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Africa is Woke! 12 Takeaways from Adebola Williams’ Speech at First #ObamaSummit in Chicago | WATCH



The second and final day of the maiden Obama Foundation Summit (#ObamaSummit) was yesterday, November 1st, and one of the highlights for us will definitely be Adebola Williams‘ powerful speech at the closing session which had the theme Collective Power.

The session explored the importance of civic organisation in providing solutions to the world’s most pressing problems. People who have found common cause are inventing and adapting solutions to solve problems in their communities and some of the leaders of such movements were on ground to share their stories. Watch full videos here.

Williams discussed how his company – RED Group – is using the media to drive development across Nigeria and the African continent. Adebola got a standing ovation from the audience, including Barack Obama, at the end of his speech.

Here are some of our takeaways:

  • Africa is a very attractive place to live as a young entrepreneur, Nigeria, being a very attractive place to do business. But it wasn’t always like this, there has been a pungent smell of helplessness across the country but that narrative is changing.
  • In despair lies several opportunities, especially to be pioneers and to take initiatives.
  • There is no one force stronger and more powerful than an inspired, empowered human being. Likewise, there is nothing more dangerous than a human who is hopeless; he is a ticking time bomb, with nothing to live for.
  • The currency of this generation is talent.
  • The media is the most powerful estate in the world – it determines choices.
  • Media must drive agendas, it must shape the conversation, it must drive action.
  • Our presidential election wins in Africa was not about the candidate, but that the voices of the citizenry counted.
  • Africa is woke!
  • Nothing can be more powerful than a committed group, no matter the size.
  • The citizen must never stop demanding from those we have contracted to supply us governance.
  • Hope is our weapon, media is our tool, and action is our remedy
  • The highest office of the land, is not that of the president, but that of the citizen, it is you

Watch below:


  1. wifematerial

    November 2, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    You have a plan Adebola for a better Nigerian…………….. but your are dirty with the politicans you surrounded youserlf with………to make it worse with your level of acclaimed intelligence should not have been in suppoet of nothing to offer president you and your cohort forced on us.

  2. wifematerial

    November 2, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    You have a plan Adebola for a better Nigerian…………….. but your are dirty with the politicans you surrounded youserlf with………to make it worse with your level of acclaimed intelligent should not have been in support of nothing to offer president you and your cohort forced on us

    • Ajala & Foodie

      November 2, 2017 at 8:54 pm

      @wifematerial, first let me begin with your point that you made, a single individual I.e Debola Williams somehow has the power to “force” another individual on a country of a population of how many million?? You see therein lies our problem…we are never willing to accept responsibility for our actions and you think people like Debola Williams or even Mr. President are the problem?? We keep shifting blame. For your information, the election was no coup, Nigerians voted Buh Buh simple!!!! nobody forced anything on anyone and the sooner we begin accepting responsibility the better for us.

      “His level of acclaimed intelligence” is what made me align with where he could not only make money but give him the platform such as this summit, I.e he did a good job with helping Buhari get elected (a paid position), got paid and has built on that platform. He did a good job and his reaping the fruit of his labor, no need to hate.

      BTW, I have never met, spoken or interacted with the Mister, in fact I just recently heard of him when BN posted something on him.

  3. Ephi

    November 2, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Africa and Nigeria of today is nowhere close to where it should be and no number of “takeaways” can change that. Talk is very cheap. And I hope he feels proud of himself for the role he played in the elections, we now live in a country where herdsmen call for anarchy and commit violent crimes without consequence, where parastatals are filled with both qualified and unqualified Northerners, where insecurity is pervasive. What exactly is there to celebrate? Again, talk is cheap. Eod.

    • ND Babe

      November 3, 2017 at 12:08 am

      @Ajala and foodie: Let’s examine a hypothetical scenario…
      so armed robbers hired someone to set fire to a bank so they could easily access the safe. the arsonist stated his fee, and strategy and an agreement was struck. the arsonist proceeded to execute his strategy. He did such a good job the bank burned down just enough so that the safe was preserved & exposed and the robbers could tow it away. Word spread about the marvelous strategy of the arsonist. Patronage of the arsonist by robbers is now very high.

      Do you believe the arsonist got paid, did a good job and Is reaping the frUit of his labor?

      Is the end a factor in determining the value of the means? if the arsonist used his skills to also burn down diseased animals to prevent the spread of an extremely infectious and dangerous virus that would wipe out humanity, Should we weight both uses of the arsonists skills the same?

    • Zayn

      November 3, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Africa is not just asleep but snoring, Pan Africanism that swept the continent in the 60s and 70s is all gone. Truth is that a few individuals are exploting the rest with the help of their foreign friends. U can’t be woke when something as basic as roads are being constructed by the Chinese, when 0ver 90% of goods in ur major markets are imported, when more of your citizens write exams to practice as doctors in the UK than in your country. All we do in Nigeria especially is talk while the Indians have taken over the medium scale businesses in our country, the Arabs own the biggest malls and the Chinese, World Bank and IMF help us plunge unborn generations into more debt. Talk is indeed cheap.

  4. Deb

    November 3, 2017 at 12:19 am

    i dont agree with the first point.

  5. Ephi

    November 3, 2017 at 7:24 am

    By the way, I think it’s easy for those living comfortably outside the country to defend people like Adebola and Buhari, because they have no clue what people are facing, let those who know where the shoe pinches talk, those being attacked in traffic by robbers, those suffering from generator noise and inflated food prices. Job well done my foot.

  6. ajankolokolo

    November 3, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Two things i know very well;
    1. Nigeria has talents, even more brilliant than Debola, opportunity and connections is what made him, and that’s what others don’t have. so i’m not particularly thrilled about his speech. Its nothing new.
    2. Talk is cheap. So many talks and no work.

  7. SoniaPaloma

    November 3, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Africa is mostly WOKE on social media

    • mimi

      November 3, 2017 at 11:09 am

      best comment here….Africans are deluded, Social media be deceiving us all, with plenty of talk talk talk….i just tire, you would almost think you were in a different place until you step out into the real world, we have to reduce social media and actually start doing stuff, start living

  8. Chinma Eke

    November 3, 2017 at 11:09 am

    While I would love to applaud Adebola’s speech (I agree with some takeaways), I just can’t find it in my heart (or perhaps my pocket) to do that. LCC has increased toll fare, and what was the attendant’s response to the ‘why’ question? We voted for change! And just like that a Friday morning was soured.
    Now I’m sure someone would love to say the difference isn’t a lot, but that would be wrong because its not just toll fare that has increased in price, its EVERYTHING! 50 Naira here, 100 there, school fees, house rent, food, clothing, depleting already meager resources. And the common man isn’t seeing the effect of this supposedly positive change.
    It’s probably easy for you to not feel what we feel because it is well for you and all around you, but let me tell you something; the air in Nigeria right now is ripe with hopelessness. Like even if we kick this guys out in 2019 the road to recovery is a veeerrry long one; and the precedence for anyhowness that they’ve set, how do we recover from it?

    Adebola, great things are happening for you and yes you’re god at what you do, but……. Anyways, I recommend that you watch ‘Miss Sloane’.

    • Mohammad

      November 3, 2017 at 7:35 pm


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