Vacancy! You Are Urgently Needed. Here is the chat that I had with a dear brother, Folorunso Aliu. He is the Managing Director of one of Nigeria’s foremost ICT firms and also doubles as the Group Project Director for the parent company. He has been involved in some of the earliest transformational and innovative solutions in the Nigerian ICT landscape. Folorunso is a graduate of the Computer Science & Engineering department of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He is also an alumnus of the prestigious Lagos Business School of the Pan Atlantic University where he obtained a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree. He is passionate about human capital development and volunteers frequently for mentoring and development activities of the Nigerian Youth.
He is also the co-author of a book titled Vacancy! You are urgently needed.
Ep. 57 Transcripts: Vacancy! You Are Urgently Needed with Folorunso Aliu
Olu: Welcome everybody to Like-Jesus podcast. This is Olu Sobanjo, am very glad to have you join me again today. On the show, today I have someone that is so inspirational that you will be very glad to be listening to this episode today. His name is Folorunsho Aliu, he is the Managing Director of one of Nigeria’s foremost ICT firms and also doubles as the Group Project Director for the parent company. He has been involved in some of the earliest transformational and innovative solutions in the Nigerian ICT landscape. Folorunso is a graduate of the Computer Science & Engineering department of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He is also an alumnus of the prestigious Lagos Business School of the Pan Atlantic University where he obtained a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree. He is passionate about human capital development and volunteers frequently for mentoring and development activities of the Nigerian Youth.
He is also the co-author of a book titled Vacancy You are urgently needed.
Now, this person is very dear to me, he is a brother to me and we call him ‘FLS’ that’s just an acronym of his name Folorunsho. On this episode, you’re gonna be hearing me call him ‘FLS’ and eh just to let you know. And want to welcome you FLS to the show, thank you so much for joining me today.
Folorunsho: Thank you very much pastor Olu and em welcome everybody.
Olu: Thank you. Just before the recording as we were just chatting, you mentioned something that I quickly wrote down and I want to start with that. So just before we start talking about who you are and all that you mentioned something, you said “followers of today are the leaders of tomorrow that we need to prepare today” do you want to start with that? Tell us more about what you mean.
Folorunsho: Okay, thank you. I would like to say that we tend to, as a people, we tend to do what I call ‘the either or story’ or we tend to speak more towards an either or. And what do I mean? Today I would speak within my environment a little bit. We are focused so much on the people we call the leaders of today but some 20 years ago, the people that are in the position of leadership today were followers, and no one paid attention to them and after a while, they emerged as leaders. More than three-quarter of them were not prepared for this position. So we get what we get. I’m more passionate about grooming and being deliberate about grooming tomorrow’s leaders. The leaders we have today; we already have them. We are in one way or the other forced to live with them or get them out.
However, we have a golden opportunity of working with the followers we have today. Ensuring that the values they have and the values they can create are the right ones; so that we create the tomorrow that we are all looking forward to. So it doesn’t become a nightmare as we have in many areas or in many places today. So I’m very passionate about the followers. Because at some points or the other, the follower tends to become the leader.
Olu: That’s true, that’s very true. I really…I told you guys it’s going to be very inspirational. You know, what we are talking about is so tied to what I have been doing with this podcast. And I find out that a lot of us as believers find it hard to…we tend to say a lot of things that we don’t do. Because personally for myself, I have been at that point, I have been in the position where I have been just doing, I mean talking more than doing. And with this podcast, many other people that are listening to this can relate well with the topic of just realizing that maybe I have been waiting for approval, I have been waiting for somebody to say yes you can do it. Before I actually step-on to actually doing it. Despite the fact that I have Christ living on the inside of me.
And I really really enjoy the aspect you are bringing to the point of we need to pay attention to many of these people, and these are the same people that I am reaching out to actually. You know that I am not…maybe they’ve been neglected like your word…they’ve been neglected and maybe they felt that they needed somebody to come and push them up before they can go up, but then we are now reaching out to them. So i like to understand from where or just tell a little bit about you. Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get to this point where you felt you needed to reach out to people in this category…followers of today…why did you think they were important.
Folorunsho: Okay, thank you. I think, well, for everyone in life, the seed of greatness was sown into you before you arrived earth. And it is in that seed of greatness that your life grows. The problem here is half the time most of us do not look at the seed for it to grow, we look at the trees in other peoples yards. And we measure ourselves that way.
Now why did i say that? I was born and brought up in what you might call a slum in Lagos and half the time nobody expects you to be anything. Infact, the truth is you were expected not to amount to anything. If you amounted to anything in life, it will shock people. But if you went the way of others it was expected. But someone believed in me. A lady by the name ‘Miss Aby Bucknor’ bless her soul she’s gone to be with the Lord right now. She believed in me. My father died when i was quite young when I was just 12, I think. And the first boy of 5 children. The environment was just all stacked up against you. The odds were really stacked against you. I could have gone ahead to be one of many things. In my class where people who eventually died as armed rubbers, in my class girls of 13, 14, 15 were parents.
It was so bad but someone believed in me and said ‘you know what how do you do in school?’. And I said ‘oh’… she saw my results and said you know what ‘I will get you a scholarship’. And that changed everything for me because now, my intention was drawn from being bad to ensuring that I kept the scholarship. And my mum went through a lot. And that also gave me something else to look forward to, ensuring that I helped this lady who was going through so much alone taking care of kids, I mean, these children on her own. And it was out of that that the need to look at the young children or the young ones generated because someone paid attention to me, someone felt I didn’t need to go the way of others.
So today for me, my mantra, my thought is always perhaps it would change one man. Perhaps you will be able to change the life of one young man or one young lady who would go on to change the world. So for me, i believe that if I had been left within the environment on my own without someone believing in me, I could have failed. For all you know, I could be a thief or the worst. You know I probably would have had a child at 14, 15 or maybe 16. I probably would have gone into so many horrible things. So, I believe in the young people. And I don’t believe that anyone is bad. I believe there is a seed of greatness in every man. It takes the right atmosphere, takes the right person to put it out and plant it properly. That seed would grow.
Olu: Wow, this is really big. I’ve known you but I didn’t know this story. And it’s really good to learn this about you and to actually see that it’s actually possible for anyone. Thank you so much for sharing that. And uhm yeah, let’s… there are so many angles that I can take this to. Now you just…brought us to a place where…, we’ve been talking about habits on my podcast for this month am looking at habits and…you brought it now to a place where am going to you know just divert a little bit from habits and just go in the area of the environment. I was looking through your book and I noticed that there is something that you and your co-author coined out a word and called it ‘Blamisitis’. Like a disease that people have and in an environment where things are not working for them the way it should be or compared to other people. And you coin that word and that disease as something that afflicts a lot of people.
Now I would like to…and you know coming from a place where you actually have been in that situation. Maybe…, I don’t know…, how do you merge those two points together? The environment that you are in… Somebody may be listening right now and saying ‘yea you know it’s because of the fact that you found somebody that helped you out that’s why you are able to talk like this’. How do you help somebody else that maybe might not have had the same opportunity of getting a scholarship and what not? How do you merge that together?
Folorunsho: Okay! For me, I would say the first thing is this: The greatest cheerleader we all have is our maker. The first thing is that sometimes, as people we get it twisted. We were not created here, then God gave us an assignment. God had first an assignment and he was looking for the solution. And he said, ‘if I make this or fashion out this being, he will be well soothed to solve this particular problem for the earth’. So God went into His workshop if you read Psalms 138 or so 139. God went into the workshop and started drawing us out, He started saying he will be this big, he will be this small. The eyes will be this bulgy or maybe something. He will be born in a place called Nigeria, no not just Nigeria. He will be born in the south-west. He would be born into a family where the father may not be home all the time. He would go through this set of pains. He would understand the pains that people go through when eventually the has become. We are specifically brought up to solve a particular problem in this world.
So just like God told the devil then, have you seen my servant Job? The same way God is cheering us on today, every single being He has created. And He keeps telling everyone who cares to listen, that; have you seen my son this, have you seen my daughter, this. Wait till he becomes. He was placed in the midst of the slum so that he will understand how it is to solve the problem of slums globally. So when he goes out he is not speaking from head knowledge, he is speaking from what he has gone through.
Remember, Christ came into the world to go through what all of us would eventually go through. So we can know that we have a high priest who went through the same set of infirmities we went. So we can tell him that God, How come you did not sin? And He will tell us how He went through it. Same way, God is saying I left you there so that you can become. The problem is; like I said, we do not look at the becoming, we look at those who have become and leave our own becoming. And the problem we are supposed to solve for the entire earth remains. And guess what? We complain like every other person.
So God is busy, rooting for us even in our refusing to become and He is saying you know what? Have you seen my son John, have you seen my daughter Eva? Have you seen my son, Tolu, Have you seen my daughter? wait for what she will be. So we don’t need any man as it were to urge us on, because the God of heaven and earth has put so many resources in us and He is saying just become and see what the world will be because you will be the solution to the entire problem. Imagine how important you are as a person when the God of the heavens and the earth decided to let go of his powers in you. When He is gone ahead to delegate the rulership when He has gone ahead to delegate the solutioning of this earth in your hands. You are more than important.
So even if no-one roots for you, know that the Father in heaven is daily rooting for you, because He’s poured in the entire requirements in you. He just wants you to become. I remember, if I am not wrong, I think it’s in 2 Peter 1:3 when he says, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.
We were called, we have been called. We would not be called, we have already been called. Because before we were born, He had already called us. And he gave us everything already that pertains to life and He’s called us to glory and virtue. So what that means is this, that whatever it is that you are going through right now your calling is going to end in glory and virtue, but it is dependent on your knowledge of Him that has called you. So we need to put seeking him, and I am not just saying Christian seeking, I am saying, seeking out what He wants us to do, its not just going to be a magical thing, It’s not going to be an “Abracadabra” like the whole world wants it to be. As long as we seek him, we will keep becoming, because He is rooting for us.
Olu: Wow, Thank you, Now, there is one part of the scriptures that I read this morning, In Isaiah chapter 14, and it was talking about the fact that, its easy, for you to complain. The way I saw it is that you can be going through something right now and all you can think of is just to complain; complaints, complaints, and complaints. But really, when you actually embrace the God of the universe…and as we were discussing today in my family devotion, we were talking about how, if you just bring God into the situation, you’re bringing the supernatural into the natural and you are actually able to see supernatural happening on you behalf. But the sad thing about life and even about Christians is that, we know so much how to talk the talk, but we are not so good at doing it. We actually forget about what we know as soon as trouble comes and before you know it…, that songs always comes to mind “ oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer”
And so I would like you to take us to the aspect of…I want you to join this now to the title of your book. I remember when I first this book, the word Vacancy, (I think it was when you were still trying to get the cover made) that I was curious, I was like ok is that like a job preparation book, you know like something you need to read to get a good job? Or a book that will help you master interview questions, Knowing the kind of work you do I was thinking that it was going to go in that line, you know; You are urgently needed and…but its way more than that. As I have read the book, I realized that its actually a very good book that everyone need to find a way to get it in their hands. Thankfully its on Amazon, anyone can get it.
But I will like you to tell us a little bit more about what you meant by Vacancy, you are urgently needed. I know this is the same thing you have been talking about on this episode but do you want to zero it down on the book.
Folorunsho: Thank you. Its a long one, but I will try to make it as short as I possibly can. You know in my position I get lots of requests for placements, you know people who want to get jobs and all that. Kindly help my brothers, help my sister, help my son, or my daughter. And I could only take in so much. So Many people at once. So I have the tight job of always helping people get placements. but you can only do that for so long. But I did a project that was quite large and I was excited to find out that I had vacancy for a hundred and nine Engineers to fill, so I was excited. So finally I would be able to do something great in one shot… That will be great, that will be easy….so I thought. So I went around to recruit young Engineers and it was a nightmare. It was a nightmare. I eventually lost the opportunity because I couldn’t flll the vacancy as quickly as I thought I would be able to.
The second thing was like I got a few friends together who were entrepreneurs and it was all sorts of complaints about how they were looking for hands and they couldn’t get people on board. And then I asked people who were looking for jobs and there were people who were looking for people to fill the vacancy and I started noticing that there was a problem of employability. So that problem became bigger, I started speaking more with Entrpreneur, those who had their businesses, even organizations, and I realized that they were laying off people and these same organizations were also trying to recruit new people. So it wasn’t just that people were looking for jobs, but that they were laying off people as well. Then came the Nigerian government issue of ‘oh we needed to solve problems in this area and that area and the average Nigerian would complain there weren’t opportunities, meanwhile other people would come in from all over the world, seize some of these opportunities and begin to make money. Most of our Telecoms companies in Nigeria today are being run by people from different parts of the world.
So it became an issue for me when I started seeing that all over the nation there were vacancies but there weren’t the right set of people to fill the vacancies. We have people but we didn’t have the right human resource. Now, these does not mean that the people were not nice or good or whatever, but didn’t have what it took at the time to fill the vacancies available. And then we realized this was even much bigger than people trying to earn a living. In the homes, we realized that husbands had vacancies in their minds, but the wives were not filling the vacancies, hence we have lots of fights in the home. We find 2 people who are so much in love with each other and are on the brink of divorce because there was so much vacancy in the homes that the other wasn’t able to fill. The wife is seeking attention, she wants to be loved, vacancy in her heart. Her husband is just not filling it. its either that he doesn’t even know about it or doesn’t have the right mind set to fill the vacancy.
So we realized that there was vacancies all around us and people just were not filling it, even though they wanted a job, even though they wanted to be the one in charge but they were not filling it. So we realized that people were seeking vacancies of seats in the offices. But there were also vacancies in the land that people needed to step into and fill. In Nigeria today you have lots of people who are living below the poverty line. We need people to step in and get people out of this. There are new jobs that have not been created yet, new ideas, that have not been brought forth yet, that someone needs to create and then you fill the vacancies. That way we ‘ll complain less and do more.
But if the mindset is not there to seek out vacancies, and actively try to fill those those vacancies, we will keep complaining while others will see those opportunities, they would come in and the same people complaining would all contribute to make them rich. So the book is all about seeking, actively seeking out vacancies all around you, and positioning yourself in terms of your mindset and what you can actually do to fill the vacancy. But If you are not even looking for vacancy in the first place, and I mean actively, or if you are not seeking this vacancies out, you pass by them everyday, you trudge by them everyday, you have them even in your homes, you have them all around you and yet you sit down complaining. Thats what the book is about.
Olu: Amazing, anywhere you are in the world you are listening from, I personally want to say this book is one that you must find a way to get into your hands. I got mine on kindle on Amazon. And If you are in Nigeria, I will show you how you can get it. I will put a link to how you can get it if you are in Nigeria. But for those of you outside of Nigeria and all that, I am also going to put a link to the book on the corresponding post for this on my website(above). So you must get a hold of this book. And you must just have a way of reading it. cos its a very good book.
I know, FLS that you are such a busy person, very busy person and I really appreciate all the work that you ve been doing. Definitely, it looks like we have done a lot today but we are just scratching the surface. And so I know that we are definitely… I will really be glad if we can have another sessional at a later date. it doesn’t have to be now, I know how busy you are, but I really appreciate the time that it took you to make this possible. And not only that, FLS was a part of a program that my husband and I actually working on in Kuje, a part of Nigeria, called the Young Influencers Bootcamp. And that was phenomenal last week when he came to speak with the youths, to just encourage them to be the best and find opportunities and solve problems and that was just awesome. At some point I will also release the audio that we recorded from that event.
Alright, in conclusion I would like to ask you, I don’t know if there is something you are working on right now, or if there is something that you possibly want to tell us a little bit more about where to get the book, I am going to put the amazon link here. But if there is a way…, and different group coaching, anything that you want people to know about, I ‘ld like you to talk about that and then from there we can wrap it up and close in prayers.
Folorunsho: Oh thank you so much, this is a good opportunity and I appreciate it. I believe a lot in leadership, right now I am writing a book on leadership. I call is the book Leadership Conundrum and thats… I am looking at it specifically from the Nigerian perspective on how we are where we are, but more importantly; what can you do to start getting out of where we are, you know positioning not just for tomorrow but starting from today. What future do you want to see and how can we actively work towards gaining that future tomorrow. So I am writing that book and believing God that it will be out soon.
The second thing is I do a lot of strategy sessions, because I see a lot of organizations and SMEs, they struggle a lot within the environment, especially in the Nigerian environment, which is what I know anyway, I know about the Nigerian business environment. And I try to work with them to ensure that we grow businesses to where it should be, cos most people actually have their business cut short because of basic information they don’t have and because of mindset and there is a lot of religion that people bring into business and because of that they destroy the business without realizing that is based on what they have done or not done right. So I work with a lot of SMEs to help manage the business. I also believe a lot in working with young people because they are the followers of today, whether we like it, leadership will fall on them whether we plan for it or not.
So I believe a lot in values, I believe a lot in the creative abilities of people. If you have the creative abilities you also have destructive abilities because destruction is a form of creation. So it is looking for ways to work with young people to ensure that we dampen the destructive ability and enhance the creative abilities of our young people to create values. So those are the things I love to do. I love farming and building. Those are the things I love to do in my spare time.
Olu: Thank you very much for telling us more about….
Folorunso: One more thing, about the book, you can get the book in Nigeria; in Lagos, Lantana Ventures, you can get it from Abuja, you can get it from different bookshops in Abuja, Peculiar book store in Wuse II, …Barbie book store…different books stores in abuja and Lagos and online as you said on Amazon. Thank you.
Olu: I am sure my listeners are thinking that I should schedule another appointment with you. and definitely we are going to do that. But just to wrap this up today, I really want to say thank you so much, and I will like you to please pray for the listener, just to wrap this up.
Folorunso: Shall we pray? Divine Father we thank you. For the opportunity to be alive, and to be well. That is the greatest testimony that you are still rooting for us. We ask oh Lord that your rooting in heaven will get into our hears and into our hearts to buffer us, oh Lord God, to know that that is all we need to become and in becoming we get to know you better and the world, in turn, gets to know us. And we will find our fame, our fortunes, and our peace in our becoming that or whom you have called us to become.
Help us to hear you daily even in the midst of the noise all around us, even in the midst of the noise of hunger, the noise of fear, the noise of desperation, the noise of the world telling us we are not good enough, we are not beautiful enough, we are not strong enough, we are useless, all through the noise. Father, help us to dampen those noise and let your rooting, let your encouragement, keep our heart strong and right. And let our hears be open to hear you encouraging us and leading us to be and become. Anyone going through pain right now Father, I ask for your mercy. Anyone going through a tough time right now, I asked oh Lord God that your presence be made strong and manifest. And Lord for everyone that has been battered at this time I ask that your suiting balm will come through for them. and above all let us become, that your name may be glorified and that peace, fame, and fortune be ours in Jesus name. Amen.
Olu: Amen. Once again I want to say that you for being here. And God bless you.
Folorunsho: Thank you so much, I do appreciate it, Do have a great week.
Olu: Thank you, you as well.
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