AGE : 50s
PASSION: Mentoring and inspiring younger ones to achieve their goals.
Bode Adediji is the President, Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers. He is reputed to be the pioneer, Multi Disciplinary Professional Estate firm in Nigeria, employing Surveyors and Valuers, Architect, Engineers, Town Planers, Land Surveyors, Quantity Surveyors. Besides his professional callings, he has dedicated himself to mentoring and delivering lectures to inspire the younger ones to greatness. He was trained at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, and University of Reading, United Kingdom. He is our role model this week.
What is your concept of an ideal man? Is it by his position or the size of his pocket?
Some years back, I might find that question, tricky. The only template and defining characteristics of an ideal man to me now is he who gives himself for service. It’s not a man who amasses wealth, but he who develops whatever God has given him for the service of mankind. If you are a journalist, you use your pen and paper to advance the cause of humanity through service.
So, what have you done in that regard?
I have to be humble in this regard. At my age, I haven’t done much. I still aspire to do more. But right from my secondary school days. I have offered myself for service: I served all my classmates. In the university, I served students and represented some lecturers. When I went abroad for my Masters programme, I was appointed the class leader. So, the concept of making myself available outside my normal routine has become part and parcel of me. Right now, I’m probably the only surveyor in this country who has occupied virtually all the positions in Estate Surveyors and Valuers: from publicity secretary, treasurer, vice-president and president. My passion is to serve in whatever area I find myself. Even as a Surveyor, my passion is mentoring and giving lectures to people, inspiring them to see life in a positive direction and see success as what is attainable. Recently I was at the Faculty of Environmental Design and Management, University of Ife to deliver a lecture. My basic goal is to inspire the younger ones. I am aware we have leadership problem, things can generally be better than what they are now. Otherwise, there is no reason why we cannot have sufficient housing for the populace. Why do we have dysfunctional roads? Why do we have poor power supply. But we have to inspire the younger ones and let them be of good service to their immediate family, constituency and the society at large.
What influenced the choice of your career?
My choice of career was by happenstance. I was admitted to read Economics/Accounting at the University of Ife but I did very well in my first year and the challenge I faced was with this brilliant result: did I still want to pursue accountancy, and the fact that in my village, there were so many Accountants that never went to any university. But I said no, I wanted a course that was more challenging and not popular and bear in mind that at the University of Ife then, one of the most daunting courses to pursue was Estate Management and because of that, I opted to read Estate Management. So, those are the two factors. A course thatwas not popular and a course that was acknowledged to be challenging.
But today, do you have a different view of it?
Looking back today, I should have gone into teaching and be able to make more impact on the wider society than what I am doing now. That is why I have never refused invitation to go and deliver lectures anywhere or go mentoring. And whenever I go to deliver a lecture, I will make it mandatory for myself to make donations. This is because I know that there is no amount of effort I can put into the academia now that can compensate for what my upbringing in the university has done in my life.
If I have any regret, it was my obstinacy to all entreaties to go back to the university to lecture. I was a national award scholar from the University. I won several awards and became the best graduating student of my set (1979). My professors and lecturers wanted me to remain in the academia. But, the circumstances that surrounded the teaching environment then and the way the freedom of the students and the lecturers were being abridged by the then military government did not let me.
Given the various challenges in the society now, how do you think one can actualise one’s goal?
First, the leaders of this country created problems for the have-nots and the less priviledged and the situation permeates all facets of our lives including education. Until our leaders are refined and reformed, Nigeria will continue to witness a multitude of people who have the brain, capacity and still remain uneducated. Again, when there is will, there is a way. If people think, that because they have no father or parents who can sponsor them to school, and they think that is responsible for their not going to school, that doesn’t explain the story. I believe that any young man or woman who wants to go to school will find people who can assist. Majority of the people on the streets today are people who missed the opportunity of going to school, not that those opportunities were not there. As a result, it is part of our attitude to see problem building up and continue to pay lip service to such problem, ignoring the army of young people who have nothing but at the same time have the appetite of getting rich quick. Unless you work towards getting the leadership that will address in a revolutionary way our problems, all the talk about NAPEP, free education will not work. We need a leader that can fundamentally re-orientate Nigerian youths with our core values. Nigeria is not the poorest country but when it comes to people not wanting to do anything, but want to ride jeeps, Nigeria tops the list in the world. We need a leader who is ready to say, enough is enough.