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Welcome to the Da Vinci Institute: School of Business Leadership

Alumni Showcase: Yusuf Adeojo

Researching for, but not limited to, a Doctoral Degree, and timeously having it completed, is the culmination of years of toil and is no easy feat. The trepidation that comes with it, nonetheless, may also be the much-needed occasional reminder and motivation for the researcher to keep on track with the researching momentum, as the journey evolves and ideas flow over time.

This is the process that one of our newest Doctoral graduates, Dr Yusuf Adeojo underwent, and was rewarded at our recent 2021 graduation ceremony when he was conferred with his Doctoral degree from The Da Vinci Institute. The path to the attainment of his apex qualification may have not been a walk-in-the-park, but Dr Adeojo marched on and saw the journey leading through to its ultimate maturity and fruition.

Dr Adeojo likens his PhD journey to the DNA sequencing process that fellow researchers and scientists often use when attempting, as he states to, “identify the cause of an infection, [in order to] understand the origination of old and new viruses; to diagnose the different sources and develop cure/preventive vaccines to combat several viruses.” Dr Adeojo continues by further stating that “what this [process] tells us is that to find the solution to either a scientific or socio-economic problem/imbalance, one must journey back to the roots of its existence and piece together a story that makes sense of the source of the problem, to find a lasting solution.”

When, through his studies, he realised and embraced the systemic thinking capabilities in him, along with the emergence of his inborn innovative prowess, Dr Adeojo penned and completed a Doctoral thesis titled: “Achieving Inclusive Economic Development in Nigeria by Redefining Indigenous Finance in Light of Modernity”, upon discovering Nigeria’s current national problem of financial inclusion of which, as he accords, requires immediate intervention, as well as a lasting solution.

In granting us a historical outlook into this deep-seated national finance conundrum in Nigeria, Dr Adeojo had this to share: “The challenge of financial inclusion in Nigeria did not manifest overnight. Its root cause can be traced all the way back to the purpose of the first formal bank in Nigeria (African Banking Corporation) in 1892. The ABC and other financial institutions/banks that were incorporated pre- and post amalgamation in Nigeria (between 1892 – 1912) were established to finance the trade export within West Africa and to issue a West African currency convertible to the British Pounds Sterling. This shows that cross border commerce and trade finance is the foundation that birthed what has become the Nigerian banking and finance sector today, which has resulted in the deep exclusion of retail and MSME customers within Nigeria, hence the evolution of the socio-economic issue of financial inclusion in Nigeria today.”

On a more ambitious and forward-looking note (in generous terms), this insightful Doctoral thesis is a dedication to the emancipation and wellbeing of the Nigerian people (and hopefully Africa at large), more especially those who live within the rural communities and are left with little or almost no means to live an equal life equating to their well-served human counterparts from other parts of the universe.

There is no doubt that it certainly is a momentous document, and according to its author, Dr Adeojo: “This innovative research, which travels along the eastern research path of renewal of the unconventional Integral Research framework, has now joined the vibrant conversation of how best to migrate the financially excluded, which operate in the informal economy into the formal financial space, with the aim to increase socio-economic development in Nigeria. To address this, I asked a searching question: why does the informal sector or rural population not bank with the formal financial sectors (banks)?”

In his attempt in addressing the issue, as well as the above searching question, Dr Adeojo’s findings are that “the outcome of this integral research journey [led to] the co-creation of an integral Esusu-led finance model, which was initiated via the Esusu-led finance cooperative -a traditional rotating savings and credit association for the traders and artisans of rural Owode-ota community. Financial inclusion is more than migrating the financial activities in the informal sector to the formal financial space. It is also to blend the strength and structures of the formal financial sector with the informal financial systems that conveniently speaks to the concrete experience of the informal sector by redefining familiar indigenous financial systems such as the Esusu Rotational Savings and Loan System considering modern structures. This is both parties meeting at a middle ground.”

This research project is the result of the author’s perseverance in showing up to the required research procedures, in tandem with his unrelenting dedication and hard work. Dr Adeojo has harnessed his research abilities and shown a keenness to be a part of problem-probing.

It is highly probable that this apex qualification will push Dr Adeojo forward on the road to greener pastures, and we celebrate this attainment, as his innovative intellectual accomplishment. The process, indeed, may have been a Gordian knot of sorts, but he untied it, nonetheless. Now loose, he must lay bare the outcomes through practical action and co-create in a sustainable fashion.

Nigeria – arguably a powerhouse of intellectualism, owing to the vast literary contributions by authors such as, Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Ben Okri (to mention but a few) – has another astute intellectual in our remarkable Yusuf Adeojo. A fresh addition to the Nigerian intelligentsia (and to the world), Dr Adeojo considers himself, “a conscious social transformational agent” for his country.

To quote Benjamin Franklin: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

May the interest due to Yusuf Adeojo, for his work, be a turn from thistles of toil, on to his much-deserved pleasurable fragrance of purple roses of remarkability. Congratulations and well wishes on this remarkable path forward.