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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

Aare Emmanual-King Celebrates Muslim Faithful, Harps on Peaceful Co-existence

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The Chairman and Group Managing Director of Adron Homes and Properties, Aare Adetola Emmanuel-King has extended warm wishes to the Muslim community as they celebrate the annual Eid-Al-Adha festival throughout the country. He emphasizes the importance of peaceful coexistence, religious tolerance, and prayers for the country’s development, urging all religious leaders to embrace these values.

In a statement signed by His Special Adviser on Media, Oladapo Sofowora; Aare Adetola encouraged all Muslims to stay committed to their faith and utilize the celebration as an opportunity to contribute to Nigeria’s development during these challenging economic times. Additionally, he calls on opinion leaders and religious bodies to use the festival as a platform to pray for our leaders to guide the nation towards prosperity and stability, fostering a flourishing economy and a secure environment.

He said; “ I want to implore opinion leaders and religious bodies in the country to use the occasion of the festival to pray for our leaders to guide us right and put the country on the path of prosperity. When the country is stable, celebration will be seamless and made possible. We need to pray for a more flourished economy and a secure country to ensure we have a smooth sail and bounce back into winning ways.”

The Ilishan-Remo Born Property mogul further advocates for unity among all religions to work towards common goals of development, prosperity, peace, justice, and equity and encourages religious bodies to hold leaders accountable while celebrating in peace. Aare Adetola highlights that peace is fundamental for development and progress, as a nation in distress can breed negative outcomes and hinder growth. He urges everyone to promote positive virtues that will contribute to Nigeria’s greatness.

“I want to use this moment to ask our religious bodies to use this occasion to hold our leaders accountable and also celebrate in peace because when there is peace; development will surely thrive. A country in distress will breed all vices of malevolent and stunted growth. Let’s use this medium to promote all vices that will make Nigeria greater again.” He concluded.

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Personality in Focus

Tinubu Appoints Yakubu As DG, Budget Office, Drops Akabueze

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President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of Mr. Tanimu Yakubu as the Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation, following the expiration of the tenure of Mr. Ben Akabueze.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, on Thursday.

Yabuku is an accomplished economist and Chief Economic Adviser to a former President from 2007 to 2010; Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria from 2003 to 2007, and Commissioner of Finance, Budget, and Economic Planning in Katsina State from 1999 to 2003.

The new Director-General of the Budget Office of the Federation holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Finance from Wagner College, Staten Island, New York, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the same institution.

The statement noted that President Tinubu thanked the outgoing Director-General, Mr. Akabueze, for his services and wished him success in his future endeavours.

“The President expects the new Director-General of this pivotal agency to further enhance the provision of efficient and qualitative budget functions, with a view to promoting fiscal sustainability, transparency, and accountability in public finance management for national development,” it added.

Akabueze was first appointed by former President Muhammadu Buhari as a Special Adviser Planning (SAP) to the President on February 15, 2016, and later redeployed and appointed as DG Budget, June 10, 2016.

Buhari renewed Akabueze’s appointment as the DG of Budget Office in 2020.

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Personality in Focus

Onyeali-Ikpe Makes MIPAD’s List of Global Top 100 Trade Champions of African Descent

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In acknowledgment of her outstanding impact on global trade, Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, has been recognized as one of the honorees in the 2024 Most Influential Global Top 100 Export and International Trade Edition.
Themed, “Championing the Vision of Global Africa as a Unified Economic Block and Single Market,” the initiative which was announced on May 25, 2024 in celebration of Global Africa Day, lists several leaders in the global trade space of African descent, including the President, African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank), Prof. Benedict Okey Oramah,); Minister of Trade and Export Promotion, Algeria, H.E. Kamel Rezig;  Chairman, World Trade Centre Accra, Ghana, H.R.H Togbe Afede; the Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite; Executive Director and CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (Nigeria), Nonye Ayeni; Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank (IATB), Kanayo Awani; Director, Trade Development (Africa & Caribbean), World Trade Centre Miami, US, Kemi Arosanyin; Secretary of State for Business and Trade and President of the Board of Trade (United Kingdom/Nigeria), Kemi Badenoch; President, US-Africa Business Centre at US Chamber of Commerce, Kendra Gaither; and President of the Buenaventura Chamber of Commerce (Colombia), Milady Garces Arboleda.
According to a statement by Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD), the organisers of the initiative, “These honorees are recognized for their groundbreaking achievements in Trade & Export and are called upon to champion the vision of a unified Global Africa as an economic block. This recognition aligns with the ethos of the International Decade for People of African Descent, highlighting MIPAD’s ongoing commitment to celebrating individuals, organizations, and governments demonstrating outstanding leadership in advancing people of African descent globally.”
Commenting on the initiative, Dr Onyeali-Ikpe said, “This recognition demonstrates our market leadership in the international trade space at Fidelity Bank and our devotion to helping Nigerian businesses play a more active role in the global trade space.
Since 2022, we have hosted the largest private-sector driven trade expo tagged the Fidelity International Trade and Creative Connect (FITCC) with hundreds of export businesses from Nigeria, off-takers in the UK and USA, investors, regulators, media and other key stakeholder in the trade sector. Through FITCC, we have closed deals totaling $450million. Our commitment as a bank is to do more in this space and we thank MIPAD for the recognition.”
The Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD), is a global civil society initiative in support of the International Decade for People of African Descent, proclaimed by United Nation’s General Assembly resolution 68/237, to be observed from 2015 to 2024. MIPAD identifies high achievers of African descent in public and private sectors from all around the world as a progressive network of relevant actors to join together in the spirit of recognition, justice and development.
Ranked as one of the best banks in Nigeria, Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank with over 8.3 million customers serviced across its 251 business offices in Nigeria and the United Kingdom as well as on digital banking channels.
The bank has won multiple local and international awards including the Export Finance Bank of the Year at the 2023 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards, the Best Payment Solution Provider Nigeria 2023 and Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards; Best Bank for SMEs in Nigeria by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023; and Best Domestic Private Bank in Nigeria by the Euromoney Global Private Banking Awards 2023.
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