For Omoayena Odunbaku, Program Management Officer, Regional Office for Africa, UN-Habitat, achieving great success requires resilience, hard work and patience.
Speaking recently at her book launch on her 40th birthday, Omoayena said she decided to tell her own story and share her life experiences, adding that all proceeds from the book will go to the Gabby Yadua Foundation.
The Foundation, a non-profit educational organization based in Nigeria and founded in 2021 with the aim of providing an enabling environment for mathematically distinguished students from disadvantaged backgrounds attending Nigerian public schools.
She said this would be achieved by creating a math lab that teaches math wonders using science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM), as entry points to guide their inquiry, their dialogue and critical thinking.
With the title Omoh, she said, “I’ve always wanted to give back to society. It was a societal effort that brought in the person called Omoh. Everyday life is made up of struggles, especially for the little girl. It is important that we come out of these troubles with our heads held high, with dignity, hope and integrity.
She said the journey to name the book was exciting. According to her, “we started from the reflection, moved on to the nuances, because we found out that there were different nuances in Omoh, then we moved on to Grace, we cannot hide the grace of God in the life of each. There is Omoh the child, Omoh the young adult, Omoh the woman and the most interesting part for me is the fourth part, which is Omoh the woman. This chapter contains my husband’s interview. My editor told me it was one of the most authentic ghost writings he has ever written because my story corroborates what people put in, especially the trivia. The anecdotes have served me well and made me understand that it is not only in religion that we can truly serve people, but also in our everyday life.
Judge Nkemdilim Izuako, who previewed the book, said it is straightforward and easy to read. She said it was around 359 pages long and talked about everything Omoh is today. This book brings home some crucial messages. The path we tend to reject can bring out the best in us. Second, hard work and resilience can take someone to great heights. Love is the glue that binds us together. Everyone should read the book, young or old, it is very inspiring.
University of Lagos Town Planning Professor, UNILAG, Taibat Lawanson, who is also his mentor, said: “Our relationship has blossomed and because of the connection I am a member of the Yadua family. I encouraged her to continue her doctoral program when she was about to drop out. She is passionate about her goals and people. More importantly, it is still evolving.
Professor Samuel Iyiola Oni from the Department of Geography at UNILAG, and also Omoh’s mentor, said she was diligent, calm under pressure. She gets along well with people. She represents positive thinking and she is a reliable and cohesive, innovative and creative young scholar who has become an identifiable status. She is passionate about sustainable development.
Sandra Zawedde, a colleague at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, UNECA, said Omoh is a great colleague. She goes out of her way to help people.
In his speech, the former High Commissioner of Nigeria to Kenya, Ambassador Friday Okai, described the author as a friendly, respective daring, helpful, very intelligent person, a person genuine in character and connections. “I saw the best of her in 2016 when we wrote Habitat 3, the latest document on human settlements. She and other colleagues worked very hard to draft the documents.