Message of Hope

Aanu Damola Morenikeji (ADM) and Nigeria's President, Olusegun Obasanjo - as the latter affirms his hope for Nigeria and Nigerians

Leading the Future

ADM and some pupils at one of his programme.

Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child

Aanu Damola Morenikeji and Obiageli "Oby" Ezekwesili (CFR); World Bank's Vice President for Africa.


Aanu Damola Morenikeji with the Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun after becoming the first recipient of the Ogun State Youth Award for Excellence in Health and Community Service.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

A Toast to Growth

Dear friends,

I had been on leave for a while.

However, throughout my 'partial-leave of absence', I delight each time at news I receive about friends (including several readers of this blog and members of my online community), colleagues and members of our @All4Development tribe. I delight at moments when your seemingly 'impossible' ideas grow and transform lives; i delight at moments when you do things better, because you learnt from experience; I delight that through passion and dedication, we are contributing to solving some of problems faced by young people globally.

I delight that we, like eagles, rejuvenate after pain-staking actions. The world need you now, than ever. I delight at (y)our progresses, impacts and daily actions aimed at learning and creating value. Beyond delights, I celebrate you.

To you, I make this toast. 

Referencing the narrative by Steve Jobs, here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

A caveat: every of those words used above are defined positively.

Damola Morenikeji celebrates you
Let's keep growing and creating value. I look forward to reading from you.

t: @DamolaMore
BBM: 7E06F40E

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Beyond the Idea; making entrepreneurship work

Some thirteen weeks ago, I led a team of young innovative entrepreneurs – all undergraduates – to the a national contest for ideas; it was the National Idea's contest organised by the Nigerian Universities Commission for all Nigerian universities, as part of the Annual National Entrepreneurship Week, in commemoration of the 2014 Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Our 6-human team shared an innovative idea, which if thoroughly implemented will reduce hidden hunger, while building human capacity / productivity, strengthening mental prowess/energy, increasing academic and managerial excellence, reducing maternal and infant mortality, indirectly reducing crime/violence and at the long run, increasing the average life expectancy. The effect of the idea cuts across health, education and human development sectors. The project was a result of a deep 'ideation' process – facilitated by our protem social innovation lab –, well thought-out research and deeply informed consultations, across board.
Image courtesy: FUNAAB

The competition was huge; but alas! We emerged finalists, and was rated one of the best teams – along with a sister team, in the country. Better put – everyone won :). Ideas always win, regardless of human ratings. Several weeks after that experience, I was reviewing – again – one of the lessons I re-learnt during and after the entrepreneurship week.
All ideas are important, but the people are more important. I imagine what might have become of us, if at the 'ideate' stage, we had focused more on carving out and refining our idea BY OURSELVES, without bringing a right set of people in – the beneficiaries. When we were brainstorming and getting clarity on what we want to achieve through the project, we had to involve representatives of clusters of affected communities; this made and still makes human-centered innovation efficient, the decisions inclusive and gives ownership across board.
Transforming ideas into reality requires clarity; it requires thinking from our goals, not only of it. It requires building a network, community or team of committed minds, who though divergent in thought are convergent in the collective mission. A team bonded in trust and other values, prepared to give their honest quota in realizing the shared vision. Beyond the ideas, we need to understand the system that influences our sphere of work. Understanding the system helps heretics like you and I to modify / create a better pattern within the system.
As we step out of our ideation corners, with lofty ideas on our hearts, head and palms, let us create time to build relationships that can drive the change we seek. Relationships help me learn, take risks and grow. Take precious moments to build trust-based relationship with your team and innovative community. That idea you cherish will generate solutions to at least a problem. Some people will immensely benefit from that idea. Have you thought about them? Have you brought them in?
Your idea counts, so do they!
Let's connect and continue our conversation on LinkedInTwitter or Facebook.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Of Harvard, Life and Mathematics

Previous years had availed me opportunities that were invested in meeting, learning (with) and growing with several people - young and old, great and greater. Apart from people, a conscious commitment to personal growth and knowledge have witnessed my learning from erudite scholars and institutions from across the world. One of such is my participation in the inaugural offering of JusticeX from Harvard University in April 2013. The course, led by Prof. Michael Sandel, enhanced my view of critical decision making as we explored through critical thinking what is right, and sought moral and political decisions.

Prior and after the encounter with Michael Sandel, I continue to make critical and simple decisions everyday - just like you. These decisions had, and will often dictate the quality of results we record. As we progress with life, you and I will continually have to make decisions - ranging from what we say, whom we hang out with, which problem we create/solve, to what type of life we decide to live. Funny enough, indecision is also a decision.

Sometime last year, I got the book 'Better than Harvard' by Steve Araba. I had met Steve on a number of occasions, gradually learnt from him and entrusted our time with each other.

My first meeting with Steve was at a Future Leaders Summit organized in one of the leading federal universities in the South Western part of Nigeria, where he was guest speaker. I was introduced to him by a friend I prefer to call Salt. It was a brief and pleasant meet up. Later in the year, we met again; this time, it was at the World Economic Forum on Africa. Steve, who was busy at the 'background' working towards the success of the Economic forum, came to pick me up after one of the sessions, we had another round of great honest conversations on several things (including nation building, youth development etcetera) and thereafter continued our conversation on phone and site. He is one young (though very much older than I) Nigerian I respect, for his commitment to chastity, truth and freedom.

With several truths outlined in the book 'Better than Harvard', I couldn't but notice the creative use of mathematical terms and their redefinition. I wouldn't review the book - at least, not yet. You can get a copy here. However, it is pleasant to note that just like Steve, we may also decide to change our definition of terminologies life lob towards us.

As young people and patriotic citizens, there remains the dire need to live right and contribute consciously to the development of our society and country. We need to make more commitment to the development of discipline and character.

We need to improve the scale for measuring the quality of our lives, personal growth and societal development. As Steve noted, mensuration goes beyond being a branch of geometry that deals with the measurement of length, area, or volume of shapes. It is a position or perspective through which you interpret and understand what or how you see, hear, feel and think about everything that happens to and for you in life.

A calculus of our relationships is important, as we forge alliances, make friends and build networks. Calculus in this context is the critical analysis of relationships in your life that either differentiate or integrate you, essentially indicating the life you could or will have, depending on the people variables you make available to influence you.

This is another year for young people (and every citizen) to model integrity, live intentionally and grow exponentially. Vote at the polls, make our voices heard, speak words and take actions, respecting the dignity of human. Take personal education beyond schooling and invest in holding ourselves and our leaders accountable for words, thoughts and actions.

Everyday in this newly flipped calendar will require timely decisions; let's make them wisely, seeking depth rather than mere heights. Our life and that of others count on those decisions. Thank you for your 'commitment' in previous years; let us do more, henceforward.

Damola Morenikeji

Monday, 21 July 2014

Of Productivity and Growth; lessons from the Productivity Award

My phone rang. I had just received a call from the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta who also is the President, Association of African Universities. He sounded delighted to have spoken with me, and eager to see me. The phone welcomed several other calls, most from within the university intimating a pleasant urgency and some intuitive actions.

That morning, I was concluding plans to help facilitate a two-day training with some young professionals before returning to my ‘location’ for the community-based farming program. ‘Multitaskingly’, we were hosting an #OpenEd twitter discussion in commemoration of the 2014 Day of the African Child, with a focus on education of the African Child, the abduction of over 200 girls in Chibok, Borno state, demanding that strategies be renewed to #BringBackOurGirls and make schools, across Nigeria, safe for learning. Meeting the Vice Chancellor, he broke the news; I had been painstakingly selected for the Vice Chancellor’s Productivity Award by the World Bank Africa Centre of Excellence in Agriculture – the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, as part of activities for the 21st and 22nd Convocation ceremonies. Values and benchmarks for the nomination, recommendation and selection were service to the university, courage, excellence, dedication, truthfulness, new initiatives, innovation, punctuality, selfless services and academic contribution. It was indeed honour and grace!

On the D-day, I joined other eminently distinguished personalities at the University’s Heroes Day of Recognition and Excellence. I was elated as some academics and prodigies were called to step forward for honour as their citations gave convincing glimpses of their outstandingly remarkable contributions to humanity. I was fortunate to be one. That evening, I returned home more humbled with honour and thanksgiving – as the youngest awardee and only undergraduate among the honoured prodigies –, with a plaque which I must admit spackles amidst other plaques on my shelve and an adjoining cash of a tenth of a million naira which was duly invested into getting more resources that will aid the growth of other young people and mine – especially as the non-profit organization I founded, All for Development Foundation hosted the Youth Roundtable on Education and Democratic Governance seven days after the Heroes day. The day and activities surrounding it taught and reminded of some lessons. In it, I learnt, unlearnt and re-learnt. Some of the lessons include:

Consistency Pays!
Among several other lessons, the award attested and still attests to a long term belief that consistency pays. It reminds that even when what you do is seemingly invincible to everyone, keep doing it. Keep keeping on. When faced with challenges and you don’t know what to do, just keep breathing, keep believing, don’t let go, don’t give in. The towel is always there, we may decide to throw it in or use it to clean our sweats and proceed more intelligently and passionately, after deep reflective thoughts. It may be surprising to note that most of the projects I and our organization have embarked on for the last five years (since year 2009) are self-financed. However, two major things that kept us going were the strong conviction that what we did/do made/makes a difference and the people we are focused on are capable of making positive differences. The same principle may apply to whatever you are into, either as an academic or social entrepreneur, a musician or comedian, an artist or skills professional. Be consistent in what you do. You may learn from another long-term mission of mine, which is the conscious commitment to the consistent creation of value. Wherever you are, be there indeed!

Uphold Integrity
Integrity is more than just an attribute we mention when describing the type of leaders we want – within the students’ union, university senate, local, state and federal government and the entire society – Integrity is a key value which other values of accountability, empathy inter alia is dependent. Integrity is the reflection of morality of character in any and every situation. I once learnt from a wise man that integrity commits itself to character over personal gains, to people over things, to principles over conscience and to long-term view over immediate gratification.

Give recognition and show appreciation
Appreciation and genuine recognition matters. That, as I heard and later read is one of the reasons for the rebirth of the award; ‘the University believes that there is always a reward for outstanding performance and such reward will serve to encourage others to emulate those who have previously been recognized’. Taking it beyond official recognition, we can admit, after a deep reflective thought that others have contributed to our current success. The time to show appreciation is ripe. Appreciation begets more. As you walk through the crowd, walk slowly,recognize people’s efforts. Smile, shake hands, listen and truly appreciate the contributions of others on your growth. No man is self made. Everyone is a product of interactions with divinity and others. Robert McNamara, a former President of the World Bank, once said ‘Brains are like hearts – they go where they are appreciated’. Imagine a community where everyone is appreciated, celebrated – not just tolerated – for who they really are. The existence of this community – even within our immediate environment – is achievable.

Build quality networks and bridges
The Heroes day provided another platform
to meet, interact and build bridges with others. Have you ever heard that our network is a determinant of our net worth? If we are assessed in terms of social capital – and not financial riches – how wealthy will you be? Everyday presents opportunities to build quality networks with people. Build an effective relationship with God, yourself and others. Don’t call God your father and live like an orphan. Though we may not be influential enough to choose our family – parents and siblings – however, we have the ability to choose our friends. Another wise man once challenged people to evaluate those they spend/invest their time with and decipher those that add more value to them and those that diminish their self esteem. This is not only applicable in business relationships, but also in platonic and other relationships. Decide who your friends are. Don’t be parasitic; invest positively in them too.

Discern the call and step up to the challenge
I would have made a very big mistake if I had taken the recognition and award as an unending call for celebration. Of course, it was, but also more than just a cherished recognition, it is also a call. It is a call to service; a call to stand tall in the face of adversity. For all young people reading this,
it is a call to dream more, think more, grow more and do much more. Don't emulate the past, be the future. It is a call to build more capacity and positively influence the world within and around us. It is a call to pursue excellence through diligence; to work towards greatness, not just success. It is a call to ask ourselves pertinent questions and give honest answers. The choice is ours to heed this call.

Regardless of anything, be thankful for everything.
This is self explanatory; worry about nothing, be thankful for everything. I have never – and with grace, will never – fall prey of believing that a certain thing is not enough to be thankful for. As I mentioned earlier, appreciation is key. Permit me to set this balls rolling; I appreciate everyone that have been instrumental to my growth, everyone that I have been a blessing to, everyone that heeded to an advise I gave and got positive results. I am also appreciative of you for reading this thus far! Do the same. Love indeed!

Conclusively, productivity may not be a function of acceptance. Continue doing what is right. As young people, we have several responsibilities and rights, the future of our nation – soon – lies on our shoulders. We have to be committed to act as if our every of our action becomes a universal principle, living in respect to our values. The productivity award is a reminder to all young people that we can achieve what has been set out to achieve. Work in accordance to God’s plans for you, act diligently, seek knowledge of who you are and who you can become. In addendum to all we had discussed earlier, I urge you to treat each day with utmost commitment and sincerity. Commit yourself to honesty, reliability, and always remember this: for excellence and growth, do what you have to do, in order to do what you want to do.

I believe in you!

Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Main Thing - Reflections of Gratitude and Vision

Over the last 5 weeks, I have seen, met and heard about several other young people (and professionals) who against all odds are building capacity, and contributing to making things better.

Harnessing the transforming power of a principle-based vision and mission, creating an upward spiral of learning and living, making daily choices keenly with much #Godfidence, we should/would continually remind ourselves that the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.

I am thankful for those I meet; thankful for those I connect with on social media; and thank you (yes, You!) for being you.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

World Economic Forum and the New Vision for Education

Earlier this month, I participated in the World Economic Forum on Africa held in Abuja, Nigeria. Though the forum had the theme 'Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs', I was more engage in brainstorming with other global stakeholders in the education sector on how we can effectively achieve a 'new vision for education'.

A session at the forum, co-hosted by the Global Business Coalition for Education was dedicated towards the 'New Vision for Education'. With an insightful coordination by Sarah Brown, Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education, the session focused - among other things - on discussing strategies to reshape education for Africa's sustainable long-term growth and competitiveness, by exploring approaches to define the education-employment gap, determine effective distribution infrastructure, deliver education through technology and fund education for growth. You can read my reflection here.

Another important highlight of the World Economic Forum was the launch of the Safe Schools initiative by the United Nations Special Envoy on Global Education, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown and the Nigerian business community.
Damola Morenikeji and Gordon Brown at #WEFAfrica

The pilot phase of the safe school initiative is meant to ensure that we have 500 safe schools in Borno, Yobe, Adamawa states and other states in the Northern part of Nigeria.

It can be recalled that over a month ago, more than 200 girls were abducted at their school in Chibuk, a town in Borno state, Nigeria, causing a continuous out-pour of solidarity to ensure that actions are taken to #BringBackOurGirls. As Gordon Brown noted, effective actions should be taken to bring the abducted girls back, ensure schools are safe for learning and deal with the insecurity challenge.

Read excerpts  of my reflection on the realisation of a new vision for education here. After reading, I would love to know what you think is missing? What should we do more? What shouldn't we do? Why? How else can we achieve this? I want to read from you!

I continually affirm, that with the right actions taken by the right people at the right time, things will turn out right.

Damola [@DamolaMore]

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Bring Back Our Girls: My Call for Urgent Action

It was unexpected. More than a week ago, over a hundred girls were abducted from the gated Government Girls Secondary School in Chibok, a town in Borno State, north-east Nigeria. Till date, their fate is still being laid on faith.

I am disturbed that not only are there still conflicting data as to the number of girls – any of whom could have been our sister, daughter, niece or cousin – abducted, but the adverse effect of that incident on qualitative education and learning.

UNESCO’s Education for All 2013/4 Global monitoring report informs that about 5.5 million Nigerian girls are not of school. With over 10 million Nigerian children missing out of basic education, there has to be proactive urgent action to ensure that our children - who are reflections of our future - are not only in school but educated in a secured environment that encourages continuous learning and education.

The psychological trauma caused by this abduction and its consequential adverse effect on the abducted girls, their families and other young people within our country calls for huge concerns. Every additional day used in detention increases their risk of suffering from confusion, impaired concentration - and memory - hopelessness, helplessness, anxiety, fear, emotional imbalance, depression and withdrawal from the larger society.

While it is assumed that the Nigerian defense systems are making frantic efforts to bring back our girls, there is an urgent need for a consistent change in strategy – as situation demands. Bringing back our girls involves red-alert actions to be taken by government, both at the state and the center.

Nigerian child wants us to Bring Back Our Girls
Bring Back Our Girls
The Nigerian government should - if need be - involve other stakeholders in proffering a solution to this menace. Result oriented actions have to be taken urgently. The inaction, or late actions of all concerned tend to pose serious danger to national security, security of our collective lives and properties, and may make our environment devoid of increased creativity, fueling ignorance, illiteracy and poverty.

If decisive actions are not taken now, in rescuing our precious girls and making schools safer for learning, another generation of young Nigerians may be exposed to civil unrest, unemployment, poverty and increased vulnerability.

The life of every young person is important to our future; I remain highly hopeful that we will bring back our girls.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Our Responsibility as Humans

One of our responsibilities as concerned humans is to stir ourselves up to the knowledge of the truth, and stimulate one another to love, helpful deeds and noble activities.

I quite agree that this world doesn’t need more people who are doing what they think they should be doing and staying where they are out of a false sense of obligation. What this world needs is more people who are stepping into their truth, showing up fully in their relationships and work in the world, and people who are joyful, passionate and on purpose'

We can all contribute more to (personal/ #leadership / community/national/global) development by embracing this responsibility.

Let's unite and take action. We can do MORE!


Friday, 21 March 2014

Growth Galley - Be Careful of Your Thoughts [Podcast]

Great day!

It is delighting to welcome you to the Growth Galley. The Growth Galley is a periodic podcast aimed at enriching our collective growth; for us to grow right, lead right and live right.

In this episode, we are exploring the creative and destructive power of thought - depending on which you choose to explore. 

Click HERE to listen.

I will love to read / hear your view. You may comment below, send me a mail or let's connect via Facebook / Twitter.

Much love,

Damola (@DamolaMore)

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Renewing Your Thoughts and Mind [Quote]

'It is always renewing thinking about my thoughts. Sometimes, i sigh. Other times, i smile and laugh at myself.'

However, the best laughter is let out when the thought, backed up with divinely guided actions produces tremendous results. - Aanu Damola Morenikeji

#ScaleUp your thought; it is possible!
 Damola Morenikeji

Question: What measures do you take to renew your mind? Share with me via mailFacebook or Twitter.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Celebrating 'the' Woman!

Today, on International Women Day (#IWD2014), I celebrate ‘every’ woman who believes in, and recognizes the wisdom, beauty, strength and identity she possesses; every woman who upholds the values entrenched in love and empathy, every woman who sticks to speaking the truth and doing what is right  – even when it is difficult.

Today, I celebrate every woman who – though is faced with awkward challenges – finds strength and understands that there is a lesson to be learnt; every woman who – though experiences pain – is committed to the process of her physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual healing. I celebrate every woman – regardless of age category – who lives a life of honour and integrity.

I celebrate every woman who understands the power of love, words and deeds; every woman, who – though stands tall – has her kneels closer to the ground in divine supplication.

I celebrate every woman who loves and prays for her family and nation.

If any of the above describes you, congratulation! I celebrate you! Kindly extend my best regards to – share with other women – targeted in this post.


Damola Morenikeji (@DamolaMore)

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Building Productive Habits as an Entrepreneur

Productivity is key as a leader and entrepreneur. I consciously remind myself that it is not just enough to get busy, but to get busy fulfilling purpose – being productive. 

Thoughts on my most productive habit as a social entrepreneur was published, along with that of other ‘successful’ entrepreneurs on IdeaMensch, under the fifth habit in the ‘35 Habits That Successful Entrepreneurs UseTo Get Shit Done.

I agree that to be excellent as an entrepreneur, you need to prioritize your daily activities, make a to-do / not-to-do list, get up early,  read, learn and grow, find your most productive time and focus. The quality of your thought is an important factor is making positive and effective impact on yourself and your environment.

As I shared ‘weaving thoughts, contrasting it with resources at hand, and continually envisioning the effect of its realization though may be tasking, but is much fun’.

Read and learn (and digest) the 35 Habits That Successful Entrepreneurs Use To Get Shit Done’ (

I’ll implore you read, digest and share this post with others within your network. It is worth the time!

Stay productive!

Aanu Damola Morenikeji

Friday, 28 February 2014

Celebration and Cerebration [Thanking You!]

I am honoured and humbled by the several words, gestures and deeds conveying felicitations on the celebration of my birth anniversary. I had a great season of #cerebration. Words are not sufficient in expressing my profound gratitude.

I deeply appreciate God for the gift of life, the grace to love and be loved, and the unravelling of His purpose. Let us not be conceited by what we have collectively achieved in the past, but be appreciative that we were worthy vessels, work more on living a life available for the glorification of His purpose through our positive contribution to development.

Together, we will 'create' a better future. Thank you.



Let's connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Defining Success as a Leader [Photo]

I agree that #success is not just about what you accomplish / achieve solely in your life, it is also about what you inspire others to do.

One of the best instruments to inspire / influence others positively is your ears and deeds, not only your tongue.

How do you define success?

Let us connect on Twitter and Facebook.


Friday, 31 January 2014

Increasing Responsibilities: Appreciation

Appreciation is one value i cherish and live with. Daily, I appreciate God for the gift of life, and for connecting me with myself and others. Do you know what joy it brings when you explore things about yourself in ways you do not expect? One of my greatest joy is realizing that a life positively lived can influence others to talk the horns of their lives, and work on it consciously to create positive change in their communities.

It is always refreshing growing, learning and sharing with people with an unwavering commitment to #changetheworld. We truly can make our societies better through our commitment and dedication to development, and appreciation of each . This is a journey for all to take.

While taking the route of appreciation - once again - I appreciate everyone I have come across till date. I appreciate all readers, subscribers and members of my online community.

Importantly, I deeply appreciate the Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, for this feature. Reading ) - and a few others - increases one's sense of responsibility.

It is an amazing month indeed.

Blessings as another month begin.