by Okey Obiozo
In the annals of Nigerian historical events is a young man with a sharp instinct for setting the pace for Nigerian youths. To achieve his mission, he embraced the media as a veritable medium to reach his audience who are quite heterogeneous in outlook.
This is why years on he has been able to appeal to different personalities on the need to support ideas and ideals for a greater Nigeria tomorrow.
But for Chude Jideonwo, a Nigerian youth hero when considering his contribution to the motivation of Nigerian youths and societal development in general, the journey has not been an easy task. Yet he is undaunted.
Born in Lagos on March 16, 1985, to the family of Ifeanyi I. Jideonwo and Ngozi A. Jideonwo, he had his education at K. Kotun Memorial Primary School, Adebola Baptist High School and the late educationist and activist Tai Solarin’s Mayflower School, in Ikenne.
After that, he studied Law at the University of Lagos, emerging as the best student in Land Law. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in November 2007. He also did a Master’s programme in Media and Communication at the Pan-African University, Lagos.
Jideonwo is a Nigerian lawyer, award-winning journalist and media entrepreneur. For a decade now, he has garnered experience in all forms of traditional and new media, and has translated that practical experience into successful media campaigns. He is also recognized as a leading expert on new social media and youth lifestyles.
He began his career as a TV presenter with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) between 2000 and 2005. He also worked as a researcher with Celebrating Jesus (MBI) and Inside Out with Agatha — a TV show syndicated across the country. He was also with New Dawn on the NTA Network for three years and rose to become associate producer as well as heading the special projects division. His credits as writer, assistant director, and host include The Academy, Patito’s Gang, Video 10, Big Brother Nigeria in 2006 and Moments with Mo (MNet), a year after.
At a time, he was host of Rubbin’ Minds talk show on Channels Television and frequently moonlights as an events compere.
While working at New Dawn with Funmi Iyanda, he met his future partners, who then also had a show on NTA Network called Youth Talk. In the course of work, they met and decided to form a company focused on using the media as an active tool to inspire and drive young people to action. This was in 2004.
RedSTRAT, the product of this alliance, was registered formally the following year. He has written and edited over fifteen publications within and outside the country. He joined the defunct NEXT Newspapers, brainchild of Pulitzer Prize winner, Dele Olojede, as Copy Editor in July 2009 — the youngest in that position, from where he became a member of the paper’s editorial board.
Jideonwo ran a column, Sons and Daughters, for three years in the Sunday edition of The Guardian (Nigeria), profiling children of the rich and famous. On May 25, 2014, his collection of essays rhetorically titled: ‘Are We The Turning Point Generation’ was launched in Lagos.
At present, Jideonwo is co-founder and managing partner of Red Media Africa/The Future Project, a full service media-content, communication development company that has worked for several national and international brands. The firm also owns The Future Nigeria Awards, reputed as Nigeria’s biggest youth event.
“We are all we’ve got, and this should be the turning point generation. Let’s keep faith. If we stumble, let’s rise. When we fall, let’s rebound. Let’s refuse to let Nigeria go; let’s insist that it must work,” he says.
He became editor of Y! Naija! Magazine in July, 2010. Jideonwo also founded ‘Enough is Enough Nigeria,’ one of the country’s foremost civic participation groups, which has received funding from the Omidyar Network and the MacArthur Foundation.
A public speaker, he has motivated youths across the country and beyond. He has been Project Defence Panelist/Judge for several organizations including the United Nations Information Technology Service (UNITeS), YGC Africa, amongst others, and has spoken at events, schools, churches, seminars and conferences including the 2010 ICT and Civic Engagement Symposium organized by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society in conjunction with Harvard University and the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs.
He sits on several boards including the One Percent Project and the Oando Foundation. In 2011, he distinguished himself as the youngest journalist ever to interview a sitting Nigerian president; securing an exclusive sit-down with Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Jideonwo still works actively in motivating youths. Above all, he has worked as an expert in development across the continent, mostly with The Future Project, which is focused on inspiring leadership, building entrepreneurs and innovative use of the media through traditional and new tools for sustained social change, and which has reached millions of Nigerians, especially young people in about five years.
He believes that youths have the potentials to change their horizon and re-write history if given all the variable opportunities to support their positive dreams. “The young have it in them to be as clueless and as corrupt and as close-minded as the old.” This in itself seem as an affront to the corrupt adults that have plundered the common wealth of Nigeria and Africa at large.
This accounts for why the country and the continent have remained as impoverished, backward and clueless as it seems and constantly in the habit of going cap in hands to the Western world for assistance.
Also known as a book reviewer, his novel, His Father’s Knickers, written when he was 13, was launched in 2001 in conjunction with the National Orientation Agency and the French Cultural Centre.
As a communications professional, Jideonwo was appointed publicist for Bank PHB’s ‘The Apprentice Africa’ in 2007, and served briefly in the External Relations department of the Nigeria LNG, before moving to Virgin Nigeria Airways, as Assistant Manager, Media Relations in 2008; the youngest in a managerial position.
Jideonwo is also the youngest recipient of the Nigeria Media Merit Award, winning the Entertainment Journalist of the Year. Other awards and nominations include the Olive Award for Media and Production, the Green Yaggy Achievement Award, the Sowambe Awards as Best Social Media activist, Just U Award, Dynamix Awards, the Life Changers Award for Best Advocacy Campaign of the Year, and the Inside Out Role Model Award.
In chronicling his array of impactful activities and recognitions, in
2007, he was selected as one of 101 Young African Leaders by the African Business Forum; in 2009, he was selected for the US Government’s International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP) and in the same year was invited as a youth expert to the ‘Strategy Review and Consultative Workshop’ with youth leaders on the African Union Development Youth Corps Initiative.
In May 2010, he was selected for the Nigeria Leadership Initiative’s Future Leaders Fellowship. NLI is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Same year, he was also invited by the African Union as a youth expert to facilitate sessions of the Youth and Shared Values Summit.
He was invited as an expert in February 2011 by the Ford Foundation on its forum on Social Media for Change; in March 2011, he was invited as Facilitator and Media Expert to the Right to Health Summit of the Social and Economic Rights Action Centre (SERAC) and in the same month, he was invited to speak at the Bayelsa Book and Craft Fair as well as alongside Twitter co-creator, Dom Sagallo and Blog Director of President Barack Obama’s campaign, Sam Graham-Felsen, at the 1st Youth-Marketer Converge Conference in Lagos, Nigeria.
He was, in May 2012, appointed the youngest member of the awards committee for the Ford Foundation Jubilee Transparency Award. A task he performed alongside distinguished Nigerians like Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte and Reverend Father Matthew Kukah. He was also appointed into the British Council’s Steering Group for its Creative Industries Expo.
The Nigerian dailies have on several occasions celebrated him, not just as an insider but because of his meaningful contributions. The Punch listed him alongside thirteen others, as one of the young people to watch in 2012.
Also, in the same 2012, Business Day, a business tabloid included him and his business partner, Adebola Williams, in a ‘40 under 40’ list of compilation of achievers and influential personalities of the era.
In February 2013, it was quite encouraging when both Jideonwo and Williams were named in Forbes ‘30 Under 30’: Africa’s Best Young Entrepreneurs.
In conclusion, regardless of his achievements, Jideonwo continues to lead campaigns and strategies on self discovery and actualisation for youths while not losing hope that Nigeria as a country will in no long time be able to surmount her numerous debilitating challenges through an intensive realisation of her true potentials.