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I am sorry, but we would need to restart the development if we are going to achieve any tangible results within the timeline you have given”

This was the resolution of the web contractor working on the product upgrade of a social accountability platform that another team of developers created about 2years ago. After 3months of vague work with many loopholes, this web developer suddenly realised ‘oh snap, we’ve not been making sense the entire time.”

I was stunned. We had painstakingly searched for a tech company to upgrade the platform until we came in contact with these professionals, believing in their skill to optimize our CivicTech tool. I could not wrap my head around the difficulty of finding the right fit for the job.

A quick flashback–I had moved from managing and implementing civil society programs to leading a new team called Community Engagements with zero blueprints on how to structure, maximize and scale in line with the strategic plan of the organization, yet this area was an urgent need for the movement.

As a builder and convener, I have always been passionate about governance structures, putting functional systems in place and building teams. For this role, I was given a goal – build a social accountability movement across Nigeria and scale up to all African countries.

Remember, zero blueprints, zero budget.

In late 2016, We were looking to rebuild trust between citizens and the government so my team and I invented a civic tech tool, a social accountability platform where citizens could discuss the government’s accountability issues, and opacity in public procurements and suggest ways of engaging with public institutions. At the initial stage, there was a growing receptiveness to this idea and citizens from all over the country joined this platform, similar to Facebook, albeit conversations were strictly on curating public budgets, and government data, while demanding timely government intervention for deprived communities.

This platform is called iFollowTheMoney. Users tracked abandoned government projects and reported on the platform. We had researchers, journalists, public service holders, academics and citizens who were there for different reasons, some to amplify incomplete government works in their community, others to get information about public data.

My job was clear cut as the Community Engagement Manager–grow the platform! Devise new strategies to motivate citizens to use the platform to track government projects.

The platform grew by 800% in 2 years– which was quite unprecedented in the Social Development space. However, this rise in the number of subscribers, came with a deeper challenge of building retention, increasing engagements and scaling the conversations on that platform to other social media. As these indicators continue to deplete, I soon realised that this was one of the lows of any civic tech product I would experience.

One of my first fixes was to research the psychology of users, and the reason for the low engagement. I did this without a clue about what product management was, at the time.

I learnt about incentives to drive engagements and retention, I went back to the team and we curated more data to bridge the gap between user knowledge of government data and tracking public expenditure. Engagement increased but the result was minimal.

There seemed to be an inherent challenge here that I could hardly lay my hands on. I went back to my research, I realised some of the pain points have been glaring all along. The platform was not user-friendly, hence the difficulty in navigating. This was also dousing user experience and enthusiasm towards conversations on governance, social accountability and active citizen participation.

In addition, Mighty Networks, the server hosting the platform, had become more expensive to sustain with monthly subscriptions going through the roof, yet limited services.

My team and I thought it wise to prioritise resolving these pain points. The only option we had was to BUILD OUR OWN PLATFORM.

In hindsight, sticking with Mighty Networks but improving the user interface, may have been the ideal solution. I say this because my experience in the following months was mentally rigorous, emotionally draining, and required a higher skill in conflict resolution.

These, however, were learning points for me as a Development Activist cum Product Manager. Learnings I believe are curial for those in CivicTech/GovTech or those looking to enter the space.

Visioning - While CivicTech is trendy and probably the latest big thing in the development space, understanding the need, the reason and the right solution, makes a huge difference.

Many organizations have genuine intentions in either investing or developing civic tech ideas but may be miles behind in understanding the core reason for one. For some, it may be the spark in the proposal that intrigued the donor to give the grant while for others, it may be as superficial as being aligned to a certain status of CivicTech Organisation.

Whatever playing field, recognise your driving force and build a strong model to maintain and sustain it with intensity, investments and intentionality. This will require everyone within such an organization to have a clue or understanding of how Civic Tech works and the phase of awareness we are currently in now. It will not be too much to come up with a strategic plan on Technology as a whole and how such organizations will play in the ecosystem. This strategy can be phased to maximize cost and optimize delivery for the intended purpose. This must be holistic, as there must be a synergy from top to bottom in the institution.

Skilled ManPower - One of the most prominent gaps I experienced and still experiencing is the classical lack of knowledge and insight from developers in understanding critical civic conversations that can help them apply their web development processes in developing tools as needed to solve social issues.

There are more techies interested in website development and Fintech than those interested in developing civic tech tools in Nigeria. In the past 3years, I have found just one company that understands the critical ideas around creating tools for citizen engagement. I understand the preference and people deciding to focus on a thing at a time, and the differences in business interests, but there is an untapped opportunity for techies to explore creating tools for social mobilization and civic action.

Knowledge Gap - There is a massive gap in the knowledge of how governments and civil societies work, compared to the private sector, hence for tech developers to build or create tools that will be useful for social development, there must be that deliberate drive to understudy the entire sector. I also realized that bridging this gap may take a while if social development practitioners do not also begin to get involved in the ‘non-tech’ aspects of creating a product.

Enrolling at a Product Management school (Enoverlab) to learn the fundamentals of Product Management helped me learn the gaps that existed when we decided to scale and create our own social accountability product. It also revealed what we had been doing wrong and what we had done right. This knowledge has piqued my interest to support more tech developers to create products and tools for social mobilization and development.

Funding - Every project is peculiar and may require the best hands to work on them from the conceptualization phase to its development and maintenance. Even these areas demand heavy budgeting, especially with developing digital tools.

On the Mighty Networks server, iFollowTheMoney was hosted for over $100 monthly. We still did not get the expected value for the exorbitant billing. This propelled us to build our own tool. As I mentioned earlier, we did not envisage the total cost of building, maintenance and third-party services et al. This was one of the tough lessons I learnt, personally.

We had a sizable budget to build the platform but we did not factor in a budget to maintain and keep it running optimally. This required either retaining the tech company that built the platform or setting up an entire team of dedicated in-house tech staff to maintain the management of the tool. Either way, building technology tools require a high level of resources–mentally and physically.

Citizens' Interests - Unlike Social Media, FinTechs and maybe EdTech or other service-based tools like Uber and Bolt that may be used daily and are in high demand, a civic tech tool may be a once-in-a-week, monthly or even quarterly tool people stumble on.

Government issues and accountability are typically not as interesting as entertainment. So it can be difficult to attract and maintain citizens' attention. The next big news or social issue in regard to sports, music and entertainment has a long-lasting effect on people compared to our sector. When I ask my colleagues what can be done to drive and sustain citizens’ interests, I’ve heard ideas such as running skits and jokes on the platform😀😀. While I think it’s interesting, it may be difficult to build momentum around crucial issues.

We have experimented with pop culture, used both traditional and social media to drive citizens’ consciousness etc. Though we may have achieved some landmark progress, I cannot entirely say it is still significant. Although I have noticed peak periods when more citizens are interested in our kind of conversations, especially around election seasons like we are now, but the core interests may just be around the politics of the now, with a face-value substance on development. Hence a civic tech platform that primarily focuses on governance and development will require attraction strategies and a simple layout for citizens to not just sign up but to stay and use the tools to drive critical impact in governance and development.

Competition between Existing Platforms - There exists a silent competition among organizations, in the not-for-profit space. This competition is often expressed in how programs are developed and tools are created repeatedly to do the same things. Every organization is unique, and from my experience in the development space, programs are designed based on the interest and core competencies of these civic organizations.

However, in an ideal system, tools can be reused and optimized in specific ways to play a more complementary role to each other. I envision the need for an aggregator product that can be a one-stop point for all tools that exist in the development space, at least in Nigeria.

SDG goal 17 speaks to partnerships and strong institutions, but practitioners in the space have only scratched the surface and only make a reference to partnerships and collaborations when it is convenient. I have witnessed and facilitated some landmark collaborations and have seen massive results but there is an urgent need to see more of this around the integration of API’s of various products within the space. If the for-profit guys can achieve this seamlessly, we can as well.

While my team built the iFollowTheMoney platform, we created logins for personal and organisational accounts with unique experience features to help young organizations in the social accountability space scale. Not every organization can afford to build their own platforms based on the manpower and budget it requires, but it can leverage existing platforms for scaled impact. We must be deliberate about collaborations and partnerships, it’s how we are able to do more for humanity.

Internet Penetration in marginalized communities- from lived experiences, continues to be a pain point. These communities do not have the basic technical know-how to navigate these tools. Remember my point on citizens' interest, at this level access, is the first challenge.

I have worked in over 350 LGAs across the 36 States in Nigeria, and 9 other African countries and I can confidently say that our tools will do better where there is improved education and access to the internet. Another critical challenge apart from the availability of internet data is the affordability of the same. However, by sticking to access to information over the internet alone, we would still have a bunch of people excluded, further marginalizing the already marginalized. We must begin to see ways to connect with citizens who cannot afford smartphones and the internet.

While we get into the frenzy of CivicTech and its beautiful appeal, we must always realize the core reasons why we are building and for whom we are building. USSDs may come in handy where there is low internet penetration and in poorer communities so that with access to future phones, those in rural communities can still access the needed data/information in easily readable and understandable formats.

In addition to the challenges are the gaps in language and how information is communicated. Our ability to speak the language of those we intend to reach makes our solutions more appealing and inclusive. We got some funds from AU-Civic Tech to add up a language feature as part of our product revamp. This will have an immense impact on spreading our message to these communities in the language they understand.

Inclusiveness and diversity are other core issues at the heart of CivicTech. I will discuss them at length in another article.

Busayo Oluwadamilare Morakinyo Busayo Oluwadamilare Morakinyo (BOM) is a Social Development, Governance, and Social Accountability expert with ingrained experience spanning over 6 years, working with various communities across 10 African countries.

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I had written this piece five years ago but became too reluctant to share, maybe I felt I was too critical of my workspace or I felt it wasn't the right time to get the entire team to think about the next 5years while basking in the euphoria of the moment-celebrating while we celebrated CODE @5.

While one can easily be excited and bask in the euphoria of a seeming achievement gotten over years of consistent hard work, pain, sweat and blood in building a process that will have a global scale of effect and impact, that kind that will shake the very core of Nation-States crisscrossing continents and blazing a trail for more social innovations from youth lead organizations, that kind which is expected to only be found in well structured and advance societies that will naturally not sound like Nigeria, an organization located at the Centre of Nigeria’s capital city has achieved that feat.

Connected Development can be said to have evolved into a household name particularly in the Civil Society space and across the Social Innovation ecosystem, playing the second feeder to none, it has cracked through the rocks in growth particularly in the not-so-popular social intervention space where others occupy, the organization built on a dogged commitment to ensuring transparency and accountability in line with global best practices and the Open Data cum Government campaign has carved a niche for itself with the #FollowTheMoney campaign that has become a household name used by everyone in the social space when referring to social accountability. The Follow the Money chant has almost the name ‘Connected Development’ making it sometimes difficult to make a personal introduction on a platform of CSOs without the screams and hailings of Follow the Money overshadowing one's voice.

The catchy phrase is a reflection of the challenges of the everyday Nigerian who goes about wondering why his government and country have remained the way it is without any considerable ‘change’, the rationalization of this challenge by the political ruling class and the seeming lip service paid in the discussion for good governance, justice and equity. In a bid to come out of this thought process, one is left with no option but to seek succour in the fact that; a process must start immediately to address this seemingly humongous challenge of the attributes of ‘Bad Governance’ that has become a reality we live and sleep in daily. Little wonder why “Follow the Money" has become almost like the last resort on every table when Nigeria is discussed, thus dragging National attention to the organization that has developed the roadmap and is actively involved in the ‘following’.

One must be guided not to think about the transparency and accountability gap as a local phenomenon but as an international reality facing even developed nations of the world, such that it needs a concerted effort in tackling, little wonder the buzz around the ‘Follow the Money’ process, its rise to stardom and its fame.

With all these feats and fame, we must not lose sight of the next years ahead. A projection onto the next 5years of the organization is key and very critical in the scale of National and International relevance. While a motor engine may be seen as more important than the body of the car, there is always more premium placed on a beautifully designed sleek car world over, one may want to argue this ‘golden truth’ but motor manufacturers will always appreciate this reality.

Hence it is not enough just to have a powerful self-energizing turbo engine, but to have also the right house for that engine to function optimally and compete favourably when on display the world over.

The next 5years ahead will be more interesting, engaging, moments defining and risky in navigating this vehicle through the dangerous bumps and sharp bends, potholes, curvy roads, terrible weather conditions and even hurricanes and volcanoes, it will also test the durability of the vehicle and its ability to weather the storms that will most definitely come, but I am VERY confident in the skill, capacity, versatility and the soft touch of its MANUFACTURERS and MECHANICS that would not rest on their oars, loose guard or bail out of the process of ensuring newness, stability and constant maintenance of this well crafted and designed engine and the cover that houses the same.

Busayo Oluwadamilare Morakinyo is a Development Enthusiast and a radical Thought Engineer, he is also a Program Manager at Connected Development and Lead Investigator on the Education thematic structure of the organization.

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The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic taught me one of the greatest lessons yet on the value of family and those who rise in the ranks to become family.

My greatest assets are people. I pride myself on having the best sets of humans in my corner, cut across all my core circles of interactions, this singular reality brings me unquantifiable joy and warmth.

My work at Connected Development and #FollowTheMoney has availed me one of the greatest opportunities of encountering the brightest of young people filled with energy, vibe and wholesomeness. I work directly with a team of 26 colleagues in the same space, 36 others across Nigeria and 9 others across Africa. Their qualities are so endearing that one can easily forget or discard their limitations with a snap of the fingers as irrelevant. I have limited this to the 26 superhumans I have worked with daily in the last 1 year.

In this series, I will try to describe each of them randomly based on our levels of interaction and my personal observations. I will stay on some more than others because of our personal bond and the connections we have shared within this period.

It is important to state that all these guys came in as gentle people, but with the CODE DNA embedded, it typically takes less than 3months before they show their true ‘nuisance’ value *laughs*

I would start from my lowest points in 2021.


Alfred Anicho Orji

Me: Guy, wetin happen?

Kingsley: Alfred just collapsed and the doctor here no dey do anything.

Me: Take him to Limi, I dey come.

That was the fastest I have had to drive in 2021. I got to Limi 💯% sure nothing could happen to ALFRED.

Strong man, fine boy, selfless, filled with a massive wealth of knowledge and experiences, a vibrant entrepreneur with solid evidence to show. My shade and bants partner, with critical love for Nigeria and unusual love for the country.

‘Busayo, with all your smartness you still supported Buhari in 2015’ was a constant punchline, unfortunately, I didn’t get to apologize to him for my ‘errors of commission’ as he always insisted.

If anyone had told me he wouldn’t be alive today, I would have argued to high heavens, it wasn’t supposed to be Alfred, naaaaaaaa, that brother was everyone’s ideal guy, we had our ‘fellowships’ (after work evenings, eating a specially made spaghetti, chicken and suya) regularly where we wined and dined, in fact, I was still telling him the day before he passed that we needed to start those after work ‘fellowships’ again, unfortunately, that was the last time I was going to be seeing him and speaking physically.

It’s still tough writing about him in past tenses, but I have chosen to stick to the memories we created on trips, in the workspace, at our ‘fellowships’ and the other moments of bonding.

His passing was a major hit on the entire team, we had to shut down for 2 weeks, the grief was much, almost too unbelievable to be true, sincerely, if I wasn’t at the hospital, I would have never believed.

Keep Resting in Power Brother!!!


Obiageli Okafor

This lanky corp member walks into the office in the midst of a work retreat in January, 2020. She looked very shocked as it felt like we were speaking mandarin, she looked lost but with the innocent demeanour of one who was ready to learn voraciously, which she did in one of the fastest times yet. When I was informed she would be working in my department, I knew our ‘star’ girl had arrived. Obii is witty, calm, smart and sincerely disciplined. An unapologetic GenZ with the vibes you will need on a Monday morning and Thursday evening with sprinkles of awesomeness in between other days of the week. Little wonder few months after NYSC she bagged the award for ‘Staff of the Year’. Obii ‘keripito’ lets do more in 2022


Mukhtar Modibo

From that young but courageous dude to the very revered GPE Ambassador from Nigeria, Mukhtar has risen in the ranks, I like to call him the utility staff and an awesome organiser/mobiliser. Working directly with Mukhtar since 2019 has been nothing short of amazing, his growth is the classic real Hollywood script. From joining me on various training and travels, he started facilitating sessions alone and killing them back to back such that he became the first choice for colleagues and partner organizations in engagement and facilitation, a very fast learner who gleans wisdom from those ways older and still finds healthy balances. If I exit the stage today, I am comfortable saying Mukhtar got it handled. Mukhtar knows the end to end of the entire work/projects at CODE, I dare say, he is an integral part of the future.

Though still a work in progress, he has proven the possibility to grow sporadically and maintain a level head while at it. Little wonder he was one of my groomsmen at my wedding, I hold him in so much esteem.

Let’s do more in 2022 Mukhtar.


Uzor Ohanyhere

He came in as a corp member also, Uzor is a gentle giant, dudes got medals we almost didn’t know about until he was leaving for his master in the UK. A businessman per excellence, he knows what he wants and how to get it. I wish you, good speed bro, the world is yours to conquer man.


Hyledzira James Mshiela

Perhaps my highest travel buddy for 2020, OluwaZira funnily has seen my various points of my work at a close range, she has seen me when Malawi refused to send my visa up to less than 30mins to our trip to Blantyre, she was there when they said I had COVID in Blantyre, she must have been the most shocking person asides Hamzy and my colleagues in Malawi and Cameroon on how calm I was all through these unpalatable times.

I remember we were also jointly denied visas to Zimbabwe in 2019.

Zira’s story is like almost every other person that has come into CODE, she came in, picked up and has moved with speed consulting for international organizations and leading projects like a pro she has become. Such a smooth and sweet soul she embodies, need I say highly spiritual too, I am super excited about her growth and core influence across the space and at Global Shapers.

On Global Shapers, she had invited me to help build their capacity in a Master Class, and for one of the first times, I said NO to her.

Zira, there’s is a backend story; Abuja Global Shapers refused to accept my application in 2017, as a green head in the space, I just wanted to be petty jare *winks*


Ruth Okafor

She came in as an exchange staff from a partner organisation for 3 months, the moment she and 2 others were introduced, I knew she was a CODE material. I have been in the system a bit to know who will thrive in the space, It was too surprising to see she became a colleague at the end of her program. Ruth has a soothing presence filled with incredible warmth, her smiles portray hope and courage, having worked briefly and gone on a mission together, putting her on the spot and having her deliver incredibly to the admiration of all, I am super excited about her growth. She’s got the CODE DNA, it was a pleasure working with Ruth in 2021.


Nkem Akonam

One of the latest addition to the family, very unassuming, unusually calm even under fire, but a thoroughly knowledgeable and smart lady. Nkem is like that course-mate who shockingly will always lead the class almost effortlessly. Having worked with her on 2 major projects, I can confidently say Nkem’s depth is work emulating. It took Nkem a longer time for her nuisance value to come out, with major shockers from throwing heavy bants that will make everyone turn back to double-check where the shot came from to soft-toned call outs. It takes courage to embark on Masters in Statistics, the fact she is still smiling is a show of strength and courage she is. We do more in 2022.


Kingsley Agu

I can him AGU or Queensley as Zaliha christened him. The Kaduna lord became an Abuja big boy. We upgraded his status and strategically located him in the city centre *laughs*

Kingsley is a story of another green head who has become a thoroughbred CODer, started as an intern co-managing just one project but now sits at the back end of the entire projects of CODE. He oozes the values of FollowTheMoney 100% as a detailed critique of the entire process ensuring it remains watertight not missing any core detail. I think we would play a great role in the expansion of FTM across the remaining 44 African countries and the 774 LGAs in Nigeria.

Talk about a human with a strong emphasis and a loud voice like one who must have swallowed a JBL speaker, engaging him means you must have had a stomach full and must also be ready to take on an entire village in a voice battle. Kingsley is also a part of the future, I see him playing major roles.


Pearl Utuk

Part of the latest additions in 2021, she was also an interviewer's favourite, she came with evidence of her work as a self-starter and some experience under her sleeves, I can remember my discussion with her where she opined she wanted more challenges…..I smiled, she didn’t know what was about to hit her. A few months down the line, I asked if she still wants more, let's just say she may not be willing to ask for more in a while.

Phenomenal growth, having worked closely with me, I must say I see awesome potential with unique energy and a can-do spirit, she believes in her abilities to take up responsibilities and strives to deliver, though many lessons need to be learned, she will thrive in the space.

She opines I am very calm, unbothered, and unflinching and that I look and sound older than my age, she may soon realize that time has a way of drawing out our innermost virtues, but a gentle lion is still a lion.


Charles Uche

Charly my man, has a high wavelength in thoughts, mentality and culture. He recognises similarities and also knows how to vibe. I probably had one of the longest office conversations with him in 2020/21. We have commonalities, we are both anti-systems, especially those that are quite unproductive and need to be changed. He thinks I have left the aluta for improved systems but my perspectives have changed greatly as well as my fights. We need more Charles in any system, they represent the voice of reason and as a check on excesses.

Very popular among the ladies, seeming though but very soft, knows what he wants and ready to learn. I miss our conversations man but enjoy the UK.


Nene Ibeku

Nene HR, one of the latest reveals saddled with the responsibility of managing the #HumansOfCODE, as an enormous task I must say because of the quality of humans nature and a common passion has brought together. To think that one of her first major tasks was to handle the demise of a colleague was an equally tough call, but she handled it with grace and of cause with the support of the equally devastated team.

Nene got stung by the CODE bug very early, she comes with the Unilag vibe and an eyeball that is large enough to go round the entire room in seconds, and dark skin like our comrades from Ghana, she glows and exudes pure vibes. Let's do more in 2022.


Dr Onyekachi Onuoha

The academic Doctor, who according to Mukhtar, ran away from the craziness of the academia to hibernate with activists, a straight first-class product till doctorate level, one will wonder what he is looking for with a set of activists who consistently shades the Nigerian academia, from ASUU to the entire system. Drs’ humility and readiness to learn and listen is top-notch, even with his academic attainments, he still goes through program ideation and still works with everyone with respect and regard, he is not the typical Nigerian lecturer who has an over-bloated ego on nothingness, this Dr is different.

With Mukhtar, Barr Damaris has nothing to fear as Dr is in safe hands.

Let's do more in 2022 .


Zaliha Lawal

Petite, vicious, smooth, tender, absolutely caring, warm but tough….I don’t know how she combines all of these in a mall body frame but Zaliha is like that your baby sister that is all-around sweet. If one isn’t careful, you will think Zaliha will pass for an 18-year-old, but……..

Talk about passion for the job, the knack for excellence and that consistent drive to attain success, count Zaliha in 100%. From 2017 to date, she has remained very consistent. My only challenge is that she doesn’t hug guys!!

I hope that changes because we must do more in 2022.


Stephen Akinfala

All-round gentle and smiling ‘Daddy wa’, the man behind branding and graphics at CODE. An astute photographer who is always ready for the next task or trip. Picking a fight or shouting at Stephen is a failed attempt. I think he has a silent diffuser that quenches anger immediately you call his name. Humility personified and awesomely talented, unfortunately, the CODE bug didn’t spare him, just like us all. Let’s do more in 2022 bro.


Annie Nwakalor & Kc Nwakalor

I have merged my friend turned brother-Kc Nwakalor and his amazingly calm and beautiful wife together.

I and Kc got into CODE almost the same time, though as a corp member, the dude totally changed the phase of Documentary Photography across the entire development space, built a repertoire of super amazing photos has documented the largest bit of our impacts at CODE. I have travelled the mist with Kc across almost all the States in Nigeria doing great work and amplifying the voices of all the communities we have encountered from our road trip to Borno to others, we have built an amazingly strong bond that has made us family. His wife became an immediate addition to the team.

Anne the Nigerian- British lady is soft-spoken, calm, no rush, easy-going and a smooth woman who understands what she wants and knows how to get them through patience and sacrifice with her British-inclined work ethic, I call her ‘the wife of my friend’, I have learned a bunch from her methods and easy disposition to work pressures. Anne is a fast learner and settled in very quickly, my highest point is when she tries to pronounce a Nigerian name or to speak Pidgin English with an accent. The CODE bug must have stung her many times, her bants come with an accent. Anne, we shall keep doing more.


Adaora Okeke

Yellow!…” I am not yellow, I am light-skinned”, is what I get for the number of times I called her ‘yellow’ when she joined the team. I may need to explain a bit about my relationship with the communications team, we share some sought of robust engagements and you will always hear me use my ‘rational emotive skills’ to get them to push the right content, especially GenZ-friendly content, as that demography is critical to the sustainability of the work we do. I must have been the most of the neck of this team Ada is an integral part of, but we enjoy a smooth mutual relationship and also amazing out-of-work-styled conversation in the open space. Thanks for literally brightening up the office space with your ‘yellow’ skin. Let's do more in 2022.

Seun Durojaye

“Busayo, she doesn’t like me, no she doesn’t”, how would I explain to Seun that it’s not about her but that ‘she’ is just being herself? This was the first major conversation I had with Seun somewhere at The Hilton. I call her the joy giver, she has a way of brightening up the space with her free smile, very unassuming too but very open-minded, she comes off with core experience in journalism as a professional. Its been a pleasure working with you in just a few months, I trust we are in for a great ride now that you are on board fully, also let's sieve our events properly in 2022.


Jide Ojediran

The celebrity photographer cum comedian is also an unassuming guy, with a degree in accounting but totally has proven to have wasted his 4 years at the University of Abuja but has become one of the finest photographers in the steps of Kc. He definitely had big shoes to fit in when he joined the team, and had his fair shares of gbas gbos but has become more refined over the years. Jide is a deep thinker but it will take an uncommon ability for you to separate his humour-laced thoughts to dig into his core. I personally think Jide had one of the most mind-blowing conversations with me in the year under review. Unfortunately, he has the challenge that comes with multi-talented people, talent too plenty. I wish you more clarity bro


Kevwe Oghide and Abieyuwa

Folks who come from very structured organisations or companies find it challenging to settle in immediately when they get into CODE, I have been around in a while to notice this trend. CODE is a loosely coupled organisation that works, her model is so unique that one might get totally confused on if we are a serious set of humans, but Kevwe settled in quite fast as a thorough communications expert, and we have had various engagements from the palatable to the not so palatable but I dare say Kev is my GUY!

Though 2021 saw her work remotely from the UK, she left a truckload of memories that can last many years. The gift of Abieyuwa was another. The sweet, tender, smart and cutest kid you may have met yet was our colleague too(all kids whose parents work at CODE are staff too). The second look at Abieyuwa validates the saying that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. I will miss you in the workspace Kev but we go still dey connect.


Maryam Isah

She consistently shared all her dinner pictures with those of us who cared to view her status, assorted and garnished day after day. My catch is the consistency with which she prepared those English dinners. Talk about self-love, you would want to add Maryam to make that definition complete. Always ready to be and do better, takes responsibility when in error and is ready to fix every challenge with a courageous smile. Maryam embodies the CODE spirit, in growth and the ability to become amazingly good on one’s job and deliver. She has a mama bear spirit-very accommodative human to the core. Unlike other years, her video calls have reduced drastically-work wan finish her. It’s been my absolute pleasure working with you Maryam.


Victoria Silas

Talk about one with a sharp mouth, thorough-bred accountant that makes people dare retire with her, Vicky has a second eye for scrutiny, definitely one of the core traits of her profession. Sadly, with a low threshold for the mouth, she freely gives, trusts me not to spare her a bit of her jabs. For the times we have driven home together she exudes happiness effortlessly. Her bants with Mukhtar are probably one I look forward to, Vicky is filled with love and quite peaceful too, save when she meets Mukhtar.


Wale Busari

The shock on my face when I saw Wale’s CV with an experience that spans over 20 years in Accounting, one would have wondered what someone like him would be doing in a company of young people that he could even birth but Wale has shattered the stereotypes of generational differences, he is as accommodating and as fulfilled such that you may not know the difference in generations within the workspace. I can comfortably say,

Mr Wale is one of the most humble men I have met yet, he has his respect intact and maintains healthy relationships with everyone in the space. I trust we would do more in 2022.


Mary Ugo-Okereke

In 2021, when I talk about those who showed uncommon strength through thick and thin, Mary, is a perfect example. All-round sweet mother of two amazing kids. The only person I call ‘egbon’ in the office space, seeing her navigate this year has taught me the strength of commitment, purpose and how not to lose oneself through even unpalatable stages/phases. She has taught practically that it is not too late to start again. Thank you for smiling through and showing us in practical terms how not to give up. I will sincerely miss your physical presence in the workspace.


Mary (office assistant)

The shock on everyone's face when Mary says she wanted to do more than just be the office assistant embodies the totality of the core value of CODE's workspace. Mary is the first to report to work always, based on her job description, a role that may easily be taken likely but ensures we work in a decent and clean environment, an integral part of the team who does her job with zeal and unflinching consistency. Little wonder why she was the second-best Staff for 2021.


Lucy James-Abagi

One of those who tell the perfect CODE story of how one can aspire and attain. Lu is a testament to the beauty of teamwork and the benefits of creating a robust system where everyone is carried along in spite of immediate challenges or perceptions which may most likely be a personal bias of the one who perceived. Lucy came in as a volunteer but filled with an unquenchable desire to become better and get neck deep into her job. I remember getting her to review reports from campaigns, the noblest of tasks, then leading her first campaign to Katsina with Nwachukwu, to the botching of a campaign in Bayelsa. Then to the need to consolidate the entire Programs team under her leadership, delivering from all cylinders and growing aggressively within the ranks, she embodies the reality that it is possible to dream and attain within a short period. I have practical evidence that leadership is influence, such that has taught me the potency of this model. I will write more on this in my Memoir. Congratulations to my colleague as assumes a higher role filled with more responsibilities. Lucy is an asset, keep her close. Let's do more in 2022.


Steffia Imoesi

Asides from Oludotun Babayemi, the first staff I met and engaged with was Steff. In fact, she was instrumental in enabling me to settle into CODE as a green head. The tons of documents she ensured I read during my onboarding when I resumed in March 2017 set me in the right steps at CODE. It was easy to understand the thinking/philosophy that formed the organization in the rawest form.

Steffia is an astute accountant that always strives to be the best she can be, she is PROUD of her work and very bankable, she knows her onion and perhaps is one of the brightest accountants in the development space. She worked remotely almost all through 2021 and I was eagerly expecting STEFFIRE to be back to the physical space but……!

Thanks for being an amazing colleague and friend buddy.


Ijeoma Oforka

Arguably the last person I started speaking to when I got into the space, this petite-looking ‘young woman is probably one of the sweetest humans you may meet. We moved from IJ Range to Ijeoma highway😀. Highly stylish yet incredibly open-hearted, talk about one who can give you an eye and just smile moving on immediately. A highly supportive human with a willingness to learn and listen. Ij comes up as a strong-faced….scam!!

A foodie to the core who wishes to faint before eating but feels like sleeping immediately after🤣.

I have taken loads of time speaking to colleagues and even outsiders on how mistaken they are thinking Ij is ‘tough’. She had also grown evolving at various phases, such that looking back gives me the absolute pleasure of being a part of her growth.

I must have had more pictures with IJ than any other person at CODE.

Little wonder I excitedly threw my weight behind her work and new role at CODE. Though not as smooth as in other years, it was my absolute pleasure working with Ijeoma highway. In 2022, we shall do more.



The leader of the pack who leads from the front. It takes a certain level of courage to lead young, passionate, crazy and high cerebral humans. Hamzy is a leaders leader, trainers trainer, teachers teacher et al. He is a FORCE to reckon with in and outside Nigeria, a GLOBAL CITIZEN to the core-it is only normal having built 2 power brands in the last 9 years with footprints in 10 African countries and growing interests across the remaining 44, with influences across all the continents in the world. Very few people have achieved this feat as Africans.

For all the platforms to go the lord’s work, the unanticipated support, the listening ears and the ability to come through for me and other colleagues, THANK YOU for the gift of you Hamzy.

We will definitely be doing more in 2022.

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