Event Risk and Safety Management Is the Bedrock upon Which You Build Your Event – Oluwakemi Eboda

Mrs. Oluwakemi Eboda is a safety professional who has carved a niche for herself practicing event safety. Aside this, she also has a background in law. Currently sits on the board of event Safety Alliance which is a global association made up of individuals and corporate bodies who are interested in promoting safety in global event industry. Barrister Eboda runs her own legal firm which offers services in area of complaints for injuries at events and venue liabilities. She is a certified health safety and environment practitioner with ISPON; and a venue safety expert from the Academy for Venue Safety and Society, Dallas in United States.
In this interview with Safety Record Newspaper, she shares insight on how events can be safely managed as well as career opportunities in event safety in Nigeria.

How did you come into safety and eventually event safety?

It started when I was much younger. As a young girl then in my teenage years, I fall a lot whenever I climb the staircase. It was a continuous thing and I began to wonder if something was wrong with me. I wondered why I always fell off the staircase and my parents will have to spend money to treat me.
Very soon, I realized that I was not just falling; but I was falling because a lot of times there were stuffs on my way. I realized that I had to do something to sustain it if not I would continue falling. I needed to be more conscious of the environment and when I continued to do this; I noticed that the falls I experienced reduced.
Also, when I got into school, I realized that I loved events. Whenever students wanted to celebrate their birthdays they would come to me to cook for them. Then I will do the cooking while ensuring my cooking environment was safe. I also began to plan events in the University so a lot of times when I plan events, I make sure it was done in an orderly manner.
Eventually, when I came out of school, I registered my business in 2005. But I realized that there were a lot of factors with the way events were organized then – we compromised our safety. Though I didn’t have a niche for the way I wanted to execute my event, but I just knew that the way I wanted to execute my event is different from the way events are done.
I needed the requisite knowledge to do my job so I went to the United States to obtain the necessary certification in event planning. While I was there I met a woman who worked in the University of Las Vergas, USA. This woman is a world renowned event risk and safety practitioner and I realized that this was what I really wanted to do- event risk and safety.

When we talk about events in Nigeria, there is a problem of crowd control. What are the techniques that you proffer for crowd management in any event?

Like I said earlier, events are part of our social status and that is why a lot of times, we have our events crowded. You know, Nigerians have this attitude of extending invitations to several others.
Also, it could be due to the fact that we know the capacity of a hall, and it is forwarded to the event managers. Perhaps, the capacity is 1,000. You are aware and yet you go ahead to invite much more than the capacity. But I think this is done in ignorance to the fact that it could be risky. Because when a place is overcrowded, it increases the chances of…

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