Mentorship is Half the Battle in Achieving Success; Here’s a Plan We are Working On

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Sometime in 2009, a few months after I  finished the National Youth Service, I was preparing dinner in the kitchen when a call came into my phone. The caller was from Globacom, a leading telecommunication company in Nigeria. The caller was inviting me to interview for an  attorney position with the company. At first, I thought it was my sister Amara, ever  the teaser, pulling a  prank on me and I kept telling the caller, whom I thought was Amara, to stop the prank. She  patiently explained to me that it was real and  gave me  an address in Victoria Island, an upscale area of Lagos –I was in Aba — to come for the interview.  I never imagined  Globacom would invite me for an interview. But then I remembered that weeks prior to that, I had applied for an attorney position to a generic email in response to a job advert that did not  disclose the employer. After talking to family members and determining the invitation was genuine, I traveled to Lagos for the screening test at Glo’s shiny tower and went back home  to Aba.

A few weeks later, I got another call that I had to be in  Abuja the  following day for a second interview. I think it was late afternoon and the only way to get to Lagos in time  for the interview the next day was to take a flight. My father generously paid for my flight – my first ever experience flying – that evening.

When I got  to Globacom office the next day, I learned I was to be interviewed by Bella Adenuga, the CEO’s daughter.  When I met Bella, her first question was, “what name do you go by?” I didn’t grow up with English as I first language. The lady next to her explained that Bella was inquiring if I wanted  to be addressed by Anne or Oluchi as I had both names on my resume.  I answered that question. Next, Bella asked me “Tell me  about yourself.” Before that time, I had never been to or prepared for a job interview. I wish I knew then what I know now.  Rather than tell her about my academic and  professional qualifications, I prattled on about how I was the fourth of eight  children and how I attended a Catholic secondary school. Bella did not go past that question before she dismissed me. And just like that, I wasted the hard-earned flight fare my dad, who I don’t think had ever flown at that time, gave me. Mission unaccomplished.

Fast forward to 2017, I had moved to another country and had been targeting to get a job in a particular sector without success, when I got an invitation for an opening in the sector.  I looked on LinkedIn and elsewhere, thank you Google, and recognized an Igbo name from a list of attorneys who work at the establishment. I found a phone number for the attorney online and sent  him a long text message, apologized I could not  find his email address, hence the text. I introduced myself as a fellow Nigerian trying to interview with his agency. We have not seen till date but the attorney did text me back and scheduled a time to prepare me for the interview over the phone. His tips were invaluable. I eventually did not get that job, but I have been to other successful interviews  in that sector because of the graciousness of that attorney.

Before getting a university degree became the norm, our parents used the apprenticeship system to set up young people to succeed, something youths today don’t get.  In this TedTalk Roberet Neuwirth said “I can say with almost certainty that the Igbo apprenticeship system that governs Alaba International Market is the largest business incubator platform in the world.” Our generation tend to be  employees ourselves and  don’t have opportunity to replicate this system. But we have to look around to see other ways we can help and that is why I started this project.

In a few posts from now, I will be announcing the first set of opportunities we will be providing on this platform. We will use the little fund we have raised so far to kickstart the process; we can’t make an impact if we keep waiting until we have million dollar resources. We are thinking of offering monthly stipend, not much, to five youths who can find a place to learn a trade  for six months. Priority will be given to youths who choose trades they can set up themselves with no capital after six months. From our previous survey on Facebook, it appears braiding hair, barbing, painting, driving uber, appear to be clear winners. If you are a business owner and will like to mentor or train someone in a trade for six months, we will like to hear from you. You won’t be required to pay wages.  Please send an email to

From the Facebook Survey, there were also very valuable suggestions on certifications that can increase employability. That may require some resources and we are still researching on that.

If you are  unemployed and have zero income, start looking around in your area to see what trade you may learn. The stipend that will be given is minimal (not more than N5,000 a month); the donors hope it can at least help towards transportation. If you have someone looking for opportunities in Nigeria, Please have them join the Facebook Group Intern Nigeria. We  will be posting updates there.

Thank you all for your positive Feedback on the Facebook Survey. Let’s all work together for a Nigeria we can be proud of.


Published by annemmeje

Hello, I am Anne: Lawyer, Inspirational Blogger, Christian, Freelance Writer, and Mediator. My job is to inspire you to be the best you can be. Let's get started!

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