By Eric Elezuo
Have you ever lost a billion naira in one day, and still remain in business? Someone has, and is still waxing strong in business. However, he didn’t lose it to poor business calculation, he gave it out willingly to winners.
The beginning of success is one following his passion irrespective of whatever beckons on the side. Most men understood his philosophy early in their existence, and they hit gold mine while others are still trying to find their feet. One of such men is the betting expert and top philanthropist, Sir Kessington Adebukunola Adebutu
Adebutu was born on October 24, 1935, in Iperu Remo in Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State, to late Alhaji Kerimu Folarin Adebutu and late Alhaja Seliat Olasimbo Adebutu.
Like most children born during his time, and in his locality, Adebutu attended the Wesley Primary School, Iperu Remo, and completed his primary education at Ijero Baptist School, Ebute Metta, Lagos, in 1950.
In January 1951, he was admitted to Baptist Academy School, Lagos but he completed his secondary education at the famous Remo Secondary School (RSS), Sagamu Remo, Ogun State in 1955.
He was not the type to waste time in choosing a vocation. Therefore, he took it upon himself to venture into paid job, and began his early career at Cable & Wireless Limited (which later transformed to NITEL) as Operation Clerk, from where he joined Claffin Chemicals as Salesman, and through a dint of hard work rose to become Regional Sales Manager for Lagos and the then Midwestern Region. In 1963, I left the company to start my own small business.
It was his quest to provide employment for teeming Nigerian youths that led to the establishment of Face Millionaires Pool Limited with his bosom friend, Chief Solomon Ayoku in 1969.
This was a passion he adored so much, and he said of himself in an interview “I have been in the gaming business all my life. I have been in the gaming business since 1963 and Lotto is not the only game business. We have pool, casino and lots of them and I’m sure you still remember the almighty face-to-face million-dollar business.
He explains: “Having no capital, I looked for a business that required little or no capital and what came to my mind was to be a pool agent, because to be a pool agent, what you just need is to get a table and your pen. So, you can see it is not capital intensive. I did that briefly and within a short time with my best friend, the late Chief Solomon Adebayo Ayoku, we dominated Africa. We then diversified to other areas like agriculture, manufacturing, estate management, the lotto, entertainment and so on. Today, I have the concession for the Gateway Hotels Abeokuta for 25 years.”
The Philanthropist par excellence, who abandoned his ambition of becoming a Lawyer because he preferred ‘enjoying’ life, is today the Founder and Chairman of Kessington Adebukunola Adebutu Foundation (KAAF) and promoter of the popular Premier Lotto, better known as Baba Ijebu.
A stickler to legality and fairness, his lotto business is fully licenced by the Federal Government, and does not display any iota of irregularity, and as a result, rightly claims ignorant of fraud in lotto business.
A polygamist of repute, Adebutu is married to two women, the first of whom he married on August 18, 1960, and is blessed with many children, most of whom have carved a niche for themselves, including his first child, Hon Ladi Kessington.
A philanthropist to the core, he believes that he is lucky to have what has, seeing that most people work harder, but are not as blessed as he is. “I believe that the only way I can show appreciation to God is to give Him back some of these rewards through assisting the less privileged and that gave birth to my foundation, Kessington Adebukola Adebutu Foundation.”
The foundation caters for the less privileged and it supports hospital patients and education because, according to him, an educated and healthy soul can never be hungry.
Adebutu has erected a vocational centre worth N100 million for the Lagos State Government. In addition, the Gateway Polytechnic, a school he injected N100 million foundation, was formerly named after him.
The man, who is nicknamed Baba Ijebu, declared that the name came from the public and satisfied customers coupled with the fact that he is from Ijebu province.
Destined to live long, Adebutu lost his father and mother at the age of 97 and 94 years respectively. He is 82 years this year.
The gamer who loves betting and playing draft is the first of two children. The other is a Pharmacist.
Sir, for your philanthropic gestures and success in your field of endeavours, you are our Boss of the Week. Congrats and happy birthday!