Success knows no age or race; it recognizes only hard work and diligence.
All my life, I have been inspired by those who have achieved greatness. My mind is constantly boggled with trying to figure out what principles brought them such good fortune and what mistakes turned to pitfalls.
I have studied Rockefeller, Steve Jobs, MKO as well as Alakija and a resonating factor in each of their stories is that success didn’t happen overnight for any one of them. The elevator to success was out of service for these people, they had to use the stairs; one step at a time, sometimes stumbling but never crumbling.
John D. Rockefeller, the son of a farm owner, started his entrepreneurial career at the age of 19, worked hard and with sheer determination rose steadily to become a celebrated success. Cornelius Vandervelt and JP Morgan were both older and more successful than John Rockefeller but they will never forget the ambitions of a young man who changed the narrative of his generation. By the time John turned 32, he had made his first million and today he is still one of the richest men in recorded history.
The name Steve Jobs will also forever be remembered in our history as the radical serial entrepreneur who challenged the status quo and made a billion dollars before he turned 40. Steve redefined and changed the rules of the game and taught me personally that no matter who you are or whatever your background, if you are diligent, you cannot be indigent; you can come from your parents’ garage and impact your generation.
MKO Abiola understood the importance of his location and association in determining his allocation. In his early 30s, he put to use the power of strategic alliance and the need to be prepared for opportunities. He understood that a companion of fools would be destroyed. So, he associated with the best and was diligent enough to stay prepared so that immediately opportunities roused; he took full advantage of them. MKO has impacted my life and the lives of so many other young entrepreneurs in Africa.
Folurunsho Alakija, one of my leading mentors, is the wealthiest black woman on earth, and her story will never be complete if she didn’t nurture and nourish her association with the elite and rulers of our society. By her early 30s, she had carved her own destiny and today her name is engraved as of the most powerful women in the history of black excellence. SUJIMOTO & Nigeria´s Underestimated Under 40s Success knows no age or race; it recognizes only hard work and diligence.
Today, I look around me and I am proud to call myself a Nigerian. I am proud to be part of this generation. In my next life, I don’t want to be Ghanaian, Beninese or South African. Even though I love these countries, there is nowhere else in Africa that I am proud to call home but Nigeria. I see my generation, and it gives me great joy to read and witness the successes of great Nigerian stars like:
Serial internet entrepreneur and Nigerian Larry Page, my friend and sister, Linda Ikeji; Uche Pedro, Founder of Nigeria’s Biggest Entertainment and Lifestyle site; Ladi Delano, Entrepreneur and Young Billionaire; African KFC, Usman Dantata; Chude Jideonwo & Adebola Williams, Young Media Moguls and Kingmakers; the governance of Mark Okoye, my mentor and serial entrepreneur; George Agbonlahor II; Aishah Ahmad, Banker of the nation; the Legislator, Jimmy Mohamed; Grand Master politician, Timi Frank; Industrialist Kabiru Rabiu; Dapo LamAdesina Jnr. our future constitutionalist; queen of the big screen, Genevieve Nnaji; Ahmed Zakari; Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed.
I have no doubt that Omosede Igbinedion will be our first female speaker; young king of entertainment, Shina Pellar; Hadiza Bala Usman; Jolly Cole; Tola Odunsi; Adama Indimi; Sule Summerset, our future Hilton; Silent strategist- Abba Atiku; Ubi Franklin; Tunde Sabiu; Nicole Onome Yembra; Onyekachi Ekezie; Hon. Ololade Ahmed Onakoya; Nigeria’s Number one servant, Fela Durotoye; Aminu Sanni Bello; Osasu Igbinedion; Seun Osewa; Abuja Real estate don, Amarachi Iwayanwu; Idris Olorunnimbe; my senior colleague and brother, Adebola Sheidu; Funmilade Alalade; Toyosi Ogunsiji; Kika & Chioma; Hamza Greema; Sulaiman Sanni Bello; The Okoye brothers; Seyi Tinubu; Beauty expert, Dabota; Charles Ophaleke; Buhari Dasuki; Journalist Extraordinaire, Bankole Omisore; Jelani Aliu; Capt. Ronnie Dankabo; Entrepreneur and public figure, Audu Makori; Abdulsalam Dasuki; Ahmed Indimi; Simi Fajemirokun; Healthcare Enthusiast, Bolatito Ovia; Titus and Tobias Igwe; Nigerian Dr.Dre, Asa Asika; Nigeria’s Uber, Bankole Cardoso; Ibrahim Bala Hassan, Ola Orekunrin; Opeyemi Awoyemi; Olalekan Olude; Ayodeji Adewunmi; Tola Odunsi; celebrity prince, Aderemi Sijuwade; Aviation magnets, the Demurens; Shola Akinlade; and the Son of a Lion who is a Lion himself, Paddy Adenuga, who recently broke the internet with his thrilling ‘Lion in the North Sea’ article.
Lastly but importantly, we can’t forget our Big Brother, Egbon- Igho Sanomi who has now entered his early 40s, but remains a point of inspiration to all black entrepreneurs. I hail all the numerous entrepreneurs in Nigeria that might have escaped my mind but are running great businesses and taking giant strides in their industries and chosen career paths. A friend of mine Chigoze Okafor ‘Googoo’, whom I fondly call- Silent Billionaire inspires me a great deal. He has been trading with the Chinese from the age of 22. Now, at about 38, he owns a multi-billion naira manufacturing plant in Nnewi. This generation is filled with talents among whom are the unforgettable Peter Okoye of the PSquare fame, Davido, Wizkid, DJ Cuppy, Olamide, Phyno, Tiwa Savage, and Flavor to name a few.
We are inspired and must also never forget the Awolowos, the Shagaris, and the Azikwes, who in their 30s reshaped the history and freedom of this nation. Many will ask: what has this generation become? Why has our quest for instant gratification denied us from seeing the potential in our future? Why has our interest in Arsenal stopped the arsenal in us from firing at attaining our true potential? Have we watched so much of Trace TV that we can no longer trace the path of greatness? But I assure you that in this new world of dynamism and globalization, where Mark Zuckerberg’s investment interests made him lend his voice to the Nigerian-Ghana Jollof-war, we will ensure that we never disappoint our fathers, or deny hope to our younger ones. We will grab the bull by the horn and change the narratives of our destiny! Underestimate us at your own risk!
When I think about my generation, read about their achievements and see their dedication to attaining the seemingly unattainable, I realize that the future is brighter than most people think. I’m confident that in the next 10 years, the world will dazzle at the emergence of new Dangotes, a new generation of Obama-style Leadership and an incredible leap in our Tech Industry. Things our forefathers never dreamt of 100 years ago, our generation will dare to achieve. In all of my optimism and hope for this generation, I still recognize that we have our flaws. I know that drugs and alcohol abuse is a huge problem for many people. The desire for fast money is killing many of us. But where others see weakness, I see strength!
I see a generation of people with a hunger for excellence, passionately passionate about making sense out of life, aggressively taking their destiny into their own hands. Even though it seems like whenever we find the key to success, someone changes the lock! I’m sure that we shall produce the best traders and manufactures from Onitsha. Nnewi is already cooking industrialists who will put Nigeria and Nigerians on the map as the most dynamic business people in the world. Lagos will produce more Adenugas and Otedola’s with so much money. The ancient city of Kano will once again redeem its reputation for being the center of commerce; she will produce another Alhassan Dantata who later produced Africa’s proudest son Aliko.
And lastly, Sujimoto like a bridge connecting Africa to the world will make a tremendous impact on Africa’s Luxury real estate in unimaginable ways. Why? One may ask? It is simple, I have never been the one to follow the herd or travel the familiar terrain. I always chart new paths, by exploring vistas of opportunities in uncharted terrains, beginning with the probing question, ‘Why Not’?
I draw life and business inspiration from the German Blitzkrieg principle – a tactical warfare strategy that incapacitates the enemy by using the element of surprise, speed and force. I believe in disrupting old business terrains with innovative ideas and concepts, exceptional customer service, the unrivalled speed of delivery and not forgetting the invaluable currency of credibility, which Warren Buffet refers to as the currency of integrity. For me, there is no need starting, if I am not going to do it better or be the best.
Sujimoto will impact the Luxury market in unimaginable ways, from Lagos to Angola we will not stop until we have one Sujimoto building on every major street across Africa! Call it being over ambitious or opportunistic, I simply call it Motomatics because 1+1=11; thus, sending a significant message that we have found gold in the new generation of Nigerian future leaders.