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‘We will lead that active engagement that would envision Nigeria in 2030’

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Adeniyi Balogun, President JCI Nigeria

After acquiring a Higher National Diploma in Accounting and later a Post Graduate Diploma in Management, Adeniyi R. Balogun joined Guinness Nigeria in 2004 where he worked across Customer Service and Sales functions. But in pursuit of new learning, he moved to MultiChoice Nigeria in 2012, where he led the growth agenda as Regional Sales Manager (South East) and later Lagos, where he’s currently Commercial & Corporate Sales Manager responsible for business in the hospitality segment across Nigeria. In this interview, with CHUKS NWANNE, Balogun, who is the 2018 President of Junior Chamber International (JCI) Nigeria, spoke on his mandate and vision for the organisation in the country.

As the new Junior Chamber International (JCI) Nigeria President, what exactly are the responsibilities of your office?
We are young active citizens of Junior Chamber International Nigeria, taking action and creating impact in our communities. As young active citizens, our impact cuts across the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, with membership and alumni over 7,000 in 50 local organisations and 70 tertiary institutions. This thus makes us the largest youth led organisation in Nigeria.

As President, I also serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Organisation, preside at meetings of the General Assembly and represent the national organisation at local and international programmes. I also oversee four Executive Vice Presidents, eight National Vice Presidents and 23 Directors, inspiring other young people to take responsibility in constantly creating sustainable impact in our communities.

How has the journey been for you so far?
Well, my first contact with JCI was at the University of Ibadan; I saw the logo and kept asking questions. Sometime in 1999, Ola Davies visited Lagos State Polytechnic Isolo in company of the then Laspotech Jaycees President, Olusoji Olaniran and there, I got my answers. I joined, served as secretary and later 2003/2004 Laspotech Jaycees President. I went on to serve as the Collegiate Council Secretary in 2005 and after school, I joined in starting JCI Festac in 2007 and served as Executive Vice President.

I later transferred membership to JCI Enugu in 2010, elected Local Organization President in 2012. I moved on to the national stage and was elected in 2013 to serve as National Vice President assigned to 5 Northern States, elected in 2015 as National Executive Vice President responsible for the South South/South East, Director international Affairs in 2016, Director Projects & Programmes in 2017 and later elected in Owerri as the 47th President of the Organisation with the Presidential Theme, Citizens In Action.

How has JCI Nigeria been progressing over the last couple of years, what are your impacts?
This all started as the vision of a young man, Late Otunba Bola Adewunmi in 1957, when the JCI movement started in Nigeria. JCI creates development opportunities that empower young people to create positive change. With the JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award programme, over the years, we have recognised outstanding young men and women, who continue to inspire us and do great things for the advancement of humanity and development of Nigeria. In 1990, JCI Nigeria, in conjunction with Africa Leadership Forum, in addressing the challenges of Nigerian youths, developed the Vision 2010 project, which was later adopted by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

As the current President of JCI Nigeria, what do you intend to achieve during your tenure?
This year, JCI Nigeria will be the organisation that unites all sectors of society to create sustainable impact. We have recognised that need to drive greater collaboration with other organisations in advancing the commonwealth of our dear country Nigeria. We will lead that active engagement that would envision Nigeria in 2030, address challenges of young active citizens, create a system that works and be part of the execution.

What’s your best JCI Experience?
Wow! JCI Academy in Mito, Japan, blew me off my feet. The opportunity to experience the Japanese culture first hand was just amazing. The homestay programme, visit to temples, the parties, the curfews, trainings and exercises that gives you personal insight and fantastic knowledge. The experiences that I got during the Academy has helped me tremendously, both as a leader within JCI and at work. Through that opportunity, I’ve built a global network that spans more than 80 countries across all the continents, that is unique.

What’s your inspiration?
We are a very large country, but I must say the last 10 TOYP honorees for 2017 all inspire me; to end up having two of them make it to the final 10 at the international stage also came as an extra boost, reinforcing that truth that we are a country of great people. As a people, we must continue every day to seek new ways in solving the challenges that face us.

What are your personal goals for the next five years?
I’m very active within the organisation for the next three years and of course, I look forward to leading the organisation in achieving the set goals for 2018 by uniting other organizations to chart a positive and more compelling direction for our dear country Nigeria. From here I hope to share my learning with other young people across Africa and the Middle East. Family is where it all starts and ends the goal from now and always is to spend quality time ensuring strong family values are entrenched. For work, I have 1 big goal and I’ll still have it wrapped.

2019 is around the corner, what’s your advice for young people in Nigeria?
I will simply say, ‘Arise, O Compatriots.’ It’s always been said that we are the future leaders, but today that future is right before us; we must understand that change begins with us and we must inspire the next generation of young active citizens to take up civic responsibilities as our only vehicle to national development. As Citizens in action, let us continue to engage, inspire and act for the future of our dear country Nigeria.


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