By Ayo Oyoze Baje
TITLE: ‘SUCCESS IS NOT SERVED A’ LA CARTE’
AUTHOR: AZUH ARINZE
PUBLISHER: YES INTERNATIONAL VENTURES © 2020
REVIEWER: AYO OYOZE BAJE (Author, Media Consultant, Public Affairs Analyst)
COVER PRICE: N2,500
DEDICATION: To ezigbonnem, Okwesiliezenwayioma, AgbaraIchie Anna Okwurunirota Azuh
In his illuminating foreword to this highly engaging, thought-provoking and greatly inspiring book, Mr.Olusegun Adeniyi, Chairman of ‘ThisDay’ Editorial Board and the former Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to late President Umar Yar’ Ardua, describes it as ”very compelling”. But why, you may want to ask? The answer is right there in the several engaging interviews the author conducted with carefully selected 30 achievers in various fields of human endeavour.
Furthermore, the book “highlights the pathway to success, through the experiences of some accomplished Nigerians, who operate in different spheres of our society”. Besides, the book takes a look at a wide spectrum of achievers; from businessmen and women, lawyers, human rights activists through entertainers to top journalists, sportsmen, preachers, to the big players in the nation’s hospitality industry.
As rightly noted by Adeniyi, ”while their stories may be diverse, they all have one thing in common; tenacity of purpose”. Furthermore, “what is particularly refreshing about this book is that it is not a collection of profiles but rather a chronicle of the thoughts of these selected men and women based on the interviews conducted by the author”.
Another fascinating feature of this book is that it does not belong to one of those run-off-the mill publications preaching the get-rich-quick-syndrome. Rather, it is one outstanding collection that ”will inspire and fire the imagination of readers”.
So, what does this book really bring to the reader’s table? Let us therefore, go into the specifics. The taste of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating.
In a touching tone, the inspired and inspiring author, Arinze explains that chief amongst the many lessons the profession of journalism has taught him in over two decades is that “success is not served a la carte”. You work for it, you prepare for it, you give it all the required and necessary attention and then you wait patiently and painstakingly for it to berth, just like a ship in the harbour”.
In that wise, he lists stars that keep shining even in the cloudy firmament of business such as Christopher Kolade, in soccer such as Nwankwo Kanu, in Nollywood such as the duo of Pete Edochie and Olu Jacobs.
Not done, he expresses his fascination about two young men currently doing wonders in the marketing communication sector – Steve Babaeko and Ayeni Adekunle. His reasons? While the former came to Lagos from Kaduna with nothing but as at today his X3M Ideas has become one of the biggest advertising agencies, not only in Nigeria but on the African continent, the latter, Ayeni, a graduate with 3rd class, who once worked under the author while he was the Editor of Encomium Weekly currently runs one of the leading Public Relations agencies in Nigeria. Little wonder that both graced the cover of the prestigious ‘Forbes Magazine’ in September, 2019!
Most inspiring, you would definitely agree. So, to spice up this home-cooked delicacy the author has added 24 similar zero-to-hero stories to make the book an irresistible serving for those with the hunger for success. One is talking about those willing to lift themselves up from the dungeon of hopelessness to the pinnacle of professionalism, while turning their stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
There are 30 of them. Though these Chapters are largely arranged in their thematic focus, to create a format that flows smoothly for the reader, some minor adjustments could be made thus:
For instance, these Chapters could be segmented into the top players as:
Part One: The Business Sector.
Part Two: The World of Religion.
Part Three: The Advertising and Marketing Sector.
Part Four: The Field of Sports.
Part Five: The Media Industry.
Part Six: The Entertainment Industry.
Part Seven: Law and Human Rights Activism.
If this is done, Chapter 25 (on Tunde Okewale, MD/CEO of St. Ive’s Hospital and Chairman, WFM), Chapter 26 (Evans Akere), Chapter 29 (on Ike Biobaku, astute businesswoman and MD/CEO Mix and Bake and Chapter 30 (on Isaac Durotoye, the uncommon risk taker and pioneer MD, Mobile Toilets) would flow with Chapter 1(Chief Christopher Kolade, Nigeria’s former High Commissioner to the United Kingdom and Chairman of Cadbury) and Chapter 2 (that focuses on Tony Ezenna, the well-known billionaire businessman/Chairman of Orange Drugs) all falling into the Business Sector.
Similarly, Chapters 27 (on the resourceful designer, Vans Kere, Ayeni Adekunle, described as a fantastic writer and Founder, Black House Media Group) and Chapter 28 (on Sola Fajobi, Ideas man and MD/CEO, Digital Interactive) would merge with Chapter 13 (on Simon Kolawole, Founder/CEO of TheCable Newspaper), Chapter 14 (on Azubuike Ishiekwene, MD/Editor-in-Chief of The Interview Magazine) and Chapter 15 (Femi Sowoolu, MD, Jamz FM) as the top players in the Media Industry.
THE SURE STEPS TO LASTING SUCCESS, FROM THE MASTERS
The million-Naira question therefore, is what are the specific experiences of these selected achievers on the steps they took in the chequered journey of life, that eventually led them to resounding success? The answers are there for those willing to stoop to conquer.
For Christopher Kolade, God is the author of life and to succeed you have to seek His face. His next piece of admonition is to listen to God and obey His voice. One must work very hard and also be ready to learn. In a nutshell, “our success is up to us.”!
In his own bold words, Tony Ezenna preaches honesty and creativity in brewing new ideas: Says he: “So, trust rules everywhere. In business, without trust you have not made anything. That is why I claim that I have a name, I’m credible, I promise and I deliver.” What do other entrepreneurs consider as the nuggets of success to turn them into big businesses?
On her part, IkeoluBiobaku, the MD/CEO of Mix and Bake Confectionary and School believes that one should add skill to his or her passion. She urges business owners to set their priorities right and engage the services of professional money managers.
Of significance is the need for business people to develop a thick skin to criticisms of all sorts. That is what Isaac Durotoye advises. He was derided by people when he decided to venture into the shit business. “You worked for M.K.O Abiola, you worked for American Express, you lived abroad and you want to end up your career by packing shit”, they told him to his face. But thank God that he did not listen to them. Interestingly, a few years later three of those same critics ended up in the same shit business! He has also wisely identified the fact that whatever you studied at the university may not be one’s calling but whatever one chooses to do one should be focused.
As far as succeeding in the spreading the gospel of salvation is concerned, Madubuko canvasses that to succeed in life one must find who he really is, by divine inspiration and be true to oneself instead of trying to be someone else. He warns against losing the fear of God when one succeeds and also avoid the urge for overnight success.
Similarly, Wole Oladiyun advises those who want to succeed in the Ministry to understand their purpose and be specific in the area of the ministry God has called them to serve. He loves to read and write and wants those craving for success to imbibe such passion.
For Akinwunmi, the Group CEO of Prima Garnet Africa, one should trust God completely – which is an abiding faith – and one must not give up in the face of adversity. And Steve Babaeko, the creative mind behind X3M Ideas believes strongly that having and honing the passion for a particular business venture does the magic. One should put in place measures for the business to outlive him or her and shun pride. Controversial as his view may sound, he does not believe in partnerships as far as business is concerned as it is alien to our culture.
Others’ views on the subject of attaining success align with having the courage to try something new, according to Eiremiokhai of Oracle Experience Ltd and having the courage to stand by and speak the truth according to Dr.JoeOdumakin who was inspired by Martin Luther King Jnr.’s words and wants her impact felt as a positive change agent.
To excel in law one should be inspired by Wole Soyinka’s counsel that ”justice is the first condition of humanity’. Also, one must also work hard and be patient. On his part, Adegboruwa believes in the fear of God, widening one’s perspective about life and never take anything for granted.
To become a top player in the sports field, Kanu Nwankwo has a firm belief in God, development of one’s talents and never giving up. Jay Jay Okocha says that one must have a competitive spirit and set high standards to become an achiever.
On journalism as a profession, Kolawole is happy that it has taught him to be broad-mined, given him the opportunity to re-invent himself and to be a solution-provider. For Ishiekwene, it has provided the platform to meet a lot of people and learn from them. He also cherishes the thirst it provides to pursue justice.
When it comes to the world of entertainment, Ogidan takes little things seriously, adding the professional touch to stories and turning them into blockbusters. The veteran actor, Pete Edochie strongly believes in the pursuit of perfection, reading a lot. But that is not all. He believes that being mischievous is an attribute one needs to be a good actor!
Iconic Olu Jacobs is also a perfectionist who insists that things can always be done better. While Dele Odule stands for determination and consistency, Funke Akindele goes for being pushy and focused. Kate Henshaw is all out for great interpretation of stories and appreciates that Nollywood has opened doors to success for her.
Azuh, the creative and indefatigable author has certainly carved a notable niche for himself in that interactive segment of media practice that involves meeting one-on-one with the subject matter and as they say, hearing it from the horse’s mouth.
The book, which is presented in simple, easy-to-read format, devoid of ambiguity and covering a wide array of subjects from the perspective of the achievers is a must-read for all those with the thirst and hunger for enduring success.
It is hereby recommended for all students, from secondary school up to the tertiary education level – who want to turn their dreams into reality against all odds. Any one engaged in the study of entrepreneurship, economics, commerce, marketing, public relations, religious practice, sports and entertainment will find it a most useful guide.
In essence, this enriching book builds upon the strong foundation laid by ‘Tested and Trusted Success Secrets of the Rich and Famous’ as well as ‘The CEO’s Bible’, all of which have turned into bestsellers.
One would therefore, advise the author of this motivational masterpiece to take it all from theory to practice. He should set up a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) to bring these timely truths to the doorsteps of today’s restless youth. One is talking about the hordes of con-men, fraudsters, yahoo-yahoo boys, ritualists, kidnappers, paid political thugs and arsonists who have found themselves caught in the well-woven web of the Machiavellian tactics; of the end justifying the means!
Then, they would drink from their fountains of immense knowledge. And come to understand that irrespective of one’s profession, integrity, which Azuh discovered as the ”common thread” amongst these trail blazers, should be their driving passion. Through such lectures/symposia they will get to know that indeed, ‘Success is not Served A’ La Carte’!