Olusegun Mojeed: A resourceful Akokite, distinguished by competence, sustained by virtue of probity
Change, in Leo Buscaglia’s words “is the end result of true learning”, and there is no doubt that the education he acquired at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and other top-ranked academic institutions outside Nigeria has not just changed his life positively, it has made it possible for him to contribute his quota to national development. Today, Olusegun Mojeed, President and Chairman of the Governing Council, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM), Managing Director and Global Head of Practice, Bezaleel Consulting Group (a company he co-founded with his wife in 1994), has become one of the shining lights in corporate Nigeria whose achievements have become a guide for many professionals who desire genuine success in their career.
A 1985 graduate of Political Science from UNILAG who also holds an M.Sc. degree in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management from the same university, the thorough-bred Licensed Global Human Resources, Learning & Talent Development professional is an alumnus of Yale School of Management.
Speaking on what informed his decision to study at UNILAG, he said: “I didn’t do any research. I had no one to guide my choice. There was no Google to search for the league of best universities. I was a clerk and a cashier in the old African Continental Bank (ACB), Yaba branch, somewhere on Herbert Macaulay, not too far from Akoka. A young lady was always coming to my desk to present her cheque and always writing her UNILAG address. Each time, I would look at her, far younger than me in age and I would be asking myself, what am I doing here? Why am I not in UNILAG? A few years before then, in my Class 3, to be precise, my elder brother, Tunde Mojeed had opened my eyes for the first time to the importance of a university education and it then became my goal to have a university education.
Although, I later got to know that the young lady was just a resident on the campus, thinking that she was an undergraduate at such a tender age spurred me to quit my job and went for the A-Levels and the eventual choice of the great UNILAG. I didn’t stop at my first degree; I did my M.Sc. also in UNILAG. In addition, my wife eventually did her Master degree in UNILAG, one of our children also finished from the institution, while two of them started off at UNILAG.”
Hardworking and focused, he has under his belt over three decades of cognate work experience spanning several industries and sectors. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM), and also a 2006 Merit Award Winner of the same prestigious Institute. He is the Secretary-General, African Human Resource Confederation (AHRC), and by extension sits on the Board of the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA).
A certified New World Kirkpatrick Learning Effectiveness Evaluator, Olusegun is also a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Training & Development (NITAD). He is a Centre for Management Development (CMD) certified trainer and consultant. A member of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), he is on the Faculty of the University of Lagos Business School (ULBS) as an Industry-Experience Subject Matter Expert.
A consummate professional whose life has been defined by the God factor, the author of the well-referred book “Growing People” did not just go through UNILAG, he allowed the institution to go through him, and some of the campus activities he was involved in prepared him for leadership. In his words “Unforgettable! I got involved with campus politics. It was ULSU (University of Lagos Students’ Union) election season. I was the campaign manager for a presidential candidate, Ade-Ade, and by choice that of a Vice-Presidential candidate, Deraff from the College of Medicine. Omo-Omo was our main opponent. Let me go back a few years before then. While I was contesting for the presidency of the Association of Basic Studies Students (ABASS) at the Polytechnic, Omo-Omo was my main opponent and I won. Here we are a couple of years later in UNILAG. Omo-Omo won this time around. Just like he had cried blue murder for his defeat at the polls years back, we also went to town propagating all kinds of election-rigging innuendos. We were just sore losers.”
He added that “Another memorable event for me that readily comes to mind was my ‘coronation’ as the Chief of Kegites’ Club Ilya du Lagoon 1983/84 academic year. I had for about four years worked for the club from my A-Levels days and was hoping that one day I’ll get to the ultimate ‘very powerful’ position of a Chief. However, a few months before the selection process began, camps emerged. The other camp was rooting, albeit clandestinely for my bosom friend and the Adjutant-General, the late Okey Nwafor. I was the Parrot (PRO), clandestinely, because it was forbidden to show interest or campaign for the position of “Chief”. The ‘oracles’ through the Grand Council had to choose you. The few hours period of the Grand Council meeting into the wee hours of that auspicious Saturday was arguably the longest wait of my life up to that moment. Then the knock on the door of my Henry Carr room and voices of my friends simultaneously saluting me with the salutations only reserved for a Chief. A big relief and mixed feelings of triumph, coupled with the trepidation of am I ready for this?”
Starting his professional HR career as Personnel Officer/Management Trainee at BAGCO in 1988, he left the company for the banking industry where he worked as Senior Manager (Industrial Relations), Owena Bank Plc in 1993. He was later appointed Senior Associate and later COO, Bezaleel Consulting Group. He joined Wema Bank Plc. in 2001 as Senior Manager (Human Resources) and later became the Bank’s Head of Training where he led the team that creatively initiated the first-ever Entry Level/Graduate Trainees’ Programme. In 2004, Olusegun joined Vmobile Nigeria (now Airtel) as HoD, Talent Development & Learning where he was the HR Lead for the Celtel rebranding. He also led the multi-billion Naira Customer Care Call Centre outsourcing project involving hundreds of employees.
Proud of his alma mater, Olusegun acknowledged the impact of his schoolmates and lecturers who made his University years worthwhile. According to him, “Prof. Alaba Ogunsanwo made me want to become a diplomat until I later decided on Human Resources Management as my career path. Prof. Moibi Amoda would come to class to knock you down with his contemporary political analysis or ‘exegesis’. Thank God, Dr (now Prof.) Derin Ologbenla would then come to tutorials to lift us. Prof. Mrs Ogungbesan was my Kegites’ Club mother. There was Prof. Olatunde Makanju from Psychology, young, handsome, and drove one of the best cars on campus, a Mercedes Benz. I remember the late Prof. Omoluabi from Psychology also who I still met and worked with in my HR journey at Vmobile Nigeria when we hired him as a Psychologist for our Call Centre Consultants.
In my M.Sc. Industrial Relations & Personnel Management class, take a bow Prof. Tayo Fashoyin, Prof. Dafe Otobo, and Prof. Ukandi Damachi. We had a young and very handsome Graduate Assistant teacher in Prof. Sola Fajana.
Among my university mates, I remember Samson Olusegun Ajibade (CAC), who led the team rooting for me to become the Kegites’ Chief. He recently retired after serving meritoriously from the Lagos State Public Service. The late Prof. Abubakar Momoh, Professor of Political Science at LASU was my private tutor. He was practically on my case – may his gentle soul rest in peace. I also remember Brother Mike Onwuemene. We became closer in post-graduate school. He was an encourager to me as a young Christian.”
Passionate about the advancement of the practice of and continuous education in human resources management in Nigeria, the distinguished HR professional has been driving the CIPM’s Governing Council towards repositioning the Institute for higher glory.
When asked about the values that have taken the professional body to international reckoning and the innovative programmes being implemented, he noted that “The CIPM is my passion. I became a certified HR professional by the Institute over three decades ago and I have since been a very active member. My predecessors in office have laid a worthy foundation we are building on. Our core values with the acronym S.C.R.I.P.T – Service, Creativity, Respect, Integrity; Professionalism; and Teamwork, are foundational to our success so far and a propelling force to get us to where we want to be. These aren’t just words but vital, shaping forces. This administration is about 18 months, and it has been from one landmark accomplishment to the other to God’s glory.
First, all we do is geared towards taking this Institute, the only professional body in Nigeria recognised by law to oversee, regulate and develop the human resource management and organisation development profession to the best level ever before we handover to the next set of leaders. My vision was originally encapsulated in the acronym MIDAS which has since been subsumed into the larger CIPM strategic imperatives.
Since this leadership came in, the enlisting process for young graduates has been simplified and accelerated. Our examination diets are now done quarterly. The value-add here is that a brilliant student would complete the certification process within twelve months and become an Associate. It is already happening. Our examinations are now online in real-time. Certification through the other routes of Practitioners and Executive respectively have been simplified and made less cumbersome.
The world is now a global village, better still, a global capsule and no one winks in the dark. In the past few months, we have resuscitated our leading role on the global stage with yours sincerely becoming the Secretary-General of the African Human Resource Confederation (AHRC). By this token, we now have an observer’s seat on the Board of the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA).
Also, the UK Branch of our Institute has taken off in grand style to cater to our colleagues’ professional needs in the Diaspora. Our multi-million Naira ICT transformation project is yielding fruits already with the launch of a brand-new website and the activation of our Call Centre, and we have upscaled our constructive engagement with the Public Service at the various sub-nationals. We have introduced a radio programme tagged ‘The Office’ currently running on Lagos Talks 91.3FM to take our advocacy on people management, HR consultancy and advisory services to the public, among other developments.”, he added.
Apart from the God factor, hard work and professionalism, Olusegun explained other factors that have helped his professional journey thus: “My parents laid the foundation. I have fond memories of my dad and mum, Alhaji Mojeed Sokoto and Alhaja Saoli Mojeed of blessed memory. I celebrate my wife, Molara. She is a pillar of support, prayerfully supporting my endeavours and giving me peace at home. We also work together in business. She practically runs BezaleelConsulting. I celebrate our children and grandchildren. Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and wonders (Isaiah 8:18). Sincere appreciation to the CIPM and Bezaleel Consulting families, for giving me such opportunities to excel.”