I didn't grow up in Lagos
I didn’t grow up in Lagos, I grew up in Osogbo, Osun State. Most people know Osogbo for the Osun Sacred Grove, a UNESCO world heritage site and the annual Osun Osogbo Festival. The Festival was a big deal for us growing up, we used to stand at the junction of our street to watch as hundreds of cars arrive bringing people adorned in white regalia from all over Nigeria and the world to come celebrate.
For my primary education, I attended St. Clare Catholic Nursery and Primary School, where I had my first contact with non-Nigerians. Our principals were usually white missionary reverend sisters, and some of our teachers were Ghanaian. From the easy-going guru, Mr. Miracle, to the no-nonsense Yoruba-speaking Mr. Akwa, I thoroughly enjoyed my education, unaware that I would later spend my vacations in my early 20s dancing and enjoying across Kokolemle and Kokobrite.
Even though I was competitive, I wasn't usually the top performer in class. I excelled in Mathematics, but I was just above average in the other subjects. Moreover, I preferred spending my time with my friends playing football on our unusually large pitch, which we shared with our sister secondary school, OSCCO.
My friends were quite funny and troublesome but they taught me how to stand up against bullies. One particular afternoon, I witnessed my friend Alex discipline someone that was not only bigger than he was but was also a couple years ahead of us. They engaged in a bloody fist fight and Alex ended up pouring sand in his mouth, we were filled with joy at the outcome of the fight.
I initially struggled with drawing, so after school, one afternoon, I complained to my dad. He simply smiled as was his usual practice and asked me to bring a white paper, a ruler and pencil. He explained to me that drawing is about shapes and lines and since I remember shapes from my mathematics class, I can also apply the same concept to Arts. He asked me to name something I struggle to draw and I told him, a car. So he started drawing shapes and used lines to connect them and I saw the best drawing of a car I had ever witnessed. I repeated the same thing till night and we also did the same for houses. The following day I couldn’t wait till it was time for Fine Arts, I drew and also helped my friends with their drawings, I felt elated.
As I was growing up, our living room was usually filled with books and papers. My dad was an avid reader and writer, as were most of the male influences in my early life, and I unconsciously picked up their habits. I started by reading the sports and cartoons sections of newspapers, the Holy Bible, story books, and later on, textbooks like Ababio, Okeke, and Modern Biology (if you went to secondary school in Nigeria, you would know the Chemistry, Physics, and Biology textbooks I'm referring to).
Figure: My primary 4 fine arts assignment inspired by my Dad and recreated with Figma.
Mubarak Abdulwahab was our go-to designer in university. I attended the University of Ilorin, Ilorin, in North Central Nigeria for my higher education, and we take pride in our tagline 'better by far.' It's easy to recognize someone who attended our university.
I used to joke that Imogie could design anything, and he truly had the talent for it. Mubarak would design shirts, flyers, websites, mobile apps, and more. He was a genius. He even secured a job at Hotels.ng before we finished school, moved to Lagos, and ventured into startups ahead of the rest of us. During my industrial training, we would all wake up, head to our respective workplaces, and return to our class WhatsApp group at night to share complaints and crack jokes about the traffic and life in Lagos.
Figure: Some members of our Computer Science class of 2014. Imogie, beside me, designed our shirts as always.
I like to believe that my reading habits have evolved over the years. Now, I read blogs and books across various disciplines, including those written by my favorite entrepreneurs and investors. I also enjoy reading tweets. From these sources, I gather mental models and quotes that I find valuable, and I plan to share them on Instagram and other platforms. I hope you'll find them enjoyable!
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