Now employing 18,000 people, Biodun Shobanjo couldn’t get N10m loan 28 years ago

Biodun Shobanjo pictured at Civic Centre in Lagos, during MTV Base's real talk where he was a panelist.

‘Baba Niyen’

‘That’s the godfather’

Yomi Badejo-Okusanya couldn’t stop gushing after seeing a portrait of Biodun Shobanjo while descending the stairs at BHM last week.

Nigerian pop icon 2face Idibia poses in front of BHM's 'wall of inspiration', during a visit to the Lagos agency ahead of his 40th birthday celebrations, September.

Nigerian pop icon 2face Idibia poses in front of BHM’s ‘wall of inspiration’, during a visit to our agency ahead of his 40th birthday celebrations, September. Shobanjo’s portrait is seen below his left arm.

Shobanjo, Nigerian advertising legend and chairman of Troyka Holdings is one of the many great men our bandits are mandated to study and emulate. As a reminder, we have their portraits at the entrance of one of the busiest places in our building – The BHM Lounge.

There’s Michael Jackson and Steve Jobs and Mahatma Ghandi. There’s Jay Z and Wole Soyinka and Gani Fawehinmi. There’s Edelman and Marley and Mandela.

But it was Shobanjo that caught YBO’s attention as I saw him off on Tuesday.

I’ve never met Shobanjo personally, but I’ve encountered him twice. The first time, he was on a discussion panel at MTV Base Real Talk, in Lagos. I remember Mo Abudu moderated the panel, with my friend Kelvin Orifa of MTN also among discussants.

Biodun Shobanjo pictured at Civic Centre in Lagos, during MTV Base's real talk where he was a panelist.

Biodun Shobanjo pictured at Civic Centre in Lagos, during MTV Base’s real talk where he was a panelist.

But it was the second encounter that came to mind as YBO sang his praise last week. I was at the back of the hall on June 19 2015, in company of our finance head Oyindamola as he gave a keynote during the annual Yes! Magazine Anniversary Lecture Series.

And this man, whose insight gave Nigeria an agency that can rub shoulders with any other from anywhere in the world, stood there, talking about not being able to secure a bank loan some 28 years ago.

We all know the story of Insight. We are familiar with Shobanjo’s history and exploits. But prior to that moment, no one had put it to me in such simple details. No one had broken it down the way he did himself. It’s the kind of moment I wish I captured in video.

28 years ago I was chasing the banks to get a N10million loan. We were trying to raise money to buy different things, including three Volkswagen cars for our senior staff. Of course no bank gave us the money.’

Each of the cars was N3k at the time.

‘Now, 28 years later, we are being offered N2 billion credit line’, he told the packed hall.

Shobanjo (who’s now 71 by the way) said many things at the Yes! Lecture, as you’ll find HERE.

But my takeaway is simple: I’ve visited Insight at least twice in the past one month. I have an idea of the organisation’s exploits and Shobanjo’s standing, in spite of all the tsunami that’s sweeping many in that sector away.

I’m fascinated by how his 11 companies are spread across various industries, from real estate to public relations and security. Stunned by how Troyka is employing 18,000 people. Eighteen thousand!

I know many young people who want what he has. I know many who are dreaming big and hoping for fortune.

I know many who have only spent five years but are already wondering why it’s not happened yet.

Just look at where Shobanjo is coming from. Ask around about all the lost pitches and bad deals and wasted accounts. Ask about all the ‘NOs’ he’s received on the way here. Ask about all the headaches and heartaches and nightmares.

Then ask yourself: what are you doing today that can prepare you to become bigger than Shobanjo tomorrow?

What are you doing today that can make people who have never met you decorate their office with your portrait?

What are you doing right now that can make people see your portrait someday and go on and on about your greatness?

YBO and Steve Babaeko joined many others for the #PRisdead event at BHM last week.

YBO and Steve Babaeko joined many others for the #PRisdead event at BHM last week.

Let me know the answers!

 

MEANWHILE: Did you read this? WHY YOU MUST NEVER TAKE ACCESS FOR GRANTED

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