Ayo Owodunni from Nigeria, who was just lately elected as a Councilor in Kitchener, a metropolis within the Canadian province of Ontario, speaks with TEMITOPE ADETUNJI on the method that led to its emergence and numerous different points

Inform Inform us a bit about your self.

My title is Ayo Owodunni. I’m from Ojodu, Lagos. I’m the son of Mr. and Mrs. Owodunni and husband of Folake Owodunni. I’m a administration advisor and facilitator bringing over 10 years of teaching and strategic administration expertise. My consumer listing spans quite a lot of industries and well-known corporations.

The place did you go to high school?

I attended Rider College in america; I did my Masters, my MBA on the College of Waterloo in Canada.

What was childhood or rising up like for you?

My childhood was very humorous; My mother owns the college I went to. The title is Escuela Ona Ara Prismoni, Calle Aina, Ojodu, Lagos. The college was not removed from the home and I used to be the infant of the home, the final of my dad and mom’ six kids. I loved childhood; I haven’t got any unhealthy reminiscences of my childhood.

In what 12 months did you progress from Nigeria to Canada and what influenced that call?

My spouse and I left Nigeria in 2016. There was a day after I was driving with my pregnant spouse and there was a gas scarcity in Lagos. As you realize, the scarcity of gas within the nation is accompanied by stress, which regularly worsens the already unhealthy visitors scenario. My spouse was a month pregnant on the time; I keep in mind it was like 10 at night time and we had been nonetheless on the freeway, driving house. In truth, it was nonetheless about an hour and a half drive to our home in Ajah. We had been on the categorical when my spouse requested me, ‘Do you actually need to increase a baby right here? Do we actually need to proceed like this?’ These had been the 2 questions she requested me. And what triggered the questions was the type of stress we would been by, we had been caught in visitors for 4 hours and we each felt prefer it wasn’t for us anymore. That was the day we decided. We each had good jobs then and we had been doing effectively; so the choice was not essentially a profession change for us. We wished one thing higher for our household, for our youngsters. Think about leaving house at 5:30 within the morning and returning house at 9:00 pm; when will you’ve gotten time to greet your kids? We wished to have a united household; we wished to see our children recurrently, so we determined to make that complete transfer. Inside just a few months, my spouse left and I went to hitch her later.

How was your expertise settling in Canada?

It took me 5 years to totally set up myself in Canada. A credit score rating is important to beginning a brand new life in a brand new nation. For brand new immigrants, establishing a robust credit score historical past could be the important thing to discovering a house, gaining access to better-rate loans, and even having a bank card to make use of for parking.

You had been just lately within the information in your appointment as a councilor in Kitchener, a metropolis within the Canadian province of Ontario. What influenced your curiosity in Canadian politics?

I’ve at all times recognized that politics is a chance to serve the neighborhood. I remembered as a baby, I used to be going to Ibadan to spend a trip with my grandmother in Amunigun and many individuals from the neighborhood got here to hunt her intervention to unravel one situation or one other and I noticed how she was at all times serving to individuals to unravel their issues even of their previous age. It is the identical with my mom. She is well-known within the Ojodu space for that; with individuals who come to her for recommendation and options. It isn’t that they’ve run for any public workplace, however they’re serving locally. I believe it is only a worth that has been handed down from one era to a different. So offering an answer runs in our household, ensuring these round us are effectively and brought care of. So, that may be a worth that has been handed on to me and I hope I may cross it on to my kids, that mentality that we’re answerable for our neighborhood.

It is not nearly earning profits and dwelling massive, as all of us prefer to be acclaimed, however while you depart this earth, individuals ought to know that you have added important worth. They need to know somebody’s gone.

Inform us concerning the course of that led to your emergence as a Kitchener councilmember.

I need to thank those that voted for me and gave me an opportunity. There should not many Nigerians within the room I discovered myself in, however I’m glad that after so many conversations with so many individuals, they felt they may belief me. I’m grateful for the chance; and my aim is to have the ability to serve you effectively.

How enthusiastic was the election?

Nicely, with each alternative you by no means know. Once we began we did our SWOT evaluation simply to grasp and perceive the massive image of what was on the market and we felt like we had an opportunity however we weren’t 100% certain due to the formidable rivals we had been up towards. There have been 4 others that I competed towards. One is Jon Massimi. There’s Ajmer S. Manddur, who has lived locally for 40 years and is well-known. There’s one other particular person named Naveed Najmuddin and likewise Farah Jabeen Muhammad. These are people who find themselves well-known locally. One has lived locally for 40 years; one has labored right here for 20-odd years. So, they’re well-known; they’ve been round for fairly some time in comparison with us who’ve solely been right here for less than six years.

So we needed to research the scenario on the bottom after which develop a technique. We simply centered on our technique and hoped for the most effective. We put collectively an excellent group and actually put our heads down and labored actually onerous and success got here.

Was that your first time working for public workplace in Canada?

Yeah, that was the primary time and that got here with its challenges, like anything you are doing for the primary time.

Primary, we did not have any political expertise, so we simply relied on {qualifications}. Quantity two, I’d say that we made as many errors as anybody doing issues for the primary time. Quantity three was the problem of elevating funds as a result of to carry an election right here in Canada, you must increase funds; it may well’t simply be your individual private cash; it must be cash raised; individuals should imagine in you to place cash into your marketing campaign and there’s a restrict that every individual may give. It has to do with the foundations and rules that include working for workplace right here.

The concept is to place collectively a group and put every member of the group in command of one thing. So everybody works on completely different points in direction of our frequent aim. We simply attempt to push for it. I’d say lots of errors had been made, however we’re grateful that on the finish of the day, we had been nonetheless in a position to pull by.

And my colleagues that I used to be up towards, all of them pushed too; we pushed one another. I’d say we deliver out the most effective in one another by the method. So congratulations to Jon, Ajmer, Naveed and Farah.

What’s the measurement of the marketing campaign group you place collectively?

We have now about 15 individuals who had been a part of the marketing campaign group. We had a pressure of males who had political expertise; They supplied strategic path. The ability of consistency additionally helped, whether or not we made errors or not, we made certain there have been outcomes every day.

Does it take that a lot competitors for political workplace in Canada, when it comes to funds?

Nicely, there are completely different ranges of presidency and for every stage, the amount of cash that’s wanted is completely different. Nevertheless, for every stage, it’s essential to meet individuals; You want to have the ability to persuade individuals to put money into your marketing campaign. All of it boils all the way down to, primary, are you plausible? Quantity two, are you able to promote your thought? Quantity three, are you aware sufficient individuals who can put cash into your marketing campaign? With the best way the system is ready up right here, every individual can solely give a restricted quantity. So, you’ll be able to’t ask somebody for $50,000 or something like that; there’s a restrict to the quantity they may give.

In my neighborhood the place I ran, the restrict that anybody may give is between $1,000 and $100,000. Even when that individual is the richest, that’s the restrict they may give. On the finish of the day, you must be acquainted, you’ve gotten to have the ability to promote a imaginative and prescient, and you’ve got to have the ability to construct good relationships. It is a stage taking part in subject for everybody; Anybody can do that, in the event that they actually need to.

What precisely is the purpose of placing a cap on the amount of cash an individual can donate to a marketing campaign?

Sadly, I do not know why; that is simply the regulation. If you say you need to run for workplace, there’s a algorithm and your job is to comply with them.

So how a lot had been you in a position to increase and the way a lot did you spend to run your marketing campaign?

I’ll choose to not share (this data) right now as a result of we’re nonetheless going by our audit course of. What that mainly means is that on the finish of the marketing campaign, it’s essential to submit all your spending, receipts for belongings you spent cash on, how a lot was raised, and the names of the individuals (who donated). I do not really feel comfy sharing all that data (for now). After the entire course of, I will share.

Are you able to examine politics in Nigeria to Canada?

(Laughter) My reply to this query can be that Nigeria has lots of extraordinarily gifted individuals. I’m a administration advisor so I work with completely different corporations every day and I perceive that there are Nigerians working in banks right here who’re already in very influential positions. So now we have lots of sensible and clever individuals in Nigeria. Our academic system, we might not notice it, however it’s one which pushes us. It might not be the most effective, however we have to admire how we’re raised as Nigerians. I imagine that we should belief our individuals, we should present management alternatives to younger individuals; we want leaders to have the ability to discover younger individuals and supply steering for the following group of people that will come. If we try to assist individuals, in about 50 years, we could have so many values, even 10 years or 5 years from now. The individuals I met 5 years in the past had been the individuals who actually ready me for as we speak and I am grateful for that. I hope we will have the identical factor coming too.

What are your obligations as a councilor in Canada?

If you happen to google the obligations of a councillor, it ought to come up.

How lengthy is your time period in workplace?

It’s a four-year time period.

How a lot is a councilor paid in Canada?

It’s public data. Right here in Canada, it is $60,000. That is what they pay us on this city. It is completely different from metropolis to metropolis, relying on the scale or variety of individuals and whether or not they (roles) are part-time or full-time. The quantity paid in Toronto is completely different than in Kitchener.

Can you mix the function of councilor along with your personal job?

Nicely, proper now I’ll proceed in that place as a result of public workplace is a part-time function; 20 hours in per week is predicted of us locally. It isn’t a full-time function; I proceed with my work.

The primary few weeks had been a bit more durable as a consequence of coaching and orientation. Nevertheless, as time goes on, as soon as I set up a routine, will probably be simpler for me to steadiness the 2, however for the time being, it is a bit troublesome, however it’s what it’s.

How do you steadiness your work and household life?

Household is essential to me; so we ensure now we have devoted time for one another to spend time collectively. Our aim is to maintain and keep linked with one another, supporting one another. For us, that’s vital, however we’re praying to be linked with the method.

What recommendation do you’ve gotten for brand new immigrants to Canada?

The sky is the restrict, you’ve gotten lots of worth so as to add to Canada; you’re tremendous sensible, you come from a rustic filled with tremendous sensible individuals, gifted and great individuals; imagine in your self, work onerous and provides Nigeria an excellent title.

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