‘MIN appreciates those who put out their lives and time to better the system’
Where many people loathe challenges and use them as reasons to sink further into indifference, Ugochukwu Favour-Mayor sees opporunity. A multifaceted gentleman, he’s a media entrepreneur, entertainer and writer, who understands suffering and wants to make a difference. As an entrepreneur, he is the founder of Fun Code Media, a firm that has consulted for numerous, popular and successful individuals and organisations. Today, he is the lead writer of Most Influential Nigerians (MIN), which was formerly known as Most Influential Igbo Personalities (MIIP) before the recent change. Today, MIN is an online digital and annual print publishing platform, designed with a bold and visionary step for human social empowerment and capital development, basically endowed to track and showcase influential Nigerians and their philanthropy. In this interview with CHUKS NWANNE, the Imo State native spoke on the forthcoming launch of the MIN publications and the desire of the platform to bring out the paragons, and present them as role models for younger ones to emulate.
How has it been promoting the Most Influential Nigerians (MIN) brand, especially as it concerns the expansion plans?
Well, it has been an interesting journey for me and I give all the glory to God for the grace to pull this through. We started with the Most Influential Igbo Personalities (MIIP) and now we have enlarged our scope to now have the Most Influential Nigerians (MIN). So, from being a regional brand to a national one, I will say it’s been demanding, and at the same time fun. Due to the fact that this is what we choose to do, we are trying our best to enjoy the journey not minding the risk and task attached to it.
What will be the impact of MIN brand in the lives of Nigerians?
The impact, I will first highlight the word ‘hustle’, and to what it means amongst us. Looking at Nigeria, we lay so much emphasis on the word ‘hustle.’ The question today is what are we hustling? What is the intension of our hustle? Are we hustling to create value or to steal from the value instituted by other people via diligence and commitment? This brand is here to act as a reminder, and as a big book that will appreciate those of us, who put out their lives and time to better the system. This will reengineer the system into focusing more on purposeful hustle; it will appreciate the efforts of people, who independently strive against all odds to rise reputably.
Also, this is one platform created to help the successful Nigerians to tell their story in a way that it will inspire the rich and upcoming amongst us. One may be rich, but there is need for that person to use his or her resources right. During the time we were gathering materials, you really need to see how I had a mind shift after reading through the content of the book. If it can stir need for a redirection from the way I see success, I deeply think that it will do the same to next person.
So, how do you intend to use this platform to expand the message of change in Africa?
MIN is Nigeria and Nigeria is Africa; it may be made in Nigeria, but it is for the world. The people we have in our annual publication, as Top Twenty Most Influential Nigerians are people on the world stage. These are people, who are already on the world stage as role models while making Nigeria and Africa at large proud.
Can you give us an idea of the people on the list?
We have people like Aliko Dangote, Tony Elumelu, Folorunsho Alakija, Chimamanda Adichie, Linda Ikeji, Ali Baba and a few of them, who are consistently working so hard to change the story of Nigeria as a place of positivity and progress. Indeed, I will tell you that after going through the content of this book, you will see the need over why we should acknowledge our first eleven.
From the concept, it seem you are looking at having something like Forbes list?
Really, Forbes? Was that an exaggeration? Anyway, we have Ancillar Mangena from Forbes as a member of our board of advisory; though she went on to run a review of the platform alongside the first issue. A very powerful review she did, add to the ones Mike Awoyinfa, Dele Momodu and Bill Price from South Africa did. A brand can be anything to different people, but what matters is the purpose, which is the mission. Like we’ve always pointed out on our platforms and publications, Most Influential Nigerians, otherwise known as MIN is an online digital and annual print publishing platform, designed with a bold and visionary step for human social empowerment and capital development, basically endowed to track and showcase influential Nigerians and their philanthropy. The idea is to bring out the paragons, and present them as role models, whom we can admire, adore, and who the younger ones can pattern their lives after. Assembling a vast array of high flyers from the country, and tell their stories in a way to inspire others. So, if we happen to be counted or tagged as the country’s Forbes, I will gladly say it’s a reward for hardwork. Like I pointed out earlier, we have great minds, who beyond all odds, have achieved a lot in the society.
Basically, the idea is to look at the positive side of the country?
Sure, we are tracking this people for them to tell their stories. Crime reporters spend much of their time reporting crime incidents, but here, we are reporting the positive ones. We are out to report those stories that touch the society positively. We need a platform for the likes of Bishop Kukah, Mike Adenuga, Innoson and others to tell their stories. But it’s not just for the well known alone; we have also opened our online platform, www.mostinfluentialnigerians.com for stories to be reported as they come.
There was this rumour that MIN is funded by government, how true is that?
A rumour will always remain a rumour in the air without a source or place of resting. I will go on to correct that statement or impression by saying that MIN was built out of someone’s sweat, not the Presidency. If we got support from the Presidency, I doubt if the rising process would be this slow; though they say slow and steady wins the race. At MIN, nobody dictates, who to be counted as one of our top twenty or not; we have an editorial board, made up of respected and reputable Nigerians. When you go through the leadership of our editorial board, you will find out that selection goes through a rigorous process; facts are highly examined before classification. We don’t just gather names and say we are celebrating people, no. The selection process is a very strict one; it’s even beyond me as the lead writer. Remember, these Nigeria’s top twenty we are talking about, we spent more than a year debating on who and why the names enlisted should go. It means, out of millions of the population we have as a country, these people can boldly be called influential Nigerians. Whenever one comes to visit, the hardcopy of the book would serve as a guide relating to whom to pay homage.
Are you saying it’s not possible to lobby your team?
No way! We wouldn’t want to trade with the trust. It took us years to assembly it, and besides, we still have a long way to go. Right now, we are only working and catching fun; there’s no room for trade of trust.
What do you consider your growth strategy?
Product, people and strategic alliance! Go for the right people; shop them if you can. Business is like the game of football where you need to change formula, shop for players, introduce a winning strategy, and then train over it. It can be one man’s idea, but when need calls for more hands; you then need to go for them. One can only be as good as his team.