Adiel Desmond is the principal partner at The Scribes LP, a legal soliciting firm. During his master’s degree programme in 2017, the Igbinedion University Okada graduate founded the Better Man Initiative Africa, which helps young men to voice their silent worries. In this interview with KATELEMI CLAUDE, he talks about the NGO, which is also working to harness young men’s ‘can do’ spirit
Why did you jettison the legal profession, which is elitist, for a non-governmental organisation?
I have not jettisoned the legal profession. I am still a practising lawyer, who just recently kick-started his own private practice as a solicitor. It is my goal to be the solicitor of other lawyers. There is no doubt that the legal profession is considered noble and elite. I, however, strongly believe that the cause for which I dedicate part of my time, and indeed life, to is also elite and supremely noble because if we can positively impact the lives of young men, some of them might become lawyers. No matter how finely adorned a lawyer is, he is only as good as his character allows him. That is why the comprehensive requirement to be called to the Nigerian Bar Association is to be academically sound and fit to be a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
What is the motivational factor for your new career, and what do you intend to achieve?
This is not a new career. There are so many people across the globe that have careers in various sectors and still have foundations or organisations that they run to live a fulfilled life while making positive impact in their world.
My motivation is the burning desire to see stable families as well as see young men live with direction, purpose and fulfilment. It is my belief that the men are the leaders of the home and that the family is the smallest but most important unit of society. There are so many young men who are lost, who are going through identity crisis – not knowing who they are and not have a clue how to navigate this journey of life as men. If I can contribute, in no matter how small a way, to creating a space where they can get direction, a space where they can have their most silent questions and confusions answered sincerely and positively, I believe that I would have fulfilled my duty on earth, and most of the social vices would be curbed.
Your organisation aims to educate and inspire young men across Africa. How do you intend to achieve this?
We are already achieving this, by organising seminars, workshops, skills acquisition programmes. We have also encouraged the administrators of schools to create extracurricular fora where candid conversations on salient issues are addressed with the boys. This would help in counteracting the constant pollution of the kids by the social media and the world at large. For the adult males, webinars and physical seminars are organised independently and in partnership with like-minded organisations, including places of worship. Weekly and monthly newsletters are sent to our subscribers, to supplement their personal growth.
Aside Better Man Initiative Africa, which is your pet project, what other projects do you have in mind?
BMI Africa is a project that has an expiry date. It is an idea that would live on, even after I leave this world. Every other project that I may be engaging in futuristically would be wrapped up in the vision of BMI.
Your organisation has mentored over 2,640 youths, how were you able to achieve this?
From the inception of BMI in 2017, we have had the privilege of being invited to 32 schools, with student capacity of 60 students at the very least, to hold sessions and talk shows with the boys. This was after testimonials of the first few schools we graced were received by other school administrators. We are grateful and hope to receive more invites. In addition, the seminars and dinner events for adults have experienced an attendant capacity of 100 to 150 adult males per time, with our lowest attendance being 40.
What legacy do you hope to leave for the young generation?
The younger generation can do better than their fathers, than what they were yesterday. No man is perfect, but if you can cultivate the ‘can do’ mindset, you will grow and be challenged in the right direction without condemnation.
What else would you like to share?
In the coming years, it is my projection that BMI crisscrosses Africa and the globe. Every young man in Africa needs a forum like this because young men go through what most people do not understand and most of them have succumbed to the lie of the society that it isn’t manly to show emotions or to express what they might be struggling with. So many young men need healing, re-direction, a new perspective and intangible blessings they wouldn’t get with the constant bashing of society. Some of these men get married, bear children and become toxic husbands/fathers, and the cycle continues. We can do better.
As a young CEO, what is your projection in the coming years and your goal in life?
I want to live a life of purpose and meaning, succeed at the things that matter, be the best husband/father, friend and lawyer that I can be – in that order.