A picture of smiling Tolu

My names are Tolulope Opeyemi Odubela. I come from the West African country of Nigeria. I belong to the Ijebu tribe, one of several Yoruba speaking tribes in southern Nigeria.

My names mean "To God be the glory (Tolulope)," "Joy has lifted me up (Opeyemi)." They were chosen by my parents because at the time, they wanted a second child and I was God's answer to their prayers.

In my part of the country, as is the case in most parts of Nigeria, the birth of a child is cause for great celebration. Children are named based on circumstances surrounding family and childbirth. It is believed that a child's name carries its destiny which is reinforced every time it is spoken.

I was born on November 23, 1976 at the Lagos Maternity Hospital, Nigeria. I am the second of my parent's four children. I have an older and younger brother and a beautiful sister. My brother got married in May, 2003 and has two beautiful daughters, Damilola (God has given me wealth) and Ayomide (My joy has come). My younger sister got married in October, 2005 and now lives in the United Kingdom with her husband and daughter Oluwaseyi (This is God's doing). And before you say it, YES, I do realize that i am next in the "line of mariage."

I grew up in Plateau state where my father was serving as an officer in the Nigeria Police Force. For my primary education, I attended Air Force primary school, Jos, and Fatima Private School, Jos. I spent one year of my secondary education in Baptist High School, Jos, then transferred to my father's Alma Mata, Ijebu-Ode Grammar School, where I finished in 1995. I proceeded to the University of Lagos where I graduated in 1999 with a Bachelors degree in Mass communication.

Prior to coming to the United States I was a consultant with KPMG Professional Service, a tax, audit, and business advisory services firm where I worked in the Business Support unit until July 2005. I graduated from the University of Florida in May 2007 with a master's degree in public relations.

I am honest, loyal, friendly, dedicated, and hardworking. The most precious things in my life are my family and friends.

To all the critics and cynics who have written Africa off as a dead continent, I've got news for you; Keep watching because ONE DAY AFRICA, AND AFRICANS, WILL RISE AGAIN!

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