SUPER SATURDAY STORY
Suave in appearance; humble in approach; dogged in enterprises; and godly in his heart, Lucky Igbokwe, aka Don Lulu, is a man of many parts. Awarded with the United Nations Mayor for Peace in recognition of his contributions in the international arena, Igbokwe bestrides 2Flame Entertainment, Lucion Towers Construction company, the Don Lulu Foundation and the Green Peace Nigeria as the chief executive officer. Through his entertainment company, the prominent indigene of Umuahia, Abia State, has organised concerts paraded stars like Don Jazzy, Tiwa Savage, Omoba Dâ€™Prince, Morachi, Muno, Sheyman, and Exnel. In this interview with Azuka Ogujiuba, Igbokwe talks about life, family, business and passion
hat was life like growing up?
I am from an average home, though sometimes life was tough, my parents kept us going under strict parentage. My mum and dad never allowed my five siblings and I to stray from the way they wanted to bring us up.
What do you do?
I am into entertainment and real estate. My entertainment company is called 2Flame Entertainment and my real estate company is called Lucion Towers Construction. I am also involved in a lot of charity work through the Don Lulu Foundation. 2Flame Entertainment is Nigeriaâ€™s most definitive voice in entertainment. Since 2004, it has signed some of the fast-rising and top artistes in Nigeria, including Morachi (crooner behind the infectious â€œHapuya Like Thatâ€) and Yeka (winner of Season 1 of Nigerian Idol) to its recording label.
How did you come about doing these different businesses and projects you are involved in?
I would attribute it to my mother. She was an astute businesswoman, who is hard-working and knows how to put in all her strength and energy into whatever she sets out to do. She trained us with that spirit of hard work, endurance and doggedness and that has been my strategy in business and life in general.
Take us through the different projects and activities you have rolled out so far.
As a businessman, I am into entertainment being my first line of business and like I mentioned earlier I am also into real estate, and have a foundation which I set up to take care of the less privileged in the society at the same time which means I am fully committed to community services. My entertainment company also organises astonishing concerts and promotions where Mavin Recordsâ€™ Don Jazzy and Tiwa Savage as well as other artistes like Omoba Dâ€™Prince, Morachi, Muno, Sheyman, Exnel have performed. It has also recruited award-winning DJs including DJ Jimmy Jatt and DJ Kentalky for its promotional concerts within Nigeria. Due to my charity and community work, I was accorded a Mayor for Peace by the United Nations.
What plans do you have for your different businesses?
I have a lot of plans for my businesses, however, my philosophy as an individual is to hand over to God whatever I intend to do. God gives life and he plans our future, and as a human, I will still put in my best in order to ensure that my businesses grow and my strategy is to do my business projections and work towards its growth.
What challenges have you faced in your business?
This is not peculiar to me or my business alone; the country at the moment is facing economic recession and that has been a challenge to every business within the country today. Aside the economic recession, the enabling environment suitable for businesses to thrive is not in place. We are faced with poor infrastructure, challenges in power generation and security. All this has made the cost of doing business very high and businesses keep losing financially.
What is your typical day like?
That is dependent on where I am: if I am in the country my day starts with my morning devotion as I love to hand over my daily activities to my creator first, and then I proceed to the office where I usually take my time to attend to my businesses and treat the files after which I attend to the affairs of the people through my foundation before retiring home. But if I am outside the country like in the United States where my family lives, my typical day starts with my son waking me up in the morning for an early morning play before our family fellowship, and subsequently going out for my daily activities.
What advice do you have for someone interested in doing your kind of business?
It is important for anyone interested in starting off a business to study the environment where they intend to invest in. They should also do a feasibility study of what it takes to harness the materials intended to aid his business interest and finally they should have the required capital and passion required to venture into the entertainment and real estate business.
What is the best and worst part of being a businessman?
Running a business and having best and worst days I will say has to do with the mindset and I like to always keep a positive attitude. Life on its own is a risk and businesses are as risky as it is interesting. But basically, if oneâ€™s business is well positioned and running in full capacity, one starts to enjoy the benefits of having his businesses grow. If itâ€™s not functioning as expected and you are losing money the tendency that you will run at a loss is there and that will make you embittered.
What tips or lessons will you like to pass on to others?
A lot of experiences that I have garnered in life as a young entrepreneur; I started early in life and God was very faithful to me. My advice to anyone who is interested in venturing into the business environment is that they should be very patient, trust in God and study the environment before investing their money. They also need to be honest and hard-working.
What kind of successes have you had in recent years and have there been moments you thought of quitting?
I am passionate about my line of business and that has been secret of the huge success I have recorded in the entertainment business but as a businessman, I have never at any time thought of quitting or changing my line of business.
How do you pass on your knowledge to younger people looking up to you?
I am actively involved with the youth in Abia State, with my foundation as well as personally. I have always utilised every available opportunity to let them know the importance of hard work and honesty. I have also encouraged them to move into whatever they have passion for early in life and to take their studies seriously.
What do you want to be remembered for?
I will like to be remembered as that man who lived for others and cared for the less privileged while pursuing his passion to the fullest.
Tell us about your family.
I am married with a son, and I must say I am the happiest man on planet earth because of my family.
How do you juggle family and hectic business schedules?
I make out time for both. I donâ€™t allow my business get in the way of my family and of course my wife has been very supportive in everything.
You celebrated your birthday recently.
I became a year older on the 27th of June; honestly, I had no plans for any celebration not because I couldnâ€™t afford to give myself a party. But I was treated to a birthday bash in my hometown Umuahia as my friends, brothers, sisters and entire kindred surprised me with a lavish party.
How do you unwind?
I am a typical homeboy; I derive immense joy in hanging out with my family and friends.
How do you pamper yourself?
I relax a lot when I am not working. I do my morning workouts to keep fit and periodically I go to the spa.
What is your fashion fetish?
I donâ€™t have any fashion fetish. I wear what makes me feel free and look smart.
What has been your greatest challenge in life?
My greatest challenge in life was when I lost my father. It was a really difficult time in my life.
Whatâ€™s your greatest achievement in life?
It is getting married and having a son.
What do you think must have significantly shaped you to be who you are today?
My love for my family, especially my mum, who has a great influence in the man I am today.
What is your greatest food indulgence?
I love traditional soups: ofe ukazi, mkpurusu, achara and seafood; and okra soup.
What is your favourite holiday destination?
It is Miami Beach in Florida.
What makes you tick?
It is my belief in God.