Meet Mojolaoluwa Olaifa, The Young Law Graduate Championing Peace in Nigeria.
Just like Mirabelle Morah and Feyisayo Adanlawo, Mojola is also a young Nigerian making waves in her small corner to make sure peace becomes a lasting thing for Nigerians. Born to Mr. and Dr. T. O. Olaifa, Mojola attended Total Child School and later to Omolaja Sodipo Memorial Anglican School (OSMAS), all in the Ogun State in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Catching up with Mojola at the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria in Lagos, she opened up on how she ended up doing what she is currently doing and her aspirations for the future. Lets read what she had to say.
Who is Mojolaoluwa Olaifa?
Mojolaoluwa Olaifa is a Law graduate from the University of Ibadan, a writer and a strategist. I am passionate about capacity building for teenagers and youths, peace building and corporate governance. I volunteer with Stephanie Peace Building and Development Foundation (SPADEV) and serves as a Project Officer. I specialise in areas of Peace Education, monitoring, evaluation and empowerment of beneficiaries. Working with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) has sparked my interest in humanitarian work and in the possibilities available in a world that seems so bleak. I have also honed my skills in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods and have put them into practise as a worker in SPADEV and also as a Clinician in the Women’s Law Clinic, University of Ibadan.
Mojolaoluwa is also a member of the Freedom of Information Coalition Committee and the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Ogun State Branch. I have also been trained as a professional events planner.
Developing Passion for Law
I, initially, did not start out with a passion for Law, but it just seemed like the right course to study at the time. However, since I was a child I have always had a questioning mind and a passion for order and idealism and so it did not come as a surprise how the courses that really ignited a fire in me were Criminology, Company Law, Constitutional law and International Law. I discovered the problem with our society is not necessarily a problem of governance or of corruption but a more fundamental issue which was total disregard for the ideal system of processes. Ethical ineptitude and moral decadence were and still are the accepted modus of operandi.
At first, standing up to these issues was a difficult task because the culture here is that it is considered disrespectful to speak against your elders, however, once people got past the stage of irritation and decided to listen they often agreed with me and volunteered themselves to building new and sustainable systems that reduced corruption to the barest minimum and established discipline and order in their institutions.
Also, combining my education with volunteering work and other learning experiences was a herculean task that demanded that I worked twice as hard as any other regular student in other to balance them all beautifully. I often encouraged myself however that making my country a better place was a cause that was worth the struggle. Another challenge I encounter daily is the challenge of funding but I have learnt that people invest in dreams that they believe in and so I make them carry this dream of a better world in their hearts by conveying my intention as best as I can to them and implore them to invest in it.
Currently, my organisation has been able to secure collaborations and affiliations with the UNDP (Nigeria) Conflict Resolution, European Union, West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), West Africa Action Against Small Arms, Children of Hope Global Alliance Incorporated ( Atlanta , Georgia) among others. With my colleagues we have been able to address issues of environmental flooding and pollution. We have ensured the return to school of Juvenile offenders in the state and also empowered those unable to school with vocational skills free of charge. We have re-united families and empowered widows and young mothers. We have established peace clubs in both private and public secondary schools and public primary schools and have trained their teachers to head these peace clubs whiles we effectively monitor the activities of these clubs. We have also organised seminars, workshops and trainings for Stakeholders in Peace and Conflict Resolution in Ogun State, Nigeria.
What does the future hold?
In twenty years from now, I hope to have succeeded in impacting my society both the private sector and the public sector, especially in areas of discipline, ethics, peace and accountability in such a manner that the name corruption is no longer synonymous to the name of my country, Nigeria. I also hope that by then the leaders would understand the need for accountability to the electorates, that the youths would have both religious and ethnic tolerance amongst them and would no longer avail themselves of the opportunity to be used as instruments of violence. I hope that in twenty years, the systems, that is, corporate and public sectors would flourish with ethical workers and that the world would be a safe haven to raise the next generation.
Advise for the Youth of Africa
I would say to the young people of Africa that tomorrow has come and tomorrow will never come. It is time to get involved with the running of things. It is not enough to complain and identify the wrong things, we have to take action. We have to speak with one voice, we have to speak with our tears, with our toils, with our intellects, with our writings, with our vocations, with our sweat, with our unity …whatever we do, we must not stop speaking.