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.

Monday, 23 December 2013

3 Growth Opportunities for YOUng Influencers

The possibility for growth is always an indication that, as individuals – and aspiring influencers – we can always expand our capacity for our personal, leadership development and contribute to creating a world we are proud of.

After a personal and worthwhile encounter, I recommend the following growth-oriented programmes for committed minds, keen about taking actions to learn, grow impact and take positive actions:

1.      The Social Leadership Academy 2014 Fellowship.
The M121 Social Leadership Academy, U.S.A is designed to equip, inspire and connect aspiring world-changers and social entrepreneurs to make a sustainable impact on our world. Every year, they look for a group of passionate, thankful, energetic contributors in a like-minded community of emerging world-changers, discover ad utilize your strengths, and learn how to make a sustainable impact. Make your impact, as the class of 2014 starts in January 2014! Visit for more information. Application closes in a few days.

2.      DESPLAY Africa, Season 9
DESPLAY Africa – an initiative of Youngstars Foundation, with support from National Endowment for Democracy (@NED), U.S.A – is the most consistent and longest running annual youth democracy training program in Nigeria / West Africa, designed to widen young people’s democracy education and foster active youth participation in good governance processes. Application is due on Tuesday, 31st December, 2013. For more information, click here.
3.      Studership 3.0 Leadership Fellowship
Studership is a growth-focused youth leadership programme aimed at equipping and connecting emerging leaders for sustainable development, and promoting value-based leadership. Application for the Studership 3.0 Leadership Fellowship opens in the year 2014. Details relating to the programme will be communicated later via Twitter (@all4development).

I urge you to share this information with young change makers in your circles, and more importantly, be committed to your/their action.

Much love,
Damola (@DamolaMore)

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Get ‘Irresponsible’ - if need be!

Sometime ago, I was challenged as been irresponsible by someone I so much respect. My 'offence' was that I did not obey a conspicuously-wrong instruction that was given me. I apologized for my disobedience, and reinstated my commitment to doing continually, whatever is right, regardless of who benefits (or doesn’t benefit) from the consequences of my actions.

In our journey as leaders, we will no doubt interact with people who will love your dream, love your passion, love your character and values, but dislike you when you value your values, and concentrate on doing what is right - against their wish.

If you have faced such situation, remember this; 'You are not alone. Don't change who you are for the purpose of being liked by someone who doesn't value integrity'. Stay glued to your value system. Stay honest!

If doing the right thing, even when you are instructed to do otherwise, is seen as been irresponsible, then, be proud to be! If knowing and relating with your colleague/boss/subordinate as an individual, instead of just a dot on the organisation’s chart is seen as been un-professional, then, be proud to be professionally ‘un-professional’. If helping the needy is considered a jobless act; then, remember that empowering one more person makes your job less. When you are attacked for doing what is right – if you haven’t, be expectant, you will still be attacked – don’t get offensive neither should you engage in a squabble. Just remind yourself – and others – that only way we can get it right as a people/nation/continent is by doing the right things right.

The bottom line is this: Embrace self discipline, stay honest (in all situations), do the right things right, and love yourself for upholding your values! I will be proud of you, if you can do these.

Much love,


Aanu Damola Morenikeji is considered Africa’s youngest youth intellectual and leadership development advocate. A sought-after speaker on the theme of leadership and personal growth, he is a Fellow of the M121 Social Leadership Academy, U.S.A and Team Leader of All for Development Foundation [ADM-Foundation], a non-governmental organisation focused on building young people and promoting educational, leadership and youth development. He blogs at

Monday, 25 November 2013

Defining Success: How do you define success?

How do you define success? Do you define success in terms of material possession, or the amount of money a person has in bank accounts, or the financial net worth of a person? Even though these may matter to some people, I do not find riches an equivalent of success.
During a half-day private study session – on Saturday, 23rd November, 2013 – I stumbled on a definition of success written over a hundred years ago (in 1904), by Bessie Anderson Stanley in Brown Book Magazine. It read:
“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children, who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it, who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had, whose life was an inspiration, whose memory a benediction.”
Success – just like wealth – is a product of how influential you have been in making the world a better place, in making a difference in the lives of those around us. Whether you live a hundred years – or less – if your life doesn’t influence others positively, you have only occupied space.
Change your perspective in defining success, and work towards being truly successful!
I’ll define success in leadership, as leading through happiness, while solving problems. How do you define success?
Much love!


Aanu Damola Morenikeji is considered Africa’s youngest youth intellectual and leadership development advocate. A sought-after speaker on the theme of leadership and personal growth, he is a Fellow of the M121 Social Leadership Academy, U.S.A and Team Leader of All for Development Foundation [ADM-Foundation], a non-governmental organisation focused on building young people and promoting educational, leadership and youth development. He blogs at

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Reflective Thinking: How Often Do You Think?

I know you think! And you know / think you think. However, how much time do you dedicate to reflect on your life – your actions, inactions, values, achievements, frailties, prospect and the future? How often do you examine the pace - most importantly, the impacts – you create each day?

These questions remind us of the ever-dynamic need to consciously and consistently examine how we live (not just existing) daily. As the Greek philosopher, Socrates opined, 'an unexamined life is not worth living'. A few days ago, I shared an opinion with IdeaMensch on my most productive habit as a social entrepreneur - and human :). Guess what that is: reflective thinking.

Each day, I become more conscious of the need to do more than just setting out time to consciously think, but to make it fun, and more productive. This daily action makes me get the best in almost every activity. The choice of reflectively having fun thinking through all my actions and plans makes me review promptly where I had made a mistake, where I can contribute more, what lessons I learnt, how I can put the lessons to use, what to share with others, among other options.

Fortunately, my parents had inculcated a maxim into our daily lives, while we (my nuclear family) were much younger. My dad taught my siblings and me to always end each day asking 'How Many Lives Have I Touched Positively Today?'. This bed-time activity - I must confess - had been a foundation for reflective thinking.

One of the major catalysts to reflective thinking is asking the right questions. The right questions - coupled with honestly sincere answers - have a way of enhancing your reflective thinking prowess and adding value to the quality of life you live. Most times, when I reflect, I think in terms of my values, activities, experience and futurity.

I suggest you brace up with the type of questions you ask yourself, and be honest in working on the quality of result you can get, by working on your answers. As John Maxwell shared in his book 'Thinking for a Change', you could reflectively think about – just as he does – your values, relationship and experiences.

          Personal Growth: What have I learnt today that will help me grow? How can I apply it to my life? When should I apply it?

          Adding Value: To whom did I add value today? How do I know I added value to that person? Can I follow up and compound the positive benefit he or she received?

          Teamwork: What did I do with someone else that made both of us better? Would the other person agree that it was a win/win? Can we do something else together to continue our mutual success?

          Leadership: Did I lead by example today? Did I lift my people and organisation to a higher level? What did I do, and how did I do it?

          Physical Health: Did I exercise at my optimal heart rate for thirty-five minutes today? Have I exercised at least five times in the last seven days?

          Personal Faith: Did I represent God today? Did I practice the Golden Rule? Have I ‘walked the second mile’ with someone?

          Marriage and Family: Did I communicate love to [my spouse], children and the grandchildren today? How did I show love? Did they return it?

          Friends: Have I been a good friend this week? To whom? What did I do? Is there something else I need to do? Is there another friend who needs me?

          Inner Circle: Have I spent enough time with my key players? What can I do to help them be more successful? In what areas can I mentor them?

          God: Have I spent time with God? What is he teaching me now? Am I learning? Am I obeying? Have I continually talked to him today?

          Discoveries: What did I encounter today to which I need to give more thinking time? Are there lessons to be learned? Are there things to be done?

          Memories: Did I create a good memory for someone today? Was it because of a comment, an action, or a shared experience?

          Difficulties: What went wrong? Could I have changed it? What do I need to do differently next time?

      Successes: What went right? Did I create it? Is there a principle I can learn from the experience?

          People: Whom did I meet? What were my impressions?

          Conclusions: Have I closed my day appropriately? Have I expressed gratitude? Have I learned something, loved someone? Have I enjoyed and lived the day to the fullest?

Are the above questions helpful? You may add yours, or create different set of questions and methods to use in reflective thinking. Begin by creating general questions that can be used after any event, meeting or experience. Then create more specific questions related to your values and relationships. The main thing is to create questions that work for you, and write down any significant thought or insight that comes to you during the reflection time.

Before I conclude today’s post, please be reminded that though writing down the good thoughts that come out of your reflective thinking has value, nothing helps you grow than consciously putting your thoughts into action. Start setting out time for reflective thinking, stay away from distraction, ask yourself helpful questions and take prompt action.

I will love to read from you. Post your comment in the box below, or send me a mail (

How often do you engage in reflective thinking?
What impact does it have on you?

What questions do you ask when thinking reflectively?

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Are You ‘Working Hard’ or ‘Working Smart’?

Earlier today, I read an article by David Leigh Weber – author of ‘My Life Has No Purpose’ – titled ‘You're Not Working Hard Enough!. Of course, the article portrayed an angle to the message i sent to some colleagues a few months back about working in relations to your unique strength.

I have – overtime – heard parents telling their children to work ‘hard’ and employers advising new employees on the need to work very ‘hard’. While I am not against the concept of working ‘hard’ (not hardwork), I have often stressed the need to work UNIQUELY. We all have our unique spots – some of us call it the strengths zones –; and you should work in the areas of such strengths, harnessing the uniqueness such strength convey and be the best YOU, you can be.

Working smart involves making the right moves at the right time with the right motive. Whatever you do, do it as if that’s the only thing you have to do in the world. Give it your best and ensure that value is added to others by what you do. Finally, learn from yourself and others, and have fun!

If working smart involves making the right moves at the right time with the right motive, have you been working smart?

Question: Are you working HARD enough, or UNIQUELY? What three steps should you take today to enhance your strengths? Share your comments at the comment section, and share with friends and colleagues.

-Aanu Damola Morenikeji
Let's connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Sign Your Autograph On Me

Its the last day in the month of October! I am optimistic to share a guest post from a friend and brother - Joshua Peter. I've known Joshua for a few years, and have the privilege of having him on our organisation's management team.

Apart from working collectively with team members and other members of our working community, Joeblaque - as i do call him - and I have always been having fun, thinking creatively, and investing in touching lives positively.

Over to Joshua's post titled 'Sign your autograph on me'.

I am very happy at the turn of events right now. As more evil prevail, we have more and more opportunities to show people we have bright-hearts. The darker the environment, the greater effect a light has!

I remembered seeing a film where a best-selling author has so many people asking for his autograph that he got a table and asked them to queue up. Wow! It was a long queue! He must have been really admired to have such a queue waiting for his autograph.

sign your autograph
Autographs aren't really new to us. Your autograph is simply your handwriting or signature. No doubt, you have seen people ask for other people’s autographs. They do this because they greatly admire those people and want to have a kind of souvenir with which to remember those they admire.

I have always fantasized that someday, I will walk down a street – any street - and people will rush out asking me to sign my autograph for them. I have carried this dream for so long until truth dawned on me. I discovered that my dream has long come to pass but unfortunately I deliberately refused to sign my autograph despite the desperate pleas of people I meet where ever I go.

The truth I discovered is that people have a silent plea in their hearts – a desperate plea. They ache for normalcy. They ache for affection. They ache for relationships. They are emotionally hungry and mal-nourished, without hope of being shown love or care. A simple smile will do them a world of good. A friendly hug will help lighten their burden. A sincere and sweet sentence will help a great deal. They silently plead with us: SIGN YOUR AUTOGRAPH ON ME. We move about each day oblivious of the pains and hurts in the people we interact with. We fail to notice the forced smile on their faces or the mechanical laughter they try to conjure in their bid to cover up their pains. Painfully, we leave them as we met them without fulfilling their silent but desperate plea: SIGN YOUR AUTOGRAPH ON ME.

What will you be most remembered for? Your insensitivity or sensitivity? Your lack of affection or your warm heart? Your coldness to others or the warmth you radiate? Your self-centered-ness or selflessness? Your value-added interactions or your value-diminishing interactions? If the summary of your existence with others is negative then it means you have successfully denied them their pleas to have you sign your autograph on them – on their hearts.

Have a minute’s thought? What will you be really missed for? Surely, you’ll be missed but for what? What will be the outcome of your interactions with peers, friends, team members, colleagues, neighbours and most especially, strangers? Will they miss you for the peace you bring or for the peace you take away? Will you be missed for your friendliness or for your hostility? Will that stranger you met today remember he/she met an angel? Common, it’s so easy. Just have a heart for others.

Don’t be stingy with your smile. There are more where it came from! You can’t exhaust the supply of smiles God gave you. A smile is so important yet its so free. Be lavish with your smiles and be sincere about it. Your smile kindles a spark of love in whoever receives it. It doesn't hurt to smile, even to a stranger, rather, a smile breaks the wall of hostility between you and others. It softens the heart of all who receives it when it is done sincerely. It makes others comfortable with you and it boosts your confidence. You don’t lose anything when you give someone a smile.

Choose to be kind! Kind people are held dear! The world will be so acidic and cruel if mankind has lost the virtue of kindness. Choose to allow others get ahead of you. Choose to help pick a fallen pen. 

Choose to clean a seat for someone. Choose to comment on someone’s dressing or beauty. Choose to help someone for free. Help that granny with a chair, she can’t stand for too long. Give someone else your seat when there are others standing while you are sitting. Consider the poor, the pregnant, the ageing, the disabled, the hurting and rejected. Choose to offer them a little of the kindness they desire badly but have been so long denied of. Common, it’s not difficult. Be an angel with a heart of gold.

It is a fact that every living being aches for love and affection. Maturity doesn't take that need away. Everyone you come across, no matter how old, rich, powerful, poor, educated or not educated, remember that he/she is begging you to SIGN YOUR AUTOGRAPH ON THEM. Don’t deny them that plea.

So, when are you going to start signing your autographs on people? Now?

If yes, begin with me. Hahahaha...just kidding!

Joshua Peter blogs at the LightHouse, and can be contacted via mail.

Monday, 28 October 2013

10 #ThingsToDo today

Today is another lovely day, with no errors yet in it. I'll be sharing 10 #ThingsToDo today.

1. Thank God for the day
2. Work on your To-Do list. Prioritise your would-be actions and time-guide them.
3. Envision the end, from dawn.
4. Believe in yourself
5. Approach others with a smile, a welcoming 'hello' and a cheerful voice.
6. Add one person to your network.
7. Make a mistake - if neccesary, but learn from it.
8. Consciously learn something new. Make the unfamilar familiar.
9. Appreciate everyone that have contributed to your successful day. Be prompt to show appreciation, and mean it.
10. Take action now; do not procastinate.

Good morning.

*Question*: what else do you do today? I will love to read from you. Hit the comment button, or let's connect via Facebook ( or Twitter (@damolamore).

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Fault Finding or Panacea Placing?

Oh! What a pleasant weekend.

I had a great time speaking on 'State of the Nation - Whose Fault' at a Royal Banquet Against Corruption organised by Eagle Ping Crusaders against economic and financial corruption.

I however believe in panacea placing, rather than fault finding. Thus, as part of the most important arm of governance (the people), we should seek remedy - instead of faults-, be corageous to challenge the status quo, start thinking outside the box, model the way through the right value, behaviour, influence and enagage the government near you.

Most importantly, let's CONTRIBUTE, more than we criticize.

Nation building is a collective responsibility.

God bless Nigeria.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Interested in Taking Initiative? Answer these Questions!

I have been an advocate of young people taking initiative to solve societal challenges instead of just complaining, sitting, and waiting unendingly for government and others. This is why taking initiative is encouraged through what we call the 'Impact Community Project' - an essential component of our youth leadership academy - Studership.

Over time, after discussing with some other young persons at various fora, i can not but notice the underlying passion for making a contribution, starting a project or building an organisation.

As good as these drives are, it requires reason, planning and commitment. Take out some time to answer the following questions and note the suggestions.

What is the purpose of your initiative? What is its mission? As a friend used to say, 'anything that is not written down does not exist'. Try writing out clearly what you want to achieve with the initiative. Writing it will help in clarifying your mission. After writing the mission, place where you can see it consciously, to help you focus on accomplishing it.

As suggested by Julie Loosbrock, Where do you plan on implementing this initiative? Just in one location or several? Is the location rural or urban? Do you (really) need office space? Perhaps keeping your plan small to begin with, will give you room to make adjustments and changes as you see fit. You can always expand. It's a lot harder to start big and then have to cut back.

How do you plan on executing your initiative? Who will be involved? What skills will be needed? How many people do you need for each community? How many days a week will your program be? What materials will you need? What support from each community do you need? How will you go about developing support for your program/initiative in each community? Who needs to be involved? What level of commitment do you need from the participants to keep the program going?

Once you can dutifully and simply clarify the WHY, it will help in the clarification of your WHAT, WHERE, HOW and WHEN. Get a team or group of people (of like minds, but diverse experience) with whom you can share ideas and discuss what you want to do.

As important as taking initiative is, it is more important to know / envision the resultant effect of your action (and inaction). Stick to your vision, share it with others. It is feasible, it is achievable; you can make it happen.

If you can answer those questions, then you have passed the first stage required in taking initiative. Get going, pull resources together and stay committed to the bigger dream (the VISION).

I will love to read from you. Drop your comment in the comment box, or send me a mail via TakeInitiative!

Question: What initiative are you taking? What impact have it made? What challenges did you face and how have you been able to overcome it?

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Be Prepared for Leadership

A wake-up call has gone to youths to prepare themselves for leadership positions at all levels in order to make the positive changes the nation requires for development. Delivering a presentation at a 2-Day Studership 2.0 Leadership Summit held recently, the Team Leader, All for Development Foundation and a 400L Plant Physiology and Crop Protection (PPCP) student , Mr. Aanu Damola Morenikeji, described leadership not as a position, rank, privilege, title or money, but pure responsibility.
Be Prepared for Leadership - FUNAABite Tasks Youths
According to him, the qualities of an effective leader include having basic intelligence, clear and strong values, high levels of personal energy, the ability and desire to grow constantly, vision, curiosity and a good memory. Alluding to the maxim which says, “the future has no shelf life”, future leaders will need a passion for continual learning, a refined, discerning ear for the moral and ethical consequences of their actions and an understanding of the purpose of work and human organisations”. He advised the youths to be mindful of their character as competence would get them to the top, while character would keep them there.
Be Prepared for Leadership - FUNAABite Tasks Youths

Mr. Morenikeji added that the four things that stand leaders out are: having a clear idea of what they want to achieve and why. Secondly, leaders change the way people think and not just the way people do things, as well as living up to expectation when there is a crisis or special problem.
The Fellow of the M121 Social Leadership Academy, USA, demystified the ‘Studership’ word to be a combination of students and leadership.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olusola Oyewole, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic, Professor Toyin Arowolo, advised the youths of the country to be resilient, adding that they must accept the responsibility of leadership.
The Vice-Chancellor encouraged Nigerian youths to make the most of their leisure, taking advantage of their time to engage in productive programmes, instead of idling away.
In his Goodwill Message, the Ogun State Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Honourable Olugbenga Otenuga, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Youth Development, Mr. Salami Adetokunbo, commended the organisers for the well-organised summit.
Answering questions from FUNAAB Bulletin after the programme, one of the Participants, a member of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Ghana, Mr. Abdul Basit Osumanu, said “we face the same challenges of leadership in Africa. We have frustrated youths across Africa not trusting the leadership”. He, therefore, advised the youths saying “we need to trust whoever is leading us, adding that “the change we need should come from us”.
Also, Mr. Serge Kpoglo, a student at the University of Lome, Togo was elated to have been privileged to visit Nigeria for the first time and promised to share the knowledge gathered at the Summit with his colleagues back home.
Similarly, Mr. George Gambadatoun, a student at the National School of Applied Economics and Management, Cotonou, Republic of Benin, lauded the hospitality of Nigerians, a country he had visited thrice, saying that “I feel at home whenever I visit Nigeria”. He said his country shared a lot with Nigeria in terms of culture, dressing and language.

You may read the news from the source: Federal University of Agriculture's website
The Studership 2.0 Leadership Programme was featured on the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta's website. It is worthy of note that the summit was supported by the institution.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Making Your Days Here Count!

Exactly a week ago, i was sharing with some emerging leaders from across Nigeria, Ghana, Republic de Benin and Togo on 'Integral Leadership' at the #Studership 2.0 Leadership Summit (Pictures here).

I was delighted at the radiation of 'senses' of commitment as we exchanged ideas, on personal growth and leadership development - revolving around vision, values, ethics, passion for continuous learning and understanding purpose.

Like we do remind ourselves, that in everything we do, we (un)consciously sign our autographs. Make the unconscious conscious; what do you do to sign your autograph? Where/How do you sign it? It isn't compulsory the autographs are conspicuous, but just MAKE YOUR DAYS HERE COUNT!

Later next week, we shall be having a guest post, related to the theme of leaving positive autographs, starting from the person sitting beside you.

Till then, I will be glad  to read from you, with much love!

Keep growing, keep leading!

t: @damolamore

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Attend the Studership 2.0 Leadership Summit

I highly recommend the Studership 2.0 Leadership Summit for emerging leaders to actively participate in. 

The summit – which is the climax of Studership 2.0 Leadership Programme, an initiative of All for Development Foundationaimed at engaging, connecting and equipping emerging leaders for sustainable change, while promoting integrity and values-based leadership for practical, personal and professional application – will bring together emerging leaders, facilitators and other distinguished individuals who will share their expertise through series of advanced leadership workshops.

The Summit holds between Thursday, 19th September, 2013 and Sunday, 22nd September, 2013 – with arrival set for Thursday, and departure for Sunday – at Abeokuta, the capital city of Ogun State, Nigeria.

Visit this link for further details.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

What My Dog Taught Me

It is a new month!

With much delight from HIS gracious throne, i graciously welcome you to yet another month, filled with new opportunities for growth, learning and living.

One of the decisions i will be faced with this week is to let go our dog, Rocky. Though somehow, this had been ‘hard’ to make, I – and others in my nuclear family – have been procrastinating the decision to let go.  The dog has become a part of the family, and we surely will miss it.

One thing is sure about all beings; we are here to fulfill a purpose. Do i hear you ask ‘what purpose had the dog fulfilled?’. Yes! He modeled the way!

Friendly and warm, Rocky – a name given to him by my younger brother, Wisdom – knows that he owes it to himself to make his days here count positively.

Some observation from his life and time is that:
h  Rocky does not miss an opportunity to keep your company and make you happy. I remember times when – if let loose – accompanies my siblings to school.
h  Rocky is loyal and obedient, though may sometimes be stubborn.
h  Rocky reassures you of its love and believe in you. That he does extravagantly with the wagging of his tail as it runs to welcomes us home. He sends the message ‘though you might have had a busy and stressful day, i’m delighted you are back’.
h Oh! This dog is persistent. If what it wants is buried, regardless of the odds, Rocky continues digging till it finds it.
h  It enjoys the ecstasy of nature. Almost every other evening, Rocky excites me, racing against the car i drive, with much fun, commitment and excitement.
image source: google

Major lessons Rocky thought are:
h  Stay happy
h  Love generously
h  Stay focused and persistent
h  Enjoy nature
h  Be obedient and loyal
h  Enjoy every moment of the day
h  In every situation, BE YOU!

Remember, enjoy every moment in this month, stay focused and BE YOU!

Aanu Damola Morenikeji is considered Africa’s youngest youth intellectual and leadership development advocate. A sought-after speaker on the theme of leadership and personal growth, he is a fellow of the M121 Social Leadership Academy, U.S.A and founder of Studership Youth Leadership Academy – an initiative of All for Development Foundation [ADM-Foundation]. He blogs at and can be reached via

Sunday, 25 August 2013

'I See Hope' - Former Nigeria President Obasanjo commends Aanu Damola Morenikeji

It was just like yesterday; though exactly six years today, I can vividly recall those words spoken (and written) to me by the former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo.

“Your book (Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child) is a further confirmation of my belief
Aanu Damola Morenikeji and former Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo
hat there is hope for Nigeria and Nigerians. I cannot but see hope when a young person like you at a tender age (of 9) could author a play on such a complex issue. I salute your courage and depth. You must continue on this path and not relent and the sky shall not be able to limit you”

He gave me the children and youth versions of his book ‘I See Hope’ and said “I am sure they would further encourage you to go for gold".

Those words and the gifts (children and youth version of 'I See Hope') have over the years been appreciated.

To our generation and other patriots of our country and continent; I say to you -once again- today that I SEE HOPE.

I see hope in the intellectual development of our citizenry, who in turn contribute to the development of our society and country.

I see hope in the educational sector providing qualitative education to Nigerians - to aid young people in learning and living (not just existing).

I see hope in an enabling environment that promotes values and ethical reasoning, and integrally encourages/promotes active participation of young people in building a better world.

I see hope in a Nigeria, where social, ethnic and religious divide is a thing of the past and we relate based on the content of our character.

I see hope in a Nigeria, built consciously by Nigerians.

I SEE HOPE today!


Aanu Damola Morenikeji

Friday, 23 August 2013

Nigerian Blog shortlisted for prestigious UN Youth Award

I congratulate my brother and friend, Biodun Awosusi and his team at MDGs in Africa as the blog is shortlisted for the World Summit Youth Awards.

Hundreds of digital projects compete for the annual World Summit Youth Award. MDGs in Africa founded by Nigerian medical doctor, Biodun Awosusi, is one of 60 that are still in the race for the three-days Winners’ Event in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Abuja/Salzburg, August 22, 2013

MDG in Africa met the high demands of the online jury and enters the next round of the World Summit Youth Award (WSYA) 2013 in the category Pursue Truth. This global contest is dedicated to young developers who employ digital technologies to turn the United Nations Millennium Development Goals into action. Now MDGs in Africa competes against 59 websites, apps and other innovative youth projects. If it withstands critical inspection by a jury of internationally renowned ICT-experts, an invitation to Colombo, Sri Lanka, awaits the producer.

According to Biodun Awosusi, creator of MDGs in Africa, “MDGs in Africa is a powerful advocacy tool that provides quality information and success stories of the millennium development goals in Africa. It is a very useful database with summary reports on the progress being made by African countries and development partners (including our partner- Gates Foundation) towards eradication of poverty and hunger, improving access to quality education, female empowerment and reducing the burden of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.”
He added, “Winning the WSYA award will contribute immensely to the realization of our vision of creating the number one information hub on development for Africa even after the millennium development goals expire in 2015. This will be useful for young advocates and other stakeholders to monitor progress and demand implementation of sustainable projects from their governments. We are glad the journey has begun already”

If the project succeeds, its creator will win a trip to Colombo for the WSYA Winners’ Event 2013, October 24-26. This price offers more than just an opportunity to explore the biggest city of the tropical island with its aquamarine waters and pristine shores. At one of the globally most important events for young ICT-developers, the next generation of IT-pioneers will have the chance to present their project in front of a high-level audience, including business leaders from the multimedia sector and creative industry, representatives of politics and NGOs and many more.
"For me the WSYA was like a bridge between young, creative people on one side and experienced people that have worked a long time in these fields on the other", says Darko Bozhinoski from Macedonia, who won the WSYA 2012 in the category Go Green! for his project 'Climate for Children'. Besides unique network opportunities, the event-agenda features workshops, seminars and keynote sessions dealing with the most important topics of the future. The absolute highlight of the event is the Award Ceremony and Gala at which the WSYA winners will be honored.

The six categories of the World Summit Youth Award:
Fight Poverty, Hunger and Disease!
Education for All!
Power 2 Women!
Create your Culture!
Go Green!
Pursue Truth!
MDGs in Africa is nominated in Pursue Truth.

About the World Summit Youth Award (WSYA)
The WSYA is an annual award and a network for young people, under 30 years of age, using the Internet, mobile phones or other digital media to put the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) into action. The MDGs were set in 2000 by the UN to prompt member states and civil society to fight poverty, hunger and disease, inequalities, lack of education and environmental degradation.

Find more information:

Media Contact MDGs in Africa:
Biodun Awosusi
Founder, MDGs in Africa

Media Contact World Summit Youth Award:
Angel Chacon
Project Assistant, World Summit Youth Award

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Do you also believe these myths about leadership?

This week, during the online phase of the Studership 2.0 Leadership Programme, we took a different approach to our discuss, as some  top myths conceived and transmitted – over time – about leadership were shared and discussed.
As we grow, we had been exposed to several erroneous definition and attribute of leadership and concepts around the field. These opinions have, overtime, affected our views of, and action towards growth, effectiveness, efficiency and making positive change.
Some common myths about leadership we shared include the following;
1. Leadership is a rare skill.
Leadership is considered by some to be a rare skill, a skill possessed by a certain opportune set of people. While great leaders may be rare, everyone has leadership potential. Yes, most people in some way – whether conscious or not – are exercising leadership in a particular context. For example, you may find someone might be quiet and passive in their job, but quite bossy at home, or lead in conversation but not in formal meetings. Leadership opportunities are everywhere.
2. Leaders are born, not made.
On the commencement of the online discussions in the Studership 2.0 Leadership Programme, we deliberated on whether leaders were born or made. The major capacities and competencies of leadership can be learned, and we are all able to learn, at least if the basic desire to learn is there. Effective leadership is, however, is more than simply having the desire and enacting the ‘right’ behaviours, it needs to include a deep awareness of the impact of one’s behaviour on others. In turn, leadership development now needs to involve the development of the whole person, stressing self-awareness and balance in life (making the leader).
3. Leaders are Charismatic
Some are, most aren’t. Charisma is the result of effective leadership, not the other way around, and most who are good at leadership are granted a certain amount of respect and even awe by their followers, increasing the bond of attraction between them. Interest in charismatic and transformational leaders has been fuelled by the nature and strength of their emotional impact on others. In the past, leadership was conceived of in terms of transactional terms. Transactional leadership is characterised by mutually beneficial exchanges between two parties to optimize mutual benefit. While this model produces somewhat predictable outcomes, these are generally short-lived. The last two decades have seen an increasing interest in a new type of leadership:transformational leadership. Transformational leadership operates through tapping into followers’ deeper values and sense of higher purpose, and has been found to lead to higher levels of follower commitment and effort, as well as more enduring change. Transformational leaders provide compelling visions of a better future and inspire trust through seemingly unshakeable self-confidence and conviction.
4. Leadership exists only at the top of the organisation (e.g the boss)
Leadership is a choice you make, not a place you sit. Anyone can choose to be a leader wherever he is. In fact, the larger the organisation, the more leadership roles it is likely to have as people lead smaller groups within the whole. As John Maxwell puts it, leadership is influence. When emerging leaders understand the dynamics of gaining influence with people, they come to realise that position has little to do with genuine leadership. Do individuals have to be at the top of the orgaisational chart to develop relationship with others and get them to like working with them? Do they need to possess top leadership titles to achieve results and make people productive? Of course not. Influencing others is a matter of deposition, not position. You can make a difference no matter where you are. Lead, don’t manage.
5. The leader controls, directs, prods, manipulates.
Leadership, power and authority are linked – who gives the leader a mandate to lead is important. Leadership is not dictatorship. We should not view leaders as puppet-masters pulling the strings to make people move, but see the people as the ones that can decide to support, influence, change, defy or subvert the leaders. Power is held by the leader and the people they lead, and in the ideal situation, a good leader empowers the people to make changes to their community.
6. The greater your age, the better you are as a leader.
Leadership, is not valued based on age, but on commitment to growth. There is a major difference between growing and ageing; growth may be exponential, while ageing may follow numerical procedure (counted year after year). Without digressing, age is not a criteria for effective leadership, but vision, commitment, positive influence and growth.
Once these myths are cleared away, the question becomes not one of how to become a leader, but rather how to improve your effectiveness at leadership.
Let's read from you;
  • What other myth is believed in your various communities/countries? Share with us.
  • Think of a real life situation where a leader made a positive difference. Did they act as managers or leaders? What behaviours did they show? What lessons about leadership can you take away from the life situation you have thought of?.


Aanu Damola Morenikeji is considered Africa’s youngest youth intellectual and leadership development advocate. A sought-after speaker on the theme of leadership and personal growth, he is an alumnus and fellow of the M121 Social Leadership Academy, U.S.A and founder of Studership Youth Leadership Academy – an initiative of All for Development Foundation [ADM-Foundation]. He blogs at and can be reached via