5 Minutes with Jake Okechukwu Effoduh
Being a young achiever can be daunting especially in a country like ours but Jake Okechukwu Effoduh is a philanthropist, a lawyer by profession, and an OAP.
In this interview with Ikenna Igwe, Jake tells us how he balances it all.
Tell us about yourself?
I was born in December 1987 in Festac, Lagos and I lived there for 5 years before we moved to Abuja in 1993. I come from a very small and lowly background but having a sound education was one thing my parents strived to provide for us. Most of my creativity, alertness and dispute resolution skills were shaped from my younger years.
What do you do for a living?
I am a Lawyer. I solve problems for a living.
Please fill us in on your rise to fame and how did it all start?
It started in 2006 as an anchor for the radio show “Flava”. It was a weekly youth lifestyle radio magazine programme that covered issues around sexual reproductive health and lifestyle. We traveled from state to state to meet listeners of the programme and addressing their issues. We recorded in markets, mechanic stations, bus stops, traffic go slows, parties, school environments and even secret joints.
Flava was a BBC Media Action programme that aired on about 90 radio stations with more than 24 million listeners. By the time I was 25, I had been to more than 300 Local Government Areas and had visited all 36 states of the country, twice. I had also won 4 awards including Best Community Radio Presenter in Nigeria at 2012 and Presenter of the Year in 2013.
Which of your jobs excites you?
Definitely being a lawyer. There are many issues that require serious legal attention and lawyers as social justice agents have a lot to contribute. I think of myself like a chef: the ingredient we use, that is the law, is the same for everyone but it is what I do with it, especially the how, that creates a different result. I am passionate about radio programming and acting.
What other areas of your career are you looking to explore?
I am training towards becoming a lecturer as well as exploring Television.
What has been a very high point in your life?
Earning a Masters in Law from the University of Oxford.
What has been your lowest?
My lowest point in my life was losing my Mum at the age of 15. It was a very difficult for me because my Mum played a major role in my life. She made me proud of my achievements no matter how insignificant and accepted me for who I am. She always – “You are special; you are not like the others. Never apologize for who you are. Be bold, be confident and remember you are God’s gift to me”. I wrote this at the back of almost every notebook I used in school.
What are the plans for the future- short-term goals, anything new?
I currently serve as the Curator of Abuja Global Shapers Hub, which is an initiative of World Economic Forum. I also serve as the Assistant Director of the Council on African Security and Development (CASADE). A few colleagues and I just set up an NGO: The Climb Charity. We seek to ensure no child under the age of 12 in the Capital of Nigeria is out of school by 2022.
What does it mean to be a young philanthropist?
I find myself redefining a lot of things including the idea of community service and philanthropy. The notion that you have to be rich in order to give others is antithetical to humanity. Philanthropy is not only promoting the welfare of others with monetary donations but also with service, time and advocacy.