Tomeb partners ExxonMobil to shape the lives of young people

The College Vice Principal, Mr Kadiku Musiliu (left); Mrs Titi Akinsanmi, Mr Niyi Yusuf, Mr Popoola, Mrs Popoola, Mrs Elizabeth Olofin and the College Principal, Mr Amao Lawal, with some of the students of Badore Model College

Self-dicovery, right attitude to life and sound mind no doubt are the factors that ginger human beings to succeed in life, just as sound education pushes one to a greater height. Bearing this in mind, Tomeb Foundation, an NGO established to promote issues, that will energize individuals and communities to be economically self-sustaining and environmentally friendly has constantly promoted programmes that would impact the youths positively.

Only last year, the Foundation in collaboration with its partner in progress, the oil giant, Exxon Mobil, sponsored and distributed textbooks to final year medical students of the University of Lagos. With the success of that programme, it embarked on another project that could be tagged “catch them young” this year, also in collaboration with Exxon Mobil, to fertilise the minds of school pupils on how to succeed, this time through reading, personal development and learning programme.

Recently, all roads led to Lagos State Model College, Badore in Lagos, where over 1000 students were tutored and lectured through a book written by a young scholar and 2016 Valedictorian of Dowen College, Lagos, Maryam Popoola. The book titled Insight: Nuggets of Excellence for Teenagers is a motivational book that brilliantly discerns aspects of human behaviour. The book is also a comprehensive summary of the issues affecting young people in secondary schools and contains valuable lessons on how they can achieve academic, moral and spiritual excellence.

Incidentally, Maryam is a daughter to the founders of Tomeb, Mr. Tunde and Alhaja Mojisola Popoola. “When she put this book together, we decided to ensure that it gets to the hands of thousands of people, because it is an impactful title for people in her age bracket,” Mr. Popoola told journalists.

After the book was published, Tomeb partnered with ExxonMobil to donate free copies of the book to select students in Lagos State. Badore’s Model College was the chosen school and the foundation went further to arrange for a personal development and learning programme, where eminent speakers were invited to read chapters from the book and explain them to the mass of listening students.

On that day, students of Badore Model College trooped out in thousands to drink from the fountain of knowledge of selected speakers who were billed to read out and explain chapters from the book which addressed topics such as what it takes to succeed as a teenager, important habits to cultivate, academic excellence, and the good and bad sides of social media.

Some of the speakers at event were the Country Managing Director of Accenture Nigeria, Mr. Niyi Yusuf; the Managing Consultant, Kitbenj Consulting, Mrs. Elizabeth Olofin; a Professor of Medicine at the University of Lagos, Professor (Mrs.) Fatimah Abdulkareem and a Government Relations Lead at Google, Mrs. Titi Akinsanmi.

Opening the stage, Mr. Popoola shared a snippet of his early days with the eager students. “I grew up in the village,” he recalled, “and when I was going to school, because my father was a farmer, I would go to the farm on Friday and come back on Sunday.”

But being a farm boy did not stop him from achieving his dreams. “You can become anything in life, but you must be ready to do all that is required to get to the top,” he said.

Going down memory lane, Popoola said having observed the lack of proper guidance in some of the youths in realising their potential, he started TOMEB, together with his wife, Mrs. Maryam Popoola. “We decided to focus on empowering young people and rural communities, to help them move to the next level. We have particular interest in young people, entrepreneurship, education and sustainable development; these are our four focus areas,” he said.

Since its inception, he said the foundation has awarded scholarships to young students in rural communities at the Junior Secondary School level. More than 80 percent of their scholarship recipients are now in the university.

After his speech, the invited speakers who are all lifelong professional achievers mounted the podium to weave their magic on the audience. The first speaker, Country Managing Director, Accenture Nigeria, Mr. Niyi Yusuf, ran the students through the book’s third chapter titled: “What It Takes to Succeed as a Teenager.”

Yusuf said: “The way you define success will change as you grow in life. To my mind, success is a journey. It is about setting goals and achieving them. It doesn’t matter where you started from. You only need to have faith in God to direct your path, have faith and belief in yourself, be hardworking and put in that extra effort that will make you extraordinary.”

He also advised the students to be patient and ready to persevere, because nothing good comes easy. He told the story of legendary Olympian, Michael Phelps, to illustrate his point and referred to the 10,000 hour rule- an idea closely associated with pop psychic writer, Malcom Gladwell, which holds that it takes 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become world-class in any field or vocation.

The second speaker, former Executive Director of Fate Foundation, Mrs. Elizabeth Olofin, read from the fifth chapter: Important Habits to Cultivate and focused on the idea of being still. “If you don’t learn how to be still, you will never be able to achieve,” she said. “You must learn how to observe quiet time, go into the recess of your mind and consider things.”

Stillness, she stressed, helps to uncover one’s identity and protect it. “It will help you to find what gifts you have; then after you have discovered that, you must practice and be prepared to share your fruits with others.”

Mrs. Abdulkareem, a consultant in gastrointestinal and liver pathology, who took the third lecture, advised the students to never settle for less. “It is not everybody that is something today that was somebody yesterday,” she said, urging the students to follow through with God and diligence. “If you follow and obey God and put in a lot of hard work, everything will be easy for you.”

The last speaker, Mrs. Titi Akinsanmi, read from Chapters 7 and 8 of Maryam’s book, which details the Good and Bad Sides of Social Media.She told them that being on social media was a great thing, as it helps them to connect seamlessly with one another and makes it easier to access information, but also warned them against falling into its many pitfalls like hacking, cyber-bullying, exposure to inappropriate material, defamation, piracy, and catfish, among many others. “I recognised very early that technology gave me an edge,” she said, “but I am imploring you, as young people, to make the right choices.”

At the end of the programme, students and teachers of the College, were obviously sated with wisdom. “It was very beneficial to the students and even to the teachers, in terms of the core values exhibited in the book published by Maryam and extolled by the speakers,” the Senior Education Officer of the College, Mr. Animashaun Kolawole said.

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