Abiodun Ajibade, a pharmacist and CEO of Alvid Nigeria Limited attributes his achievements in life to good mentoring and has therefore vowed to assist the younger ones in reaching their dreams. Besides his professional calling, he is reputed for empowering the younger ones and caring for the less privileged.
He single-handedly organised a 30-day empowerment programme for 300 youths in Ogun State. He says: “I believe it is a natural responsibility of every man to use personal resources to help others,” as he features as our role model this week.
How did you start out in life?
I grew up just like any other child in an environment where there was free education. I lost my father at a tender age and my mother, a petty trader at that time had to carry the burden. I had to tie my own shoes. The major lesson I learned while growing up and which I consider very important for the younger ones was proper mentoring. If there was nobody to give me that advice on what to do and how to go about it, it could have been a different story.
If a child was not properly mentored in life it could lead to a directionless future with the child not knowing what to do, the career to choose or better still, professional area where he is best suitted. There was a particular time when I was about going into the university; I had a brother that didn’t believe in university education.
So, he was looking at my quest for university education as unnecessary. I was saved by an uncle who felt it was not only necessary but very important. For me, it was my uncle’s mentoring that ignited the quest for my university education.
I would have jettisoned university education and hung up to any other option available if not for my uncle. There are lots of young people out there who could not take the right decision as a result of not having somebody to counsel them on their careers and what they set out to do and they ended up in areas they are not suited for.
Without university education, what would you have done?
May be I would have ended up being a petty trader or an artisan today. It was simple; I would have taken into an area that does not require a university education. That would have been a major setback for me. But today, I am happy and I feel fulfilled.
Right from my elementary school days, I was looking up to the late MKO Abiola as a role model. I had the vision of creating similar impact on the lives of people.
Today, as Chief Executive and an active member of the regulatory authority for Pharmacists in the country, I am happy that I am doing my best and I know that the vision is just some distance away. It is realisable, even bigger than what MKO Abiola did.
I want to have greater impact on my environment, I want to touch people’s lives and be an agent of change. So, I always see myself as being very relevant in causing a positive change to my environment. So, being a cheerful giver like MKO is m,y target. Yes, I want to be bigger than him.
So, what are you doing in that regard?
I endeavor to heed the call of the helpless and ensure that the less privileged are catered for within my capabilities. Again, in my company, what we do is not just employment of staff, we are known as a family and we try to expand the frontiers of the family. Every staff is seen as a family member with the purpose of impacting on their lives. With that, we can be able to change our society because the impact is indirectly felt by their families at home.
They don’t see a task master but a counselor as a boss. I believe if everybody is doing the same, it will have a greater impact on the country and gradually, we will influence the global system.
Sometimes ago, I organised a 30-day youth empowerment programme. I kept about 300 youths together, trained them and changed their lives. After the training, some of them started making exploits in different areas of life. Many of them called to express appreciation and recounting how the programme had changed their lives and now looking into the future with hope.
So, these are some of the areas where I have contributed my own quota. Some people might say whether I intend to seek political office. No, I am not seeking political office, I solely believe in changing people’s orientation and coming up with ideas on how we can solve our collective problems.
Tell us about some of these ideas you’re talking about?
In 2006, we did a youth programme in Ogun state. The programme was taken to the National Assembly, through the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. The ministry later set up a prototype of the programme. It was called Rural Information Technology Centers, it was my idea. There is one in Ilaro, and several others set up in 2007-2008. It evolved after my youth empowerment programme in which the then Minister for Science and Technology sent a representative.
They liked it and we packaged it for them under the National Information Development Technology Agency. I am happy about it, but my take is that why can’t we all look at helping the helpless so that the society will be comfortable for every one of us to live? If we do this, there will be less crime and less unrest. It is better for me to see my environment growing, that will give me joy and satisfaction.
I am happy using my resources to influence change in the society because I believe it is a natural responsibility of every man to use his personal resources to help others.
Doing all these alongside your pharmaceutical company demands some sacrifices. What does it take away from you?
A good manager must be able to manage the available resources very well to satisfy his needs. So, I have not regretted anything. What is important is proper management and time allotment. Apart from the resources, I still have to plan according to the time, balance between the two and ensure that one does not impinge on the other.
So, in a few words, what will you like to be remembered for?
To be remembered for being selfless and sensitive to the plight of helpless in my environment, to be seen as someone who uses his God-given resources to better the lives of the needy. I want to be remembered as an agent of change in the country.