Gbenga Ogunbowale: How Death of 16 People During NIS Recruitment Inspired My ICT Social Enterprise

The death of 16 people during the 2014 National Immigration Service Recruitment inspired Olugbenga Ogunbowale to start up E-power, a social enterprise that helps unemployed youths get high paying jobs through ICT. The frustration and resentment of young people like him got him tired, and purposed to teaching Nigerian youths a mix of industry required ICT skills and branding while giving them the opportunity to work on real projects from corporate and individual clients. Last year, Olugbenga received a merit award from former Kogi Governor, Capt. Idris Wada as an outstanding National Youth Service corps-member. In this interview, Olugbenga reveals more about e-power, the role of youths in Nigerian society, and more on Nigerian Bulletin Spotlight.

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Tell us about yourself:

I’m the founder & CEO of Epower and I am incurably passionate about helping unemployed youths get high paying jobs through ICT. A 2013 graduate of Psychology from Obafemi Awolowo University, I am a fellow of DESPLAY Africa, Fellow of League of Extraordinary Young people and Multimedia Director of TEDx Isale General. I love to inspire young people to ditch being spectators and become spectacular. This is why I facilitate at conferences & volunteer at events focused on nation building, entrepreneurship & leadership. You can connect with me on LinkedIn here:

What's the inspiration behind e-power, and what does e-power do?

In 2014, during the National Immigration Service Recruitment, about 6.5 million youths applied for a mere 4,000 jobs. It was a very traumatic experience for most unemployed youths: 16 people died, hundreds were injured. I got tired of watching frustrated, angry youths complain about poverty and engaging in social vices, so I decided to do something about unemployment.

Epower is a social enterprise that helps unemployed youths get high paying jobs through ICT by teaching them a mix of industry required ICT skills and branding while giving them the opportunity to work on real projects from corporate and individual clients. The skills and information acquired plus practical exposure helps them get jobs faster by 200% compared to their contemporaries. We teach Computing basics, MS office, Coding, Multimedia & Branding. You can visit for more information.

With e-power, how to you intend to reach your goals? What are the strategies?

Our number one goal is to help unemployed youths get high paying jobs. For instance, Godfrey was an undergraduate from a very poor background when He attended an Epower training. He learnt Graphics design, branding and CV packaging. Unlike most graduates who spend averagely 3 years at home applying/waiting for a job, Godfrey got a job 1 month after graduating from university at Africa’s biggest job search company, Jobberman. In terms of strategies, we employ an ignorance-to-brilliance model which keeps our students inspired, engaged and excited. Our training is very affordable unlike other training institutes and we empower both current & future generations of entrepreneurs to establish job-creating, revenue generating businesses.

You won a Merit award during your service year, how has this affected what you do and your roles in the community?

Totally unforgettable experience.

At Omala (Kogi State), I was faced with students who needed calculators to perform basic multiplication, came late to school and couldn’t afford school fees. The town also had no power supply, no good water supply and no bank. Agonizing wasn’t an option, I decided to organize.

I organized skill-acquisition trainings for 400 students, distributed 110 scientific charts, Initiated a scholarship scheme for 13 brilliant students, organized computer training for 50 students & renovated/donated books to Ife community school library. As a result of my intervention projects, absenteeism reduced, student’s performance in English & Mathematics improved, some students started small-scale businesses & 13 less-privileged students will now be able to complete their education.

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Being honored as an outstanding National Youth Service corps-member by the Nigerian government was like a pat on the back for me. I’m glad I contributed my quota towards improving the standard of education in Kogi state.

During my service year, I won the Orator of the year award and Paradigm Initiative Nigeria digital jobs contest.Winning the NYSC merit award has opened doors to bigger platforms. I am currently Multimedia Director, TEDx Isale General and Konnect Africa’s 'I know a Nigerian star'. I am a fellow of the League of Extraordinary Young people (LEXY), a highly competitive entrepreneurship accelerator.

Also, I am part of a team profiling outstanding ex-corps members who successfully executed projects that touched lives during their service year via an ebook and online at . I was also recently selected as a Google/MIndtheGap ambassador for the Digital Skills campaign amongst others.

As an ICT inclined youth, how do you think ICT will solve societal problems?

Without a doubt, ICT is capable of delivering deep societal transformation, growth and prosperity. New opportunities will emerge for people to collaborate, innovate, and participate in ways that change lives. For instance, the iCOW APP, created by Kenyan farmer Su Kahumbu, iCow helps to harness the power of mobile phones to encourage best practice for dairy farmers and increase milk production. The Cardiopad, designed by 24-year-old Cameroonian engineer Arthur Zang is a computer tablet that diagnoses heart disease in rural households with limited access to medical services. Andela connects skilled programmers with tech companies in need of top talent. This is just the beginning.

What is(are) the role of youths in a constantly-evolving world that we live in?

Youths are the strength of any nation. And we have been lied to for so long. Since our primary school, we have been told that we are the leaders of ‘tomorrow’. Even after graduating from university, we are still the leaders of ‘tomorrow’. It’s time for youths to realize that the ‘tomorrow’ they’ve been promised is actually ‘today’ that looks bleak. Nigeria has too many old leaders with expired ideas. Youths need to equip themselves with ICT, entrepreneurship & leadership skills. Youths need to become agents of change and participate actively in community development and politics. Every youth ought to be passionate about solving one societal problem. We must first build our personal capacity, make a difference in our community then team up to lead our nation out of the dark ages and into the glorious future.

How do you manage being a Sociopreneur and a blogger?

John C. Maxwell once said, “Team work, makes things work”. A social-media team of volunteers work round the clock to make Project X possible ( At Project X, we unveil the strategies and stories of successful individuals to ultimately inspire a new generation of youths who will not only replicate success in their own lives but consequently aid the emergence of a new Nigeria. At Epower, a separate team handles training & consulting. Thanks to the wonderful teams I work with, I’m able to run both operations without stress.

How do you unwind?

Typically, I work from 9am till 5pm. Once I get home, I stop working. Watching movies, playing games or just listening to rock music does it for me.

In Nigeria today, what's the most important issue that is dear to you, and how can you be a solution to it?

Apart from unemployment, I am concerned that 54% of school-aged teens are out of school in Nigeria because they cannot afford it, according to UNESCO. Uneducated teens become unemployable youths who become terrors to the society. This is why I’m on a personal mission to keep teens in school. I volunteered during Feedone project to feed 4,000 less-privileged families (2014). During my NYSC (2015), I executed several intervention projects. At Activate Youth Camp Lagos (2016) I taught Graphics, facilitated sessions on courage and coordinated multimedia all for free. 250 teens were in attendance. Since 2013, I’ve celebrated my birthday (September 8) by organizing free training for youths on leadership and/or Multimedia. I have reached over 500 youths. Maimonides said it best "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."


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