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TopNaija Stories: Omoo Anetekhai, Ace MC/Compere

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Omoo Anetekhai, MC/Compere

Omoo Anetekhai was that child whose voice could be heard reciting poems or excitedly singing songs during school events. As years passed by, he evolved into finding his voice in the Literary and Debating Society.

Today, despite a background in Law, Omoo has made a name for himself in the entertainment industry as a reputable event host, MC and Compere. The extroverted and exuberant child has effectively molted through different stages and under mentors into an MC of repute. His line of clients include Standard Charted Bank, KPMG Nigeria, Reddington Hospital, TEDxGbagada, CocaCola and a host of others.

Omoo takes TopNaija Stories through his incredible journey from childhood to law and where he is today.


Current role: Event MC and Compere
Location: Lagos, Nigeria


Tell us how you started and how you got to where you are today?

I have always been a talker. I remember when I was in primary school, I was selected to recite a poem “Africa, My Africa” in primary 4, by Primary 5 I was on stage singing to then-popular songs by Daddy Showkey and Baba Fryo.

In secondary school, my extroverted and exuberant personality showed up. I would be the first to talk to anybody and people saw that as something that made them respect me. I remember my English teacher came to class and told me to join the literary and debating club. He probably saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.

By the time I got to the university, in my first semester, I was to host freshers’ orientation day for my faculty, the law faculty in Lagos State University. I hosted the event with two ladies. By the end of that session, the faculty was to nominate someone from each set to host the end of the session dinner and I was nominated. The dinner was also like a send forth for the final year students.

Omoo Anetekhai, MC/Compere

One of the final year students at that event met me on the streets of Lagos 5 years down the line and recognized me to my surprise. It was a total shift for me, how will someone who just met me once in his life have such an imprint of me and it will remain with him for 5 years? It was the same person who nominated me to host the freshers’ day and dinner. A few years later, I got to MC his wedding.

By my final year, I had become one of the most prominent event hosts on campus, hosting Christian events, Faculty events, concerts on campus and the lots. One of my very entrepreneurial seniors called me aside and said “Omoo, you can make money from this thing”. As a law student, he had started making suits for various persons, comedians, artistes including BeeJay Sax. He called me one day and said “Omoo, I attend weddings of clients I make suits for and you do the same thing as these MCs at the weddings”. I was like Gideon in the Bible, I was doubtful. One Saturday while I was attending Daystar Leadership Academy (DLA), he reached out to me and asked me to come to help out as the person supposed to MC the wedding of one of his clients disappointed them. I was wearing a pink shirt with a wine tie that day and I rushed down to UNILAG Guest House to MC my first wedding. I did it and I was paid six thousand Naira.

All these things gave me signals and pointers to where I was going. I also remember that at every break in my life, I would have MC jobs waiting for me; between LASU and Law School, between Law School and Service year, between service year and career life. This led me to get a business name early which I called Systems Communications.

A brief rundown of your daily routine?

I wake up around 4.30-5 in the morning, I have my personal prayer before praying with my wife. After that, we go prepare the kids for school. My wife will be in the kitchen while getting the children ready. Sometimes I spare a few minutes when the domestic staff comes in to respond to some emails or posts on Instagram. I get to my office around 9 after dropping the children at school. I work till about 2.30-3 pm before going back to pick my kids and head home. Evenings are family time; I play with my children and get them to bed early so I can have time with my wife.

Tell us about one of the toughest situations you’ve found yourself in?

Deciding to leave my 9-5 as a lawyer and staying in the entertainment business without going back is the toughest decision I had to make. Though as a lawyer, I currently run a small firm without going to court. I resigned from my corporate job in 2015, and every year since then I will get a call or an offer to come back to work as a lawyer.

In the first law firm I worked after service, my salary was N40,000 and within the first month of working with them, I MCed an event for 35k. In other words, what I went to do on a Saturday for a few hours got me the same pay as a full month’s job. By the time I left that firm for another organization, my starting salary was N80,000, I started getting hosting jobs for that amount too. My salary was increased, and I started getting jobs for the increased amount again. It only made sense to make the switch.

Has it been easy? No. Has it been worth it? Yes, over and over again. After making the switch, it got
difficult, but we thank God for it all.

Omoo Anetekhai, MC/Compere

What is the best business or career advice you’ve ever received?

“Get a Mentor” That came from Teju Baby Face or what Bankole Williams will call Who is your reference, who is the picture of where you want to be in the future? Who is the person at that stage right now?. Those people are like references and if you have a reference it is easier to navigate.

When I wanted to start out, I knew that the person who was the picture of what I wanted to do was Teju BabyFace. Coincidentally, I met him a day before my resignation letter from my 9-5 took effect. We were to host an event together and he said, “Ah-ha, see as you resemble me like this”. A mentoring relationship ensued after that and that relationship is the most significant relationship I have had in my career as an MC.

For me, the best career advice, which Teju later put in a book, is Forget Principles Get A Mentor

If you had to start all over again, what would you do differently?

I am not sure I am one that has regrets in my life. Knowing where I am in the entertainment industry, maybe I would have studied Mass Communication or gotten some training in broadcasting that would have better positioned me for what I am doing now. The truth is every one of our experiences in life adds a flavor to who we are; the place we were born, the family we were born into, our siblings, they spice it all up.

Tell us about your current role and key traits required to succeed in this role.

First of all, as cliché as it sounds, you need grace. I can’t deny the grace I have enjoyed. As an MC, the first thing you need is excellent communication skills, particularly a listening ear. People think that the first thing you do as an MC is talk, but your most important tool as an MC is your ears and your eyes. Your eyes, to observe your surroundings and the body language at the event per time; your ears because there are tons of instructions to receive even on the day of the event. There will always be a need to improvise, your eyes and ears will help you at such points.

The second thing is the speaking skills. Also, you should have a warm personality and an endearing nature, an ability to receive and tolerate people, maybe a bit of exuberance.

You also need contacts, a good network. In my career, the people that started to refer me for jobs were my mates in school. Someone in my fellowship referred me at some point and I MCed his wedding later on, someone nominated me to host a dinner in the faculty, and I also MCed his wedding years after. I MCed weddings of different siblings of my friends and course mates. Now, the event industry is being handled by event planners. You need a good relationship with them, have them in your contacts. Your name will come to minds when they have meetings with their clients.

View this post on Instagram

#MondayMemories . . NO #Monday #Motivation . . . . I am tired of this #Covid #Lockdown or is it #Shutdown we should use. So allow me refresh our memory on what #Mondaymorning should have been for most of us- #OfficeWork . . . . Yep, MCs work on #weekdays too – for #CorporateEvents and sometimes for #weekdayWeddings . . Today, I remember when I resumed one morning for @hygeiahmo's Healthcare Conference Nigeria 2019 where the First Lady of @lagosstategovt Her Excellency Dr @jokesanwolu gave the keynote address. . . . As much as I anchor weddings and birthdays, I have also served as Compere/Host for several reputable Corporate Brands. Some of the brands I have worked for are: . . . . @cocacola_ng . . @nigerianhealthcareawards . . @tedxlagos (former TEDxGbagada) . . @lbsnigeria . . @kpmg_nigeria . . @Reddingtonlagos . . @DanoneNutricia Nigeria – owners of the "Cow and Gate" brand . . @NIBSSplc . . @getcarbon (former One Finance) . . @LoftyHeightsng . . @covenantchristiancentrechoir . . The @olakunlesoriyan Company . . @smilengonline . . @besthomesng . . @gracetoparent . . @rccgcityofdavid . . @c3marriageenrichment . . @eduaidccc . . @lifeonpurposeng . . @mma2bicourtney . . @unionBankng . . @uacofnigeria . . @lydafrica . . @hygeiaHmo . . @custodianPlc . . @stanchartng . . @leadway_capital . . @whytecleon . . @nba_lagos . . @strictlylawbiz . . @icsanlagos . . @careclickclinic . . @fidelitypfa . . @vardenfarms . . @wedexpo . . . . But for this COVID 19, I probably would have been hosting for your organisation/company this Monday now . . . . Event: @cerebremedia . . 📽️ : @oluwadabest . . . . . #Compere #MC #Host #Presenter #Speaker #Moderator #corporateevents #Client #Professional #HealthCare #Nigeria #BusinessMeeting #ProductLaunch #Launcheon #CustomerEngagementEvent #Forum #GraceEnAbled #MakingJesusFamous #BookMeNow . . . .

A post shared by OMOO Jesse Anetekhai (@omootalks) on

Who has had the greatest impact on your career, and why?

Teju BabyFace of course. Also, Deji Ogunnubi has had the greatest impact on my life. His placement in my life was divine. There is no key decision I have made in my life that he is not like a sounding board, including getting married to my wife. After chasing my wife for about 9 months, she said NO. I wanted to move on but a month after she came
back saying she wanted to have a conversation. This time, she was the one doing the toasting, telling me she was afraid when she said No. I told her I was going to think about it. At that time, I was staying in Deji Ogunnubi’s house and I explained everything to him, including my response. He gave me a parable and made me pick up the phone to call her. He has had the greatest influence on me. I enjoyed the access of living in his house, observing his marriage. Many people even say I sound like him, the same goes for Teju BabyFace.

There are others who have had so much impact on me; Michael Thomas, Bankole Williams, Steve Harris, Jimi Tewe. Also, people among my peers because in life there should be relationships that feed you from above, the ones that stabilize you in your environment and those you are afraid of going down to (your past).

What business achievement are you most proud of?

Being a co-host of the Teju Baby Face show in the 2018 season and hosting a TedX talk. I am also proud when couples who I don’t know entrust their wedding to me. I MCed the wedding of a couple who came in from the UK in January, they didn’t know me at all but someone referred me. In March, an event planner called me to host an event for Standard Chartered bank, all these make me proud

Name two untapped lucrative business opportunities in the world, right now

Food!!! From Agriculture to the entire process of end products. Also, transportation and Logistics.

Aside from God, what do you consider your greatest success secret?

Everything is tied to God. But one key thing for me has been mentoring. Before I met Teju BabyFace in 2015, I had been MCing since 2007. I had Akin Adesoji mentor me at some point. The MCing business thrives on an apprenticeship like arrangement. I had Saco and Oscar mentor me, I followed them to events and learnt from them.

I also read books. The Bible says in the multitude of counsel there is safety. Counseling could come from books and life experiences.

Another success secret is whenever I look at my kids I tell myself they must have a better life. It pushes me
forward

What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?

I am reading 7 Mountain Mantles by Johnny Enlow. I am also listening to Parenting Isn’t for Cowards by James Dobson on Audible.

I like movies based on true-life stories. I recently watched Gifted Hands, the movie adaptation. Also watched, Something The Lord Made

What tools, gadgets, or apps can’t you do without?

YouVersion Bible App. Instagram and of course Gmail, everything Google really

What’s your favourite social media platform, handle, and why?

Instagram, because it allows me to showcase my work.

How do you unwind?

I usually play with my children in the evenings. Family time is unwinding time for me. I also enjoy conversations, whether intimate or cerebral.

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