“It is not only what my country can or will do for me, but what I can also do for the betterment of my country.” – Jonathan Olakunle Olanlokun
Jonathan Olakunle Olanlokun, born in Jos, Plateau State, is the second child and only son of his late parents. His father, Late Deacon Joseph Babatunde Olanlokun, was a Librarian at the University of Jos, while his mother, Late Mrs Caroline Oladunni Olanlokun, was a successful business tycoon and a prominent baker in Jos in the 70s. His mother died on March 18, 1978 while his father died on March 17, 1983.
According to Jonathan, he owes his good nature to the model his parents set for him. During their life, they were magnanimous, living a life of service both to God and to humanity. He also gives credit to his Grand Uncle through whom he had the privilege of good upbringing.
Jonathan Olanlokun started his education at the University of Jos Staff School, Jos, in 1978. He briefly attended Igan Wesley Primary School, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State, in 1980, before moving to Zaria in 1981, where he attended ABU Staff School Zaria till 1983.
Upon the death of Jonathan’s father, he relocated to Osun State with his sister, and eventually completed his primary school education at Salem Baptist School, Iree, Osun State. He proceeded to have his secondary school education at African Church Grammar School, Iree, Osun State, and finished in 1994.
After his secondary school education, he further went to be trained in Aluminium Fabrication in a Technical school.
There are a handful of Nigerian citizens contributing to the development of the society and/or in one way or the other affecting the nation positively. For Jonathan Olanlokun, it is creating a cleaner society. His school of thought is that, the citizens have a role to play in the maintenance of both private and public facilities as well as the government.
In his words, “It is a privilege to contribute my own quota to the development of my country. Therefore, I see this (cleaning) as a means of reaching out to fellow citizens that much is expected from every one of us, with respect to how properties are used and maintained.”
Furthermore, as a personal trait, Jonathan explains that he detest dirtiness. Hence, he decided to drive this continuing quest for cleanliness into community service by cleaning public places, including religious centres, and monuments.
Jonathan Olanlokun began his cleaning exercise in year 1998, while he was living at Osogbo, where he ran his aluminium company and block industry. For effectiveness, he set up a team called “Patriotic Volunteers” to spearhead this clean-up exercise, called “Solo Voluntary Cleaning Services”.
This clean-up exercise is done voluntarily, and it is not restricted to any location; as long as it is in Nigeria and it is reportedly dirty, he gets it cleaned.
Together with his team, he cleaned the drainages along Igbomina, Boorepo, and Ayetore roads in Osogbo, to prevent flooding. They also cleaned the Lagos State Mini Football Training Pitch at Apongbon, CBN/NTA/Government Secretariat Link road, Osogbo, Old Garage, Osogbo, Berger, Lagos, and Ijigbo Roundabout, Ekiti State. A waste management education programme was held at Ijigbo, in collaboration with the Ekiti State Waste Management Authority. Single Handedly, he cleaned the swing doors at Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) office, Iddo Terminus, an exercise that took four days.
BARBARA ABIKE EPPERSON FOUNDATION (BAEF)
The Barbara Abike Epperson Foundation (BAEF) is a non-profit organization founded in 1998, based on the ideals of late Miss Barbara Epperson (born 2nd January, 1921 – died 9th December, 1994).
Miss Barbara Abike Epperson was an American Baptist Missionary and Social Worker from Miami Oklahoma to Nigeria between 1953 and 1985. She adopted Late Mrs Olanlokun at the age of 8 in 1953, when she lost her mother. Hence, BAEF was founded to immortalize Late Miss Barbara Epperson – his foster grandmother.
BAEF was born out of a stirring passion to make impacts, tending towards national and by extension, global positive change. The activities of the organization include community services such as the clean-up exercises, digging of wells and boreholes in both rural and urban areas, subsidy apparatus, and poverty reduction.
Most of the activities of the NGO are self-funded by Jonathan Olanlokun albeit the Foundation’s Annual Lecture and Awards Series have gotten supports from Murtala Mohammed Foundation, Mikano International Limited, e-600 International Limited and few other individuals.
The foundation is getting ready for the “Clean-up Marina” exercise slated to hold in November 2018.
(This article was developed from the content of an exclusive interview held with Mr Jonathan Olanlokun.)
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