She hit Nigeria’s big screens over two years ago, with a mission to challenge the status quo and create positive impact with her voice. She is Osasu Igbinedion, a media consultant and practitioner. Osasu is the brain and voice behind The Osasu Show, TOS TV Network and The Osasu Foundation.
Osasu Igbinedion is a young woman whose work continues to garner interest and recognition both within Nigeria and around Africa. In this quick chat with Whoot Africa at her office in the heart of Abuja, Osasu shares her journey to TOS, the challenges, championing the cause of the less privileged through her charity works and the future of the Osasu Brand.
Osasu Igbinedion – The woman and media professional?
I am excited about the Osasu Brand; I am driven by the work we do and this exciting feeling gets me out of bed every morning. My goal in life is making an impact in society and positively impacting the everyday Nigerian. So, if you ask me who exactly is Osasu Igbinedion? I would define myself as a professional and a humanitarian.
The Osasu Show?
The Osasu show focuses on sustainable development across Africa. It covers politics, business and development.
When we started the show in 2015, I was doing advertising for political parties and political candidates who wanted to run for office, as well as doing my charity work. Considering I had been away from Nigeria for a long time prior to that, I realized there were quite a lot of things going on, and our systems completely broken down in ways I just didn’t understand. I had to understand that this was now my reality and I had to help do something about the much-needed change.
I started the show because I saw myself as the bridge between both divides, the elites and the masses and I knew if I wanted to do this, I needed to do things on my own. I put together a show reel and went about fund raising to get The Osasu Show on air.
Do you ever see yourself shifting the focus of the show away from politics and accountability?
The show covers politics, business and development. We have done work in Kenya, and Ghana and we are looking to expand to more African countries. We launched the TOS Network early this year and we are focused on News from Africa by Africans. Our global goal is to reshape and rebrand the face of Africa, we need to change the narrative of ignorance and negative facts about Africa and ensure that Africa is portrayed in a positive light like it should be.
The journey so far?
It hasn’t been easy; my mum always says to me that whatever is worth doing is worth doing well and whatever is profitable is never easy. I have had some hard times when I had to cry myself to sleep and asking God if this is really the vision he wants me to pursue. My faith has been my biggest strength. Whatever I am going through, be it financial struggles as a business person or the times when it seemed I was putting so much in and getting little out, my faith helps me face each stage knowing fully well, there will always be provision for your passion if you play your part.
The Charity aspect of your life? What areas does your charity focus on?
TOS Foundation focuses on empowering women and children, and giving education scholarships to the less privileged because I believe education is the foundation of every successful society and nation.
We also empower women in skills acquisition training’s and start-up capital for small/medium scale businesses. Some of the beneficiaries have gone into small scale businesses for themselves, and we hope they will be success stories to inspire others.
Coming from your background; your grandfather is one of Nigeria’s top businesspeople, who has been in business for so long and your dad is a former governor and your aunt is currently one of the youngest house of reps’ member. How hard or easy has it been proving yourself especially to people who think your background has contributed to your success and access to opportunities?
They are right to assume my background has contributed to my success but they must paint the full picture, which is, my background has also contributed to certain missed opportunities. For example, there are people I meet who are very receptive and kind to me because a loved one of mine has made a difference in his/her lives but there are also people I’ve met who do not bother getting to know me, they hate me by default because of the family I come from. It’s definitely a double-edged sword but it’s okay, it is a part of life and you have to learn to roll with the punches. You cannot be successful without challenges and criticisms, and I will continue to say this, there is no such thing as overnight success. Whatever I do, I don’t expect a thank you or a pat on the back. I expect impact. Are the dividends of my work being felt? The answer is yes and that’s all that matters to me.
The ups and downs, the challenges with regards to moving to Nigeria and starting the show?
There are many good moments and there are also bad moments, but I think my lightbulb moment was when I was invited to Kenya to be one of the moderators for the African women in leadership symposium. My down moment was when our major TV Network called us to ask that we pay our bills or else they would take our show off air. I was worried about just being another voice that came and faded without impact.
You are a woman who is chasing a dream and a passion, tell us about the experiences of being a woman in your field?
Being a woman; a lot of people automatically expect you to be a feminist, especially if you are an educated, determined and goal oriented woman. A feminist is one who believes in equality of men and women. I don’t believe in equality, I believe in equity. Equity means fairness, men and women are created differently; if God wanted us to be equal, then there would be no diversity, because equality means a lack of diversity.
For the world to thrive, we need diversity. I personally believe women demanding equality are belittling our natural attributes, 55 percent of the world’s population are women. We are powerful creatures. So, why are we striving to be equal? We should focus our concern to fighting for equity which is where a man and woman who work the same job, work the same hours, earn the same wages. That makes more sense to me.
My advice to women is be to be a professional in whatever you do and do not be afraid to demand what you deserve.
Looking at the future, where do you see all of these going?
Our five-year goal when we started was to have a TV station launched, which we have done this year. To also have the show be more in an African landscape, to have our presence in more African countries by the end of this year, and in a few years, be known across the globe.
I dream big, I believe that the sky is just the take off point when it comes to my dreams. To also have the misconceptions about Africa changed by us as Africans and then share it with the world. There are a lot of great men and women doing phenomenal things in Nigeria and Africa in general and I hope, we will be there to shed the spotlight on these great men and women.
What would you want to be remembered for?
I would want people to remember Osasu as God fearing, a woman who did things from a place of passion and love and a woman who achieved her dreams of impacting Nigerians, Africans and the rest of the world positively. A woman who was successful in business and who used her brand and her network to reshape the African narrative and was able to ensure and show girls all over the world that anything you can conceive in your heart, dream about and work towards, is possible.