Leadership. Innovation.Versatility. Enterprise. Drive. These five words succinctly but entirely describe Paschal Offordum, a graduate of law from the University of Ibadan. Paschal is a passionate Nigerian youth who believes in creating solutions and leaders that are capable of changing the narrative of Nigeria in particular, and Africa in general.
This week, the Tellinterviewers got into a digital discussion with this outstanding individual and got to find out what he has been up to and how he manages to do the things he does.
P.S: the acronym of the first 5words spell LIVED for he has indeed lived a life worthy of emulation.
Tellinterviewer: Paschal Offordum is a name now synonymous to leadership/innovation at the University of Ibadan, who is Paschal Offordum?
Paschal Offordum: Paschal Offordum Dozie, is an entrepreneur and purpose-driven leader. With a vision to raise as much leaders as he can, within the social enterprise space. Former Sigma Chief, Sigma Club University of Ibadan. Founder, TEDxUI Club. Winner, 2017 Fifteen Oustanding young persons Award(FOPA). A law graduate. Currently the Licensee of TEDxApata and the CEO, Brandgroom; a millenial marketing and startup consultancy firm, helping small businesses and startups to soar.
Tellinterviewers: Your level of leadership and enterprise is quite impressive… Since when have you noticed such traits within you
Paschal Offordum: Well… right from my SS1/SS2 days, I started having friends who had bigger dreams and were in the senior classes. Coming to the University, I had the feeling that I was not going to walk this way like everyone else. I wanted to make an impact. Thus on my search for a platform to help me develop myself, I came across Sigma Club. I had alot of dissuasions basically on the grounds that it was a cult and they were not ordinary. However the inquisitive me needed something extraordinary. I asked further and later learnt the truth from someone who was screened out of the club that the training was just too harsh for ordinary students to cope. Coming from the seminary where I have had the hardest training, I told myself I was going to conform. To the glory of God, I applied and was admitted.
Tellinterviewers: How did you manage to rise to the highest ranks in the Sigma Club?
Paschal Offordum: Hmmm…Just like in every organisation, through hardwork and dedication. It is noteworthy that I joined in March 2013. Barely two months after I started lectures as a 100l student. So from 200l, I started handling tougher responsibilities and bigger offices.
Tellinterviewers: What does Sigma club do?
Paschal Offordum: Founded in 1950, it is the oldest students organisation in sub Saharan Africa. Basically it is social and philanthropic in nature. Members get trained in leadership and managerial skills through the numerous assignments and projects they are given to deliver during their stay in the club. Our social and philanthropic activities are evident in every sphere of life. Socially we started the Havana musical carnival which was the talk of the town in its days. Philanthropically we have donated and built a lot in the university clinic, UCH and other places. That’s why we have fans and seats branded with our name in Jaja clinic and other places.
Tellinterviewers: What inspired your budding startup, Brandgroom?
Paschal Offordum: We see so many startups struggle to get off and so many businesses do cold marketing in an era where it is becoming less effective. Thus we took it upon us to allow these businesses outsource their marketing and other services to us, so that we help them tell their stories and build the right audience and clients for them while they focus on their core competencies.
Tellinterviewers: An initiative which was championed by you has really made an impact, placing the University of Ibadan on the global map. What motivated the idea of TedxUI?
Paschal Offordum: Lol… putting University of Ibadan on global map, you say. Me that even failed geography in Secondary school.
Well when the idea of TEDxUI was conceived, I didn’t have in mind to put UI on global map. I just wanted to try my hand on something different, being a lover of TED talks. Infact, we never expected that the license would be granted because there was this mindset of ‘these racist white men will reject us as usual’ so we just tried our luck and it worked.
Indeed,it gives a sense of fulfillment that the mindset moved from despair to us holding 2 TED events in 2017, all thanks to my great teammates.
Tellinterviews: In your perspective, to what level has TedXUi affected the lives of University of Ibadan students and do you have any new projects emerging from the initiative?
Paschal Offordum: Hmm..I can’t specifically measure the full impacts and results, however, we’re aware that since our first event, many Uites, including our team members have initiated impactful social enterprise and NGOs on campus. Some of which include: Well being initiative, FARI Africa, Jeddidah Initiative etc. I am currently working on a platform where young person could take responsibility and initiative to initiate more impactful social enterprises not just NGOs because our clime do not normally favor NGOs if they are not owned or supported by wealthy people or organisations.
Tellinterviewers: in your point of view, what are the key qualities of a good leader & which leadership qualities would you say have made it possible for you to be able to successfully coordinate your Startup (BrandGroom), TEDxUI and TEDxApata?
Paschal Offordum: Well, from my little experience and perspective, I feel a leader should be humane,self-disciplined and courageous. All of these qualities had their impacts in all my decisions. In addition, I think my ability to try as much as I can to create a friendly and supportive working environment for my team paid off too. In a nutshell, I can say my ability to work with people was beneficial(though I’m still working on it). I personally made mistakes and learnt from them.
Tell interviewers: You have indeed built a reputation for yourself such that a lot of people now look up to you. Who do you etch your model of doing things after?
Paschal Offordum: Lol…I never said I’m into modelling ooh. Man’s not even hot in that sector. I’m really not very good at modelling though I’m trying. But I admire and try to learn some good traits from Richard Branson and Barack Obama in business and leadership respectively.
Tellinterviewers: If you had the chance to any superpower/abilities, what would it be and why?
Paschal Offordum: I would like it to be the superior ability to relate effectively with every living thing(man, plants or animals) and to be able to elicit the best in them atleast for the sake of a better world.
Tellinterviewers: In your view,sir, how should justice erode all social evils such as corruption that has weaved itself to the fabric of our existence in Nigeria?
Paschal Offordum: Well, I think corruption has eaten deep into our society. If something has to be done, we really have to start from the mindset of the populace who have the power to vote and challenge their leaders. Most of our people including our so called leaders, have the mindset of followers. They see patriotism, justice or good governance as their thing. If this mindset is changed we would have gone a long way in solving the Nigerian problem. And If this is settled, every other thing including the justice and the judiciary will fall into good place. And this is why I and my team are trying to build leaders who have sense of responsibility and not of entitlement.
Tellinterviewers: Do you believe that Africa would have evolved on its own, developed its own technology and systems if we were not colonised?
Paschal Offordum: Hmmm…well maybe Africa could not have done it. Even the United states at some point was in our position. But they have learnt to focus so much on the bigger future that their past has been forgotten. Whereas in Africa we have learnt to focus on the lean past that our future has been forgotten. It is a known fact that we lack leaders in Africa, it is our collective efforts to build more of them. Leaders who would resign willingly when they pass the age of maximum performance. Those who understand that leadership positions are opportunities to perform and do their future generations proud and not an opportunity to disgrace oneself and one’s future generations, as well.
Tellinterviewers: Where do you see yourself in the next 10years?
Paschal Offordum: Well I see myself working with leaders I’ve built and those I’ll still build, in creating solutions we thought it hard to create or rather our past leaders made us believe was too hard to create.
Tell interviewers: Thank you very much for honouring our call, we understand you’re a very busy man. Final words for the Nigerian youths?
Paschal Offordum: Okay, I’m a youth too, I have nothing so inspirational to say but something I think that works for me.
‘Be human. Be alive. Be thankful! Give yourself the permission to try that hard task and fail, then sit back and laugh at yourself. Pick up and learn from them. Some of us live as if someone forced them to come to the world. Lol…you chose to come here when you were forming Usain Bolt among the millions of sperm cells that raced to fertilize the egg(as we were told, I’m yet to confirm this myself though).
So for life to be adventurous we must move from the mindset of entitlement to the one of responsibility.’
Thank you greatly