Personality crush is one category I am going to be adding to this blog. One of the reasons I started blogging was to bring to fore awesome personalities, budding entrepreneurs and people with special skills and awesomeness around us that we do not know. Some we may know but we underrate them because they are not popular or have not reached the peak of the success ladder. But whatever it is, Debs Corner is here to bring them all out, share and be part of their success story.
I started this before now, you can read Interview with M-Ore to see what it used to be like. But now this is a new addition and phase to the blog and it is going to be continuous.
Today, our personality crush for the week is Dr Victor Ugo…*drum rolls* *spread green rug* I am super dramatic, yes I know…lols.
I have had the honor to know and work with Victor for over 6 months now, while I have never met him in person, working with him has been fun, tough and some good learning process. In between all these, I have always wonder the personality behind the phone discuss.
Dr Victor Ugo is the founder of Mentally Aware Nigeria Initiative, a non-governmental non-profit organization focused on raising awareness on mental health and illness as working to connect service users to mental health professionals as needed. He is also a writer and a Medical Doctor… One can only imagine what makes him Victor Ugo.
Let’s get to knowing him more, shall we?
- We all know Victor Ugo as the MANI Founder and a medical doctor but can we get to know you behind all this.
*Smiles* You may have to be a bit specific because I am as boring as it comes. I love to write, and read non-academic books.
2. That’s good to know. I have come to realize most of your Instagram writings revolves around love. Is there a girl in the picture we need to know about?
You know, normally that kind of question will be like a set up but there is no girl. At least I can say that boldly, *chuckles* Anyways, my Instagram are about love, not always but it’s what everyone can easily identify with. And I have always love challenges. So I told myself to find a way to be in other people’s shoes and write about it. So today, if I think about heartbreak, I go on to write about it. Yet I have never been heartbroken or tomorrow I think about losing someone which is more of the thing that has affected me and then I write about it.
I write best writing about losing someone because it is something that has happened to me. But I find it more challenging when I write about things that haven’t happened to me and I try to imagine them. Which is why you find me writing more about love.
3. So it’s okay to say challenging yourself is what inspired your writings mostly. That is interesting to know. So what can we attribute to shaping your choice of study? And then founding an NGO that involves Mental Health. We haven’t heard about any cause that advocates for Mental Health in Nigeria except MANI. Is your childhood experience a reason for this?
My childhood wasn’t in any way spectacular. I was a child who loves to read. I just knew I wanted to help people. At first I wanted to be a missionary doctor even though there was nothing like that but you know you have to be a doctor first before you become a missionary doctor. I was not pushed but I knew I wanted to help people. That was how I thought of medicine. I think it has more position with guidance and counselors who advise me to go to a different path because I was good with debate and English and they thought I would do well there. I’m glad I did not choose that though, *smiles* not to shade anyone but I am not sure I would have done better at it. But I can’t say that either.
And some wanted me to do computer sciences which I thought I should have done but I chose Medicine which I am currently doing.
Why I chose to go towards this direction? I have always wanted to do something different from what everyone else is doing and this has always motivated me because I’m always looking to innovate; something that we all need. Because to grow, we all need to innovate and to innovate, we all need to answer a difficult question. And personally I deal with depression and some form of anxiety in PTSD. So I know first hand how it feels not to have support and how it feels like to have support.
I felt the need to create a community to offer that and that is essentially what MANI is trying to become. In the long run, we would have a lot of reasons to look back and realize this. Besides, you know how terrible the knowledge of Mental Health is in Nigeria, hence people need to know this to understand it.
4. That’s quite a laudable achievement. So you are glad you chose Medicine over Language. I’m pained as a Language Student but I’m envious as well. Have you however noticed that most health practitioners write? Some of them do not even write about medicine or health related matters. Do you think there’s a connection between these two or could it be because of their daily relationship with patients?
That certainly comes to mind. You find some writing about life beyond what happen in the hospital. I am actually glad I chose Medicine over Law not Language but that’s contextual. but I am not glad I chose Medicine over Computer Science cos that’s what I’m best at which is surprising.
In this case, I think we go through a lot of stress while in school and we have to step away from that stressful situation and look at other things. Which is why most doctors end up writing about various life experiences and other things they might be concerned about. This is my reason, I’m not sure if it applies to every other person. I feel if you are stressed out about something, you tend to look at other things and push your effort to those and this can help you destress; which is what writing is to me.
5. That’s something awesome I just learnt. So who are your biggest influences?
In Music, I have Ne-yo. Oh I forgot to mention, I sing too. He is someone I aspire to sing like even though I never get to sing like him except I’m in the bathroom. I listen to Hard Rock to clear my head which is ironic for some though but it works for me. Music inspires me to work on new ideas.
If I am looking to get better at reading, I model myself with Warren Buffet, Professor Seth Godin, Richard Branson. Guys like that have a reading list for the year and I started that early. I read like 50 to 75 books a year. This year, I am on 69 and I hope to beat last year’s record. This is not a self concession. I just think I influence myself a lot but I think that has been because of what I have read. So it’s more like an indirect type of influence.
It’s a bit confusing. But look at this way, when I read Warren Buffet achievement, it doesn’t make me become Waren Buffet but there’s so much to learn from someone like him. he inspires me a lot. What I read stays in my head and this influences the way I think.
In Research Medicine, Professor Minash, Doctor Baker, Professor Wike. They are doing great things and I look up to them and want to be better than them.
In marriage, my parents top the list. They are the definition of a perfect couple.
6. Your parents definitely deserve an award. I get to think being a Medical Doctor, running an NGO and then your ‘boring’ personal life must be overwhelming. How do you strike balance with all this?
First of all I do not have a personal life so that helps a lot. What I do is basically my life and to an extent I am coping okay. *chuckles* I maintain a diary and I keep in touch with every plan I have. I have a plan for the next 5 to 10 years. So I try to go along with the plan and if it doesn’t work, I modify. I just make sure to keep a lead on whatever activity I have going on at a time.
7. I am definitely going to steal this. I keep journals too but 5 to 10 years, I am wowed. Now let’s talk about volunteers. I know volunteers relate online. It’s quite some huge task managing people and keeping them aligned with the same goal without physical meeting. How do you achieve this with ease? And how many volunteers do you have in total?
It’s not easy at all. In Lagos, we have about 170 members, 60 in Abuja, another 60 that are not in any chapter and 15 independent and international members. That’s a lot and there’s no day I don’t get a call or message that I need to handle. It is stressful but it has become part of my routine and I think I have gotten use to it. It is not easy coping with humans at all. You know everyone has got their own temperament and you just have to keep a smiling face at all times. Sometimes I vent but mostly I try to keep it tight.
8. I can actually imagine how hard this can be. So far what has been your biggest challenge has a founder.
The major challenge is when people do not have the same drive as you do. That’s understandable but it doesn’t always happen like that. Beyond that, funds. I try to look for jobs to do to raise extra income and put into this. We have come this far and the need to sustain it is key.
9. Do you have any fears? About MANI or personal fears?
I think it is only normal that I would have fears. But my fears are more like motivation to me. First, I do not want to lose anybody ever again. That’s an intimate fear. Personally, I hope to achieve more bigger goals than I set for myself. And I do not settle for one role out of desperation. For MANI, I do not have any fears. Even if it is a project that ends today, I know we have already made an impact.
10. How would you want to be remembered?
I certainly hope I am remembered for something extraordinary, I hope I am remembered for something great, starting a movement and changing lives for the better.
11. Lastly, what would you have loved to say that I failed to ask.
You’ve covered so much more than I cannot even think of more. Thanks so much for having me.
It was a great interview guys and it was the first I ever did that involved voicing. And need I mention that I’m still in awe of our personality crush, Dr Ugo who still accept to do this while on sick bed.
Thanks so much for reading. You can check out Mentally Aware website here.
Stalk Dr Victor and his beautiful writings on Instagram at Veeksterzz.
Leave a comment below on what you think about this personality crush. Suggest ways I can improve this. And if you would love to be our Personality Crush, kindly send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time darling, cheers.