You’ve come a long way in Nigeria’s entertainment business. Why did you choose entertainment in the first place?
I choose the entertainment industry because that’s just the way I’m wired, I guess. Looking way back, I was the social prefect in secondary school. In university while studying zoology, I used to organize shows, I used to rap, dance and do all sorts of entertainment. Though it wasn’t very attractive then, I was just passionate about entertainment and I followed it through.
You used to own a thriving record label, and then it was Global Sound. Now it is Nigezie with a global mileage. Tell me how things went in sequence and how were you able to come this far in entertainment?
Well, like I said it was in me right from childhood; I was always this and that in entertainment. After school, I ventured into jingles, voice-overs and stuffs like that. I finished school in 1992 and started freelancing here and there doing a couple of things. After then I went for an audition at OGBC 2 and got selected as part of the team. That was when I really got into the media.
That was quite a journey. So how did Global Sound and Nigezie come about?
After my stay in OGBC for 4 years, I felt I’ve done almost everything because my rise on radio was very rapid. So, I went in the direction of TV in form of Global Sound which was just a one hour package that was able to redefine television in Nigeria because of the packaging. After having done that for some time I noticed that Nigeria entertainment industry was opening up and I sensed a need to create a brand which will serve as a platform for young people globally; and that was how Nigezie came to be.
Tell me about your adventure as a Judge at the MTN Project Fame West Africa.
This was the 2nd season that just ended; the 1st season was a new territory. So, we kind of roll the rules as we went along although the show has its established format but you know it was a new experience in this part. The second season was bigger with a lot more talent so it was more tasking to judge. There was more viewership, more passion and more temper. So, when you put the people’s person on probation, you become the enemy of the world! But you still have to do your job right no matter what people feel.
I think one of the constant secret to your recurring success and development has been excellence. But sadly, this same virtue is almost lost in our dear country today. What’s your personal view on excellence?
I think excellence is a personal. What might be excellent to me might not be excellence to you and vice versa. One thing I know is that I don’t go beyond some limits; some people bring videos to us for airing and we refuse some because of the quality. But they tell us that it is being aired on other stations, so we tell them good luck, we can’t play it. We know it’s an emerging market but you must make a conscious effort to catch up globally, regardless of the toes you’ll step on.
Fantastic Nigerian music we’ve had since the 60s till date. But to be candid, do you really think we are improving musically?
Like I was telling somebody recently that we are actually getting better in the Show aspect. But we yet have a long way to go in the Business aspect, in terms of putting proper structures in place to ensure accumulation of the right revenue and reward due to the practitioners. But in terms of producing good artists and Nigerians preferring Nigerian music, I think we’ve come a very long way.
I think the creativity level of Nigezie is commendable. What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity to me is simply the act of not conforming to the norm; breaking the odds.
How were you able to source your creative team?
Yeah, it’s a challenge though; I’m actually considering outsourcing a lot of things now. I don’t mind going as far as Indian, Europe or wherever, as long as I get what I want. Because our guys here get so carried away with the little they’ve learnt that they stop learning more. They forget that their greatest competition is not the guy around here but global .
Having succeeded from a voice-over artist to the CEO of a world-class company, how do you develop yourself?
I am very hard on myself in that area. I believe right now that I don’t know anything; every day comes with its challenges and needs new knowledge. I constantly have to redefine myself, sometimes on a daily basis. I’ m not competing with anybody but myself and I also want to achieve than I did yesterday. So, for me there has to be constant elevation regardless of what’s happening in your environment. I also try to keep a very good relationship with God.
What’s the vision behind Nigezie?
Nigezie is a unique brand in that everybody and everything is outside Nigeria. We keep cursing the land and expect it to bear good fruits; despite it is a very blessed country. What Nigezie has come to do is to highlight all these positive things about Nigerians.
Are you thinking radio yet?
Well, one step at a time; we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
How do you unwind?
I relax while working. Sometimes I just like to be alone for solitude because my environment is virtually a noisy one with crazy artists, loud music and so on. I also try and use facebook to find out what young people are thinking and I learn a lot from there. Facebook, for example has taught me that a lot of people are illiterate. I was shocked to see some well meaning workers who couldn’t even construct a good sentence.