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Building an empire: Reviewing Oladele Fajemirokun’s inspiring personal recount two years later

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Almost two years after he launched his autobiography, The Making of Me – My Odyssey in Business, Chief (Dr) Oladele Fajemirokun has increasingly become a driving force for many young people across the county. And it is easy to see why. His book not only endears you to the inspiring story of one of Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs: it teaches the unusual ideals of building a business empire in a rigorous ecosystem like Nigeria.

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The author details everything here, holding nothing back. From how he took over his father’s indebted company and turned things around to relentlessly pursuing and eventually becoming AIICO’s second-largest shareholder, after American Insurance Group.

We don’t see this very often – Jacks of many trades who are actual masters of everything. The book proves he is one of such outliers. Someone with the first-hand experience in almost every business you can name. An acute businessman who has “once escaped into mercantilism, pioneered in produce, meandered into export of wood, held founders shares in shipping, strayed into industrial manufacturing, dabbled in merchandising, fast food and poultry farming, engaged in oil prospecting, toyed with banking and eventually moved to insurance and financial services.”

Entrepreneurs usually have it hard on this side of the divide. Only a few manage to break through these limitations, regardless of the sector. As someone who has succeeded in running businesses in multiple sectors, Dr Oladele’s autobiography serves as a thicker lens, a model even, for how business owners view and approach new and struggling enterprises.

A lot of people have referred to him as a businessman whose hand turns every enterprise to gold. But there is always more than meets the eye. And this is what he delicately narrates to readers, showing how he has had to navigate huge roadblocks, including boardroom politics and unfavourable market conditions, as well as public misconceptions of him being born into wealth.

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He clarifies this in his book, narrating his personal struggles which, contrary to popular opinion, he wasn’t born with a silver spoon. Before entering the corporate world, he had only been a tally clerk and sweeper at his father’s warehouse and with no knowledge or experience of how to run a thriving business.

He attributes his eventual success to refusing to step in his father’s shoes. Instead, he pushed them aside and took up a positively deviant approach to life, and by extension, business. For the reader, this is an affirmation that dreams can be achieved despite apparent hindrances.

Many autobiographies gloat but, this one teaches. Chief (Dr) Oladele Fajemirokun focuses on how to succeed where others don’t. As a result, it is the perfect recipe for young entrepreneurs, who are also trying to carve a path and build empires of their own.

Since its launch, the book has been available across different bookstores in Lagos including Laterna, Quintessence, Glendora, and Roving Heights. Hardcover copies can now also be purchased online from anywhere in the world on Amazon.

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In this article:
Oladele Fajemirokun
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