In this interview with Ezekiel Okpuzor, John Oladimeji examines the greatness among the Nigerian youth and aftermath, as he charged them to engage in decision making. Excerpt
What do you think about population of the youth in Nigeria?
Nigeria youth? Well, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and she has one of the largest populations of youth in the world, comprising almost 80 million youths. Nigeria Youth constitute Nigeria’s only hope for a real future.
If all the youth engaged themselves in politics and decision making, our future would be more secure. Nigerian youth are hustlers and hardworking and we can survive anywhere in the world.
We are doing well in entertainment, IT, Education, sports and so on.
Our leaders need to give us opportunity. Mark you, power is not given, it’s taken. So we need to be involved in every aspect of nation building.
We are involved in so many activities which drive some youth to look for money by all means. Give Nigerian youth the platform to perform; you will be amazed with our work rate.
You said Nigerian youth are under pressure because of demand from the family, friends and society. Could you throw more light on this?
Yes, so much demands. How do you expect a young graduate to get a job when the entire requirements are not attainable by a fresh graduate? We all have demands. Our parents, friends and the society expect much from us. We take care of our family, help those around us and the society feel you owe them payback but the fact that one is a graduate doesn’t bring money into his/her pockets. So we work hard to earn and from the little we earn, we give our family members, friends and take care of ourselves and pay bills too.
How are you able to balance your career with your lifestyle?
I’m not materialist neither am I seeking for fame or popularity. I believe everything is possible when you have the zeal or passion for it. So managing all I do is simple; I have managers and they are good at their job, we are all team members. I have been in the entertainment industry since I was in the university and I am happy it’s paying well now. I see it as part of my life and our clothing company that we just launched is just my love for cloths and shoes. I admire people that dress well and know how to combinecolours. I’m not really a fashionista but I believe everyone needs to dress and look good no matter the amount you are spending. So we came up with the idea to carry everyone along and to wear good quality or design.
We are here to bridge the gap. We are not into native but maybe in the future we will. We just want to cloth the nation with our designs.
And I have partner with so many companies for disbursement both local and international, some on cash transfer, enrolment, an aggregator in deployment of POS nationwide. We hope the financial sector will be digitalized.
We also have a media consulting company; we have consulted for six companies and still counting.
There are so many opportunities in Nigeria that can give legit money.
What do you know now that you wish you had known three years ago?
Life is not all about what I can get but what I can offer humanity. And every day of our lives comes with different challenges and need different ways of solving them. I believe what I know now is part of my purpose in life, I may not have functioned well if I had known all these things in the past years. So I am in the right time to know things now, life is about learning.
What was the most discouraging moment you experienced and how did you overcome it?
When people don’t see or understand what I am seeing, and if they don’t know where you are going, they may start to think you are on the wrong path. Even family can limit your progress if they don’t know who you truly are and the mission or purpose you had set for yourself. I overcame it by seeking direction from God and those ahead of me and in the sector I’m operating. People just want to see results because that is what they are after. Though it wasn’t easy I must confess. But thank God I came out strong.
What motivates you?
God’s words, family and mentors motivate me, my mom is my number one fan; she stood by me in most of my decisions. I couldn’t have done it all without her. I spend more time thinking too and would always want to push myself hard. I always say I can do anything as long as I can imagine it.
My family members are so supportive even when my dad is a pastor of Christ Apostolic Church. He knows we are all different and all his children are not the same, we all have different paths. So he prays for me more because I’m different.
How long have you been in the entertainment industry?
Almost nine years now. My entertainment company has managed a lot of artistes, both in music and comedy. We also promote a platform where upcoming artistes can showcase their talents.
What are the projects you are currently working on?
I am currently working on drug awareness and abuse tour and a movie.I’m also working with Klint Da Drunk’s first comedy event. I know you will be the first to know about all these projects once they take off.
Many are already doing these kinds of businesses (fashion/entertainment) before you. What made you think there was an opening for you the fashion industry.
As I said earlier, we intend to attend to things differently. My team and I are working hard on how everybody will add value to whatever business they are doing with us. I can’t tell you everything make you no carry my idea.
What do you think about the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the entertainment industry?
Entertainment industry is the most affected with this pandemic. And our government is not doing anything to bail us out.
Ninety per cent of entertainers invested in the industry with their money without support from government. No palliatives or bailouts, just promises that only appear on paper. Our government needs to support the Entertainment industry. Some have events planned, before the lockdown but had to cancel due to COVID-19, and that’s a huge setback. We have generated revenue for government also. COVID-19 will end but Entertainment industry may never be the same again.
What makes your brand unique?
MP Mandy Global Entertainment focuses more on upcoming artistes and bridging the gap between the established and the up and coming. Legend Rockwear is going to be a household name soon. We have some of the best hands and designers with our factory producing daily to meet up with Nigeria demand in clothing.
My name is John Oladimeji. I was born and grew up in Kaduna. I’m a graduate and also a lover of Christ. I’m an entrepreneur.
My role models are my father, my elder brother, Pastor Sola Adesoye and my mother.