When Are We Going To Have The African Dream? Exclusive Interview With Adebayo Jeremiah Bankole
Welcome to Cephas Insights, Sir
Who's the Jeremiah Bankole?
Thank you very much for this opportunity. I do not take it for granted, I am so grateful, thank you for choosing to have me on this interview through your platform.
Looking at the scope of this question and how it's expected to be answered, I know you would want a professional description of my person, but I won't be doing that because in that question lies my identity rather than a name or a description according to a job or profession.
Adebayo Jeremiah Bankole is a son of God who operates in the courts of the Lord, with a heart of service towards any capacity that is required of his person here on earth. This afforded me the oppurtinity of a vast abundance of discoveries about my identity and person and it's beautiful to see such reality progressively progress with God holding me by the hands.
Why Chemical engineering? Did anyone inspire you?
Chemical engineering... smiles
No one inspired me, there is quite a story wrapped around it, though not abstract to the “not so good” educational system in Nigeria. I remember getting out of secondary school without having a clear direction of what I would have loved to study. I remember that I was exceptional at chemistry among the pool of other subjects. This came from the fact that I had a very good teacher who understood me and taught me along that tenet, I was able to understand all that he dished out. So when I was about to take my exams that brought me into LAUTECH, I remember my dad (God bless him wherever he is, I love him and I honor him) and I went down to the cyber cafe to register for JAMB. The man who ran the cafe at that time asked, "What course will your son study? He remembered the results I always brought home, and how I was always exceptional in chemistry, but he never knew why. So he said this in Yoruba
"Omo yii da ninu chemistry, ewo ninu engineering yen lo relate mo chemistry".
Interpreted as" this boy is good when it comes to chemistry, which of the engineering courses is related to Chemistry?"
"Chemical engineering", the man replied.
Unknown to the man, Chemistry was not the main fulcrum of chemical engineering at all, so that's how the journey of chemical engineering started. I cleared my exams and got into Lautech, getting into the department put me into a different reality. Talking of inspiration, None at all!
What's your take on formal education?
I’ll start by saying, formal education is very important and should not be talked about any less. Because I have been seeing narratives build up amongst youths in our generation which is destructive to the society. It's weaved around definite statements, poked as fun, and talked of in high spirit but to me, it comes with an abstract of intelligence passed off as an opinion that I would never buy into. The fact that - a school (an educational institution) is a scam is an absolute lie. Formal education would always be important at any scale of society and should be approached as such. I can't talk enough of the opportunities that formal education has given me. People need to stop parading such ignorance and come into the awareness of opportunities that lie around them. So, formal education is super-important!
You've this mantra, we've a continent to build, can you shed more light on this?
This is more of a call to a vision that burns so dear in my heart, a peek into the future and how that future can be worked towards.
Africa at the moment is not where other continents are. It is so clear with varying statistics and the realism around us. You know it's so sad when this description is even told condescendingly far below our reality. Imagine people from other continents referring to Africa as a nation not knowing that Africa is a continent with 54 nations….
And I feel that all these things cannot or will not stop if, at the end of the day, we Africans can not build Africa from an Afrocentric lens. And so It's a call for Africans to see the need to develop the continent in whatever capacity they can, across different sectors.
Personally for me now, I have taken a stand! Mine has to do with innovation, entrepreneurship, and sustainability in Africa and how these can be funded with capital.
I have studied several nations that went through an evolution of developments and growth and no one does this outside the section of innovation and entrepreneurship. A documentary that describes this as a case study would be "Men who made America", It was how some men used their willpower through innovation and entrepreneurship in building America. Building the perfect framework for what's called the “American dream”. My question now is when are we going to have the African dream? Who are these men who would lead this course fearlessly and sacrificially in building Africa?
These things can't be done if we do not see the need to do our quota, I want to see Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Togo, and all others being built accordingly, nobody is going to do that for us, even if they do, this is not their home and one day they'll feel the need to go back home, it's necessary to build the continent for ourselves.
It's a call for builders to rise and build Africa to where it ought to be. Africa should not become a byword in the name of other continents. No, it should not!
Considering your feats while you were an undergraduate, from Hult Prize to being the president of ANUNSA of LAUTECH and organizing the largest SDG conference in the history of the school and many others which we can't mention here. How did you achieve this? What's the secret?
I would just say, the secret is God, I won't say anything apart from that. Hear from God, conceptualize what God has spoken, and flesh it out into reality. And all of this has to be done with a heart to serve.
Do you believe in mentorship? If yes, do you've mentors and can you share their names?
Yes, I believe in mentorship, I believe in submitting to a higher authority, people see mentorship from a selfish point of view from both mentee and mentor angles and because people do not understand what the word "mentorship" is.
I have quite variances of people to which I submit, I would rather say I submit to a tribe of people which are headed to where I am going to, and also hold the value of what I hold dear in heart, and have quite advanced in some things I project of myself in which there is a selfless relationship that aids my growth and delivers value across the board. A yoruba adage - It takes a community to build a person. So, yes I do!
But the most powerful tool for me in the communities of like-minded people who mentors me is my curiosity and I'm glad for that.
What's that thing you regret not doing or knowing early in life?
Well..happily, I have no regrets in my life(chuckles)..., and that is because I feel that I am living a scripted life.
All of the things which I have faced are just a race that has been set before me and I'm just running the race. It's God who has set the race, and I'm just running the race according to what's been written in the volume of the book. Hence all the Godcidences that have happened in my life happened for a purpose toward God's definition of “good”.
So, I do not have any regrets nor do I have regret days. I could just have learning moments that are very good for me and my person. I love it!
We know you're a Christian, that's why we're asking this.There's this current controversy about polygamy whether it's a sin or not, what's your take on it?
Okay! Yeah... Very Good.
Controversy about polygamy? Whether it's a sin or not.
What the bible tells us is what we follow. The bible is our manual to life and not any other thing. For we Christians, people who live according to how He lived there is no controversy whatsoever for us. Our stand is clear!
If there is any explanation I need to do, it would be those who have not come to the knowledge of Christ or those who have but have not submitted to His Lordship. There are really funny opinions out there, some people feel that the Bible was written in some ancient time, to some ancient people and it simply doesn't work in this age and dispensation.
But the bible says Heaven and earth shall pass away but my word shall not pass away. When God says such a statement in His word, that is, He has run that word through the check of time and dispensation, different civilizations that would happen, centuries upon centuries, and a definite statement was made.
His word is indefatigable. It stands so sure. Doesn't return void, accomplishment is an assurance in every one of His words.
Then the question would be that what does the bible say about monogamy or polygamy. The bible tells us that “for this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh. Not “wives”
The bible is very clear and simple as regards its framework for marriage. It's about one man, and one wife coming together in oneness.
Any other school of thought or idea around this which might be polygamy or bigamy, people project out there is a different thought and opinion to what God wants for us. Moreso, for we believers marriage is not a concept from a school of thought, civilization, or philosophy. Marriage is an institution created by God.
IT IS ONE MAN, ONE WIFE!!!
Nigeria needs visionary leaders like you. Would you like to go fully into politics?
Nigeria needs a visionary leader like me, it comes with its sacrifices but the truth remains that the aspect we all would envision differs.
I have friends and I keep a catalog of people who are visionaries or who are en route to becoming one and I am bullish on supporting everyone on their journey to discovery.
So, I do not see myself in politics. I see myself in the line of entrepreneurship, innovation, and the funding of these two aspects in Africa.
As for politics, I don't think I'd be going into it, it's not my A-game. I don't liaise with it but that doesn't stop me from playing my part in engaging with the politics of the land.
What do you've to say to those that are looking up to you?
It's an honor to be looked up to which I don't take for granted. And I am grateful to be accorded such respect in moments of destiny. My advice would be - intelligently follow and discern along this journey. Fulfillment of all that has been written of us according to the pattern of utmost importance. My prayer is that I continually serve according to these tenents
Thank you very much for this opportunity.
We appreciate your time. Thank you for honoring this interview.
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