Getting to book a time with Dr. Kayode Adekunle was not easy. He is a researcher and a lecturer at the University of Borås, he is also the coordinator for waste management project in Nigeria. Skandik Afrik Interview the Glow man of the month, a pacesetter and an achiever.
He bares his mind on challenges he faced when he moved in to Sweden six years ago, his present project with Borås University and plan for the future. Excerpts:
Why did you come to Sweden?
Dr. Kayode: I came to Sweden to study master degree in Chemical Engineering, which at the time was free and more economical to come to Sweden.
What were the challenges you faced or had when you first moved to Sweden?
Dr. Kayode: As a freelance not being sponsored by anybody, I was lonely leaving my family behind in Nigeria. I had to support myself and my family in Nigeria and needed to have some income apart from study which was the primary aim. It was also difficult for me to get around because of the huge cultural differences.
How were you able to combine both studies and work together?
Dr. Kayode: I am a focused person and my primary objective was to study to get my master degree here, so every other thing was secondary. I was working few hours and study full time and could combine the two together because of my determination to achieve the goal l had set for myself. I have worked in many different places to support myself.
How did you manage to get a job in the Borås University?
Dr. Kayode: After l completed my master program, l had intention of reading further for my doctorate degree. I got a job as research assistant in Borås University immediately l finished my master degree and later as a doctoral student. As a positive person l was able to cut barrier in spite of difficulties and challenges. Presently l am a postdoctoral researcher with University of Borås.
There have been many articles written about you being one of the leading figures when talking about the waste recovery project being done at the University of Borås and Nigeria? Could you give us an insight on what it is about?
Dr. Kayode: The project began four years ago and i have been coordinating the collaboration between the University of Borås and some Universities in Nigeria. Even some states and local governments have been contacted in this regard. The project aim is to convert waste to value added products such as electricity and biogas, and consequently make the environment cleaner and safer.
What has been the response of Nigerian government to the project?
Dr. Kayode: The response has been very positive. We have four doctorate students from University of Lagos in Nigeria studying at the University of Borås based on that collaboration and we are expecting more master and doctorate students to come and study in Sweden in coming years.
What are your plans for the future?
Dr. Kayode: I am an ambitious person. In area of academic, l will like to be a full Professor in my field and later on get a ministerial appointment with the government of Federal Republic of Nigeria, where l can introduce a cleaner and better environmental policy.
Which advice do you have for people that have newly arrived or are based here?
Dr.Kayode: My piece of advice to people that just newly come or may have been here for some time is that they should be positive in their thinking and remain focus and never to jump into conclusion before they try things out. Setting a goal is also very important, which will act as a yard stick to your progress and this will help you to check if you are still within your target in life. We should learn how to spend our time wisely.
Interview by: Kenneth Fagbe and Gloria Matuka
Photograph by: Katrin Nilsson.