“Growing up in Nigeria was very difficult for me. I didn’t have many friends, and I lived in a neighborhood with people similar to my family, middle-class people. I never understood why nobody liked me, but I just kept it to myself. I knew that I wasn’t the smartest guy in school, but I hung out with people that I knew who were very smart. I looked up to these people and asked myself, why can’t I be like this guy? What makes that guy know what he knows? I tried to emulate these people as much as possible. I captured how they walked, how they talked, and used my own method to try and fit in. I stammered a lot, so people would make fun of me. I fought a lot, and they beat me a lot. I never gave up though. I also wanted to be intelligent and know things because in Nigeria, if you aren’t smart people make fun of you. If I didn’t know things, I was afraid to ask about them. I realize now that if you don’t know something, you should ask because knowledge is power. If you don’t ask, you will never know. I grew up being categorized as an underdog. Even my family members looked at me like I was the underdog. ‘Oh, you can’t do this, you can’t do that,’ they said. I just hated the fact that I was being labeled as not good enough. But I told myself, ‘no!’ and ‘you can do it.’ It just takes time. Sure, somebody might be ahead of you, but they started somewhere too. Now, when I see someone struggling, I see my younger self. I try my best to motivate and help the individual, hoping they can soon believe in themselves. ”
Interviewed by Deyab S.