ple and make peo­ple think about them­selves pos­i­tively so that they can be con­vinced in them­selves and be aware of the pres­ence of God within them. When you be­come aware of the God in your life, there is noth­ing you can­not achieve.

Olu­biyo

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