CICOCEMA for instance offer services to cooperatives and individuals towards ensuring that they can rule and be in charge of the fourth sector, to be able to excel in their businesses, which is what I stand for.
PROF VICTORIA Samuel could be described as multi talented, multi discipline, entrepreneur who seeks not to gain but to give but who now reaps in multiples following the truism, “whatsoever a man sows that shall he reap more abundantly”
The ground for the interview was laid at the event where she bagged a professorship in Social Work from the Western Ville University.
The interview which suffers from the defect associated with online interview was able to among other things unearth who she is and her beneficial work in social work and natural medicine. However, follow up questions could not be asked to unearth many other things, for example if she plans to contest as leadership traits showed throughout her answers.
This interview, meanwhile, vividly highlights the problems with Nigeria and proffer practical solutions that can help it overcome its myriads problems.
Good morning Madam, may we meet you?
What prompted your foray into natural medicine?
Good morning sir. Thank you for this great opportunity to be interviewed by you. I also thank scores of Nigerians for this opportunity. What prompted my going into natural medicine is actually an inspiration. For all the pre decades I have been guiding people on what to use for various things (ailments) and it’s from divine inspiration.
When I was led by The Spirit of God to go into herbal medicine I had to take a course because everything I do I want it to be legalized. I would say that actually helped me, the training that I got in herbal medicine actually helped me to develop my products and in summary for me herbal medicine is a gift, inbuilt, because most times I would hear the voice telling me use this, use this and when I eventually studied herbal medicine, I discovered that most of the things the spirit was leading me to use for people actually has scientific standing for what they were been used to treat.
To me, it’s a passion, it’s a divine assignment, it’s a ministry on its own.
And again, come to think of it a lot of people cannot afford to go to the hospital yet these leaves are readily available around them. So I just don’t treat people, I teach, I have been teaching herbal medicine for the past three years at no cost to anyone across the globe.
I’m happy doing it and this morning I have taught about ten great people and I’m available 24/7 except when I’m “strong” to take up people’s health issues, tell them what to do, get them free medication where they don’t have the money, teach them what to do if they need to know because sometimes herbal medicine, because of non availability of herbs can be expensive, so I tell them look for these leaves around you, so I don’t have to bill you for the medication I produce, you produce for yourself and get well. I consult free.
You were said to be an ambassador of social Enterprise, can you explain this concept?
I am the ambassador of the Certified Institute of Cooperatives and Social Management, CICOSEMA.
I’m happy to be part of CICOSEMA because it’s a translation of my dream.
Let me go down memory lane, precisely 1986 I was made the president of MAMSER (Mass Mobilization of Social Economic for Self Reliance).
I have been very passionate about ensuring that people get to know about their self worth and turn what they have into a form of enterprise, so coming across CICOSEMA I was very happy and I joined The Institute and I became the ambassador of The Institute.
When we talk about social enterprise, that is what we need right now.
The Institute for instance offer services to cooperatives and individuals towards ensuring that they can rule and be in charge of the fourth sector, to be able to excel in their businesses, which is what I stand for.
I am an entrepreneur, serial entrepreneur and I grew my entrepreneurship from a very tender age, so I know what it means to be an entrepreneur, lacking funds, lacking support which is what CICOSEMA is offering a lot of people now.
Cooperatives get support from CICOSEMA, individuals get support from CICOSEMA and this support comes in form of cash, education because The Institute sponsors a lot of youths and they are still sponsoring and those who want to do business and part of the plans of The Institute is to get so many people into various fields of businesses to reduce joblessness of Nigerians.
There is no country that can become great without going through the industrialisation stage and for the industrialisation process to be successful, individual needs to contribute their quotas and for the quota of the individual to be meaningful they need a platform where they can strive. That’s where social enterprise comes in. I will say CICOSEMA is part of the solution to Nigeria’s problems. Those who identify with The Institute will have one or two things to gain. They will get the intellectual expertise to run their businesses and also have the opportunity to leverage on finance, networking aspect because your network actually determines your net worth.
I’m proud to be an ambassador of the Certified Institute of Cooperatives and Social Enterprise Management.
We should encourage all the children to find out what is in them that can make them stand out. We all want the government to do something for us but now we should ask should the government fail, we as individual should not fail and how are we not going to fail? There are two ways to it. There is the inbuilt talent we have that we can package as skills. Our inbuilt talent is even more enduring, last longer than acquired skills and talents because what is inbuilt you comes naturally.
When I wrote my book “Arise o compatriot to celebrate Nigeria’s 50th birthday I said it clearly that every human being is blessed because you have what The Creator has given you that you can actually work on. Come to CICOSEMA learn how to make the best out of your businesses, yourself, the people your target audience and package it. The talent that you have make it exportable and you will help in increasing the GDP of the country and the country would become industrialized.
At some point the Indians felt they could sing and started Bollywood exporting videos all over the world and people were buying. And Ghana there started natural medicine exporting medications, drugs, alcoholic drinks that heal and they are okay. Now in Nigeria we farm. In many local governments there are mineral resources, there are talents, as Yoruba will put it, agbole kokan lo ni owo ti won nse (each compound is noted for a particular trade). With all these enterprises people use the education they have acquired to package it. Then the economy of the country will boom.
The complaint about lack of funds, they will get comfort from institutes like CICOSEMA.
When we talk about social enterprise, that’s what we need to promote at this stage; raise entrepreneurs people that will use their brains.
I want to tell our youths out there you don’t have to get a white collar job to be who you are or to contribute to the development of Nigeria or the world at large. You just know what you know how to do best, if it’s dancing get on stage, dance and become the best in it. Whatever you know how to do be the best in it. The education that you have helps you to package, reason and do things better than people who are not educated.
Honestly I’m passionate about enterprise, I’m passionate about people being self reliant, I’m passionate about being entrepreneurs. When you mind your business, when you raise a business, when you nurture a business, you will understand what it means to be a leader, to be a visioneer, to be a builder.
When you don’t do this you don’t know what it is to develop a nation, to develop anything. So social enterprise is it. It will surprise you that I have been teaching entrepreneurship for over two decades now and I still have two platforms where I teach entrepreneurship. I take people through how to become an entrepreneur, that led me to start my research on how to develop the country, the research that gave birth to my professorial appointment. I have a book on that on what I discovered on the way forward for Nigeria which is part of what I’m talking about right now. I have identified the problems and provide solutions; so social enterprise is very important and before the CAMA came out The Institute already had in place everything that the law is all about, you might check it up with The Institute on our website. Thank you.
There are much hatred currently in Nigeria, what do you think is the way forward and can social enterprise be a solution?
There is hatred in the country, hatred? Or you mean lack of information. Yes when a people are together especially a country like Nigeria, a secular state with various tribes our diversity should be our strength but unfortunately we have allowed some elements to use our diversity to divide us. Coming to hatred, I think hatred is not the issue now people are hungry and I think the solutions is in our hands and social enterprise as I enumerated above is the solution. National Orientation Agency, NOA should wake up and educate the people about how they can be a blessing to the country, how they can help the country grow, how it is industrialisation time for the country, how there should be a balance between religion and hard work, how there should be dignity of labour, a sweeper should be proud, the tailor should be proud of the driver and we work as one people. United we stand, divided we fall.
Until we are able to provide the necessary information that will help people come together and work together and also provide infrastructure that will give them enabling environment to strive there would be problems. The problem here is not hatred, the problem here I think is hunger and that hunger is what is causing the anger, you know an hungry man is an angry man. So what we should be looking at is how to make people productive.
The best way to get people productive is to educate them. You start from the mind. Most of the things people go through is the mindset. You start by telling a child you can do it, you tell a child how to go about doing it. You dialogue with a child the possible ways to go about it. You tell a child about an institute that can help him achieve his dream. You tell someone where he can get finance for his business like CICOSEMA and all the other places. All we need is information. There is so much misinformation out there and we need to change the mindset of the people. Let the government and individuals start programmes that can change the mindset of the people from negativity to positivity. Then also let us celebrate those who are doing well. Let us let our children appreciate hard work. All the get rich quick programmes should stop. We should show children what to do that will give them long lasting wealth.
Actually I’m not a TV person, I only come on air to watch news but there is a programme people would be glued to and watch – BBN.
When I was growing up there were lots of TV series that taught so many things like Cock crow at dawn, teaching values, teaching morals, let us get the people that are in charge of information to dispense the right information to feed the mind of the people. Let us call on musicians to stop signing derogatory songs. Let us encourage them to teach children songs like the foremost musicians used to do. Let us get the actors to act things that will teach values and morals. Let agencies bring out jingles that will encourage the youths to know where to find solutions to certain problems. Let us begin to tell ourselves the truth that quite a number of things that we need to do when the mindset is okay then we can now hamper on the importance of entrepreneurship, social enterprise, how to develop the nation, how to go about it, the resources available.
You recently bagged a professorship can you tell us in what field and how you came about it?
Yeah, I bag a professorship in Social Works. I have been a social worker in the last three decades. I have worked across multi social cultural background. I have worked in the North, I have worked in the East, I have worked in the West of Nigeria. The only place I have not really worked is the South which I touched briefly last year.
I have come across many ethnic groups in Nigeria and I noticed one common thing – there is abject poverty in the land, there is lack of information. I have been a bridge and at the same time conducting my research. My research of over two decades is the birth of this professorship.
Until there are selfless people out there to work in the society towards ensuring that square pegs are put in the square holes and round pegs in round holes, helping people, there would be a lot of problems.
I have been working as a social worker and I’m proud to be a professor in the field of social work.
What is the motivating factor for your life.
The motivating factor of my life is God Almighty and the love of people. I love people. I want to see people successful. I want to see a developed country. I just want everything around me to be perfect because God is perfect.
Can you tell us what life has taught you?
Life has taught me so many things that I can’t list here but the most important of them all is what I’m saying now.
All you have is God. God is the only One that you have. When everything leaves you, when every other person, hates or leaves you, God will be right there for you.
That is what life has taught me. With God nothing is impossible. With God you will get anywhere. God has been my motivation, my guide, my everything.
Can you compare your youthful days to that of today’s youths?
My youthful days were very beautiful. It was more conducive than it is right now. Yes we had so many things to learn. The elders had more time for us. They had more time to impact morals and values into us.
The children of this day lack that because the parents are out there struggling to make money not having time for the kids.
Things were not this bad. People now have to hustle, go twenty four hour to suffer to get peanut.
The economic situation was stable.
The children of these days are unfortunate, some though even don’t get to see their parents till the weekends or they don’t get to see them at all.
Then it was not just your parents that were looking after you but everybody older than you had the right to take care of you.
That being said, in the society at large there were places to visit, education was not just limited to training at home or books in schools. It was also extended to having access to quality things around that was shaping outlook to life.
We had the amusement parks, we had the zoos, so many things that educated our minds. We had quality entertainers who would sing songs to encourage learning like bata re a dun ko ko ka ti o ba kawe re… Instilling values, giving hope to a great future to the youth unlike now that you hear all sorts of songs that make you wonder if the singer is mad or the listeners are sick.