Bio: Olugbenga Obakin is a financial-crime consultant based in the United Kingdom. He had his first degree in Geology from the prestigious premier university in Nigeria, University of Ibadan. He worked in different banks in Nigeria before proceeding to the United Kingdom to bag a Masters in Business Administration from Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield. Olugbenga is involved in youth mentoring and coaching. He is passionate about helping youths make good choices early in life. His passion, no doubt, has come from his background, having strict parents, his quest to explore life as a teenager, the choices he made, the choices made by others around him and the consequences thereafter. He believes in the saying “experience is the best teacher”. He has a good relationship with youths while mentoring them because he has seen it all and was able to make his choices through all these experiences to become who he is today. Olugbenga is involved with Rivers of Joy Initiatives, a non-profit organisation based in Essex through which he reaches out to youths during programmes and activities. He is also involved in catering for the homeless by providing food to sheltered homes. Olugbenga also features in open mic events and slams as well as spoken word events in the Northeast, England. His greatest passion is to impact society through the youths, as the youths are the future of tomorrow. He is happily married.
RLN: Tell us about your writing journey and at what point did you decide to publish a book?
GO: I have been involved in youth mentoring and coaching for a while now which I do through Rivers of Joy Initiatives, a charity organization in Essex, London and based on the results achieved so far, I realized I could reach more youths by writing a book on our discussions during these coaching sessions. This was when I decided to publish my book.
RLN: Your first book I heard will be released next month, who are your target audience and what themes does the book address?
GO: Yes, the book will be released online by June 10. The target audience will be teenagers aged 12-18, parents and people involved in youth coaching as well, as it serves as a guide to them in coaching youths. The book addresses themes such as peer pressure, positive use of internet and social media, drug abuse, relationship between parents and children, to mention a few.
RLN: When will the books be available for sale and on what platforms can interested readers buy from?
GO: The book will be available for sale from 10th June 2019 on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Okadabooks.
RLN: Would you say there can be perfect teens and how can parents deal with recalcitrant teens?
GO: There can be perfect teens. The book discusses topics such as dealing with peer pressure and staying confident in oneself. Staying confident and believing in oneself is very key as a teenager. It takes one through all stages in life. Being a perfect teen does not necessarily mean one gets it right 100%. But a teens self confidence and the peer group they keep can make them trace their steps back to the right path easily. Also, parents need to work together with teens at this stage of their lives and be strategic as well because it’s a very sensitive stage and this stage goes a long way to form the foundation of their future. The choices made will determine if a teen will be perfect or not. But in all, what matters most is to be able to find self-purpose in life. The power to make choices lie within but the consequences are way beyond us as we can not determine that. They only come automatically with the choices made and that is the major reason I wrote this book to help youths make good choices early in life so as to secure a good future.
RLN: Can we separate peer pressure from teens and what would you tell a teen/youth being challenged by peer pressure?
GO: Teens cannot be separated from peer pressure because this is a stage they identify themselves and establish the purpose for their lives, but self-confidence, identifying who they want to be friends with will go a long way to deal with peer pressure and this is one of the main messages I am passing across in the book.
RLN: Tell me more about your work around Teens/youth mentoring?
GO: I relate with youths based on my experience. I aim to build their self-confidence, to believe in themselves as this goes a very long way to help them find self-purpose. I have been doing this over the years especially since I relocated to the United Kingdom. I believe that with self-confidence, you can easily find the right path even when you sway from it.
RLN: What would a successful writing career look like to you?
GO: A successful writing career for me will be the positive impact my writing has on the youths and testimonials about how my writing has helped to coach youths to make the best out of their lives.
RLN: What are the major highlights of your writing career?
GO: I have featured in open mic events and slams as well as spoken word events in the Northeast and Essex in England.
RLN: What other literary genres do you write?
GO: I also write short poems but majorly around youths to inspire them.
RLN: Any advice for upcoming writers?
GO: My advice is for upcoming writers to read a lot, go to writing workshops, establish where their interests lie and create time out of their busy schedules to put their ideas down in black and white. No matter how long it takes, once they put their minds to it, it can be done.