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Move Back to Nigeria: Biobele Oyibo Recommends Taking The Plunge Without Worry

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Move Back to Nigeria is a series on BellaNaija which aims to encourage young and not-so-young professionals in the diaspora who are trying to make the decision of whether to move back to Nigeria. In collaboration with the brilliant team at MoveBackToNigeria.com, we hope to bring you regular interviews with individuals who have successfully made the leap, so you can learn from their experiences and make a success of your move back.

The Move Back To Nigeria series is a monthly feature on BellaNaija.

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My name is Biobele Oyibo, I was out of the country for about 8/9 years. I did A-Levels at St Bede’s Senior School, a Degree in Law from the University of Kent and I have a First-Class Degree in Business Enterprise (entrepreneurship) from the University of Buckingham.

During my time at Buckingham, I set up a tech business called Bride Bells – which bridges the gap between weddings and technology. It’s an online D-I-Y wedding planning platform that allows wedding vendors and brides to connect, plan and collaborate more efficiently, using software as a service. I think it’s a platform that’s very likely to disrupt the wedding industry in Nigeria, and revamp the way weddings are planned.

I was selected to give a talk about my business to Prince Andrew (HRH Duke of York), the Mayor or Buckingham, and other dignitaries, and was further highlighted in the Buckingham Daily’s.

Tell us about some of your fondest memories from childhood before you moved to England.
To be honest, I had a quite interesting childhood, but can’t necessarily pick up on any particular memory. I’d have to say one of my best times were holidays with family, particularly those Christmas holidays, when we all went back to the village (Buguma, Rivers State). Spending time with my siblings, cousins, friends, there was never a dull moment – from acting plays, to playing games, to running from masquerades and dodging knockouts in the town square – there was never a dull moment.

What came next after your educational pursuit was over?
I’ve always been a big believer of moving back to Nigeria to settle down. As odd as it may sound, I’ve also never really been a big fan of having a job. I did a 2-month internship once, at a law firm, but running my own business has always been my goal. So, honestly, as soon as I was done with my education, I moved back to really focus on pushing my business in Nigeria.

How did you know the time was right to move back?
Once I could comprehend that I could make a difference in Nigeria, I started itching to move back. In fact, I was willing to implement some of my ideas while I was still half way through my education, but trust Nigerian parents; they always said, “finish school first”, Every time I heard that, the urge to move back increased.

How were the first few months being back in Nigeria?
While I was away, I came back at least once or twice a month, so there hasn’t really been much of a culture shock. The only things that I don’t seem to be getting used to are the extremely hot weather and the NEPA issues. I’m literally always craving something cold to drink.
I’m a sucker for fish! I love catfish! As much as I had always wanted to run my own farm, I think my subconscious chose fish farming, because I could easily access catfish – point, kill and make my own peppersoup.

And what propelled you to switch to the tech space? (Bride bells
I wouldn’t particularly say there has been a switch, I’m still very much interested in farming, but would like to do it bigger and better. I like to see myself as a serial entrepreneur or maybe, an opportunist. I saw the opportunity in the wedding industry, and saw the need for some extensive technology, beyond the simple vendor listing that’s out there. Besides, I think the tech space fits with my personality: fun, exciting and constantly changing.

In your opinion, what does Nigeria have to offer the entrepreneur? 
It’s no news that Nigeria is a developing country. In my head, this alone screams ‘opportunities’. No doubt, the country can be a bit difficult, but I believe a whole lot has to do with positioning. Know what you’re trying to achieve, and position yourself in the right places to actualise those dreams. The truth is, the opportunities are available, the labour is here, and resources (although seemingly scarce) are available.

I always say to people, in the fully developed countries like England – what changes do you really want to make? How do you want to make your mark? In Nigeria, there is room for a lot of changes and development. Besides if I had to set my footprints anywhere, as cliche as it might sound, I’d rather it’s at my home.

Do you have any plans to “give back”?
Definitely! A lot of friends and acquaintances tell me I’m good at motivating people – I plan to explore this skill. I haven’t necessarily decided what exactly I plan to do to give back, but I certainly plan to make women and youths see that there is no glass ceiling. There are no boundaries – the boundaries are fictitious – and even though people think your goals are weird or unachievable, if you’re “weird” enough to think it, you can achieve it through smart and hard work.

So, are you back in Nigeria for good?
My next goal is to get an MBA, and I’m looking to take out another year to do that – not immediately, but soon. I planned to go to the U.S, until Donald Trump happened. But currently I’m really considering Insead Business School for my MBA.

What do you do for fun/relaxation in Lagos? 
I’m a big fan of water sports and cocktails. So, you’d most likely find me out swimming, kayaking, on a boat or at a nice bar, having a chilled cup of long island ice tea.

Do you have any advice for prospective returnees? 
Don’t be too worried, take the plunge – it’s worth it, eventually. But make sure you have a pair of shades and a lot of sunscreen to hand. Also, don’t just move back, do your research and due diligence.

MBTN helps Nigerian and African professionals from across the world connect with career and Investment opportunities. We also organise networking events, conferences and workshops that give you the required tools to get ahead in your career in Africa or elsewhere. Find out more at www.mbtnglobal.com. Follow us on Twitter @mbtnglobal and Instagram @mbtnglobal

30 Comments

  1. ToneCoalPDP

    April 28, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    WE have heard oh

    1
  2. Amaka

    April 28, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Nice concept, business and career. In a country where there is owambe almost everyday you will thrive. Coordination with vendors can be a problem, so you are also solving a problem. Finally, you still have your law degree which can be lucrative.

  3. Bukola.A

    April 28, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    So here’s what I’ve noticed . Many of the people moving back to Nigeria are entrepreneurs. They already have something set up or are planning to set up. How about those of us who aren’t entrepreneurs or aren’t in that mind set yet.
    That’s the tricky part. Im thinking if I get a job paying me 6,000$/month in Nigeria I’ll move back. Which is pretty much what I make before taxes , but who would employ me if I ask for that amount ?
    I’m not opposed to moving back and I don’t wanna sound greedy , but that’s what I’m worth for my services . I’m not business oriented yet( I plan to get there) , but I miss home . The food, the people, the. Craziness . Everything .
    PS I haven’t done NYSC oh!
    If y’all know any good paying jobs.(Oil and Gas, that’s my current field , Engineer)
    Please drop some info….

    • nne

      April 28, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      Left when i was a teen and moved back at 40. NYSC is out of the question for me. It is extraordinarily difficult to come back and look for a job. Nigeria is the wild wild west and truly the people that are needed back here are people with the liver for the chaos. The vast majority of people i know that came back to work conventional jobs have packed up and returned. There is nothing wrong with returning if it does not work out, thats life. But make no mistake about it, the season of coming back with cushy job has passed (99-2005). If you need a steady 9-5 and $6k a month, stay put, dont be swayed by the move back pieces, naijas are good at packaging. Things are hard, come back if you are ready to fight to thrive in the wild wild west.

      1
    • Olu

      April 28, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      God bless you ooooooooooo

      The same naija people begging you to move back and promising you jobs or half or their salaries if no job will avoid you like multiple plagues when you finally move to Nigeria. ..or they want to show you who the big boy is. ..they’ll make you stay in the waiting room for hours before showing their ‘busy’ face. This happened to a friend of mine..thank God he could come back to the U.S.

      Shine ur eyes.

      1
  4. Kikelola

    April 28, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    BN, it would be nice to actually hear from people who’ve never lived in Nigeria, return, and are able to establish themselves successfully.

  5. MrsO

    April 28, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    We always hear success stories of those who returned back. What of those who tried it and failed or simply just hated the experience?

    • Kay

      April 28, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      I tried it.. I moved back, and hoped to get a good job in consulting but that never happened so I started a catering business.. It did not exactly work for me or I wasn’t patient enough. So I relocated to a different country. I still hope to move back someday, but with a better business idea and plan. I’m already working on the new idea

  6. Vera

    April 28, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    Omg! Biobele oyibo Olashore alumnus! Awwww! Never knew she had all these in her. Continue flying Biobele, continue flying!!!

  7. Demola

    April 28, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    First class in entrepreneurship!!! It’s not every day you come across people with that in the kitty. We need more people like you to come and add the entrepreneurship know how to the millennials.

  8. What? ?

    April 28, 2017 at 4:34 pm

    This part got me…while I was away, I came back at least once or twice a month…

    I’m like ? Huh? My life!! Having rich parents is the bees knees!! Imagine traveling in and out of Nigeria like one is plying Lagos – Abuja. Kai!!

    1
  9. ano

    April 28, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Please consider writing about young people that relocate to states within Nigeria without family in that state to establish a business or work.

  10. x-factor

    April 28, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    “but I certainly plan to make women and youths see that there is no glass ceiling. There are no boundaries – the boundaries are fictitious – and even though people think your goals are weird or unachievable, if you’re “weird” enough to think it, you can achieve it through smart and hard work”…..Oshey!

  11. Sarah

    April 28, 2017 at 7:02 pm

    Make no mistake of returning without the cushion effect of rich family or friends support. Someone mentioned the author to be an Olashore alumnus, which implies she was born with silvers spoon and more likely had the ‘Bank of Mum and Dad’ to fall back on.

    • Olu

      April 28, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      There you go….’cushion effect of reliable family and/or friends’.

    • Baba

      April 29, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      To buttress this,she was back atleast once a month!!Say what!!!!

  12. Memoir

    April 28, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    I stopped reading @ “While I was away, I came back at least once or twice a month”….dem privleged pickin with connect telling us how to move back and become successfull when dem don arrange everything for dem…..Akuko uwa…Next please

    • Ada_ugo

      April 29, 2017 at 6:57 am

      Me sef I’m thinking even to a neighbouring town abi state sef, once or twice a month is still a huge commitment, talkless of across the oceans. I will just assume that was a typo… lol

    • Fleur

      April 29, 2017 at 7:06 am

      Plus lemme drop the name Chamberlain Oyibo, the one time NNPC MD about early nineties. Just saying…….Drops da mic

  13. florence

    April 28, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    Wait. You came back every month for the last 8 years? BN, but why are you like this? How can you feature someone like this as inspiration. There are glass ceilings where there’s money and connections.

    • florence

      April 28, 2017 at 8:05 pm

      *no glass ceilings

  14. Louda

    April 28, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Some people are planning to leave the mudaland some are telling of how they came back. Life goes on. We need to go out first then come back if we so wish. Welcome back to the returnees. I hope we will be updated when they run back.

  15. Olu

    April 28, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    Easy for ‘family money’ kids to move back.

    Someone who used to visit Nigeria once or twice in a month.

    I guess Donald Trump’s youngest son is begging for a load to feed!

    Can we stop this foolery and be realistic for once?

  16. susu

    April 28, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    yeah move back with her cartier watch and gucci bag… please shine you eye if you leave don’t come back

  17. susu

    April 28, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    Yeah Move back with her cartier watch and gucci bag! Biko, shine your eye if you leave don’t come back.

  18. Samson Olujinmi Shogbanmu

    April 28, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    There is nothing wrong going back to Nigeria, if you have full support of family or friend with strong financial background. Or, you have made your money and have tried few successful businesses back home. However, be prepared to get back on plane if your business collapse. For me, when I will decide to return, I will go into agriculture. Fisheries, snail farming, rabbit farming and vegetables. Except for electricity, kidnapping and armed robbery, as a result of our politicians not caring for the masses, I love Nigeria.

    • Fleur

      April 29, 2017 at 7:10 am

      You are missing the point. The only people who can return are the offspring of those who are in the top 1% who happen to often be related to individuals who pillaged the coffers and put us where we are, and are also the ones privileged to go abroad for a first class training. They come back and bella features them as if it is the same libyan boat they boarded to Europe. Nah. They flew business class to Europe and flew it back, landed in a gilded mansion in Ikoyi, with a pot full of “tryout ya business” money, and they want us to follow this example. Oh, I get it…. we should plan to pillage the treasury too. Sigh.

    • Idomagirl

      April 29, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Well said.
      These “come back, naija has opportunities” people BN shows us are often those with big names and massive connections (that’s the only thing that works in Nigeria – who you know).
      Nothing against them but this doesn’t paint the real picture of moving back to Nigeria.

      Coming back to a mansion in Ikoyi or Maitama, to mummy and daddy’s wealth and the doors their last name opens is so different from coming back and digging it out on your own.
      Nigeria is tough! Surviving or doing business here is difficult – there’s no point sugarcoating it.
      Everything is a herculean task, from getting a driver’s license to registering your company.

      Please don’t fall for all this hype o.
      When that Lagos Rich Kids video dropped last year I had some former schoolmates in the states who got excited and were saying “Naija is the place to be, we have to go back”, I told them not to fall for the hype.
      If you aren’t an Otedola or Mbadiwe, the reality you will meet is very different o.

      Before coming back be absolutely sure.
      Come and stay for some time, talk to people, those who came back and stayed or left.
      The people talking to you about opportunities, collaboration etc, many of them will disappear when you come back.
      Once you land naija – voicemail.
      Shine your eye well.
      And if you are doing really well over there – like the first commenter- what are you coming back here to do?
      Even if you get a job that pays that much or even more, what about your quality of life?

  19. Naija Person

    April 29, 2017 at 6:20 am

    I tried that nonsense a few years back, ran a business with a senior pastor from daddy G.O . church. Expensive wasted exercise.

    You need the patience of a monk, deep financial buffer, reliable people, wisdom of Solomon and protection like David to stand still nevermind move and thrive.

    The very very very few who make it don’t tell you the ‘x-factor’ is very very very very likely a cushion of bank of daddy & mummy or uncle & aunty and such like. According to your definition of daddy, mummy, uncle and aunty.

    Anyway, naija will get better but not for those who have spent over 10yrs away. A trial will convince.

    Oh! BN! You lose credibility with stories like this.

    And by the way, I re-relocated back to nurse my wounds. The business and pastor? Business collapsed. The pastor needs Jesus. Full stop. I haven’t got the grace enough. I attend strictly non-daddy GO enterprises now. For sanity’s sake.

    Shine your eyes, ears …And lately, whistle.

  20. layeire

    April 30, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    I sincerely hope the recurring cynical comments on mbtn. here wouldn’t bully the poster into yanking it going forward.

    Thiss land needs people who just want to get things done however, to move here you need muscles on your muscles , muscles on your eye balls and have the ability to smile when faced with shocking level of inefficiency so don’t get your knickers in a twist if you preping to join in.
    Definitely,Mbtn has helped me and I am very grateful for the insights

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