Where are you from?
I am from Nigeria.
What was your childhood like?
My childhood was very nurturing and happy.
What brought you to Cleveland?
I work in Cleveland now; but I came to the United States as a Nigerian Scholarship Student at the University of Akron, from Brussels, Belgium.
What were your first thoughts about coming to the United States?
My first thoughts about coming to the United States were that of a unique chance at a superior higher education in the most technologically advanced and socially accommodating country in the world.
Did those change?
Yes, they began to change the moment I arrived in New York City! The technology advancement was and is still second to none; there was more crime, more socio-economic disparity than I had thought, but I also found out that the people were more welcoming and caring than I was led to believe.
What challenges did you face as transitioning here?
The challenges that I faced while transitioning here were the scarcity of equal opportunities to the economically and socially disadvantaged; more so for African Immigrants. But I also learned that if you are willing and able to work hard, you can create your own opportunities and be very successful in this country.
What is your occupation?
Semiconductor fabrication, higher education, international business development and business advocacy.
How have other Clevelanders made you feel welcomed?
I am fully integrated here. I consider myself a bona fide Clevelander.
What traditions or customs do you continue to practice?
I am very active in the Nigerian American Community in Northeast Ohio.
I strongly identify with my Nigerian Culture as regards Nigerian Food, Music, Clothing, Art and frequent visits to family in Nigeria to refresh my roots.
What do you love about Cleveland?
I love the people! Cleveland people care and that care become obvious in rough times when experiencing tough and personal challenges.
Why is it so important to welcome immigrants and refugees?
It is important to welcome immigrants and refugees because it is a fundamental human right to be able to live free and pursue happiness in a safe and nurturing environment.
It is them today, it could be you tomorrow!
Why is it important to travel abroad?
It is extremely important to travel abroad to learn that ‘different’ is not necessarily ‘bad’ elsewhere; to see how others live in order to validate or reject certain perceptions or stereotypes about cultures that are foreign to mine. I can adopt some of their culture or reject some of mine without sacrificing my own identity.