My plan is to make my Alma mater a ICT Hub for Ogun State- Damilola Kehinde, US- based ICT Pro - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Tuesday, May 4, 2021

My plan is to make my Alma mater a ICT Hub for Ogun State- Damilola Kehinde, US- based ICT Pro

Recently  Damilola Kehinde,  an Associate with Gensler, the largest Architectural Company in the world and a United States of America based ICT Engineer donated a Computer Laboratory with CISCO Training Capability to his Alma Mater, the  All Saints Anglican Primary School 1,Owode Egba, Ogun State. In this encounter, Damilola shares some insights with The Business Package on why he embarked on the project , his future plan for the pupils and how ICT can be used to better the lots of the younger generation among sundry other issues... Excerpts.


Q: Recently , you donated a Computer Laboratory to a remote Primary School in Obafemi Owode Local government, precisely to All Saints Anglican Primary School 1 in memory of your late father , Chief Hesikiah  Olusola Kehinde , what brought about this vision in the first place ? 

A: First of all, I thank God almighty for putting me in position and also provided me the opportunity to be able to start this project. We have more to come, we are  just starting. I also thank my parents and my family for their support in making this a reality. If not  for IT, I may not be in position to do this kind of project today. I’ve seen both sides of the ocean and know better within my reach. Mr Tunji Akoni has been a pillar of support and encouragement since we started our IT career under the Ogun State Train-The-Trainer project introduced by the then Ogun State Governor; Otunba Gbenga Daniel. It was nothing, but a complete success. I am one of the living witnesses to that. That heart to appreciate the state’s investment on me back then was what pushed me to start this laboratory, most especially giving back to my root. I think there is nothing fulfilling than doing that. 

Q:  You have also promised to do more in this regard for the school, what are other things in the offing for the school and probably others around ?

A: I really planned to make the school a model ICT hub for the state. I’ve been rallying round people that I know in the US on how they can support this vision. More equipment to expand the scope of training and enrich the pupils knowledge of IT for good use is what am working on right now and you should start seeing some progress very soon. 

Q:  What does it mean to be an Associate with Gensler and how did you attain such a feat ?

A: To be an Associate in Gensler, the largest architectural company in the world is not an easy task. You have to have gone beyond just doing your 8hrs/day 40hrs/week work. Exceptional characters and true leadership skills are paramount in our promotion process

Q:  We are also  curious about your background , you read non Computer related course at FUNNAB, and today you are an ICT guru, how did you come into the ICT world and what training actually gave you the edge?

Q: As I mentioned earlier, the then Governor OGD initiated the program and here I am today, a product of that 2004-2006 program with multiple cisco, comptia, Palo Alto and silverpeak, certifications and with abundant knowledge to take me anywhere and compete without hesitation. 

Q:  How would you access the contributions of Tech Start ups in Nigeria who are into ICT world real time in Nigeria  We have for instance Bosun Tijani who incidentally is from Ogun State and a whole lot of others, do you think they are faring better and what are the missing link in their strides ?

A:   I don’t know them personally, but I think they should be celebrated and encouraged. It’s not easy to startup a technology outfit in Nigeria. You have to know people at high-up before they can patronize your products. The likes of Zinox and *Omatek* should be a household name in Nigeria technology arena by now if government and private sectors have been doing the right thing. It’s a pitty that we are not focusing on the right place and the right people. Look at what SouthWest Resource Center look like today. That building use to be a citadel of IT training in the state few years ago. All the cisco instructors at our ICT polytechnics finished from there.They barely have good classrooms now. OgunSchoolNET project also is nowhere to be found. Those were what took us to the next level and I guess the state is reaping the benefits somehow now. I implore the current Governor to at least resuscitate them to a world class status and believe me, lots of people  are ready to invest and support him. 

Q:  There are too many computer Training flying around, we have CISCO, JAVA, Cyber Security, Networking, Robotic Engineering, which is the most appropriate of these training especially for the younger ones to consider ?

A: All of them are good, but a better equip IT teacher can better direct the students. That was the advantage we had then and we are in better positions today.

Q' How can Nigeria use ICT to solve her problems of youth restiveness and unemployment ?

A: Well , if government can start by putting the right people on the right job. People with track records of success in the areas they’ve been elected or appointed to serve and not limiting this to local indigenes, but also involve indigenes in the diaspora. They’re well placed and also in a good position to help, but only when they’re called. Only few will do such thing that I did and it is not that they can’t, but they’re not encouraged. 

Q: How would you advice  the youths to take charge of their destiny through ICT ?

A: Hardwork and the spirit of “I can be who I set to be in life”. Also,  encouraging people in diaspora to come home and mingle with the kids, through state sponsored programs, not those that will come home to display their wealth. Those are the ones causing most of the kids to lose their sense of directions. 

Q:  Are you of the view that ICT will soon take over the world of work in view of the fast growing development in all facets of our lives ?

A: IT already overtook every other aspects of our lives. The pandemic had really shown us that IT careers are nothing to joke about. Just like after 911 when security became a sought after career in the US, IT is now in that position worldwide. We were all able to work from home since the beginning of the pandemic. More and more cashiers are losing their jobs due to AI. We now have self checkout cashiers with minimal or no human support. So also other areas.

Q: Tell us the story of your trajectory from Nigeria to the United States and how you were able to carve a niche for yourself ?..

A: It wasn’t easy, but to God be the glory. The training that Ogun state gave me then earned me my role today. OGD called us secret millionaires then during our graduation at Abeokuta Grammar School and he was sure right. Some of the stumbling block on my path to success back in Ogun teaching career then are still there. Hopefully, government can start identifying them and eradicate them to bring more development to the state and Nigeria as a whole.

Q: Who is Damilola Kehinde?

Born over 4 decades ago to a very committed and discipline family. Education is a critical part of our household discussions. And everywhere I go, I always “remember the son of whom I am” like my father always tells me.

Q: Your advice to the youths in terms of what to do with their time ?

A: My advise to Nigerian youths is to not wait for handout from government. Most Politicians are there to serve their selfish interest first and release the crumbs to our people to fight over. Put yourself to work. I remembered some of my friends back in the 90s organized SAT, GRE, TOEFL lessons to make a living. Some went into poultry,fishery farming etc.  Many of them are doing good now and not waiting for anyone before they can be able to feed their family and progress in life. Put your skills to work and desist from fraudulent acts. Fraud won’t earn you a good name. Remember that everything you do under this earth is not a secret, no matter how long, the truth will catch up and it will be too late for you to start doing the right thing because you’ll be too old to start from the scratch. 


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