Lola is a Special Adviser (Data Coordination & Statistical Framework) to the Honourable Commissioner, Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning & Budget.
Before joining the EMPA I was working as the Managing Director at a research firm I had co-founded about 10 years prior. A year and a half before I had taken a break to work as a consultant on a high-level project that was based in the Office of the President of Nigeria. From that experience, I knew that I wanted to switch careers into the public sector, and my mentor suggested that I attend an MPA programme to gain theoretical knowledge to augment the practical experience I was building within the public sector. He felt strongly, and I agree, that this would make me a much more effective policy practitioner.
I wanted a program flexible enough to accommodate my full-time job, but robust enough to provide opportunities for real learning and networking. The course work would provide a good background understanding of the economic theories and research that often underline policymaking, an appreciation of the political economy in which these decisions are made, as well as familiarity with how everything comes together in practice. The opportunity to learn and network with an accomplished cohort of EMPA course mates, in a city as cosmopolitan and vibrant as London and with access to the LSE alumni, was hard to beat!
My favourite thing has been the LSE community both during the course and after. I’ve made some great friends and feel like I have a network around the world from Mexico, to Brussels, to Niger! I also loved experiencing LSE as a student, particularly the Holborn area which is vibrant and exciting.
The EMPA has transformed my career. The programme equipped me with the ability to step back and evaluate the whole picture when thinking about governance and policy-making. This skill alone is in high demand in the public sector space in a developing country such as Nigeria. In my current role as a Special Adviser within the Ministry of Economic Planning & Budget, I am working with internal departments to harmonize the data function and reposition the units for better efficiency in order to serve internal and external demand. This requires working across MDAs within the state, harmonizing their requirements regarding data coordination & reporting, and positioning the Ministry to provide better policy analysis and advice to the Office of the Governor.
I am able to synthesize issues and place them within local and global contexts and provide well-thought out and evidence-backed policy advice. The confidence the programme gave me allowed me to move from an advisory role within the federal government, into a government relations consultancy role with donor agencies, and now back into an advisory role within a subnational government.