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Personality in Focus

I’m Looking Forward to Creating Jobs for 10, 000 Nigerians – Bayo Fatusin

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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

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Personality in Focus

Adesola Adeduntan: Award Winning Financial Game Changer

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By Eric Elezuo

Only a few persons would believe that the Managing Director of FirstBank Nigeria Plc, the indefatigable Dr. Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan is just 50 years old. He was 50 on May 7, 2019. This is as a result of the achievements that have trailed his young life. Just a few days ago, Dr. Adeduntan bagged an international award as Distinguished Alumnus of the Year by Cranfield School of Management, United Kingdom. This is even as FirstBank was named biggest mover of 2019 according to KPMG Report within the same period. It is not incorrect to say that Adeduntan is a creative achiever.

Born Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan on May 7, 1969, in Ibadan, Oyo State, the banker started his early education at Ibadan Municipal Government Primary School (IMG), Adeoyo between1975 and 1981, for his primary education before proceeding to Urban Day Grammar School, Old Ife Road, Ibadan, where he had his secondary schooling. His excellent to duties created a space for him to become the Deputy Senior Prefect in his final year in 1986.

In the same year, he was admitted to the University of Ibadan in to study Veterinary Medicine, and qualified in 1992 as a Veterinary Surgeon, a profession he hardly practiced before switching over to financial management.

Consequently, in 1994 he joined Afribank (Nig) Plc., and was posted to the Ibadan Main Branch as a graduate trainee. He spent 18 months there learning the ropes, and working in various areas of banking operations including cash management, clearing, credit risk management, and foreign operations.

Between September 1995 and May 2002 Adeduntan worked with Arthur Andersen Nigeria, rising to become manager in the firm’s financial services industry business, leveraging on the 18 months mentorship he received at Afribank. In this role, he led and managed the statutory audit of a number of leading Nigerian banks.

In August 2000, he served as an instructor at the Andersen World-Wide Induction training for new hires in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. He also served as the lead instructor for the Local Office Basic Accounting Training and Induction course in 1999. It was while he was with Arthur Andersen that qualified as a chartered accountant in 2000.

With more feathers to his cap, Adeduntan moved to the financial services industry in KPMG as a senior manager in June 2002, and served diligently till October 2004 when he bowed out. At KPMG, he co-pioneered the firms’ financial risk management advisory services. He was also a KPMG-accredited Trainer and facilitated several internal training programmes.

When he left KPMG in 2004 to study, he pursued a Master’s degree in Business Administration at the Cranfield School of Management, where he was a British Chevening Scholar. He graduated in September 2005.

Armed with yet another great feather, Adeduntan moved to Citibank Nigeria Limited in 2005 where he became the Senior Vice-President (General Manager) and Chief Financial Officer. He was saddled with the responsibility of overseeing the bank’s financial and product control functions, quality assurance and operational risk management. he was on hand to assist the bank in its recapitalisation during the banking consolidation era.

In October 2007, he called it quits with Citibank, and a month later, pitched tent with the Africa Finance Corporation, as the pioneer Chief Financial Officer and Business Manager.

His achievement at the AFC includes leading the team that secured an A3/P2 investment grade international credit rating from Moody’s Investors Service in March 2014. This made the Africa Finance Corporation the second highest-rated lending financial institution in Africa.

In July 2014, he was appointed an Executive Director/Group Chief Financial Officer of FirstBank, where he was responsible for the bank’s financial control, internal control and enhancement, business performance management, treasury and procurement functions.

On Monday January 4, 2016, Adeduntan succeeded Bisi Onasanya, and assumed duty as Managing Director of FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, and its commercial banking subsidiaries including FBN UK, FBN Ghana, FBN DRC, FBN Guinea, FBN Gambia, FBN Mortgages, FBN Senegal, FBN Sierra Leone and First Pension Custodian Limited.

He coordinated his functions so professionally that on December 7, 2016, he was awarded the 2016 Banker of The Year award by the Leadership Newspaper “For refusing to ‘go with the flow’ even when the temptation was high and the reward substantial, and for reminding his colleagues that banking is nothing without integrity”.

A man of many beneficial and influential parts, Adeduntan currently sits on the board of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, and as a non-executive director on the boards of the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS), Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), FBN Bank U.K. Ltd., Universal Payments Plc., and FMDQ OTC Securities Exchange. He is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria.

In just four years at the helm of affairs at FirstBank, Adeduntan has turned the tables and rewrote banking narratives, delving into all aspects of human endeavour to see to the development of SMEs, youth entrepreneuship among many others.

In his speech at the kick off of FirstBank’s celebration of 125 years of unbroken business operations, Adeduntan hinted as follows:

“From that very modest beginning in 1894, First Bank has traversed an incredible journey of delivering impeccable financial services to its customers and supporting the building of the modern-day Nigeria and indeed, West Africa, including our early pivotal role as the monetary and fiscal policy regulator for the entire West African region,” he said.

“As a long-standing institution, which even predates Nigeria as a unified entity, FirstBank is entrenched in the nation’s development; woven into the very fabric of society, with our involvement in every stage of national growth and development.

“At the amalgamation, independence and through the seasons ever after, we have been here marching hand-in-hand with you and our dear nation. We have enabled financial, technological, industrial and societal advancements, achieving very many firsts over time.”

Adeduntan has seen to the sponsorship of prolific enterprises to guide the youths on the right path. These include the African Fashion Week which took place at the Oriental Hotel and Youth Empowerment Seminar at the Harbour Point Event Centre. These shows among a whole lot have a lot of testimonials following.

Adesola is married to Mrs. Adenike Adeduntan and together they have three wonderful children.

For your ability to change the game, and make positive impact in the economic advancement of Nigeria, and very many other countries, especially where FirstBank domiciles, you are our Boss of the Week.

Congratulations sir!

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Personality in Focus

Gbongan Celebrates Joel Oyeyinka Popoola’s Creative, Technological Ingenuity

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As many that knows the agrarian town of Gbongan will not be surprised that yet another wonder in the person of Joel Oyeyinka Popoola, Founder, Digital Democracy Project and Rate Your Leader app, has been produced for the good of humanity. This is because Gbongan is famous, you can say notorious if you like, for producing egg heads who have stood the test of time in terms of proficiency, research, achievement, academic prowess and inventions.
Gbongan is a small community in southwestern part of Nigeria, Osun State to be specific. But as small as Gbongan is in size, she has produced more academics than any community in her category.
As a convention, Gbongan is in the business of crowning only the academically best as paramount rulers, and it is on record that its obas have had a minimum qualification of Ph.D. From the days of late Oba (Dr.) Solomon Babayemi Akinrinola 1, who was an Associate Professor of African Studies, University of Ibadan to the present Kabiyesi,  Oba (Dr.) Adetoyese Oyeniyi Odugbemi 1, an Agronomist, only the best has sat on the throne. The town could as well be described as a harbinger of Professors and Doctors of Philosophy. This has been since the 1950s.
Among prolific academics produced by the great Gbongan community include: Late Dr. Akinrefon, a Molecular Biologist;  Late Prof. Timothy Adegboye, a Professor of land Economics,  who during his life time was always referred to as the Professor of Professors; and at a point, was christened ‘Baale UI’ because he was the oldest in the University Community; this was the man who founded the Agric Economics Department of the then University of Ife,  now Obafemi Awolowo university. There was also Late Dr. Akintola, a renowned Consultant to WHO, UNICEF, FAO; Prof Akinwumi, former Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics, University of Ibadan; Prof Dupe Makinde, Prof. Alani Adeagbo Amusan, Prof Ojewole, the first Professor and Dean of Faculty of Pharmacy, Obafemi Awolowo University; Prof Ilori; Prof Lekan Dairo; Prof Lekan Oyeleye, former Dean Faculty of Arts University of Ibadan; Prof Seye Bolaji; Prof Wale Ajayi; Prof Ademola Olaniran; Prof O.B. Ajayi; Prof Clement Adebooye, Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics Osun State University; Prof Tunde Makanju; Prof. Ekanade, among many others.
Gbongan’s prowess is not only in the academia, the town is also home to jurists and legal luminaries such as Justice Oyegoke Bolarinwa Babalakin (Honorable Justice of the Supreme Court, Federal Republic of Nigeria); Late Barrister Adedeji; Dr. Olawale Babalakin SAN, Barrister Funminiyi Oyebamiji Agbaye and Barrister Dapo Adekunle.
In the field of Medicine, Banking, Insurance, Media and Security, Gbongan boasts of citizens.
The rave of the moment in the person of an accomplished Techpreneur, Joel Oyeyinka Popoola, who had been described by Sunderland Echo as ‘the City man’, is a proud product of Gbongan.
Popoola is a United Kingdom citizen, who has developed an App to solve one of the challenges confronting democracy, even in developed democracies like the United kingdom. The App is meant to bridge the gap between elected leaders and the electorate, and at the same time eliminate the hassles of physical town hall meetings. He has put in place electronic platform through which Electors and Electorates will constantly interact to discuss matters relating to their constituencies in an abuse-free manner and bringing a win-win situation to both the leaders and the subjects.
The rate of acceptability of the app in the United Kingdom has been encouraging, making Yinka, as he is fondly called the cynosure of all eyes among all levels of communities and nationalities in the country. In all these, Yinka is always quick to make reference to his country, Nigeria; and his town of birth, Gbongan as opportunity presents itself.
His Rate Your Leader App has solved the problem of accountability among political office among holders. And will open channels of interactions between the elected public office holders and the electorates thereby mitigating challenges associated with lack of communication between a particular representative and his/her constituents, fake news and fabrications or half truths, which are known to be the bane of democracy.
With constant interactions between the elected officials and people of their constituencies, needs are therefore prioritised and even development across borders ensured.
Popoola, in a chat with Score Express Magazine, said that “the irony is that the technology is now in place to allow both the electors and elected to connect at the touch of a button but that technology all too often falls into modern mob rule. Whether it’s Brexit in Britain, Trump in America or Jeune Gillets in France, voters no longer believe that politicians represent them– it’s time to take back democracy with technology.” .
Popoola stated further, “Across the world, democracy is changing forever, and Nigeria would not be an exception. Voters expect to have more influence on politics than our traditional representative democracy can necessarily accommodate. As a result, voters are either defecting to anti-establishment parties or becoming more and more attracted by direct action.”
He also averred, “People’s political priorities and motivations are becoming more and more disparate and unpredictable, and politicians are clearly failing to ascertain what voters really want.”
The Publisher of the Score Express Magazine, who also is a childhood friend of Popoola, called on all Gbongan citizens, home and abroad, to rise and honour one of their own, Joel Popoola, as he arrives Nigeria this January to launch the App.
“if Ijebu people could honour Anthony Joshua, being their own, then Gbongan people wouldn’t fail in doing more,” he said.

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Personality in Focus

Ex-Local Government Chairmen Confers Grand Patron Honours on Prince Ned Nwoko

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The body of Ex-Local Government Chairmen of Nigeria, has decorated prolific businessman, Prince Ned Nwoko as its Grand Patron at a well attended event, which took place at the prestigious Mount Nwoko, Idumuje-Ugboko, Delta State.

Prince Nwoko, who has served Nigeria in various categories including as a member of the House of Representatives and a senator, is the husband of delectable actress, Regina Daniels.

The honour, which has created a jolly good mood in the billionaire business man, is not unconnected to his philanthropic gestures toward humanity.

Sources revealed that one of the major reasons for recognizing the Prince from Delta State was his singular act of assisting the 774 local governments in Nigeria to pursue and recover over deductions (Paris club funds) from foreign lenders and governments, which benefited the three tiers of government.

The source further added that all the former Chairmen from across states and political parties were on hand to honour the iconic Philanthropist and grassroot politician.

Prince Ned Munir Nwoko is a lawyer, politician and businessman. The Nigerian billionaire has been involved in politics for a very long time.

Ned was a member of the Nigerian House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003. He represented Aniocha North-South and Oshimili North-South in Delta State, Nigeria .

Prince Ned Munir Nwoko, who is popularly known as Ned Nwoko was born on December 21, 1960 into the Royal Palace of Idumuje-Ugboko in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria. The 59-year-old dark skinned man is a Muslim, and has been described in the media as a ‘sweet old wine that young Nollywood actress, Regina Daniels, is sipping happily’.

He currently has six wives including Regina Daniels, the sixth, who is excited about it. Their marriage caused an uproar in the media as result of their age difference, but the man of wealth and the young movie goddess were basically in love.

Recently, at the convocation of the University of Petroleum Resources, Efunrun, Warri, Delta State, he gifted 20 first class students with N20 million to kickstart their career. He also gave out 5million naira to 50 Instagram followers as start up.

He also singlehandedly bankrolled the blockbuster iconic movie THE ENEMY I KNOW to the tune of N180million. He’s a lover of sports and education who find fulfillment in doing good.

Hear him: “I feel great doing good and creating opportunities for others”

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