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Companies collapse in Nigeria because everybody wants to be a boss —Odunowo

Posted by BILESANMI OLALEKAN on 2005/11/07 | Views: 640 |

Companies collapse in Nigeria because everybody wants to be a boss —Odunowo


HE saw himself as an instrument of change in Nigeria. Forty-five years after, Abdulfalil Abayomi Odunowo not only became the instrument of change through his company but also providing jobs for as many people as he can.

HE saw himself as an instrument of change in Nigeria. Forty-five years after, Abdulfalil Abayomi Odunowo not only became the instrument of change through his company but also providing jobs for as many people as he can.

Yomi is the chief executive officer, Bell and Bell Telecommunications, the largest supplier of telecommunications support equipment in Nigeria, which is just one of the several companies he runs with his brother, Lekan. Abayomi, perhaps, is one of the very few people who dreamt and saw to the realization of such dreams. Of course, he is a lucky man.

Ironically, however, this man does not believe in luck! He simply would not ascribe his supposed success to luck, rather, Abayomi says his achievements so far are a product of hard work.

Said he: “Luck? There is nothing like luck. I don’t believe in it. I am not one of the apostles of luck. Sorry, it does not exist here. There are opportunities and preparedness, they work hand in hand. When you are prepared for eventualities, you will not be caught unawares, so when the opportunities come, all you need to do is plough into it and that is it. Opportunities are there for everybody in this country, if only we can be little more focused and more inward looking and sincere. Before we got our licences, we didn’t know anybody who could influence somebody into making our job easier, we worked our ways through and through. We worked hard for it, if it were luck, we would not have worked so hard to get it.

Once the vision is there, you cannot be discouraged because your ultimate goal would be your vision. So, I don’t believe in luck but hard work . Again, one of the reasons companies easily collapse in Nigeria is because everybody wants to be a boss.
The truth of the matter is that, there are some people who are not supposed to be entrepreneurs but because they think they have the money, they own companies. It is not everybody that has the capability to run a company successfully. Everybody wants to be a boss. You may have good ideas and not have the capital and you and I know ideal ideas need ideal capital, so you have to look for that owner of ideal capital to match your own ideal ideas but if you say because you have the money, you go all out on your own to get it done, you may not succeed because you didn’t prepare for that business in the first place. If you invest the money, I think it will be more profitable for you on the long run than setting up a company that is not firmly rooted”.

Though, he trained as an engineer, his love for the razzmatazz of the advertising world drew him into that profession in the late 80s when he established New Generation Advertising which he ran till early 90s when he closed shop. He explained why he gave up what he loved so much: “I had some part of my education in England and when I returned to the country, I tried my hands on advertising when I set up my company called New Generation Advertising because I thought it would be proper to bring part of what I learnt in the U.K advertising industry into the country as I like creating things from the scratch, from nothing which is basically what we are doing here at the moment. It was very rough when we started but with hard work, we got big.
However, when economic depression set into the country in the 90s and the big agencies would not allow the small agencies to grow, they would rather create a small agency which the small jobs would be going into than give the small existing ones like ours. Then but more importantly, the people I was working with did not share the vision I had, I packed it up because it was not giving me what I wanted”.
That means it was a regrettable venture?, I asked him. “No, I never regretted anything I do, never”, he shot

back. “The team I had in the company then did not have the vision I had. Advertising is good which is why I still love it. As the CEO, if the company is not going the way you wanted, the best thing is for you to quit because I discovered then that people are the most difficult resources you can manage in a business especially in Nigeria. For example, when I was in advertising, the staff would go out with the company’s fund, sourcing clients and business, but at the end of the day, the company that sent them and whose fund they used in executing the business transaction is not in the know of the transaction eventually.
Yomi is married to Oluwabunmi, a lady he claimed he never met or knew until he walked into her living room and picked her for a wife. “But that is the truth. I never met her before. I just walked into her house and there and then, I told her she was going to be my wife and here we are with three children. A lady friend told me that I should come with her to show me a lady, who, according to her, had all the materials one can look for in a woman.
And so, I went with her to my wife’s house and, indeed, I was not disappointed when I met her. Everything that was said about her was intact, so, I had no other option than settle down with her. We courted for few years before we tied the knot in 1991", he stated.

The company recently launched a value added product into the telecommunications industry- which enables the subscribers to receive recharged cards without leaving their rooms. But my skepticism pushed me to asking him if the product was fraud proof. “It cannot be manipulated. This is not a physical thing that you can manipulate. Besides, we never felt that there is anything negative about Nigerians. This is one of the best countries I have ever been to, it is one of the countries in the world that have more opportunities anybody can ever dream. “

As far back as 1917, the western world discovered that there is a black country called Nigeria that has the potential of being one of the greatest countries in the world and they designed to pull the country down. Unfortunately, the people at the helms of affairs are oblivious of these things. Most of the older generation would rather deal with a white person than another person of their colour.
The I.T of the world today is being driven by Nigerians. There will always be bad people, there is nothing anybody can do about that, it is not peculiar to Nigeria, it is all over the world. This is a society where we are all supposed to be very rich and 95 per cent of the people are in abject poverty.

We don’t have cause to be poor in this country but mismanagement, insincerity make the country the way it is now. There is nothing negative about Nigeria, what is negative about Nigeria that you cannot find else where?
Of course I knew while growing up that I would be an instrument of change in this country. Nigeria is a country that has so many opportunities for people who are willing to explore them but you should also know that you must pay your dues if you must be successful, no matter how brilliant or connected you are, you must pay your dues .
But in Nigeria, we like to make overnight success which I think is not possible. We like the flash in the pan success which of course we all know does not last”



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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.