Ebuwa Alhaji comes from a family of doctors. So he went to medical school and became a doctor.
He did not always wanted to see patients in the clinical settings. So, after about 3-4 years of practice, he left clinical medicine and worked as a junior-mid level manager at a Health Insurance company in Nigeria.
From there, he began to discover what he really wanted to do. He decided to travel to United States in 2014 for a masters in business administration at Hult International School of Business.
After graduation, he worked as a business consultant for a consulting firm in Virginia for about seven months, and then went back to Tufts School of Medicine where he is getting a PhD in Public Health.
Sam Semako: Good afternoon Dr Ebuwa!
Dr Ebuwa Igho-Osagie: Hello everyone. Good afternoon.
Sam Semako: Thanks for joining us! Can we get to know you more, more than the introduction I have done.
Dr Ebuwa Igho-Osagie: Yes, I am from a family of 5 children, but grew up in a large household with adopted brothers and other family members.
My parents were big on education so they sent all of us (11 children) to different boarding schools where we got different experiences and would come home during holidays and have lots of discussions with our different views.
Sam Semako: Where and where have you worked before now?
Dr Ebuwa Igho-Osagie: I did my medical training in Lagos University Teaching Hospital. I worked there as a House Officer.
My NYSC was in Gwaram Primary Care Center in Jigawa State. I was the Medical Officer in charge of the facility. IT was a very beautiful experience.
After that I worked as a doctor for private hospitals in Lagos and Abuja, and in 2012 I transitioned into a corporate role in Hygeia HMO. That was also a fantastic time despite many challenges and issues.
In 2015, after graduating from Business school, I worked briefly in Business Management consulting before moving to the University to pursue a PhD.
Sam Semako: Why did you have to travel out of Nigeria? Is it that Nigeria doesn’t have all it takes for you to develop your potential?
Dr Ebuwa Igho-Osagie: Hahahaha
I cannot say that Nigeria does not have all it takes. But the hurdles you have to overcome to engage opportunity in Nigeria are much more than those in developed countries.
For example, even low income people in the US can study abroad, travel, and do other things that make them exposed to life and its complex beauties. In Nigeria, these opportunities are mostly reserved for the wealthy.
And for us to live life is for us to find our purpose. No one can find their purpose without multiple experiences that go beyond our small family or village or community circles.
Sam Semako: Hmmmm…So, what will you advice based on your own experience outside the country, would you say all of us should find our way out of Nigeria for better opportunities?
Dr Ebuwa Igho-Osagie: The answer is “yes” and “no” at the same time.
Historically, labour has always followed wages. If more is paid for your labour outside the country, then it is natural that you will go in search of higher wages.
But life is not purely natural. Man creates artificial things all the time. One such is visas. Another is restrictions of work permits to immigrants or foreigners. These things make people to follow higher wages and even after they get into these countries, may not be able to work.
And so leaving is not always the best option. At the same time, a lot must be said about developing our own country to make it a nation of higher wages for our own people. Whether we like it or not, no one can love us more than we love ourselves. If we make Nigeria better, we can create wealth for ourselves and better wages for our families.
Sam Semako: Great! But I will still take you on, you talked about WAGES and LABOUR. From the tone of your submission, you seems to say that, “FOLLOW WAGES.” In others words, “FOLLOW THE MONEY!” Am I right?
Dr Ebuwa Igho-Osagie: Yes. Follow the money! Over thousands of years, human beings have come to the agreement that [bctt tweet=”value should be exchanged using money.” username=”SamSemako”] If you want to add value to your life, then pay money.
You cannot pay money if you have none. When people say money is not everything, I guess that they mean that money is not value. [bctt tweet=”Money is only a tangible representation of value.” username=”SamSemako”]
Once the money you are getting is not adding value either in form of happiness or satisfaction for those you love, then maybe you don’t need that type or as much.
But as long as you want value, please follow the money as much as you can.
Sam Semako: So, is there anything called JOB SATISFACTION in your lexicon? Does job satisfaction has a place in your world? Or how do you define JOB SATISFACTION?
Dr Ebuwa Igho-Osagie: Aah! Yes. At least in my world. I have had bad managers and I was miserable when I worked with those people. In one instance, I forfeited my housing benefit of almost 500k and left the job abruptly. I don’t know if that was a good decision, but at the time I could not take it. I suffered for months after that because rent in Abuja is expensive. But will I do it again?
I cannot say I will stay with an abusive boss.
Also, per job satisfaction, doing what a person wants to do, I also think, that is very important. We have to find our passion and follow it. I’m in my thirties and still in school because it took me long to find out my passion but I did not say I am too old to go back to school. I have followed it. I pray my efforts are crowned with success eventually.
Sam Semako: Tell me the story of EBUWA ALHAJI! How did you come up with that name and why?
Dr Ebuwa Igho-Osagie: Hahahaha. I took the name Alhaji in solidarity with our Muslim brothers in 2009. I wanted to celebrate them as they started the Ramadan fast that year. But the name caused a lot of comments and so I just kept it. I think it symbolises my refusal to accept oppressiveness and my search to discover truth.
Sam Semako: Tell us CAREER LESSONS you have learned in the course of your CAREER JOURNEY.
Dr Ebuwa Igho-Osagie:
Talk to people. As a kid, I only knew what doctors and lawyers did. Nothing else. If I had known about economists, computer scientists, etc, I would have had a faster, more fulfilling career track. To talk to people, use LinkedIn, people in church, teachers, Facebook to ask people questions about what they do and how they got into the roles. Ask them what you need to do to get into that line of work. Ask them if you can come intern/work with them.
Gain experience by reading and if possible by traveling: Books are a condensation of years and years of a writers experience. Taking a week or two to read a book, you absorb so many years of a person’s knowledge. [bctt tweet=”Keep reading.” username=”SamSemako”] Read everything. Brian Tracy says spend 3-5% of your income on reading materials.
Challenge your challenges. I have a mental list of all my weaknesses. And I have become proactive in challenging them. If I have a conversation with a stranger and see that I am a poor communicator, my next book will be on effective communication. I am building a more fulfilled person by working on my weaknesses.
DON’T SHIRK! People become electricians or doctors without knowing ALL the things electricians or doctors should know. That is what makes us poor. If you are in training, put your mind to learning and perfecting your skills as an accountant, as a medical student, as a teacher. [bctt tweet=”Don’t do the minimum. Do the maximum.” username=”SamSemako”] I started my PhD program last year. And I was learning some things for the first time ever. I put my back into it. Today, one year later, I teach other students (for extra money!) and passed my major exam where most others fail.
Follow the TREND! Computers are in! Apps are in! IT is in! Coding is in! Learn it. [bctt tweet=”Try to tie your passion to the trend.” username=”SamSemako”]
If you are passionate about music, collaborate to create a music app. Don’t follow your passion blindly without tying it to trends. People who have a passion for type writers cannot find jobs anymore. TIE YOUR PASSION TO THE TREND.
People who have a passion for typewriters cannot find jobs anymore.
Sam Semako: Thanks so much for those CAREER LESSONS!
Dr Ebuwa Igho-Osagie: You are welcome Big Bros.
Sam Semako: So, Dr Ebuwa tell us about the CULTURE SHOCKS your encountered overseas.
Dr Ebuwa Igho-Osagie: Wow! Culture shock. I can talk for 3 hours on this one. Especially beacause I suffered serious anxiety when I got here and I have only started getting better. From knowing where to take the bus (you can’t just stand on the road and a bus will stop), to knowing what type of cheese you want on your sandwich, all these things caused me a lot of anxiety.
What has helped me is that I have learned not to have any assumptions about anyone when encountering them.
Also asking questions also helps. For instance:
PERSON: What kind of cheese do you want on this.
ME: *with a smile* what kind of cheeses do you have? What would you suggest. I have never tried this before.
Sam Semako: Tell us about BOOKS and PEOPLE that have INFLUENCED you greatly.
Dr Ebuwa Igho-Osagie: People who have influenced me are Chinua Achebe.
Right now I am reading the works of James Baldwin.
Brian Tracy saved my life while I was in Nigeria – Eat That Frog etc. Very useful and helpful.
Many, many, books I have read since I got here and as a child. Their effects are cumulative.
I have read ALL Achebe’s works.
I have read several books that address my perceived weaknesses.
What I can say is, keep reading.
Put effort to gaining understanding.
Sam Semako: And finally from me, so that I can allow you move unto some things you need to do, what are your recommendations to make Nigeria better and greater.
Dr Ebuwa Igho-Osagie: Nigeria will be great if we can teach ourselves that like Benin people say “If e sweet for you, e go sweet for me”.
That statement or that philosophy is the basis for creating a national identity, and a
national identity is needed for us to achieve greatness.
If we understand that mutualism leads to better outcomes for everyone, we will become more successful.
For us to understand this however, our educational system has to teach it, our people have to demonstrate it, and our government has to punish parasitism and corruption.
Sam Semako: MUTUALISM…hmmm… great idea; great philosophy! I feel like asking more questions, but let me stop here.
THANKS SO MUCH for coming to PEOPLE AND CAREER (PAC).
I appreciate you!
I look forward to having you another time to share on some other areas of life.
Dr Ebuwa Igho-Osagie: Thank you so much for having me Semako.
This has been very, very, helpful for me. I hope it helps people as well. I want to say that I am willing to chat with anyone who wants to get in touch.