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Japa: 35-yr-old PhD Holder Adeleke Speaks On Why He Returned To Nigeria When Others Are Leaving

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A young Nigerian, who hails from Osun State, Adedoyin Adeleke, has narrated the reasons why he returned back to Nigeria at a time when other young, able and talented Nigerians were leaving the country in droves.

Naijaone reports that in what is now popularly known as the ‘Japa Syndrome’, skilled Nigerians were leaving the country for Europe and other developed countries in search of greener pastures.

Adeleke, a PhD holder with a focus on Energy for Sustainable Development, who was working in Italy before his return home, said there was a need to turn Nigeria into the greener pasture for others to come.

Born on July 7, 1989, in Osogbo, present-day Osun State, Dr. Adeleke had his primary and secondary education in Osogbo and proceeded to the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife and the University of Ibadan (UI) for his Bachelor and Master’s degrees, respectively, before he was awarded scholarship for his Doctoral studies in Italy by the Italian Government.

Against the advice of family members and friends, Adeleke said he relocated to Nigeria with a mission to drive green growth and development across Africa.

According to him, there was a need for Nigerians to develop the country into a greener pasture like Europe and America.

“Europe, where I was, is certainly a ‘greener pasture’, but some people made Europe ‘green’ enough to attract our interest. But can’t we increase the fortune of Nigeria, to be ‘green’ enough for other nationals to compete to visit and relocate to Nigeria? This is the call I decided to heed,” Adeleke stated.

Over the years, Adeleke has made substantial contributions to development across 22 African countries from Europe. Reflecting on his decision to return home, he remarked, “If I could do this by the side while I was in Europe studying, I can do more if I return. I often say ‘Africa is too rich to be poor, I choose to act’.”

Despite advice from family and loved ones to remain in Europe, Adeleke was resolute in his decision to come back to Nigeria. “I returned to Nigeria without their knowledge in November 2023. Since then, I ensured no one connected to me by family was aware, except one of my aunties. My mum only got to know after I had been in the country for five months in April 2024.”

Adeleke’s return was driven by a strong belief in the potential of Nigeria and the broader African continent. “If Nigeria must be great, sacrifice, determination, and hope are essential among the citizenry, while the government and industrial stakeholders also need to step up their games,” he asserted.

He credited his faith as a significant influence in his decision. “God is my greatest decision-maker; I certainly would not have returned to Nigeria without a leading from Him. I am a believer in God’s supremacy in human affairs.”

Adeleke’s commitment to what he called ‘green growth’ is exemplified by his non-profit organisation, the Green Growth Africa Sustainability Network (Green Growth Africa), formerly known as the International Support Network for African Development (ISNAD-Africa), which he founded in 2017.

On one hand, the organisation supports Master’s and Doctoral research students in African universities through its Mentoring for Research Programme. “Today, we have a community of 160 mentors from 44 countries who have supported 175 Master’s and PhD students (mentees) in 55 universities in 22 African countries,” Adeleke noted.

In addition to the Mentoring for Research Programme, Green Growth Africa has developed several other initiatives, including the EcoHeroes Initiative, Africa4Nature Health Initiative, and EcoKnowledge Derivatives.

The organisation recently launched the Green Growth DigiHub, a digital platform that extracts global and policy implications of local green growth initiatives.

“Green Growth DigiHub is a one-stop shop on green growth with tiers for social networking, professional networking, news, and communications. We will soon launch a Media and Broadcasting station in Abuja dedicated to green growth and a digital application, Green Growth Watch, in the coming days,” Adeleke said.

Adeleke’s organisation has also completed a green building, an ultramodern structure made entirely from waste plastic bottles and fully powered by solar energy, with no connection to the national grid.

“At Green Growth Africa, our effort is to contribute to sector decarbonisation and nature-based solutions to catalyze green and blue transition in Africa, developing solutions, policy designs, and innovations that meet Africa’s development needs while reducing the carbon intensity of development processes on the continent,” Adeleke explained.


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