Father's Day is a special occasion dedicated to honouring and appreciating the contributions and love of a father to their families and communities. This year, as we approach Father's Day, I dive into my personal journey recognising my dad's dedication to giving me the best start in life and how I strive to follow in his footsteps.
Many first-generation immigrants from Africa in the UK can relate to the sacrifices their parents made to provide them with the best possible start in life. These parents often leave behind their familiar surroundings, families, and sometimes even successful careers to give their children a brighter future.
Speaking to my Dad I now understand his laser focus was to ensure his children had the best education. He recognised the UK as one of the best places to learn. He felt education was the key to unlocking a prosperous future for us personally, but we could also use our talents to grow the economy back home.
My dad comes from a small village, and he worked hard to support his brothers, sisters, parents and children. Growing up, I was always a little scared of him - he was quiet and you could never tell exactly what he was thinking. When he did speak, he preached respect, manners and always conducting yourself professionally at home and in public. He can also tell a mean story and has African proverbs which relate to any situation.
He's seen Nigeria and Africa go through changes. The euphoria of Nigerian Independence 1960, has not materialised into what he hoped. While military regimes and Structural Adjustment Policies are things I read in textbooks, these are things he's lived through. My father, like many others, just wanted to provide for his family, but politics got in the way.
He always wanted more for people and I'm sure this is where I get my sense of purpose.
Walking in his footsteps
He comes from Ijebu. About 70 miles outside of Lagos, it is based in Ogun State. Ijebu's are natural entrepreneurs. I wish I knew this earlier because now I understand why I was such a struggle trying to fit all my entrepreneurial schemes into a 9-5.
I have talked to him on and off about Value Africa and how I see this building on his legacy. I wanted him to see that his hard work was not in vain, so I invited him to an event we sponsored at LSE for Africa Day.
As I reflect on my father's journey, I am motivated to walk in his footsteps and his build on his legacy. I understand that it is my responsibility to carry forward the values of hard work, perseverance, determination and professionalism that he instilled in me. By doing so, I want to make him proud and ensure that his sacrifices were not in vain.
Father's Day is a celebration which honours fathers. It is a day to show appreciation for the contributions and love fathers provide to their families.