There is no food for lazy man in UK – Akinlolu Jekins, Nigerian UK showbiz impresario
In the past 10 years, the name Akinlolu “Jekins” Jikiemi always popped up in connection with wave-making UK events that featured Nigerian artistes and comedians.
His company, Akinlolu Jekins and Co Limited, has been the chief organiser of the Julius Agwu annual Crack Ya Ribs show since the past nine years. As well, he also handled several highly-rated events that featured the likes of Ali Baba, Acapella, Seyilaw, Akpororo, Mr Patrick, Helen Paul and others.
Wave-making artistes like Sammy Okposo, Tope Alabi, Sinachi and Korede Bello among others have also thrilled UK fans on his platform.
Akinlolu Jekins is one of the illustrious examples of hardworking Nigerians in the UK entertainment world.
Recently, he recounted his experience as an immigrant and underscored important lessons for those desirous of a successful life in the United Kingdom.
“As a Nigerian and an African man, one of the lessons I learnt was that there’s no food for a lazy man and that when you are in Rome, you behave like the Romans,” he said.
He continued: “I also noticed quite early that you needed to have a goal, and be focused on achieving the goal. In the United Kingdom, there is no room for hanky-panky. You have bills to pay and you needed to earn every penny to make a living and enjoy the good things of life. So as an educated immigrant, my first protocol was to observe and adapt to the system here in the UK.”
Success, Akinlolu Jekins avowed, is achieved by successfully scaling hurdles. “In the past, there was often the issue of getting the right venues for our artists and comedians, but things are getting better now. Then, there is the issue of visa refusals for artists and crew that we book to perform here in the UK. We are working closely with the UK Visas and Immigration to ensure that there are minimal or no case of refusals whenever we apply on behalf of those coming to perform,” he outlined.
The year 2020 has been an unprecedented one for businesses globally due to the crippling effect of the coronavirus pandemic. “I would be deceiving, if I say we were not greatly affected, the hospitality sector was badly hit,” he declared candidly.
The pandemic has forced drastic changes upon the entertainment industry, he avowed.
“We have had to review terms and conduct research to identify how we can safely and systematically add value to our clients and work safely until the confidence level or vaccine is found,” he stated.
Akinlolu Jekins, disclosed further: “I have some projects in place for November and December, subject to monthly review till September. We intend to push a mini-tour across five cities. We are currently working on the venues and visas.
That would be the test run across cities in the United Kingdom. We just got the all-clear signal from the UK government for theatres and venues to open from August 14 with strict procedures.”
Being a microbiologist and a showbiz professional are worlds apart, yet, Akinlolu Jekins has had a seamless metamorphosis from the former to the latter. “I live a multiple personality kind of life,” he asserted, then explained further: “Entertainment is a passion that I nurtured and invested in it. I still work in the health sector to date, while I function as an event consultant and concert organiser. I haven’t done badly in either of the two. As we speak, I am currently training to be a nurse.
That should tell you combining the two roles is not difficult for me. However, I am still learning to be the best at both.”
Given his rich experience in the planning and promotion of big entertainment events, you would expect that Jekins should know the kind of music event that will be a sell-out. He dropped a hint: “The world has different genres of music and different consumers of music; what commands popular appeal at a point depends on such factors as location, season, race, culture and individual’s taste and mood.
There is a large population of consumers of rap, R&B, jazz, pop and raga, but I love rap. That aside, for me to sell music to the world, I would sell what I understand the most, and that would be rap and afrobeats, as they are what the world is gravitating towards presently.”