Moses Emuze is a Netherland-based Nigerian Data Analytics Consultant. He was raised in Sapele but has spent most of his adult life in the land of the Dutch. In a chat with Rasheed Adebiyi, he spoke about his growing up, work life and his obsession with the country of his birth. Here are the excerpts.
Tekedia: Please Tell us about Yourself.
Moses Emuze: My Name is Moses Emuze and I’m living in the Netherlands and have been living here since I was fourteen. I came here when I was young. I did my High School here in the Netherlands and University and afterwards now I an owner of a company, Emuze Consultancy. I’m a Data Analytics Consultant. I help companies to get insight out of their data. I was born in Nigeria. I grew up in a small town in Delta State called Sapele. My parents are from Edo State from Isan. I grew up there but I moved to the Netherlands at the age of 14.
Tekedia: What is growing up in the Netherlands like? I mean going to High school and then college and growing up generally?
Moses Emuze: Growing up in the Netherlands, I would say it was good but also different because when I was in Nigeria, before I came to the Netherlands, I was already in S.S.1 and I was 13 because I skipped some classes in primary school. Theoretically speaking, I was supposed to be two more years in high school then I would be going to University. but when I came to the Netherlands, It was a whole different country. They spoke Dutch and I was not speaking Dutch at all. So, I went to a school where international students learn Dutch. My dad did not want to put me in an international school where I could learn only English but an international school where I could learn Dutch. So I learnt Dutch that cost me about 6 months, normally it takes about 1 year. I thought I was going to start in S.S.1 where I was in the Nigerian high school but I started all over in the first class in the high school in the Netherlands. I was 14 and I was the oldest guy in the class and normally when you start High School in the Netherlands, you should be about 12 or 13 but in Nigeria, it was different. I was one of the youngest at school. I managed to do one of the highest levels in secondary school afterwards to University. I did an English Course, even though I speak Dutch fluently, I chose to do an English course, That was International Business because I wanted to do something back in Nigeria. So that was why I chose an English course. Growing up generally in the Netherlands is also different because when I first came here, I could not speak Dutch like I told you. I was playing in a football team and everybody spoke Dutch and I could not really understand what they were saying but as a young man, I tried to fit into the culture. I didn’t have any difficulty fitting into the culture. I was open-minded, I was young. So I was eager to learn. I quickly learnt the language and I was staying in a Dutch neighbourhood, so that also helped me in the beginning to fit in. I was social. I was innocent. So it was easy for me to just blend with the culture.
Tekedia: What does it mean being an Entrepreneur in Netherlands? What kind of Support do you get from the Government?
Moses Emuze: Being an Entrepreneur in the Netherlands is something that I could say it gives us an advantage because the Netherlands has an entrepreneurial culture. I chose to be an entrepreneur right from school. I chose to be a full-time entrepreneur because I used to work for one of the biggest consultancies in the World. Ideal Consultancy Firm, CGI. It is a company with about 70,000 employees. It was a good company where I had a good position with a good pay but I chose to be an entrepreneur because I wanted that freedom, to be able to create, put my mind in a thing I really want to achieve. In the Netherlands, there was just different kinds of support for entrepreneurship from the government you can apply for different funds where the government will fund part of a project. I am into a different field, I do consulting. I am actually helping other companies and in the field of Data Analytics, there is a lot of demand around here in the Netherlands, because data is seen as the new gold. So, I would say I chose the right segment and the right sector.
Tekedia: So what kind of Support do you get from Dutch Society and Government?
Moses Emuze: I did not specifically get any kind of help from the government when starting my own company because I am in a service industry. so it is well different. But I know that, for example, during the Corona crisis, the government agreed to give a specific amount to every entrepreneur, so you could apply for it and you could get it if Corona affected your business, you could apply and you could get specific fund for your business so that you will be able to continue after Corona pandemic. Another one is that, we have different organizations in the government that promote several competitions that you can apply for as an entrepreneur. So, if you win it, you get a certain amount of fund for your company. Specifically, I did not apply for any kind of support or funds from the government.
Tekedia: How do you manage the diversity in your former work place being black and Foreigner?
Moses Emuze: One of the advantages I have in being dark in my former working place is that I could speak the language fluently. I had no issue with the language. So, I could communicate in their language. I was in a company in our branch in the Netherlands, I was like maybe one of the only few three to four dark people in the whole building. We have like an 11-storey building. So it was not that diverse. I saw it as an advantage. Some people might see it as a disadvantage being dark in a foreign environment. I found it as an advantage because everything I do get easily noticed. If I did something good, everybody knew about that. When I was working at the company, we participated in an international Hackathon it was organized by the municipality of the city I live in and there were participants from all around the world. We had panelists from NATO and NCIA. So, I participated and our team won the competition. I was the one who did the presentation, at the end so we won. I think we have about 10,000 Euro or something like that. The whole company got to know about me at that moment. I found it actually as more of an advantage being black in foreign environment because every time I do good, everybody come to know about it quickly.
Tekedia: Generally, What is your experience relating with people in the Netherlands?
Moses Emuze: To your first question, my experience relating to people in Netherlands is all mostly positive and of course you might have some certain racist situations but that was a few on the whole scale. I have a really good relationship with Dutch people on a whole. Most of my friends are also Dutch. Right from the beginning, I was in depth into the Dutch culture from the beginning.
Tekedia: Even though, You left Nigeria at an early age so to say, do you have any fond memories of the Country
Moses Emuze: Yes I left Nigeria early but I still have lots of good memories about the country. That was where I grew up. That’s my country and I am even looking forward to start something in Nigeria in the nearest future. I have been trying to see what I can do there to help my country. I was there two years ago to visit families and friends. So, I really have good memories about my country. I am looking forward to be of added values to the country as a whole. It is the country I first saw the day light. It will always be my country.
Tekedia: What are Your usual reaction when you get to watch or read about Negative things happening in Nigeria?
Moses Emuze: When I get to see negative things going on in Nigeria, it kind of hurt me a bit. My Dad is still reading Nigerian news everyday and I do speak to him often. So, when things are going wrong he always tells me. I feel it because its my country and I will always defend my country. People will say I stand by the country because I am Nigerian. I will say No. it is because you have not been there, you don’t know what is going on there. So, if I heard any negative news about Nigeria, it kind of hurt me. I always think of what to do and how I can help do something about it. I think of how to help in bringing change to how the world perceives the country because Nigeria is a blessed country with a lot of talented people. Our population is the most talented in Africa maybe in the whole world. This is because everywhere there is a Nigerian in the whole world, they are making it better. So a lot of positive things are going on in Nigeria.
Tekedia: Finally, any plan to return to home or raise your children in Nigeria?
That is a big one. Yes definitely, I know in future, part of my life will be in Nigeria because I am looking forward to give back to the country where I grew up. So, Nigeria is always in my heart as I have said before. So, I don’t know if I will offer my kids to grow up there but I am looking forward to go back and be of value to the country. The skills that I have acquired here, I can use that in the country. As for the kids, we would see at that time when it’s that far.