The world is now a global village, but it is an irony as there is the continuous rise in violence and intolerance across the world, the youths being used to perpetrate these violent crimes. Oniriwa Mofolami, a young entrepreneur has come up with a vision and mission to curb this global challenge through his organisation which fosters global peace through cultural exchange programmes. GABRIEL EWEPU examines this and other issues.
Nigeria is a country naturally endowed with abundant human and mineral resources, whereby the country is blessed with young and agile people that are highly foresighted and enterprising in different endeavours.
One of such enterprising young Nigerians is Mr Oniriwa Mofolami who hails from Egbe in Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State, Nigeria. He is a graduate of Babcock University, where he studied International Law and Diplomacy, and was among the National Youth Service Corps Batch ‘C’ 2010 Corps members. He served in LEADERSHIP Newspaper, Abuja. Mofolami is also a member of the Nigeria Society of International Law (NSIL).
Mofolami is one of the minds with lofty dreams and aspirations, especially in the field of qualitative education for his fellow young Nigerians. He has endeavoured to actualise his vision for global peace and mutual understanding by young people where they will get to know and understand the multi-cultural diversity and uniqueness that exists across the globe, especially with intolerance all over the world, cutting across national frontiers as a result of being brain-washed and instigated to be hostile and aggressive towards perceived enemies (individuals, groups and nations) thereby promoting the worrisome trend of terrorism experienced in every continent of the world.
The passion for education and cultural exchange programmes, Mofolami had established an organisation while carrying out his national youth service assignment. “I am passionate about education and cultural exchange programmes because I was challenged as a result of my many trips to the United States of America (USA) where I saw how students from different countries and backgrounds mixed up and shared ideologies about their countries and cultures, including their personal lives, which I also participated in some of the programmes, inspired and triggered my passion to come up with an organisation based on educational services, which will facilitate the travelling of young Nigerians abroad, also their foreign counterparts to Nigeria to understand and accept each other cultures, whereby they will be more enlightened, I saw it as a way to boost the knowledge and experience of the Nigerian student about their academic and socio-cultural lives, and also about other nationals as he or she participate in exchange programmes”, said Mofolami.
He did not stopped at conceiving the idea, but went ahead to follow due process in registering the organisation with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in March 2011 under the name ACE Educational Services after meeting the requirement of the CAC. Mofolami is also the Chief executive Officer (CEO) of ACE Associates Products and Services Ltd, located at Plot 1128 Cadastral Zone B6 Mabushi Abuja. Being a Young enterprising entrepreneur, he had thrived to reach out with the services the organisation renders by opening three offices in Lagos, Ilorin and Abuja. “The idea of these offices is to create accessibility to participants, even for the organisation also to provide efficient service delivery.”
With his vision to enable students in Nigeria to be abreast with global events as it concerns their study, career and future endeavour, Mofolami organises workshops in collaboration with respective universities through representatives of the organisations in order to sensitise prospecting students about the exchange programmes and the benefits accruing.
He also explores the social media facilities to interact with interested students on how to go about it. “The social media facilities have been an avenue through which we communicate with the target audience. We have been receiving positive responses. We have participants from university of Lagos, university of Ilorin, including some private universities like Babcock University, BOWEN University”, Mofolami said.
The organisation has been able to facilitate the travelling of over 30 students so far after its establishment in March, 2011. It is responsible for monitoring the activities of students who travel abroad, to know about their welfare and the programme. It sensitises participants about the programme and places they will visit during their stay over there. The exchange programme is handled together with our partners who include Worldwide International Student Exchange (WISE) and American Camp and Work Experience (ACAWE), all in the United States of America.
The participants are normally issued visa in two different categories; the ‘J1’ and ‘F1’ visa. The ‘J1’ programme is basically for exchange programmes, including touring the US, and working shortly in some organisations. The participants return after the visa expiration. It is to enable them to meet with other students from different countries, that also visit the US under the same programme, where they understand the socio-economic system of those countries, including the US, in order for them to come back home to replicate what they have experienced in their present endeavour and the future, while the ‘F1’ programme is for students who wants to engage in full academic programmes in the US universities”.
In the area of preparing students’ travelling documents, he said their partners in the US send recommendation letters and other necessary documents to the US embassy in Nigeria for credibility about the programme. “With the understanding we have with our participants, partners in the US and our seasoned professionals here in Nigeria, we have recorded over 90 per cent success of visa application. Although we have challenges on the programme as there are competitors in the programme as well, being a young entrepreneur starting up such educational services of a truth the waters are challenging. Notwithstanding, the organisation is forging ahead”.
Mofolami is currently pursuing a project on how to boost the tourism sector and national development as he is in talks with partners in the US on how to attract tourists and volunteers to Nigeria.
“We are working seriously at the moment, talking with our partners in the US to organise a minimum of two weeks and a maximum of six months visit to Nigeria and some other countries in sub-Sahara Africa on a package we call ‘Travel Africa’. Those who are visiting for two weeks are to visit most of the tourist sites in the country. While those who are visiting for three and six months will be made up of professionals who could render volunteer services in the health and educational sectors, and other sectors they can offer their services. Already some schools are indicating interest for teachers and lecturers. It is a way to facilitate rapid socio-economic development, also to woo direct foreign investment to the country. We have been able to facilitate the visit of about three persons from the US to Nigeria after the establishment of the organisation. It is my little way to contribute to the development of my fatherland.”
The objective of ACE Educational Services is the promotion of international peace and contributes to national development. Mofolami challenges other young people like him to be positive and patriotic about national development. “The present challenges we are grappling with as a country is to be addressed collectively, not to be left for the government alone, but all of us, especially young people should be patriotic enough to come up with one or two developmental solutions to tackle the problems at hand”.
Mofolami did his national youth service in LEADERSHIP Newspaper. He expressed his deep gratitude to the organisation, “I am most grateful to the management and staff of LEADERSHIP Newspaper for granting me the opportunity to serve our great country, Nigeria ,through their great and noble organisation, which added more vision and passion in me to contribute to national development through its motto: ‘For God and Country’. In fact, I will continue to serve humanity as far as I am alive,” he said.