Our personality for this week is Miss Onyekachukwu Ojumah; a banker by profession, from Agbor, in this interesting and inspiring interview with IKA WEEKLY NEWSPAPER Crew, reels out her young but impactful life’s journey, her admiration and love for not only his father whom he attributes as his biggest role model and mentor, but her avowed belief in God and her unshakable resolve to remain outstanding. She is the current Miss Outstanding of the 5th edition of the CEO’s Choice Face of Beauty Nigeria.
With her passion for knowledge, there are certainly inspiring lessons to learn from the life of this 22-year-old delectable, beautiful, intelligent and God-fearing lady.
Can we meet you?
My name is Ojumah Onyekachukwu from the Ojumah family of Agbor. My grandparents live at Iregwa Street, Agbor. I was born on 20th March, 1998. I reside with father in Lagos and I am from a family of four. I lost my mother when I was at the age of 14 year and raised by a single parent; my father. I graduated as the best graduating student and I immediately got a job with Sterling Bank
I finished my secondary school in 2013 and in that same year, I got admission into McPherson University, Abeokuta; and graduated in 2017 with B.Sc in Computer Science. I then went for my National Youth Service in 2018 in Edo State. There, I served at the Vice Chancellor’s office, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma as Admin Assistant. I then got a job at Sterling Bank Head office Lagos as a graduate trainee in 2019 immediately after my NYSC and I am still with the bank.
How has your working in the bank been like?
It initially a strange environment for me; just coming out from school with all of my dreams and aspirations. I found myself in an environment that I have to make effort to survive in, putting all that I have learnt while in school into use such as time management, project management, my leadership skills and many others which is up till now is being tested. I have to prove my worth. Graduating as the overall best graduating student put on me the responsibility of ensuring that I live up to expectation. Actually, all I learned in the university had prepared me for the outside world.
How was your experience in the university coming out as the best overall graduating student?
Before going to study Computer Science in the university, I never really had vast knowledge of the Computer; I just chose the course because I felt I could do well in that field. My coming out as the best student came as A challenge to me. I took the challenge to graduate with first class after I came across a young lady that graduated with a first class. My first year was not that difficult, but in my second year, things became really tough in my bid to graduate with a first class; I remained determined, for which I became a role model to many other students. There were times I asked myself if it was really worth it, but remembering those who were looking up to me, I had no choice other than to continue in my struggle to come out the best. And to God be the glory I achieved my dream.
Tell us how you feel being a role model to several others at age 22?
The truth is that they do not take cognizance of my young age; rather they are attracted by my achievements. I look at the fact that to inspire others, one has to possess certain leadership skills. Many felt motivated by my academic prowess and they kept coming to inquire how I was able to achieve so much success and I always tell them of my ruggedness and strong will and these they so much admired in me.
Did you ever aspire to be a banker or you had other professions in mind?
While growing up, I had always wanted to be a lecturer as I enjoy passing on knowledge to others. I could not afford to go straight for my Master’s degree, I then had to take up the banking job while still preparing for my M.Sc. to enable me eventually become a lecturer.
Do you derive job satisfaction with your banking job now or you still intend taking up the lecturing profession?
I would say at this point in my life, that where I work actually treats me right. I do not have issues with my banking jobs. So, for now I am satisfied being a banker. The bank I work gives room for one to expand in knowledge. I would still want to come to banking in the future.
At 22 you have done so well for yourself; how do your age mates relate with you?
As for my age mates, many of them who respect me a lot do not believe that am that young because of the way I actually present and position myself. And when they now know my age, they are usually shocked. Nevertheless, I earned the respect.
Can you tell us about your family background?
I have two younger siblings; a boy a girl and then my dad who is a single parent, as he never remarried after the demise of my mum. I am the first born and the first daughter.
What can you tell us about your siblings as it relates to you as the first born?
The truth is that how the first born is brought up goes a long way to determine the character of the younger ones. Once parents are able to get it right with the first child, the younger siblings will follow suit. In terms of intelligence, I would say it is in a chain form. They have the standard of mine to meet up with, which they cannot afford to fall short of. For instance, my younger sister is a medical student in the university while my younger brother is an undergraduate student of Law at University of Benin. Even when I was in senior secondary school and they were in junior secondary school, they usually stay up to read along with me. And this attitude has really helped them immensely in their academics.
With your level of success, are other banks wooing you and if they do, what is your response?
I do not intend leaving my bank for another bank, instead, I would only leave the bank for my Master’s degree programme. Though I had gotten offers from about three other banks, but I do not intend leaving to any other bank at the moment.
How soon do you intend going for your post graduate studies?
The course I intend to study is not yet available in any Nigerian University so I have to travel outside the country to study it. I am projecting leaving for my further studies in September this year. Also, I am looking forward to a scholarship and am already preparing to take the entry examination.
Do you have any relationship with Ika People, maybe through a forum?
I do not have anyone in particular but I remain their daughter. I would really love to interact with my people, most especially the youth.
How often do you come home to Agbor?
I do come to visit my grandmother at Iregwa Street in Agbor often. It is only this year that I have not come home to Agbor. My grandmother who is still alive is the major reason I visit Agbor often.
Do you speak Agbor language?
I can understand the language very well but I do not speak it fluently.
Your father must be a much disciplined man. What do you have to say about that?
Yes, he is a much disciplined man. When it comes to education, he is very passionate about it which rubbed on me. In short, at a time in my life, I had more books than clothes. My father instilled in me the love for education and the ability to put my life together. If there is one person, I am grateful to for where I am today it is my father. He is highly disciplined when it comes to the things of God, so much so that you cannot be in my father’s house and not goes to church, no matter the age of the person. To him, you can never outgrow the age of serving God.
What is your relationship with God like, considering your upbringing?
One, it is too late to tell me there is no God. Apart from my father being a pastor, I have good relationship with God. Two, I acknowledge that only my effort would not have taken me this far; it is the grace of God and I am ever grateful to God. I do not think there is anything that would make me doubt the existence of God.
You recently won the most outstanding beautiful face of Nigeria, what prompted you to go for this beauty pageant?
I went for that competition because I wanted to prove to young ladies the fact that you can be beautiful and still am intelligent and that it pays to have the combination of both beauty and brain. I was tired of hearing people say that beautiful girls have nothing upstairs. Participating in the beauty pageant helped me to discover how competitive and aspiring I can be.
Can you throw some light on how you were able to manage the distractions from the opposite sex to remain focused, being a pretty lady?
As long as you are going towards your dream, you will always be distracted. I actually made a decision that am not going to entertain any distraction from the opposite sex until I get to somewhere. Distractions will always come but I made resolution to remain focused. One thing is that the level of one are in will determine the kind of men that would be attracted to you. I am therefore admonishing young ladies to remain focused on their goal so as to be successful; knowing fully well that nobody wants to be associated with failure instead they go after successful people. Young ladies should know that once they have been able to make something out of their lives, they will attract the right men who will add value to their lives and not riff raffs.
What is your driving force?
My driving force is my strong desire to be outstanding in whatever I do in life. As a result, whenever I pick up any challenge, I tell myself that I cannot afford to fail most especially those who are looking up to me. I just cannot afford to live the normal life. I usually go for the extra ordinary as I have never seen myself as the mere normal. I always look out for unique tasks.
Can we then say you are a special or unique person?
That is exactly how I see myself; a special person. There is so much I want to give to the world so I cannot be a mediocre.
How do you intend to appreciate God for the gifts He has deposited in you?
I am ever grateful to God and I usually take my time to worship Him. Whenever I find any opportunity to do something that will be of benefit to humanity and will give God glory, I do not hesitate in getting involved.
What is your projection for the next five to ten years?
In the next ten years, I see myself as the CEO of a bank just like Ibunkun Awoshika.
Who then are your role models?
My role models are Ibunkun Awoshika, CEO of a bank and my other role model and mentor is my dad for is his high sense of discipline. The other role model is my aunty – Ajumah, who is ambitiousand purpose driven and I would want to be like her. She is always advising and encouraging me. I have never met Ibunkun Awoshika, but I listen to her because that is the only means through which one can learn from a role model so, I listen and learn from the three of them as they all help in moulding my life.
Just like Awoshika, I want to be a a part time lecturer in the university as well as a CEO of a bank. I love to lecture because I love to be around young people. I would love to have several houses in the future. I am trying to change the norm; not following the crowd. Young people should endeavour to discover their purpose,
Can you be best described as a workaholic? And if you are, then how do you relax?
I hang out with friends, watch movies while at some other time, I take a walk to see what is happening in my environment.
Are you into mentoring?
Yes, I do in the form of advice. I have the plan to go into mentoring officially in the future.
Why did you opt for Computer Science as a course in the university?
I chose the course because it is the future and it is even the now. There is no field that does not make use of information technology.
Has information technology been a blessing or a curse to the younger generation?
Most things in life have both the good side and the bad side. So, the same thing goes for the digital world. It is bad when we allow the gadgets to control our lives instead of us controlling them. I personally ensure that I take a break from the use of the phone and other gadgets by switching them off. This I recommend to others to avoid becoming a slave to these gadgets which are supposed to serve us. The internet is good for research; people should take advantage of it and use it to their advantage and not to their disadvantage.
What is the name of the church you attend?
I am a member of Foursquare Gospel Church and my dad is a pastor there.
What is your regular day like?
When I wake up, I say my prayers and make affirmations to myself. I could do some exercise if I have the strength. I write my to do list for that day, that is all that I want to achieve for that day and leave for work.
Can you please share with us your most memorable experience and the lessons drawn from it?
I have many memorable moments but the most memorable was my National Youth Service Year and lessons drawn from are network. Creating a network of friends is good; you meet and interact with them as some have keys to one’s success in life. Wherever you find yourself, ensure you build good relationships. Be involved volunteering as it builds up your CV.I did a bit of volunteering work. Make impact in your immediate community.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I read motivational books and I love to watch movies
Any most painful experience so far?
It is demise of my mum as nothing could be as painful as that. The more I grow, the more I wish she was alive. But I thank God for everything and for my father who has been there for me.
Tell us what puts you on as well as what puts you off as a person?
I am put off when I see people doubting themselves, while when people come to me and say that they made it because I made it, having imitated me; puts me on.
Which is your favourite Ika food?
I love ujuju soup. My grandmum on her own prepares it for me.
What major challenges have you had since joining the bank?
I am lucky with my bank as I have not had any major challenge
Would you be interested in moving to another bank that comes for you?
It all depends on their offers and if it beats what I have already we then start talking/. It is not just all about material and monetary considerations; it also entails the work environment which is what I presently enjoy. The work place is actually balanced and has respect for gender.
There is the lingering issue of unemployment in Nigeria, what is your stake on this?
I look at it from two sides. One, from the part of Nigerian youths; we need to develop ourselves. I have met youths who cannot express themselves in good English. How can such a youth be employed? That time they are using to watch films should be used to improve and build up themselves. There are job vacancies that exist every day and everywhere, but the jobless are not equipped enough to take up the available jobs. I advise that everyone should start working on themselves not depending only on their certificate. Youths should take their time to learn even with the internet. Two, no employer would want to employ one that is not employable.
What is that one thing life has taught you?
Is to keep pushing as the pain of the regret of not trying is more than the hurdles.
I would have regretted it if I had not persistent in the Miss Outstanding Beauty Pageant. Hardwork with patience pays. Do not give up, even though it may seem to be getting harder. There were times I cried but people never knew this. So, keep pushing.
What are you looking out for in a marital relationship?
I want a partner that will understand and support my vision. Also, he must be someone that respects God and has his own passion, and is driven by purpose.