I’m Bukky Shonibare.  I am the CEO of 555 Consulting Limited, where we consult on HR, Strategy, and Development. I also lecture Human Resource Management at the Enterprise Development Centre of Pan Atlantic University, Abuja, Nigeria. Passionate about humanitarian work, I found The Light Foundation in 2005; under which I currently coordinate Adopt-A-Camp, an initiative that assists Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in North East, Nigeria; while consulting on varied humanitarian and developmental policies, frameworks, and strategies especially at the regional and sub-regional level.

WHAT FUELS ME.

With the past and recent happenstances, I can relate with these three words: Hope, Love, Perseverance.

Faith, I believe, is the tangibility of what is hoped for. This to me means that despite the rough roads I’ve had to tread, never losing sight of the picture of the future has helped me forge on.  Hope is a powerful force – an unseen one. Despite its intangibility, holding on to hope never fails.

I am also a firm believer in persevering despite not attaining what I hope for at the time I want it. An instance is a campaign for the rescue of the abducted 219 Chibok schoolgirls and thousands of other abductees. What was originally thought would not go beyond days has lingered for more than 545 days; yet, that we have not seen the actualization of what is hoped for – return of the abductees – is not a reason to wane or stop. Like Mike Murdock rightly opined, the proof of desire is in its pursuit. The issue has stayed for so long, with several conspiracy theories and narratives, that even those who used to wish us well has advised us to move on. And this is understandable bearing in mind that when an expectation is stretched, lethargy is imminent.

In all, love wins. Love is the greatest commandment. In the course of sojourning through life, I have been hurt, while I have also hurt others. However, with the understanding of the unconditionality of love, it becomes a basis and prism through which all actions, words, and intents are sieved, judged, and acted upon. With love, we can surmount what’s considered impossible.

MY GREATEST INFLUENCE:

I believe in God. I believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. And I believe in the Holy Spirit. The life and teachings of Jesus Christ has had immeasurable influence on me. While I do not claim to be a saint as I still falter, the intriguing, loving, and humbling life Jesus led is one I try to learn from and aspire to emulate in its entirety.

MY TOP
THREE ROLE MODELS:

Former Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola is one man I admire and respect. From afar, he has exemplified what it means to not only be highly intelligent, but wise and diplomatic in so doing while having results to show for it. From him, I learn productivity.

Leke Alder is another man that’s a role model to me. Particularly, the fact that he doesn’t keep his knowledge to himself; rather, he dedicatedly disseminates, impacts, and transforms lives in so doing. Besides, the depth and excellence he exemplifies in his Consulting practice is one I try to emulate. From him, I learn excellence.

Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili is one woman I appreciate; not only for her depth of intelligence and the way she stacks her ideas and dishes them out in an orderly and systematic manner but – most importantly, her ability to stay on a course (the #BringBackOurGirls movement) despite the insults she receives from all angles. From her, I learn perseverance.

IN THE NEXT
FIVE YEARS…..

In the next 5 years, I have a goal to establish a standard and functional free school for school-age street children and underserved children in the North (especially girls) who should be in school but are unable to for one reason or the other, especially in view of the festering insurgency in the country

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And yes, I have two ‘Accountability Partners’ (Pastor Segun Abe of School of Impact, and Yinka Ogunnubi) who not only check me and ensure I’m on track, but also scold me when I goof while constantly feeding me with words of assurance, possibilities, and affirmation.

THE AFRICAN WOMAN’S
CHALLENGE:

The society we live in is mainly patriarchal, where the world is male-centred and male-controlled. Because of this, women find it hard to rise beyond a particular threshold. Once a woman begins to defy conventional norms and beliefs, she is tagged irresponsible and rude. The expectation is heightened when she has children, as the society forces her to subtly choose between pursuing her dreams and being a (full-time) mother – an emotionally-blackmailing excuse. The support system for women who pursue their dreams is so minimal that recent statistics reveals that more women now pull out from their jobs and businesses to face the home front. Unfortunately, because we want to satisfy the society, women limit themselves. Look around the world, the percentage of women who have dared it all to trail-blaze and achieve great heights are only a microscopic few. Or how many women can we find at the ‘top?’ This is not surprising, as the society believes that while the man searches for daily bread, the woman should be taking care of the kids. While I must acknowledge that things have started changing in recent times, it is noteworthy that we are still a far cry from achieving a world of equality.

To remedy this, I use the opportunities and platforms I have to challenge women to live beyond societal norms and limiting expectations while ensuring balance. It is undeniable that women are better homemakers, but this daunting task would be easy when the man assists and supports so as to give room for the woman to also enjoy what it means to live life to the fullest. I also try to live my life exemplifying what I hope to see – the world where I pursue my dreams without giving credence to roadblocks. It’s a choice. And that choice is in our hands. Doing this doesn’t have to be in a rude manner; wisdom is always profitable to direct.

WHAT I DO TO RELAX:

I love to play American Snooker (or Snooker); so sometimes when I’m fagged out, I go out and play. I also enjoy music, especially while driving with my windows down in a cool and breezy atmosphere.

MY   –  
I.C.E. [INSPIRE|CELEBRATE|EMPOWER] VISION

Embedded in every woman is the seed of greatness. We are powerful beyond measure. We are loaded with so much – far above what society makes us believe. Our strength transcends the confrontations life present. We can do so much. With this inner ability, strength, vigour, and doggedness, I believe every African woman should be inspired, celebrated, and empowered.

MY AFRICAN UNION PLANS:

I would like a responsibility that permits me to execute grassroots-focused policies, programs, and projects that ensure the promotion and advancement of Education for the girl child, Empowerment for women; and building community resilience.

FINAL WORDS
OF ADVICE:

African Woman: you can be all that you want to be if only you make the CHOICE to. So, choose what you’d rather be: suppressed or expressed. Choose to live a life of expression – expression of God-giving potentials and assignments. Don’t waste what God has loaded in you. The world needs it, that’s why God put it there. Unleash, unravel, and just BE all you dream to be! You can!!!