On August 22, African Students For Liberty ran the second episode of LiberTea Chat, their new Instagram Live series. Hosted by Linda Kavuka (Mama Africa), Students For Liberty’s Director of African Programs, this episode featured Odunola Oladejo, the founder of Ladies of Liberty Alliance Nigeria. Odunola recently graduated with a Masters in Women’s and Gender Studies, and is subsequently working in the field of female empowerment. She spoke about her extensive experience with African Students For Liberty.
Odunola’s journey with Students For Liberty
Odunola was among the very first female ASFL leaders. She was part of the team that saw the movement grow beyond Nigeria’s borders, despite facing many challenges. Therefore, the discussion was particularly centered around the Students For Liberty volunteering experience, building and sustaining networks, as well as creating and harnessing opportunities for growth.
On when and how she first discovered the world of classical liberal ideas, Odunola shared that she joined the libertarian movement as a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Ibadan. She told us that her inspiration to keep moving and growing within Students For Liberty was fueled by the realization that the world around her wasn’t free. In her own words, it was about “The liberty to choose whoever you want to become, and to express yourself.”
When she compared the principles of liberty with what was happening in her country, she realized there was a gap to be filled. This motivated her to persevere and make a genuine impact. She achieved this by influencing others, helping them to understand libertarianism, sparking a conscious movement, and raising awareness around government overreach.
For Odunola, African Students For Liberty provided an ideal platform. Linda (Mama Africa) concurred, stating that the organization enabled her to share the knowledge she had acquired over time. She felt that many others were able to benefit greatly from this platform and arm themselves with a wealth of ideas.
Despite the challenges that came with being a female student volunteering within the libertarian movement in Nigeria, Odunola’s passion drove her to overcome any obstacles. Linda Kavuka drew attention to one such instance, when Odunola had planned a conference, only to find out on the day of the event that the venue had been cordoned off for a different function. That setback notwithstanding, an inspirational Odunola was still able to hold the conference, drawing in over 1000 participants from across Nigeria.
Continuing to motivate others
As the founder of Ladies of Liberty Alliance in Nigeria, she shared her thoughts on the merits of volunteering, stating that, as a leader, one has to influence people to join the cause and convince them to embrace the ideas that they preach.
Odunola started LOLA in Nigeria in an effort to motivate more young women to join and take part in the libertarian movement. She told us that her experience gained through African Students For Liberty was particularly useful in this endeavor. Bringing on board other co-founders, LOLA has grown to have many chapters across different countries in Africa. In Nigeria, the organization has grown significantly. The organization has helped give a voice to many young women and girls through campaigns against rape and gender-based violence.
While closing the discussion and sharing her inspiration, Linda talked of how the need for mentorship for young women has continued to power her work within ASFL. She believes that African Students For Liberty can open up a whole world of new opportunities for female leadership.