Nkechi Chima Onyele
Osasu Igbinedion is from the affluent and influential Igbinedion lineage. She is the daughter of former Governor Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State, and her mother is Eki Igbinedion.
She is the initiator of the Osasu Show Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, and a TV presenter whose show, The Osasu Show, is a platform to connect the electorate and the elected.
In spite of her affluent background, Osasu still believes that the less privileged need to be taken care of.
According to her, if the downtrodden are ignored in society, there would be a time when they would feed on the rich as food.
She told Daily Sun recently in Abuja that the name Igbinedion has both been a blessing and a curse for her.
Could you give us some insight into your academic background?
I attended Igbinedion Education Centre, from where I proceeded to Stonehill College and got a degree in communications, then I attended Northeastern University, where I studied corporate and organisational communication. Thereafter, I took a certificate course in television and film producing from the New York Film Academy.
On my return to Nigeria, I started doing adverts for political campaigns with massive inputs. One fateful day, the thought of the electorate crossed my mind. I wondered how people would queue up in the scotching sun in a bid to see and interact with their leaders.
Why did you go into journalism?
It is a profession that gives you an edge to give back to the people and hold leaders accountable. Again, it is a route by which you make impact through feeling the pains of the people on the streets while connecting to their leaders.
Do you have any plan to go into filmmaking or acting, with your training at the New York Film Academy?
No, my interest at the academy was to be knowledgeable on accurate presentation and reporting in my profession.
What motivated you to start the show for the foundation?
For me at The Osasu Show, the driving force is the need to add value to the lives of people, especially the less-privileged in our society.
It is my hope to help give a voice to the voiceless and intensify their calls and needs to their leaders as well as the relevant agencies for proper governance. Interestingly, that’s how The Osasu Show Foundation was derived.
In addition, we see ourselves as a bridge between the electorate and their leaders. We are poised to bridge the gap between the elite and the masses, taking words directly from them to their leaders in order to ensure that the dividends of democracy are savoured by every Nigerian, irrespective of their status.
As a silver-spoon kid, why did you choose to work with the poor?
I believe, if less-privileged persons are ignored in the society, there would be a time when they would feed on the rich for their food. So, to prevent them from rebelling against us, it is important for the rich to help alleviate their sufferings and make more life meaningful for them.Therefore, they must deploy every available resources to ensure that they give a helping hand to them.
How did this dream materialise?
My driving force is my passion to help them. I have always wanted a way to reach out and help them so that they can live a happy and value-added life.
They shouldn’t be left to their fate. We need to encourage them by any means that we can. We must understand that they need our help. I think every hand must be on deck to see that we add value to the lives of the less-privileged.
Was there any personal experience that influenced this idea?
Definitely, there was a remarkable incident. I still remember vividly, at the age of nine, while I was going to school and a girl of my age was hawking food items on the street in Lagos.
As a child, I felt bitter and thought that she deserved better. I didn’t understand why she should be hawking on the streets while her mates were in school. It wasn’t her fault that her parents were poor but whatever anyone could do to help such kids get off the streets should be done with utmost urgency and a sense of genuineness.
This childhood experience formed the basis of the show. I won’t ever forget it.
What is the mission of your organisation?
Our mission is to improve the welfare and livelihood of women and youths, especially those in rural communities through the creation of programs in education, economic empowerment and capacity building to fast-track the eradication of poverty in Nigeria and, by extension, Africa.
Could you highlight the core values of The Osasu Show Foundation?
We are constantly responsible to the work ethics and performance standards. We want to tap into the best of our creative ability while refusing to settle for mediocre results.
However, we are accountable to the people we serve. We are poised to carry out our operations in honesty and transparency in a continent plagued by corrupt practices.
We believe in challenging ourselves to the pinnacles of learning, innovation and transformation, because we know that change happens through people. Also, we have identified that by embracing our diversity and fostering relationships.
Where do you see this organisation in next few years?
We want to see an Africa of equal opportunities, a socio-economically active youth population, where poverty has been overcome and every child has admittance to quality education.
Some people have attributed your achievements to your family name. What do you make of that?
When people tell me that, I just have a good laugh because they would expect me to say that it is not true. But the truth is that the name “Igbinedion” has both been a blessing and a curse to me.
Really? How do you mean?
I mean that there are people who would see you and disassociate themselves from you instantly because you are Igbinedion’s daughter, while some others would instantly love you, too, just because your parents and grandparents have been of tremendous help to them.
When I was starting The Osasu Show and its enterprises, I didn’t collect a penny from my parents.
So, how did you spin it?
It was essentially self-efforts, hard work and commitment that have seen me through since its establishment. Nevertheless, some people may doubt it, but I love being independent.
In spite of all these, I adore my family and I am proud to be an Igbinedion.
How long have you been running the show?
It has been two years now.
What have you achieved within this period?
We have done commendable works in Kenya, Ghana, United Nations and Nigeria, but we intend to extend it to more Africa countries.
We also have The Osasu Show Television Network, which is an online show, with our slogan: “News from Africa, by Africans.”
On a global scale, we want to ensure the rebranding and reshaping of Africa’s prospects to the world, especially Nigeria.
Would you like to venture into politics in future?
No! Although many of my family members are politicians in various parties, but I am content being a journalist.
If you are offered a leadership position to pilot the affairs of women and children, what would be your response?
I am already doing that as a special calling. I believe that I am making more impact than some politicians.
Undeniably, The Osasu Show Foundation is working more than some politicians, who have not visited their constituencies since they won elections, yet they are in leadership positions. Nevertheless, if it is the will of God, I don’t have any objection.
What is your message to our leaders?
They need to continue to preach peace and work towards the unity of Nigeria. Though this is a sensitive period for us, we need leaders who would take care of the peoples’ welfare.
We do not need leaders with selfish interests, neither do we need those who would use us as political tools to split us and conquer.