Africa’s Richest Man, Aliko Dangote Speaks On How We Can All Be Rich
…He plans to make Africa pay for itself
It’s a fair question: If Africans don’t invest on the continent, why should anyone else? There is at least one entrepreneur, who says he will do whatever he can to change this. Cement tycoon, Aliko Dangote, founder and chair of the Nigerian Dangote Group, promises to make Nigeria and the rest of the continent self-reliant.
“We do have enough money in Africa to jump-start the economy. The problem is that the majority of African entrepreneurs rather keep their money outside of the continent. Once we change that, we won’t have any more (financial) problems. We won’t need anyone to come and help us,” says Dangote, who with an estimated net worth of $16.1 billion, is Africa’s richest man.
Currently, only a mere 12 percent of Africa’s trade takes place within Africa. As a result, foreign investors remain cautious about the continent’s growth potential. Although Africa’s share of foreign direct investment has risen by 2.4% in the last five years, it stays low at 5.6%.
“The foreign capital is there, waiting. Investors are watching to see if we Africans are really on board. Are we investing in our own economies? Do we trust in what our political leaders promise and do? Once Africans start investing, everyone will follow,” says Dangote.
Dangote walks the talk. He has created a business empire that employs 26,000 people in Nigeria and operates in Ethiopia, Zambia, South Africa, Senegal, Cameroon, the Republic of Congo, Tanzania and several other African countries. After having made millions in the cement sector, the Dangote Group now mills flour, processes salt, refines sugar, produces fertilizer and pasta, and invests in real estate.
Dangote – a workaholic, who is said to sleep only a couple of hours a night – clearly believes in the enormous potential of doing business in Africa. At the moment, he says three sectors offer exciting opportunities on the continent: infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture. He, of course, has invested in all of them.
Lack of infrastructure has been discouraging investment on the continent for decades, undercutting Africa’s competitiveness. To change this, the continent needs $93 billion a year, for at least the next 10 years, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
“Infrastructure is one of the most deficient areas on the continent. That’s a problem but, at the same time, it represents a great opportunity. It has wide scope, and there is a lot of money to be made,” says Dangote.
Number two on his list, manufacturing, also faces a multitude of problems, including: severe skills shortage; low levels of productivity; rigid labor laws; unstable electricity supply and high transport costs. It’s therefore no surprise that African manufacturing accounts for a very small proportion of GDP in most Sub-Saharan African countries.
“At the moment, investment in manufacturing is almost zero, despite the fact that it promises very good returns on investment. Those of us who have invested heavily in manufacturing are actually making a lot of money,” says Dangote, whose group is the largest manufacturing conglomerate in West Africa.
But the most interesting area for investment, he believes, is agriculture. “The majority of our land is fertile. The land is flat, the soil excellent, there is water almost everywhere. If we start investing in agriculture now, we’ll be able to feed ourselves in the next five to 10 years. Then we can think about exporting food,” says Dangote.
Roughly 60% of the world’s uncultivated, arable land lies in Africa. Nigeria has 84 million hectares of arable land, of which only 40% is in use. Private investors, including the Dangote Group, are bidding for their piece of the pie. They have committed $8 billion, of which three quarters will come from foreign firms. But Dangote says he is not worried about outside investors grabbling Nigerian land.
“We don’t really care if land is taken up by foreigners or locals. We just want to see the land put to good use. Our land is of no use to us, with all its natural resources, if you don’t have the entrepreneurs to harness that opportunity. What we are looking for is for entrepreneurs to create jobs for our people that result in prosperity,” he says.
Dangote’s interests in the agricultural sector are multifold. Apart from securing land, he is building one of the world’s largest fertilizer plants, with a capacity of 2.8million tons, while also making an aggressive push into the sugar industry, setting himself the ambitious target of producing 1.5 million tons of refined sugar a year.
His biggest project to date is a $7 billion crude oil refinery that will process an annual 400,000 barrels of petroleum. It will give an important signal to the global business world that Africa will embark on the road of beneficiation and reduce the export of raw materials.
“For a long time, there has not been a new refinery in Africa. They are all very old, dilapidated. It doesn’t make commercial sense to export crude and then to re-import the refined product, when you can actually do it yourself. I believe we should try to make our country, our continent, self-sufficient,” says Dangote.
His strategy is ambitious but simple: target Africa’s shortfalls, turn those sectors into self-sufficient industries, and once there’s excess, start exporting.
“WE DO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY IN AFRICA TO JUMP-START THE ECONOMY. THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE MAJORITY OF AFRICAN ENTREPRENEURS RATHER KEEP THEIR MONEY OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENT. ONCE WE CHANGE THAT, WE WON’T HAVE ANY MORE (FINANCIAL) PROBLEMS. WE WON’T NEED ANYONE TO COME AND HELP US,”
Samuel Ukpong: A Trail Blazer
Most people testify to his professional competence, career achievement and his ability to succeed where many have failed, but what has made his name a signature of success is certainly more than these. His uprightness, his desire to always uphold global standard, his ability to lead by example and his patriotic spirit are other factors that have made him a successful Estate Manager, a caring family man and an administrator of note.
In our world where most high ranking professionals are mainly concerned about how they can use their professional skills to get wealth and the best contracts. Samuel Ukpong, Managing Director, 1004 Estates Limited believes that career achievement goes beyond these.
Truly, his career achievements remain the definition of true professionalism and efficiency. This explains why his contemporaries in the field of Estate Management always use his achievements as their standard of measurement. But this professional height Samuel has achieved did not happen overnight. It took years of parental guidance, purposeful studies and diligence to come to pass.
Samuel Ukpong attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he studied Estate Management and has wide-ranging experience in industrial, luxury residential, commercial property, and has complex project management skills having previously worked in various companies like United Bank of Africa, Diya Fatimilehin & Co and Knight Frank & Rutley Limited. Since his appointment as Managing Director, there has been a sustained effort to transform and institutionalize the operations of the company to deliver the mandate of creating a sustainable environment for clients to live, work, play and innovate to international standards.
1004 Estates Limited was established in 2004 as a private limited liability company by a group of investors to acquire 1004 Housing Estate in Victoria Island, Lagos from the Federal Government of Nigeria. The Company commenced refurbishment of the estate in 2008 which involved the stripping, replacement of all internal mechanical/electrical fittings and internal and external partitions. Refurbishment was completed in 2010 and the Estate is now occupied and directly managed by 1004 Estates Ltd.
1004 Estates Limited is now focused on providing other exemplary real Estate projects with emphasis on living, working and recreating innovatively in all its developments. The company offers expertise and personalized techniques in managing residential properties. Its management concept is founded on professionalism, integrity, accountability and quality service that guarantee the maximum return from investment, while maintaining clients’ property at the highest standard to attract the best rate possible.
The Company’s services include leasing, sales and property management services for residential and commercial properties. A full-service property development and facility management company, providing property, maintenance and management services ranging from rent collection, tenant relations, evictions, renegotiation and renewal and property maintenance. The company is also presently offering these additional services: project/construction management; property management; Estate agency; security services; cleaning services; and landscaping/ horticultural services.
The company has just commenced the development of the “1004 shopping mall & Residences” a mixed used residential and commercial project valued at N20 Billion on completion.
Prince Alex Mbata: An Epitome of Hardwork Spiced With Integrity
His qualification, experience and exposure to modern trends in oil & gas industry have become another definition of efficiency. That is why doors of opportunities have always opened for him everywhere he goes. But those who have been benefiting from his proven competence know that what has taken him so far as a professional of repute is more than this. His adherence to global standard, his trusted character and his passion to contribute to nation-building have made his name a signature of value and integrity. Prince Alex Mbata is an entrepreneur per excellence. The Managing Director of ABM Global Group Of Companies Limited is a graduate of Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu. He obtained a degree in Business Management, and also a Diploma in Management from Federal Arts and Science, Aba.
However, he went about obtaining another Diploma from City and Guilds, London Honourary Doctorate Degree from the Commonwealth University Belize City.
Prince Alex Mbata hails from Owerri North in Imo State, South Eastern Nigeria. He is currently the Energy Adviser to the Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha.
He established Apro Global, a company engaged in flow line construction, facility upgrade and leak repair with Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).
Apro Global metamorphosed into the following subsidiaries under his distinguished leadership.
- ABM Global Services Limited
ABM Global Oil Limited (downstream)
- ABM Paint Industry Limited
- Premier Tubes International Limited.
- The Lord’s Boat Transport Limited.
ABM Global Services Limited, one of his major companies is a leading indigenous oil and gas company into the sales, supply, servicing of OCTG and drilling tools. This company has soared to an enviable height under his leadership, leading to several local and international awards in the Oil and Gas sector. Some of these awards include:
- Best Casing and Tubular Company of the year 2011. This award was given by The African Energy and Infrastructure on Agust 28th , 2011 at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Ghana.
- Best Oil and Gas Tubular Casing Services Company 2012. This award was given by the Institute of Government Research and Leadership Technology on August 25th, 2012 at Nicon Luxury, Abuja.
- The Indigenous Company of the year 2013. This was given by Nigerian Advancement Award in June 2013 at the International Conference Center, Abuja.
- He also received an award at the South East Forum in recognition for his selfless service to humanity and contribution to nation-building at a special symposium organized in honor of Late Chief Sam Onunaka Mbakwe last year June 18th 2013.
Prince Alex Mbata, also runs a manufacturing conglomerate located at Naze Owerri, Imo State which comprises of:
- ABM Plastic Industry
- ABM Spring Waters Limited
- ABM Aluminium Industry
- ABM Tissue Paper Factory
The factory in Owerri has a staff strength of over 500 workers. He amongst others is serving in other capacities as:
Chairman, Commercial Committee of Assa North Ohaji South Gas Project (Shell).
Chairman, Committee, Solid Mineral Development Imo State.
Prince Alex Mbata is married, and the marriage is blessed with four children.
Rev. Chris Christian: Leading With Integrity.
In the comity of true pastors and well endowed men of God, Rev. Chris Christian stands tall in all ramifications. His passion to add value to people’s lives, win souls for Christ and help to take people from failure to success is only emblematic of the Lord Jesus. In fact, his teachings, preaching and his way of life portray him as a purposeful pastor who is bringing people closer to God. This wonderful man of God who is the shepherd of the Locust Army Ministries International is a man that has shown that he truly received divine call.
His character has become his greatest asset and his words have helped to build relationships bridges and maintain peace. But Rev. Chris Christian is not just an Apostle of peace and social justice, he is an embodiment of humility and due process who values his name more than gold or silver.
Understanding the importance of self discipline and hardwork to the achievement of the divine call he had decades ago, the charismatic shepherd was determined to make a difference through the Gospel. That is why the Locust Army Ministries has become what it is today.
Established 18 years ago as an end-time apostolic church, the ministry has continued to declare rapture. It started in one room apartment in Kano as a praying group comprising of 10 intercessors and following the leading of the Holy Spirit, the ministry started weekly activities and later, had its First Sunday Service in 1996.
Despite his belief in divine guidance, Rev. Christian opined that the character of the leaders in public offices, private enterprises and the church determines the level of progress any nation can make. In his words, “there are a lot of factors which are responsible for the level of decadence we have in Nigeria today; leadership, economics, social and even followership. Out of these, leadership, plays critical role, somebody once said that an army of sheep that a lion is leading is better than army of Lions that are being led by a sheep. The level of corruption at the public leadership level in Nigeria today has made the followership to lose faith and some have also used this as an excuse to justify their own shortcomings. Apart from this, the economic challenges are not making it possible for many people to achieve their potentials.
There is also the negative influence from the western world. The youths especially, are taking both the good and bad sides of foreign cultures. All these have contributed to what we have now. The shepherd posited that the church, rather than helping to shape the world, is already being corrupted by the world. According to this apostle of salvation, “Today, there is corruption even in the Church, but this does not mean that there are no preachers and pastors whose lives are worthy of emulation. Many people that go to churches look up to their pastor, some even rely on the churches for guidance but when these pastors lead them wrongly, the society see this as a failure of the body of Christ. Pastors are human, that is why I have always told people to look up to the Messiah who is Jesus and use the bible as their guide. No doubt, our world is bad and the church may have contributed, but without the efforts of the church leaders who are helping to modulate the characters of their congregation, this world would have been worse than what it is today. I believe the church is working, but it still needs to do more, while the leadership of the church should live the kind of life that brings glory to God.
Though prayer has been his word and the bible has been his guide, Rev. Christian still believes that it is only the grace of God that has kept him so far in the ministry. Explaining the challenges he has been facing as a clergyman, he said “the greatest challenge is how to live a life that pleases God. For me, I always ask for divine grace so that the congregation God has put in my care will have no cause to leave the light for darkness. Also, there is the challenge of helping the people to activate their faith through hardwork, acquisition of education and skills and diligence in whatever they are doing because faith without work will amount to nothing.”
Advising the Nigerian youths, the motivational preacher said: “if any Nigerian youth is looking for reasons to be involved in vices, there will be many, but none of these excuses can be good enough to save them when the arms of the law catch up with them. God has a purpose for creating them and he has given them the guidelines through which these can be achieved. They should trust in God but must be hardworking, diligent and live a life that glorifies God”.
Dr. Daniel Kolawole Olukoya: Passion For Integrity.
In a country like Nigeria where integrity, and reliability are not common features, Dr. Daniel Kolawole Olukoya, the General Overseer of (MFM Worldwide), is among the very few who stand tall in public life and Christendom for their admirable principles and dependability.
He is a preacher, motivational speaker, father, administrator and vibrant personality known for his honesty and uprightness. A dynamic and charismatic preacher with a vision directed by God and motivated to carry on the will of the Heavenly Father to build heavenly-minded people, Dr. Olukoya has always been guided by character-conscious living and this has made his life a roadmap for many who wish to live by Godly principles.
Born over 50 years ago to Mr. and Mrs. Amos Olukoya, a retired police officer and a petty trader respectively. He attended Methodist Boys High School, Lagos, where he finished with Grade One distinction and was the best student of his set. In his quest for higher education, he proceeded to the prestigious University of Lagos (UNILAG) where he studied Micro-Biology and bagged a first class degree honours, the first from the science Department since the University was established in 1962. After about two years of teaching and subsequent employment as a Research Assistant in the Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, Lagos, Dr. Olukoya travelled to the United Kingdom under the Commonwealth scholarship to the University of Reading, where he obtained PhD in Molecular Genetics. It is worth pointing out that Dr Olukoya finished his Ph.D. degree in record time, in spite of the difficulty of the subject and was the first Nigerian to obtain a Ph.D. in the subject area.
Dr. Olukoya is the first scientist to establish an indigenous laboratory of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in Nigeria and the first to clone genes. He has also supervised over 30 Ph.D. students, most of whom are presently doing well in their chosen fields.
One important contribution to Biotechnology and Health delivery made by Dr. Olukoya was the invention of a new type of ogi (pap) named DOGIK, a weaning food that can control diarrhea and also contains improved nutritional qualities. As a researcher, he has over 80 scientific publications to his credit.
On return to Nigeria after the completion of his Ph.D. programme, Dr. Olukoya continued to worship the Almighty God and was engaged in the delivering of seminars, preaching, singing among others, until God gave him the blue print and vision of the Mountain Of Fire and Miracles Ministries, which took off with 24 people in his sitting room in Yaba, Lagos in October 1989. Since the establishment of this church by God through Dr. D.K. Olukoya, MFM has experienced significant demographic spread. The Church has thousands of branches spread across Africa, Asia, Europe, a huge percentage are also located in the United States, the United Kingdom and Ireland. In its two decades of existence, MFM, which is noted for its unique and powerful prayer style, has enveloped the nation like a colossus and the church’s headquarters is the largest single congregation in Africa with attendance of over 120,000 in single meetings.
The MFM is a Ministry devoted to the revival of apostolic signs, Holy Ghost Fire-works, miracles and the unprecedented demonstration of the Power of God to deliver to the uttermost. Absolute holiness within and without, as a spiritual insecticide and prerequisite for heaven is taught openly.
Anointed by God, Dr Olukoya is a prophet, evangelist, teacher and preacher of the Word of God. Apart from the scientific publications to his credit, Dr Olukoya has written over 250 spiritual books, most of which are best sellers. The outstanding being the PRAYER RAIN, a prayer manual which is being used by the Christian world, irrespective of the denomination they belong. This book has sold in millions of copies. Besides this, Dr. Olukoya has to his credit over 70 Christian songs he composed.
Dr. D. K. Olukoya has received many awards such as Special awards for excellence in Research and Administration (SAFERA 2012), a Fellow of the Institute of Administrators and Researchers of Nigeria. The Most Prominent General Overseer of the year 2013 award worldwide, The Best Administrative General Overseer award Washington DC 2013,Top great Africa Achievers leaders legacy awards South Africa 2013, Outstanding Christian leaders awards etc.
His life and that of his wife, Pastor Shade and their son, Elijah Toluwani are living proofs that all power belongs to God.
Dr. Thomas Eneji Ogar: Committed to Service
There are certain personalities that are irresistible to historians, biographers of certain significant epochs either because of the circumstances of their birth, their life and times or because of their specific, strategic impact of their contribution to the growth of their society. One such person in Cross-River State today is Dr, Tom Eneji Ogar, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Due Process and Price Intelligence Bureau, a man of impeccable credentials and many qualities rolled into one.
Born on May 17, 1967 to the family of Mr & Mrs Bernard Ogar Egbung of Anyikang in Bekwarra Local Government of Cross River State, young Tom grew up under tutelage of his strict parents, with great promise and determination to carve a niche for himself in society. Filled with this zeal and apparently propelled by his parents, especially his loving mother, he, in comparison to his contemporaries had an early start in life.
He attended St. Celestine’s Primary School, Anyikang between 1973 and 1979, Bekwarra Secondary School Abuochiche, Bekwarra between 1979 and 1984 before proceeding to the famous University of Nigeria, Nsukka for his university education. He did not only successfully complete the Bachelor of Arts (B.A) programme in Philosophy in 1992, he distinguished himself as one of the Best Graduating Students in his class with a Second Class (Hons.) Upper Division. Between 1996 and 2006, he did his Post Graduate Programme at the prestigious University of Ibadan, Ibadan where he bagged a Master of Arts (M.A) and capped it with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in 2006. Significantly, his research centered on political corruption in a developing society like Nigeria.
He began his working life as a Youth Corper serving as planning officer/Tutor at Rabi-Bello Advanced Institute, Saminaka, Kaduna State where he displayed exceptional brilliance to the admiration of his employers and host community. On discharge, he was torn between a career in the Nigerian Police Force or the Academia. This was informed by his desire to doggedly fight the ills plaguing society and the aspiration to nurture young minds and instill in them the virtues of the hard, honesty, discipline and the joys of success when such is acquired through a fair means. These attributes have, over the years, been the hallmark of his life. He eventually took to lecturing, beginning from the rungs as a graduate assistant in the Department of Philosophy, University of Calabar. Here he rose steadily to the position of Lecturer 1 until his appointment as Special Adviser on Public Procurement in 2007.
The appointment of this well known egg-head, an acerbic Philosophy Teacher with seasoned academic records by his Excellency Senator Liyel Imoke, Governor of Cross River State demonstrated quite early the administration’s quest to entrench the tenets of Probity, Fiscal Discipline, Accountability and Transparency in Governance. The Due Process and Price Intelligence Bureau was created to, among others help build a broad framework and achieve some immediate gains that will put Cross-River State on the path of fiscal sustainability and enhance efficiency in the use of government resources. Dr. Ogar’s appointment to head this Bureau was seen in many circles as a case of putting a square peg in a hole. Under his leadership, the Due Process and Price Intelligence Bureau has carried out its mandate creditably with visible, concrete result to the admiration of critical observers and even avowed skeptics.
A well-read and widely travelled person, Dr Tom Ogar has published several papers and articles in local and international journals. Among the series of seminars and workshops he has attended are:-
i Study Tour Of Public Procurement And Disposal Assets Authority, Kampala, Uganda April 25-30, 2008.
ii Study Tour Of The South African Public Finance Management Sector, Organised By The Justice Development And Peace Commission (Nigeria) And Hosted By Institute For Democracy In South Africa (Idasa).
iii Workshop On Building State Capacity; “the Art Of Governance Organised By The Cross- River State Government And Hosted By Brand-edge Consulting Of Impression Management Consultants Abuja, July 6-7, 2007.
iv Training Course On “managing The Procurement Function” Organised By Global Training Consulting, London, UK, Nov. 3-4. 2008.
v. Training Course On Project Procurement For Works, Goods And Services At The Ghana Institute Of Management And Public Administration (Gimpa) Accra, April 20-May 1, 2009. Here he won an award for Excellence and outstanding performance. He is presently a Member of the Cross-River State Economic Management Team.
A doting father of four, he is happily married to Mrs. Helen Ofie Ogar. His hobbies include Reading, Football and Hunting. His vision is to lead an exemplary life guided by Truth, Integrity and Transparency. This Vision has been the sustaining force of his life and career.
Lekan Ishola: Turn Around Manager of Repute
Lekan Ishola, Chief Executive officer and Managing Director of P.R. Redline Ltd is not only a manager, he has become a role model for other managers. No wonder, his company keeps moving on and scooping laurels for its excellent performance. Lekan Ishola, as the CEO of wave-making Public Relations firm, PRRedline Limited, has proved that Leadership is an invaluable asset for growing and sustaining a brand. Few years ago, the agency which was then called FCB Redline, was never in the consideration set when assessing Nigeria’s frontline Public Relations agencies. Whether in the area of visibility, media clout or clientele base, FCB Redline’s rating was low, despite having been around since the early 2000s.
All that, however, changed from late 2012 when Ishola mounted the saddle as the head of the agency. Between then and now, a lot has changed at PR Redline such that today it has almost become the perfect byword for result-oriented Marketing Public Relations in the country. First was the radical re-definition of the agency’s positioning as a full-service Public Relations and Stakeholder management company that offers creative solutions borne out of thorough strategic insights. This was followed by restructuring of its organizational structure and injection of new professionally tested hands. And the results have been notable.
Today, the agency’s robust relationship with media outlets across Nigeria and beyond has been anchored on integrity and professionalism. The agency’s ability to develop media friendly content is equally one factor that has impacted positively on its rich, timely and impactful media deliverables to clients. Also, in the area of strategy, PR Redline has shown itself to be versed in the art of birthing cost-effective solutions to help clients achieve their communication objectives.
A proud clientele list that consists of Heritage Bank Limited, MoneyGram, PZCussons, Osun State Government, Doyin Group, Myer Industry Limited and a few other frontline political brands, among others remains a testament to the vibrancy of PRRedline in the past two years.
PRRedline’s testimonial is not shrouded in misery. For nearly two years of its engagement by the management of Heritage Bank to manage its corporate reputation, PRRedline’s proficiency has impacted positively on the Bank in the area of brand presence and brand share of voice. The Agency has succeeded in ensuring that the Bank maintains active and positive share of voice in the Nigerian media space, such that today, Heritage Bank has become one of Nigeria’s top five most visible Banking brands in the country.
Equally worthy of note is PRRedline’s remarkable twin-deployment of Issue Management and Information Substitution strategies in its handling of stakeholder engagement and media image repositioning projects as part of the Perception Management assignment for the Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, before and during the recently concluded governorship elections in the State. The landmark victory of Ogbeni at the August 9th election was partly facilitated by an excellent media and stakeholder involvement campaign the arrowhead of which was PRRedline.
Though the agency owes much to Lekan Ishola’s astute professional and management ingenuity, he prefers to take the back seat while the agency and its clients enjoy the limelight. As a strong advocate of quality, integrity and simplicity as foundation for success, he believes in realistic goal setting and being focused on the task at hand, rather than aiming for spotlight. This unassuming disposition has, in fact, remained a trademark of this gentleman right from his school days. During his days at the University of Ibadan between 1988 and 1992 (First Degree in Communication and Language Arts) and 1993 -1994 (Master’s Degree in Communication and Language Arts), his academic prowess was never to overshadow the simplicity of his lifestyle.
A multiple award winner at Secondary, Undergraduate, Graduate, NYSC and Post-graduate levels, Lekan has translated this brilliance into strategic asset for the various organisations he has worked for in his over 20 years’ career in Communications. From his days at Dr. Eddie Iroh’s Interprime Media to Sunny Irabor’s Ruyi Communications to Toks Modupe’s Brandfaces and TPT among others, Lekan has been credited with several brilliant feats, innovations and achievements that underscore his sparkling sojourn in the nation’s Marketing Communications sector.
A happily married father, 45-year old Lekan Ishola has, no doubt, carved a strong niche among the new corps of PR professionals making waves in the country today.
Clement Enajemo: Fashion Icon Extraordinaire
Clement Enajemo, popularly known as Mudi is a creative and unique designer who specializes in the creation of male clothing which include casual, corporate and traditional attires with high quality material which are of international standard and not common. His brand, Mudi, has a very rich clientele list of professionals, entertainers, sports personalities, technocrats and government officials, captains of industries, among many others. His creations have won him recognition and awards which include Best African male designer of the year 2003 and City People Best Male designer of the year 2005 and two awards from Encomium Magazine recently. With over 25 years of experience in the fashion industry, he has surpassed the expectations of his clients by providing them with outstanding and world class designs. Mudi is determined to satisfy his clients. According to him, “we have a fantastic record of excellence in our works and that has won us different awards both within and outside Nigeria”. Mudi is an organization with a mission to make clothes developed to reflect creativity and accomplished work force and its vision is to be among the 10 best designers of the world and also the very best in Africa. He told Kristian Edafie why the Mudi brand has come to stay.
How did your love for designing begin?
When I was young, my mum used to make us look good by buying nice clothes for all her children, unlike a lot of people who never had the opportunity to wear first class clothes and had to make do with the second hand ones. I grew up with that instinct. In my school days, I was the best in art work. That created the passion and the love for what I do today.
How will you describe your personal style and creative work?
Egocentric, simple but elegant and that remains my philosophy which reflects in my work.
If you were not a designer, what would you have become?
An interior designer because I love using my hands to work and to construct and also have a serious passion for football.
How did your label, Mudi, come about?
It is an abbreviation of my native names- Clement Mudiaga Enajemo, ‘Mudi is coined from Mudiaga which means ‘Stand firm’.
What are your personal views about the Nigerian fashion industry, do you think we have come of age?
Yes, we have, because clothes made in the last five years, cannot be compared with the ones made today. The same also applies with the Italian wear. There is an improvement in our fashion though a lot of people make mockery of our work. But the business men and women who call themselves fashion designers are not there just for money but also for the glamour.
Which world celebrity will you like to clothe?
David Beckham, maybe because of his structure which fits well into clothes.
You have some exotic automobiles in your possession, are you a car freak?
Yes, because I work so hard which makes me want to drive good cars.
What don’t you like about yourself?
Nothing, though I’m not perfect, I am contented with myself.
What has been your greatest disaster in the industry?
None for now, earlier I said there is a greater improvement in what I design now compared to before. I can say for now, there is nothing.
Describe the sexist outfit in your wardrobe?
Wow! What a question? Indeed, my three-quarter pants and gladiator sandals!
Why are there so many designers on the scene now?
I think it’s the flare for the job, having the talent to create and design; secondly, the fame and the glamour that are attached to it and thirdly, the money. Some people get into this work and when there is no money coming forth, they back out. The most dangerous aspect is when success begins to come, one is carried away by the glamour. A fashion designer must be focused and disciplined.
What is your projection in the next five years?
I want Mudi Africa to be a global brand that rules the fashion world.