Thriving in the face of adversity: Oladele Fajemirokun’s the making of me – my odyssey in business
It is impossible to count Nigeria’s most successful industrialists and not list Oladele Fajemirokun among them. A quick look at his portfolio, and you are presented with a man who is behind the ascension of many enterprises across different industries.
So, when an individual as accomplished narrates his entire journey into a book, the world has no choice but to stop and listen.
Indeed, that is what his memoir, The Making of Me – My Odyssey in Business, does to any aspiring entrepreneur in Africa: it makes you listen. Then it opens your eyes to real business secrets. Ideas that not only pushed a resilient, enterprising individual to become one of Africa’s most celebrated businessmen but also serve as a blueprint for thriving in a competitive landscape like Nigeria’s.
However, everyone, whether they’re entrepreneurs or not, should read his memoir as the lessons can be applied to both business and life scenarios. Most importantly, they’re relatable. Relatable in the sense that, like many Nigerians, he faced peculiar struggles of his own.
This is despite preconceived notions that he has had it easier in life. After all, he is the son of another famous industrialist. This is why the author also rightly uses the opportunity to make it clear that, contrary to popular opinion, he was not raised with a silver spoon.
“… In fact, there was no spoon at all when I was born. I never travelled abroad, never went on summer holidays nor attended elite schools; instead, I started school at St Peters, Ajele. Most holidays, I was sweeping the floor in my father’s warehouse or working as a tally clerk in his clearing and forwarding company, and later, during secondary school and as a university undergraduate, as a clerk in the bank. My dad never believed in giving me pocket money. It was a concept that was alien to him, but only as far as it concerned me. He believed that I had to earn my keep. This action of my father created the working hunger for money and survival all my life.”
In many ways, this memoir also serves as motivation for struggling Nigerian entrepreneurs who have to develop tough skin to break through life’s challenges. From unfortunately losing his father to the untimely hands of death to the almost-impossible task of reviving the man’s severely indebted company, Henry Stevens Group, just three years after graduating from university, Chief (Dr) Oladele Fajemirokun knows a lot of things about crossing hurdles and battling hostile business environments and coming out on top.
It is, therefore, no surprise that he has ties with some of Nigeria’s biggest enterprises in one capacity or the other, including AIICO Insurance, DF Holdings Limited, Food Concepts (Chicken Republic/Butterfield Bakery), Kings Guards Limited, Johnson Wax (producers of Baygon & Raid insecticide), Blue Chip Communications, Xerox HS, and so much more.
If anyone has often wondered what it took to succeed despite unfavourable economic, political, physical, academic, and financial conditions, this is the book to read. And that is because, with each chapter, Oladele Fajemirokun has a story of triumph to tell.
The book is available across different bookstores in Nigeria, including Laterna, Quintessence, Glendora, and Roving Heights. Hardcover copies can also be purchased online from anywhere in the world on Amazon.
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