What are your key responsibilities?
Today, as a federal employee for NOAA Fisheries, I work at the interface of strategic planning and performance evaluation. My day-to-day responsibilities are to serve as the liaison for NOAA Fisheries’ audits from the U.S. Government Accountability Office and Department of Commerce’s Office of Inspector General in collaboration with NOAA’s Audit and Information Management Office. I assist technical leads and programs nationwide in accurately and thoroughly responding to audits. I also report on the progress of these audits to NOAA Fisheries’ Chief of Staff and other agency programs weekly.
These opportunities to speak on behalf of our programs’ efforts has given me an appreciation for the importance and high quality of work to which I am a party. It has also helped me to feel comfortable and included at NOAA.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Nigeria. Many of my aspirations came from novels I read at an early age.
Is there a book, quote, or person that influenced you to be the person that you are today?
As a young lad, my aspiration came from two novels I read when I was young. The first was Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, all he wanted was to be a gentleman and to have a white collar job. The second book was Mine Boy by Peter Abrahams, a man with a humanitarian act of defiance and survival. These books prepared my mind for adulthood. During high school, I played soccer (what I knew as “football”), but little did I know that was my destined route to being a gentleman. Nigerian teams and coaches were overseeing my development.
This led to an opportunity to play soccer with several major teams in Nigeria before my invitation to play on the Nigerian National Soccer Team. I was fortunate to travel to the United States for gameplay, as well as Europe. Even during a successful professional soccer career, my expectations of remaining a professional soccer player began to fade. Little did I know that my training and education was preparing me to become a gentleman.
What is your educational background?
On July 4, 1981 I arrived in the United States for my studies at Alabama A&M University. I obtained my bachelor of science there, followed by the University of Maryland College Park for my graduate degree. My concentration was in accounting and finance. This concentration gave rise to my interest in auditing.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
May I say that the contributions by African Americans (Nigeria extraction) to our overall community and society is undeniable and unquestionable. Black History Month is a time to reaffirm, recognize and celebrate such undoubtable contributions, both past and present. It is a month that speaks to inspiration, resiliency, and the ability to serve humanity despite challenges, but also to achieve comradery.
Black History Month is a reflection period to remind black people about freedom that has never been free, hence a lot of dividend and sacrifices were invested to achieve this freedom. The search for freedom is endless and must be achieved by reminding us to strive in working hard for self-improvement, honesty, patriotism, and most especially, to stay focused. It reminds us of those great men and women who lost their lives and privileges in marshalling this course. To the nation, it has been a clarion call on how far we’ve come to where we are, and how much we all need one another in harmony to create the perfect world or environment that we all deserve, if there is any. It is always a time to celebrate oneness, forgiveness, and respect for all.