He is a software engineer and start-up guy. He manages systems, spreadsheets and a couple of people and would have loved to be a professional food taster but he still feels software engineering isn’t bad too. In this interview, he told us he is not an average Nigerian youth and believes the youth should stop celebrating mediocrity.
Join us on this ride with Sayo Oladeji as he bears his mind on politics and youth leadership.
AATSarumi.com: Hello, let us meet you sir.
Sayo Oladeji: I’m Sayo Oladeji; a software engineer and entrepreneur. I’m the CEO of Hextremelabs, a software engineering firm which builds solutions for businesses. At Hextremelabs, I do administrative work as well as core engineering.
AATSarumi.com: You won the maiden edition of the IrokoTV challenge, how did that feel?
Sayo Oladeji: Ah… Yes I felt great. I didn’t expect it when I was told. My mind wasn’t really there. Iroko just scheduled a call with me and I thought it was a recruitment interview. I was asked to defend my solutions to all the questions then I was asked some typical startup-style design questions. I knew I did well in that interview but wasn’t really looking for a job then (though receiving an offer would have been great). It was after the call I was told I won the competition.
AATSarumi.com: Congratulations, once again. We wish you more success. What is your sincere assessment of Nigeria’s tech environment?
Sayo Oladeji: My sincere assessment of Nigeria’s tech ecosystem. I think we celebrate mediocrity. We have far greater potentials than what we are churning out. I hope organizations like Andela improve that. We don’t need sophisticated services, just simple services that are super reliable. We’ll get there.
AATSarumi.com: Are you living your dream or a borrowed reality? (Did you dream of becoming a techie as a kid or it changed along the line)
Sayo Oladeji: As a kid I loved games. I owned an 8-bit GLK. Then in secondary school I became curious how the games were being built and fortunately for me, my biology teacher was learning Java then. So he showed me the way and I realized I love the stuff. There was no special “dream” back then.
AATSarumi.com: How would you define leadership?
Sayo Oladeji: Off the top of my head, leadership is the art of managing people and resources to maximize their potentials. A large part of this involves living as an example.
AATSarumi.com: Do you think the average Nigerian youth group is worthy of being called a leader?
Sayo Oladeji: That’s hard to tell. I don’t even know what the average Nigerian youth look like. You and I are far above the average Nigerian youth. Go to the vast fields in the north, the swamps in the south, the rainforests in the west; that’s where you meet the average youth (if we’re judging by numbers).
AATSarumi.com: As a techie, are you inured to happenings in Nigeria’s political sphere?
Sayo Oladeji: To be honest I don’t know much about the Nigerian political landscape. But I’m well versed in the current global happenings. I think that’s because I can’t stand watching NTA because of the poor quality. I watch CNN all day.
AATSarumi.com: How would you describe politics, governance and leadership in Nigeria?
Sayo Oladeji: We’re still growing. We’ll get there. The developed nations also passed through phases like these. It’s only a shame that we fall into the same ditches others have fallen into instead of hopping past them.
AATSarumi.com: Can technology be deployed in the fight against corruption. If yes, any suggestion?
Sayo Oladeji: Yes sure. IT means information technology. Information empowers. The first step to combating corruption is raising awareness and improving transparency so it’s obvious how technology lends itself to this.
AATSarumi.com: What is your dream Nigeria?
Sayo Oladeji: My dream Nigeria is one in which the freedom of every person is respected regardless of whether one is a prostitute, gay, marijuana consumer, etc. Fair treatment for all regardless of your ethnicity or religion. A Nigeria in which the right of women is respected. Women deserve the right to decide what grows in their bodies. A Nigeria where the safety of lives and properties is taken very seriously. A Nigeria where the well-being of the citizenry is held with utmost importance.
AATSarumi.com: As a start-uper, would you like to provide mentorship for youth that are willing?
Sayo Oladeji: I mentor people already. Serious minds are always welcome.
AATSarumi.com: Your advise to the Nigerian youth
Sayo Oladeji: Don’t celebrate mediocrity. Work very hard. Read as much as you possibly can. I can’t believe some people still can’t Google around and find stuff on their own. Search heavily, it’s free!
AATSarumi.com: Thank you very much for this opportunity. We wish you many more success and we hope to see the Nigeria you (we all) dream of.
Sayo Oladeji: Thanks for having me.