Fela Durotoye and the new Nigeria dream
Fela Durotoye is widely known as a positive life influencer, many who have come under his speeches and teachings will mostly agree it is transformational. It is no longer news that this man has a passion for development both human and national.
It is this passion that led him to set up in May 2013, GEMSTONE Nation Builders Foundation, a non-profit, non-governmental organization which engages, empowers and equips nation builders and community transformers through the platforms of the GEMSTONE Nation Builders Network (GNB Network).
The GEMSTONE Group is dedicated to building exemplary leaders of excellence for all spheres of National Transformation, such leaders who will be committed to building their nation, shaping their continent.
In 2015, he pioneered the Business of Public Speaking (BOPS) training fully sponsored for beneficiaries where trainees got first-hand knowledge on what Public Speaking was all about and what it took to be profitable doing it. Many recalled it was a life-changing experience and most of the beneficiaries went on to impact their communities in various ways from public speaking engagements, mentoring and book authorship.
A chat with one of the numerous people Fela Durotoye has impacted, Damilola Adewale, she says “Fela Durotoye has not only inspired me, he has invested in my life. And this is not just my testimony but the testimony of thousands of others.”
Popularly Known as Mr Nigeria due to is a rare passion for Nigeria, Fela Durotoye virtually wakes up, sleeps and dreams about Nigeria. If you think you are passionate about Nigeria, wait until you meet him. He is obsessed with the New Nigeria dream and this I believe is his motivation for aspiring for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Fela Durotoye doesn’t only have faith that a New Nigeria can be birthed, but he has built a track record of National Transformation projects, many of which are bold, audacious and near impossible tasks. For instance, in December 2009, he championed the largest urban renewal project in Nigeria’s history known as MUSHIN MAKEOVER.
Mobilizing over 2,000 volunteers to paint 296 houses across 7 streets of the Mushin suburb of Lagos, at no charge to the owners and residents of the buildings, Fela led a cause for MUSHIN MAKEOVER. The effort is one of the largest community development projects with no government funding but was accomplished through individual donations and corporate sponsorships as well as the endorsement and physical involvement of many of the nation’s celebrities (Music stars and Nollywood actors), entrepreneurs, professionals, law-makers, students as well as the notorious ‘area boys’, all of who collaborated in an unprecedented way to bring about community transformation.
In the course of the Mushin Makeover project, over 100 unemployed youths were trained by Berger Paints PLC in ‘The Art & Technique of Painting’. Today, they have become vibrant painters and are able to earn a living as a result of the Mushin Makeover project.
In 2005, Fela saw the results of the NECO examinations and discovered it had over 85% failure rate. It wasn’t “his business” but he couldn’t help thinking of those children and their future so he decided to spin off Project RAISE—Revive Academic Excellence in our Schools and Educational institutions.
To accomplish this vision, he wrote his first book, 17 SECRETS OF HIGH FLYING STUDENTS, printed 500 copies and sent them to 450 Private Sector CEO’s to join him re-educate the children.
In 2008, he led the training of 48,150 students preparing for the NECO Exams in Oyo State, as well as over 4000 teachers & parents across 16 locations every day for 2 weeks (inclusive of feeding, T-shirt’s and writing materials).
When the next NECO results were released, Oyo State went from #23 in English and #28 in Maths to #3 in English and #4 in Maths and climbed from #28 to #3 among the league of States.
Worthy of note is the commendation given by NECO to Oyo State that the students trained by Fela Durotoye had the lowest number of examination malpractice in the history of NECO—meaning that the students not only passed but they also didn’t cheat.
All these he did at a time when there was no intention to run for office. There is nothing greater than making a difference in the lives of the people around you and Fela Durotoye is passionate about this—it has become his lifestyle.
You will agree with me that power amplifies who a man is, so it’s only natural to infer that if Fela Durotoye could do so much with so little as an ordinary citizen then we can only imagine the transformation that will take place when he occupies the office of the President with full access to much more financial and human resources to make an even bigger and widespread impact in Nigeria.
Nigeria has gone through many facets, we can say the country has been battered, suffering under the weight of recycled leadership by two major political parties. Is Nigeria ready to shed its scale and breed a new Nation? A nation true to its representation as “The Giant of Africa?”
Will Fela Durotoye deliver the New Nigeria that we so desperately are in need of? The fact remains that there is little to hope for with the existing parties, we have heard their empty promises time and time again and it’s a cycle of deceit.
If Nigerians will allow the streak of light we now see, the representation of Hope we can all believe through Fela Durotoye to shine through, perhaps we can be sure of a chance to rebuild our nation again, indeed a New Nigeria is possible.
Oluwaseyi Oguntobi writes from Abuja