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Sijibomi ‘SujiMoto’ Ogundele: My Meeting with the Emir of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

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Have you ever met a king before? I have.

And, not just any king; but, His Royal Highness Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Dubai.Sijibomi 'SujiMoto' Ogundele meets Emir of Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum 4

A true blue blood whose royalty isn’t his only claim to fame. An accomplished poet, an orator and a visionary leader who has proved to the world that his people will not stand for mediocrity, rather are recognised as the leaders of the world in innovation. Consistently breaking boundaries and records that only they have achieved in the first place.

It was with his “full throttle” approach that Sheikh Mohammed continued and expanded the Vision, based on the simple framework laid down by his father Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum and his uncle, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan; giving the world “Destination Dubai” a great service to his country; the ultimate holiday destination and financial center of the 21st century.
As expected His Highness’ time is one of his most valued assets, hence my fleeting “2 minutes” meeting with the icon. It attests to the fact that that impossibility is ONLY a myth; you can become whatever you desire and your present situation has very little to do with your destiny.

A maestro of words, he reaffirmed my belief in the validity of Nigeria’s potential, stating, “Dubai is great, but Nigeria’s potential is beyond our imagination, Nigeria would be one of the greatest countries not only in Africa but in the world”.

When I asked him what drives him, he said, “Failure is not an option. Dubai can never afford to settle for less. The fear of failure is my number one motivating factor. I wake up each day reminding myself that I’d do everything to show the world that the UAE in general and Dubai in particular would never become followers but leaders in all sectors of leadership.”Sijibomi 'SujiMoto' Ogundele meets Emir of Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum 5I asked for his advice for a young entrepreneur like myself: He said “… in life, you have to choose what you want to be, a Lion or a Gazelle, to succeed or fail, to be great or to be ordinary; whatever you chose to be you will become, but don’t forget that to be ‘2nd’ is to be ‘last’, strive to be the best”.

He eventually asked the purpose of my visit to Dubai and I explained my dream for “LorenzoBySujimoto”, I shared how Dubai inspires me and my desire to transform the Nigerian Real Estate sector. I was humbled by his rapt attention and amazed at his response: “your dreams are too small, double it, after you achieve it, contact me”. Signalling to his assistant “…give him my card” I was stunned almost in tears of joy.

It’s an irony how different, people’s perspectives about the same subject can be.

You see, I had shared this same dream for Lorenzo with a person I looked up to and the advice I got was “…be careful, this is Nigeria, this your dream is too big, take it easy…” Yet a King who knows virtually nothing about me, in a few minutes gave counsel that has filled me with hope and encouragement to go beyond the limits I had placed on my own dreams, otherwise not to start at all. I am grateful.

I got a book, ‘The Vision’, written by the icon himself, while signing my copy he asked “…what is your name again?” “Sujimoto” I replied; “Are you Japanese?” We all laughed.Sijibomi 'SujiMoto' Ogundele meets Emir of Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum 1As he moved on to his next meetings, he looked back at me and said: “Japanese, Nigerian, whichever you are; you must never forget generosity, it is an important element of success”.

Dubai is a city that has experienced transformation from the land of deserts and camels, into the city of towers and marbles. How could one not believe in the power of possibility? The story of Dubai can be likened to a ‘grass to grace’ kind of story, where from nothing it has become something remarkable, outstanding.Sijibomi 'SujiMoto' Ogundele meets Emir of Dubai Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum 2I have re-learned the lesson that if one has the right vision and the right people who believe in that vision, there is no limit to the kind and level of success that can be achieved and the quality of impact we can have on our society.

Many dreams have been abandoned, because of the credence we assign to the reactions of the people we share them with. Indeed, more often than not, we heed advices that limit us and we permit the society to dictate what is possible or not.

One cannot desire abundance and operate with people who are stuck in a mind-set of poverty. It is paramount that one surrounds one’s self with people who buy into one’s dream. People who are not handicapped by the proclivity to crouch and surrender, rather faith in the boundless capacity of man to exceed expectation; would feed your passion and validate your dreams.

To become a world class goldsmith, get advice from Harry Winston OR Tiffany’s, not a bricklayer.

40 Comments

  1. kikky

    August 6, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    #inspired!

  2. Dr. N

    August 6, 2015 at 12:11 pm

    Whaaaaat! He said your dream is too small?
    *rushes to dream board to wipe and draw up bigger dreams*

  3. Niola

    August 6, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    “Japanese, Nigerian, whichever you are; you must never forget generosity, it is an important element of success”. That is the PRAYER OF JABEZ right there. Lord bless me so that I can be a blessing to others……Because it is the will of God, it must surely come to pass………..Lets all remember that when we are at the top.
    I will read this article of yours over and over again, it has ignited my kick start button….

  4. Debutante

    August 6, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Inspired!

  5. Ephi

    August 6, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I love when people who follow their dreams and MAKE things happen, and right up here is an example. All the best to Mr Ogundele.

  6. qb

    August 6, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    True words!!! I am not just a dreamer I am an achiever. Mr Sujimoto I have admired your work for awhile. Well done for standing out and in being you.

  7. Ephi

    August 6, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    I remember a year ago when I was about making a complete career change and spoke to my friend about it; the only thing I kept hearing was “you know you would have to take a pay cut to make that happen”.
    Well, God in His mercies made my dream a reality plus extra pay but I never forgot what my friend said and it’s now made me quite careful who I tell stuff. Some people simply don’t have the capacity to see what you see, whilst others are just plain negative. It is your responsibility to protect your dream. Nuff said.

  8. Jo!

    August 6, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Mehn, there’s still something OFF about this guy sha

    • Damilola's

      August 6, 2015 at 3:40 pm

      @ Jo

      What’s off about him?
      God, rebuke enemy and fear of progress/success. Nigeria is a failed country with potential bcos of Nigerians themselves including people like you. Tge government that we complain about is a reflection of the country as a whole. The wickedness, selfishness, the ability to kill your dream, the unhappiness when the next person is sharing their dream and living is scary.

  9. RIFF RAFF

    August 6, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    My goodness! I am challenging myself to dream big again!!! My dreams are way too small sha. The Lord is my strength.
    BY FORCE OR BY FIRE, THE LORD WILL ONLY BE OUR STRENGTH.
    If u want to stay lagging behind, don’t count on me this time to say sorry or feel sympathy for you.

  10. BUKOLA

    August 6, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Am greatly inspired

  11. mrs chidukane

    August 6, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    To be 2nd is to be last, amazing. Wow, very inspiring.

  12. babygiwa

    August 6, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I am inspired.

  13. Zeal

    August 6, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    hmmmmm, #Word

    • Joe Sterne

      November 14, 2015 at 9:09 pm

      My brother, it is just as His Highness said to you. Think big and follow your dream. Don’t forget generosity along the way as its part of the process to succeed.

  14. RichesB

    August 6, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    ”One cannot desire abundance and operate with people who are stuck in a mind-set of poverty. It is paramount that one surrounds one’s self with people who buy into one’s dream.”

    Word!!! Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are has never been more real as of this moment.

  15. Ashley

    August 6, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    People who have sense. the Emiratis that is.

  16. ednutey

    August 6, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    My dream, its not that its small,its just that it needs more flesh(God Help Me)…..Generosity is definitely key….

  17. kelechi

    August 6, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Inspired!

  18. Ross

    August 6, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    I started following your story only a few weeks ago because the combination of your real name and the Japanese result interested me.
    Thanks for sharing your meeting with him with us. It makes for good reading.
    Remember though, it is not enough to have a vision and to chase it and to achieve it. To sustain it, you will need humility and this is the success no book can teach.
    All the best brother!

  19. Michael Agene

    August 6, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    “Your dreams are too small, double it, after you achieve it, contact me”.

    Seeing that I have a similar dream with Sujimoto, that statement speaks to me too. Wow!

    Thanks for sharing.

  20. Taiwo

    August 6, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    So inspired by this. Thank you for sharing your experience

  21. divea

    August 6, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    Truly inspired….

  22. Laura

    August 6, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    in life, you have to choose what you want to be, a Lion or a Gazelle, to succeed or fail, to be great or to be ordinary; whatever you chose to be you will become, but don’t forget that to be ‘2nd’ is to be ‘last’, strive to be the best”.
    Gosh….the best thing i’ve heard in 2015.

  23. honey

    August 6, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    Wow!!! I love these …..“your dreams are too small, double it, after you achieve it, contact me”. Signalling to his assistant “…give him my card”

    Now doubly inspired to keep up with my dream that i thought was too big.

    I am sure you will remember that meeting for the rest of your life.

    Congrats.

    • honey

      August 6, 2015 at 2:31 pm

      *this

  24. Nia

    August 6, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Inspired to say the least

  25. Bea Pearl

    August 6, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Powerful!

  26. xag

    August 6, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    This wash wash has become too much. We all know this thing started from Kola’s seed money, no go do the one that will bring more attention and trouble than it’s worth.

    • honey

      August 6, 2015 at 5:44 pm

      You’re just a hater jare….

      Lets assume what you’re saying about Kola’s seed money or whatever is true (dunno what that means sef), can’t the fellow move on with his life and aspire to achieve greater things???

      Enemies!!!!!

    • xag

      August 6, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      Nothing to hate hon. We aren’t in the same league and the team I play for has no time for this kind of PR. A little packaging is always good. But there is something such as overpackaging and more often than not it leads to trouble when people start making grandiose claims they can back up. The next thing you hear, these businessmen are overleveraged by taking money on projects they cannot deliver and EFCC enters the matter. He has done well by having one flagship project and some recognition. He would best be served now by working on delivering a number of tangible projects e.g Lekki Gardens type of things or expanding his property portfolio and entering into serious PPP arrangements. We have heard who Sujimoto the man is. He should tell us about the business and leave this international man of activity thing. Life is not about being hailed by Lagos boys and girls, it’s the people who run the banks and who control the economy that matter.

    • Hmmm

      August 6, 2015 at 8:09 pm

      I can smell the ENVY all over xag’s comments, bros can’t even disguise it, lmao!!

  27. Idomagirl

    August 6, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    This is so awesome. I have a lot of respect for Sheikh Mohammed. #respect

  28. Chinedu Ememandu

    August 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Good one Ogundele Sujimoto. I love you for this . Fantastic

  29. N. M.

    August 7, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Inspiring write up this is. Thank you Mr. Ogundele

  30. Jay

    August 7, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Hmm thanks for this Opportunity u receive nd share sujimoto, dis has really waken me up frm my slp nd slumber, no I’m alive to go after it.. Cos my dream is too little, now i av to replay my journey to be great and follow it till i get there..

  31. Emeka E.D

    August 7, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Hmn!!! Just read about a great visionary meeting another great visionary….that i ve been inspired is to say the very least…really impressed with your works….looking forward to the Cossimo by Sujimoto….Congrats.

  32. T.

    August 13, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    I’m afraid to dream, and I always limit my thoughts to “average things” I’m on the path to dreaming bigger and being more confident in my abilities and the endless possibilities.. This article was very inspiring and got me thinking. Thanks for sharing.

  33. Patrick

    August 21, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    I dont regret reading this… Indeed a great Leader he is.

  34. Joe Sterne

    November 14, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Wise words from a great leader

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