By Victor Gotevbe
The joy of bearing a set of twins is the joy of motherhood for some families. Taiwo and Kehinde are unique with their relentlessness to make a difference against all odds. This week we bring you the story of Taiwo and Kenny who are identifical twins. Taiwo shares the details of their account with Saturday Youthful Vibes.
Who is older between the two of you?
We were born same day, however, I came out before Kehinde, while he came out a few minutes later, so there is no senior or junior, but according to the Yoruba tradition, it is said that the person that comes out last is the senior because he sent the first to go and see how sweet the earth is. We are the first in the family of seven and we have two sets of twins in the family, the last are also twins but a boy and a girl.
We grew up in Satellite town/Festac town.
We attended Military primary and seconday schools before gaining admission to command secondary school, I was supposed to go to the Nigeria Militray School in Zaria while Kenny was to go to Air Force Secondary School but our parents did not allow that. They insisted that we must be together.
How about your course of study?
I studied Geography and Planning as a first degree and I graduated in 1999 and after my youth service I went to the same university (LASU) for my Masters degree in Environmental Management and gradauted in 2003, while Kenny had Bachelor of Arts in History and International Relations.
What inspired you to reach out to your community and how did you start?
Our parents inspired us greatly. Our father was working with Mobil Oil and while our mother was in the Military but they are both retired now and are involved in active politics in Lagos State. We just started out on our own, we were given the instrument by our parents which is Education to the University level.
So, your first change project was done jointly?
No, separately. I am into Environment Science while Kenny is into Politics/international relations.
What challenges readily come to your mind working on some projects?
The major challenge has
always been funding. There were many days we had to travel by road to Abuja for a programme and the next day you jump into the next available night bus back to Lagos. We have never gotten any government support in Nigeria, except from foreign government and companies. Victor, you could testify to this as we have done some programmes together under NiPRO.
Would you say the sacrifices paid off?
Yes, at least in 2008 the United States of America Government sponsored my trip to the USA for three weeks to 5 different states to study their urban envirionment issues.
Same here, some companies sponsored my trip to the UK while in 2009 the Danish Government sponsored my trip to Copehangen for the Climate Change conference and last year, precisely in August, the US government did it again by nominating me to meet with President Obama at the White House in Washington DC.
However, as at today, no special recognition from the Nigerian government both at state and federal level but I do not rely on government from the onset as I like doing my things. Most recently, I had the privilege of being the only African Paper presenter at the 1st Bahrain Zero Waste Conference which took place on the 14th and 15th of November 2011 in Bahrain.
The theme of my paper was: Towards sustainable waste management in an emerging mega city: a case study of Lagos State Nigeria, Sub Sahara Africa.
Kenny has worked with some of the Special Assistants under President Obasanjo administration and he is presently running some programmes with the Imo state Government. He is such a credible goal getter and successful networker.
So what is up your sleeves?
My next agenda now is to set up a recycling plant that will empower women and youth where they can make daily living rather than wait for end of the month salary, and then work hand in hand with the US consulate in implementing youth oriented program and also the Amuwo Odofin local Government climate change unit. Kenny is working on making a huge difference in governance because he believes that if we get it right in our leadership then we can come out successful.
My brother and I would advice Nigerian youths not to depend solely on government to do everything for them. We would implore them to keep doing what they are good at doing, Someday your effort(s) will pay off and you can never tell someone is out there keeping the records.
Young Nigerians making the difference
Alexander Akhigbe was born in Olodi-Apapa, Lagos in 1978. He grew up in Ajegunle and he is the founding Executive Director of Passion House International, a Non Governmental Organisation that is passionate about Youth and Community Development Initiative. This vision in 2007 was borne out of his passion for e vision of Passion House on his desire to see young people become self reliant and purposeful thereby living productive lives.
Part of his efforts also in impacting his community was through the Clean-Up Project, an initiative that is saddled with the responsibility of mobilizing young people and Volunteers to clean their Environment. He nurtured the idea when it first came to him in 2009 and in 2010 he launched the Clean Up Ajegunle project which mobilized 1,200 youths in Ajegunle to clean up major dirty streets in Ajegunle with the support of Lagos State Waste Management Agency (LAWMA) and GlaxoSmithKline makers of Macleans.
He would always advice young people to put God first in whatsoever they are doing and to look inwards to discover their passion so that they can be solution providers.
Florence Udu is a vibrant and purposeful lady that loves to see relationships work and even see young people do without sex till they are married.
She was born in Ajegunle, but had to live in the village for some years with her mum after her dad lost his job. On returning she could hardly communicate in pidgin let alone English. She was later sent to a public school in Ajegunle, directly opposite her class was a heap of dirt.
She slept outside her house most nights because of rejection at home. She had series of painful experience with teenage relationships all in search of love. She finally finished secondary school and had to start selling all kinds of things to survive.
Florence sat for JAMB 8times excluding Poly Jamb, and finally got into higher Institution to study Public administration, somewhere along the line she had to drop out of school when the only option to pay her fees was to dance to a man’s tune. In her words “The only safe sex is sex in marriage”.
Today the young person who could only speak her dialect, rejected, and dropped out of school, is a leading voice in sex, relationship and self-development (SRS) young female sought after speaker and counselor and also the presiding president of a fast growing NGO (Uncommon man network) aimed at raising a sexually pure generation.
Florence Udu is an author and a columnist, a mass communicator by training. She’s one of the change catalyst in Ajegunle, championing the cause for sexual purity. She holds a strong commitment to the female gender and that has given birth to her monthly programme “ladies let’s talk” Florence is a mother, mentor, sister, friend and model to a lot of young people. She believes that your background has no authority to put your back on the ground, and if you can think it then you can be it , her life is a testimony”