Interview with alumna, Obianuju to hear about her new role as President and why International Women’s Day is so important to her
To celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022, we met with the first female president of the Nigerian Alumni Association, Obianuju Eloji who shared her story and passion for empowering women, gender inclusion and addressing key education issues.
Obianuju graduated from the University of Portsmouth in March 2011 with a Master’s degree in Financial Decision Analysis. Since leaving University, she has founded a non-profit organisation, I Can Read and Write (ICRAW), which supports communities and combats illiteracy in Nigeria. She also works for the African University of Science and Technology as Grants Coordinator and Assistant of Research and Innovation to the President.
Her dedication and support for her community are inspiring – discover her story below:
International Women’s Day 2022
IWD means the world to me. It encourages me to keep hope alive and continue fighting for women empowerment, gender inclusion and equality, and the hope for a better world where the voice of the African woman will grow to its full potential.
I’m passionate about learning and education for underprivileged children and women. I established and registered a non-profit organisation, I Can Read And Write (ICRAW) Initiative which focuses on designing and executing programmes to address the most urgent and pressing needs of the educational sector in Nigeria, illiteracy. I have secured small grants, strategic partnerships and collaborations with both local and international development organisations to support our work in vulnerable communities.
My amazing experience at the University of Portsmouth strengthens my belief that everyone, no matter their location, setbacks, race or background can get the same opportunity for a remarkable learning experience that will transform their lives.
What was the highlight of your time at Portsmouth?
I loved every inch of the city. I enjoyed going to the seafront, shopping at Gunwharf Quays; it was an awesome experience. I remember attending the wonderful international food events. It is a reminder of the amazing experience I had at Portsmouth. It also strengthens my belief that everyone, no matter their location, setbacks, race or background can get the same opportunity for a remarkable learning experience that will transform their lives, as I have experienced from the University of Portsmouth.
I also had the opportunity to enrol for the student associate scheme under the School of Education and it was an incredible experience. It gave me an insight into the early years and secondary school education in the UK. This fuelled my passion to promote good education in Nigeria.
How did your time at Portsmouth Business School prepare you for the working world when you returned to Nigeria?
The modules from my Master’s course were instrumental to my success in my career. I acquired vast knowledge and intuition from Financial Analysis by Lena Itangata. My favourite course was Richard Trafford’s Business Valuation. These courses made a world of difference with the way I proffer financial solutions to various development organisations and businesses that need guidance to thrive in Nigeria’s developing economy.
The University’s excellent delivery and approach to student outcomes have made me stand out everywhere I’ve worked in the UK and Nigeria over the past decade.
Nigeria Alumni Association
Can you provide some more information about your role as Nigerian President?
I was elected into this role in September 2021. As the first female President, most people were not sure what to expect from me, but I believe our work so far has been great. The alumni community are seeing actual changes and progress in their growth.
We have a plan to build a formidable family, especially in this part of the world where resourcefulness and passion are key in achieving career success. We want to build a strong support system and bridge the employment gap amongst our graduates and assist members to grow their influence and careers.
What exciting initiatives are you undertaking as part of the role?
We’re strategising to increase awareness of the University in Nigeria through hosting Career Fairs across the six geo-political zones in the country. We plan to establish a mentorship programme for recent graduates and support other alumni seeking guidance to develop their careers in specific areas. We are starting a library project that would provide learning resources for educational institutions to contribute to the educational development within the country.
In March, we’re hosting an event for the Nigeria Alumni Association and I look forward to acquiring knowledge from peers on how to utilise social media to promote and fund organisations. I also hope that the attendees will find answers to the questions they have about building their brand or businesses.