By Eric Elezuo
Humble, humane and extremely accommodating, Bayo Fatusin is one of Nigeria’s prolific entrepreneurs, busy building industries to absorb the crowd of unemployed youths and professionals. In this brief chat at one his hotels, House J, situated at the highbrow GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, he highlighted what it means to be fulfilled, saying the happiness of the common man on the street is the only reason one can confidently say he is fulfilled among many other ground breaking revelations. Excerpts:
Can we meet you sir?
My name is Bayo Fatusin. I am an entrepreneur. I am from Ondo town in Ondo State. Among the many institutions I attended is the University of Lagos where I studied History and Strategic Studies. I am a practicing Christian, and I believe in God.
What kind of business are you into, and can you itemize it?
I will rather say we, because I am never alone and I can’t do it alone. So, we are into Construction, Real Estate, Agriculture; and as you know agriculture is the new frontier in Africa now, and we are investing heavily in it. Also, we are into hospitality among many other businesses I do for now.
As a business man in Nigeria, what are the challenges?
Doing business in Nigeria is a huge task, and the challenges are enormous, especially when you talk about power, funding and the likes. But what can we do, we believe in the system; we believe in Nigeria, and we believe in what we can do for our people. Therefore, we would stay and work things out until it gets better and better.
Most businesses have folded up as a result of the harsh economic realities, but your organizations are still standing strong. In what way have you been able to surmount these challenges?
By being proactive and continually thinking out of the box. The change we are talking about must practically start from us; within our own establishments – meaning that we have to be a good example to our staff, and we have to advice them to be good example to others and do the right thing. We know the government cannot take care of everything, so the need to support the government has made us refuse to give up. We are supporting the government with the use of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs). And of course with a lot of social corporate responsibility initiatives to affect the general public as well as making sure that we build and educate people.
While other companies were downsizing and relieving workers of their jobs as the recession bites harder, none of your organizations was reported to have sacked staff. How were you able to retain your workforce during the recession?
That credit belongs to God for not allowing us to retrench our staff during the recession. Moreover, discipline was our watchword, and we tell ourselves the whole truth. There was no room for waste in our system, and a lot of sacrifices were made. We insisted on prudency, and cut down on unnecessary cost and spending; that was how we managed ourselves out of the recession period. Whatever we don’t need, we don’t go for it, and we only sort what we needed. And to the glory of God we are still standing today.
How many people have you empowered as part of your corporate social responsibility?
We are busy creating more employments, and we do that by creating more businesses, and looking for ways to create more businesses. And it is for this reason that we recently diversified into agriculture, and through this, we will be able able to employ close to another 1000 citizens of Nigeria.
Which area of agriculture did you invest in?
We are into poultry, rice and cassava farming. We are also into processing and export. Our base is in Ondo and Oyo states.
Having traveled around the world, which country gives you more insight and inspiration?
I will say the United States of America. Again, Asia, more especially Singapore, inspires me too because of their rapid development. Singapore is one country you can credit with will power because they were once like us. I think the credit should go more to their leaders. To me, Singapore is an inspiration.
Do you believe we have leadership problem in Nigeria?
I am not a politician, and the Bible says we should pray for our leaders (laughs).
You are not a politician now, but is there any possibility of becoming one in the future?
I don’t know, and I can’t tell because business is my calling for now. But if at the end of the day, God says I have to serve my people, I will. I can’t take any step without God.
Based on the CSR you are committed to, and the assistance you are known to have provided, is it not possible for your people to invite you to come and lead them?
I still must consult with my God before I take such decision. If I do anything without God, it means I am ready to bear the consequences if anything happens. I won’t take any step without God. The truth of the matter is that I am not even thinking of any political position unless God approves it for me. All I am doing to make life easier for the people is what I am doing presently. Also I am creating jobs to get people off the street, and put food on their table. When that time comes; when we get to that bridge, we will definitely cross it.
Where do you see this agricultural sector you are investing in, in the next 5 years?
Like I said, it is the next frontier for Nigeria, and in the next five years with the way our government is investing in agriculture presently, I believe it will take us to the next level, because when we are able to feed ourselves; stop the importation of rice and other produce, then we are okay.
One of your business organizations is named House J, what does it mean?
It means House of Joseph.
Your background has nothing to with hospitality, how did you get into hotel business?
It is a passion. I have passion for hospitality even before I came into the industry. This is my passion in life. Far back in those days, my home was just about entertainment, and I’d always known I will make it a business.
You are known to hold fellowships in your establishment on a regular basis unlike most entrepreneurs, what prompted the routine?
This is because God is my only source and my pillar, and always at my back. Not only do I hold fellowships regularly on Thursdays, every Monday, I fellowship with my staff and every first day of the month, we give glory to God; and give praises to Him. And as you can see, business men come from far and wide between 12 and 1 every Thursday just to sing Hosanna to God, because He is the owner of our life; without God I am nothing. And with God, I am everything.
Is there a possibility that these weekly or daily fellowships can lead to a full blown ministry someday because of the passion you have for God?
I really don’t know, but if God says we will operate on that level, who am I to say no… (laughs).
How many children do you have now?
I have four children; four beautiful girls. The eldest is 24, the second is 21, the third is 19, and the youngest is 10 years old.
So, as a busy businessman, how do you relax?
I engage in sports like track and field, and tennis.
When you are not doing your business or engaging in spots, what do you do?
I relax. I read my Bible; I study the Word of God, and that relaxes me more because I want to know Him more, I want to know about what happened in the ancient times. I want to know how to have solid relationship with my creator. So, that gives me peace. Every time I am with Him, I find peace and I enjoy that a lot.
Do you hold a position in church and which church do you attend?
Not at all, I am a catholic. I am not a pastor, but I am a deep believer in the Word of God.
Can you name the people who can be called your product, I mean those you have empowered to stand on their own today?
Uncountable! I can’t mention names; my religion will not allow me to do that.
So, what are we expecting from you in the nearest future?
By the grace of God, to build more businesses; I am looking forward to a day I will have like 10,000 staff, and that will make me really happy.
And are your businesses spread across Nigeria?
Yes. We are in Lagos, Ondo, Oyo and Abuja.
How many languages do you speak?
Three. I speak Igbo, Yoruba and English.
How did Igbo come about?
My late mom is from the East
Peter Obi Appoints Strategic Communication Expert, Charles Okigbo As Campaign Spokesman
Ubani Celebrates Birthday, Appreciates God’s Faithfulness
Chairman of Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Developmental Law, NBA-SPIDEL, Dr. Monday Onyekachi Ubani is a year older today (July 27) and the Human Rights lawyer fondly called MOU by friends and well-wishers is using the occasion to celebrate God faithfulness.
Reflecting on his life on earth, Ubani said he is particularly grateful to God who has stood by him throughout the high and low moments of his life.
He said: “July 27 every year is always an opportunity for me to reflect on how God has stood by me throughout my low and high moments. This year is not an exception. God has been my pillar and without him, I am nobody. What you see in my today and describe as success could not have been possible without God’s mercy and faithfulness.
“Besides God, my family has also been very supportive. The love of my wife and children is unquantifiable and has spurred me to be the success story I am today. Nigerians have also been kind to me and I appreciate every one of them. I celebrate everyone who has been a part of my life.”
Born to a humble family in Awomukwu Village in Ikwuano Local Government Area of Abia State, Ubani has risen from a young ambitious village boy to become a successful lawyer, an opinion moulder and one of the few respected voices on national issues in the country.
Not only has he excelled in law practice, Ubani has become an unrepentant philanthropist and an advocate of human and peoples’ rights in Nigeria and beyond. Just recently, Ubani won the hearts of Nigerians when he dragged the Federal Government to court over mandatory COVID-19 vaccine and twitter ban.
Ubani’s quest to impact humanity started way back in 2012 when contested and won the chairmanship position in the ever vibrant Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch and took the branch to the level that no previous or those after him had reached.
His leadership quality and friendship revived the divided branch and made it a very united branch that its voice was feared and respected nationally during his tenure. It was therefore very easy for him when he aspired to the position of the vice presidency at the national level.
He was adopted by the Eastern Bar Forum of lawyers in which he is a member and returned unopposed at the national election of the association that took place in 2016 and became elected with the highest vote even more than that of the president of the Association, an indication of his popularity within the legal circle.
Due to the feat he achieved during his tenure as a second vice-president, Ubani was elected as chairman of NBA-SPIDEL to revive the session which was almost in comatose. Since mounting the leadership of NBA-SPIDEL, the Section has become a reference point in the fight to enshrine rule of law and hold the government to account.
His act of philanthropy includes the saving of the life of Baby Somaya who had a successful heart surgery in India and came back to Nigeria to the waiting arm of MTN and Praise, a musician who collaborated with MTN to donate the sum of 10 million Naira to the baby. The baby is today a landlady and living a normal life.
He also brought to limelight a lady who worked at Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos as a cleaner and returned the sum of 12 million lost money to the owner. That singular act of honesty attracted Dr Ubani and his Foundation, Onyekachi Ubani Foundation and they swung into action and got the lady introduced to Nigeria as the face of a true and honest Nigerian through the mainstream and social media.
The reward to the lady came in torrents: awards, money gifts, employment opportunities and handshakes with the high and mighty in Nigeria. In fact, that promotion of her virtue brought her a husband subsequently She is happily married to her heartthrob. Recently she was given a house and several gifts by the Vice President of the country His Excellency, Prof Yemi Osibajo SAN.
Dr. Ubani through his law firm has rendered pro bono services and has also helped many aggrieved Nigerians to get justice.
The plethora of awards that adorn the walls of Ubani’s office and home are true attestation that the labour of this indefatigable humanitarian has not escaped the watchful attention of many credible local and international organizations.
Ubani is married to Lady Faustina and is blessed with four lovely children, one of whom is already following his step as a vibrant legal practitioner. His second son is an Engineer graduate of the prestigious Covenant University.
Gbenga Adeyinka Advises NDLEA to Arrest, Jail Celebrity Drug Abusers
Known for his brutal forthrightness when he is not joking for money, star comedian Gbenga Adeyinka has told representatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in no uncertain terms that the fastest way to deter celebrities from misleading young Nigerian youths into drug abuse on social media is to arrest and jail them once they have evidence.
The very successful comedy merchant was speaking Friday, July 15 in Ikeja, Lagos venue of an NDLEA Celebrity Drug-Free Club confab occasioned by the NDLEA in collaboration with wellness firm, HealthGarde International as sponsor, to mark the United Nations International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking 2022.
The confab, an initiative of the Wilson Ighodalo-led NDLEA Celebrity Drug-Free Club, was a rallying point to address drug abuse challenges, especially among young Nigerians and to explore advocacy among celebrities through sensitization and enlightenment of the public to fight the growing menace.
Speaking on behalf of an array of entertainment stars, Adeyinka pointed out that the entertainment industry has a lot to do in terms of advocacy, especially among young Nigerians. He said, “NDLEA should arrest, prosecute and jail celebrities that use and abuse hard drugs, especially on social media because those are the areas where bad behaviour is becoming endemic.”
Adeyinka impressed the audience when he said, “There are a lot of us (celebrities) who are doing well and who don’t use hard drugs at all. I speak for myself, Alibaba, Kofi and a host of others. If NDLEA is serious about winning this fight against drug abuse, then they must arrest and jail erring celebrities who take to social media and show off their drug use habits thus misleading teeming Nigerian youths.”
At the confab tagged: “Best Approaches to Drug Control: Role of Entertainment Industry Practitioners” the NDLEA representative, Asst. General Segun Oke, representing the Chairman, Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) explained the importance of educating Nigerians on the dangers of drug abuse.
He said, “One of the strategies of the new management of NDLEA is our all-out War Against Drug Abuse (WADA) to widen public awareness of drug abuse.”
CSP Gbenga Stephen, dressed in his weekend fatigues and representing the Lagos State Commissioner of Police said, “NDLEA is ensuring that drug abuse is curbed to the minimum and the Nigerian Police is also not left out in this effort.”
The National Coordinator, NDLEA Celebrity Drug-Free Club, Wilson Ighodalo offered some facts and figures on how abuse and the drug trade continue to run down the sanity and sobriety of the Nigerian youth. He said, “Nigeria still remains a key hub of drug trafficking and cannabis remains the most abused drug in our country, and as a nation we must invest massively in health and community intervention amongst other things if we want to win this fight.”
The Deputy Commander, Drug Demand Reduction, NDLEA Lagos State Command, Eziaghighala Chinyerem explained that the prevalence of drug abuse amongst youths increases daily and so does the number of out-of-school children.
Eziaghighala said, “It is even more worrisome that the age of indulgence has come below 10 years with secondary students and primary pupils now doing hard drugs habitually and the growing numbers are alarming.”
The CEO, HealthGarde International, Lovelyn Nneka Nwarueze who also spoke at the confab highlighted the importance of quality drug usage. She advised the public to start caring about their general wellbeing and to always go for drugs made with 100 percent natural products.