…After Mushin Makeover Is FD Overreaching himself with Nigerian Makeover?
By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
He is unarguably among Nigeria’s leading motivational speakers with a clientele base ranging from tier one banks to some of the country’s leading oil companies. Fela Durotoye, or FD as he is simply called, has his forte in inspiring executives to bring out the best to enhance organizational and personal career goals.
With degrees and fellowships garnered from Obafemi Awolowo, Havard, Yale universities among others, FD has successfully laced strategic management processes into flowing oratory to motivate men to milestone missions, and millions and perhaps billions into his storehouse.
His wife, Tara Fela-Durotoye, the brain behind the House of Tara, unarguably Nigeria’s number one make-up artist house complements him as a power couple that is the toast of many Nigerian youths on social media.
Besides the thousands of Nigerians associated with him in his mentoring programme, FD’s most intrusive effort in the country’s landscape may have been his 2009 effort in spearheading the Mushin Makeover project.
That project which successfully recruited about 5,000 Nigerians in a programme to change the landscape of selected areas of Mushin, Lagos left a lasting impact on the participants and the Mushin community. Participants who engaged in the 8-hour project were trained in how to paint. The community was rewarded with a free face lift and even companies that participated through provision of paints and other resources adequately posted glorious reports of community social responsibility in their annual reports.
But is FD now overreaching himself with his bold attempt to spearhead a Nigerian Makeover? So some critics and even aficionados guessed with his intervention into the country’s political space?
Penultimate Thursday, FD escorted by his wife formally indicated his interest in vying for the presidency.
His declaration for the presidency came as he formally registered for the Alliance for New Nigeria, ANN, one of the newly registered political parties. ANN has as its motif, to position professionals to displace career professionals in the running of the country.
It was as such not surprising that following his formal registration for the ANN at the Lagos State Secretariat of the party in Surulere, Lagos that FD drew back from calling himself a politician when this correspondent dubbed him as such.
“I know what it is to be a technotician, which is what we are in ANN. I don’t know whether I will need to learn what it means to be a politician but we are technocrats here and technoticians who have a deep understanding of political structures and realities, and we also are not just focused on politics and the power of it but really the deliverance of good governance for the benefit of the people.”
FD who has a huge presence on social media with thousands of followers was asked if he was stepping into the political fray with his followers?
“I believe that many people who have followed me are leaders in their rights. I believe that we are all concerned about the well-being of Nigeria, but most importantly, we share the same values and our passion for good governance and the understanding that we need political parties that are truly free and fair in terms of democratic processes.
“I didn’t decide to come to ANN by myself; it was a collaborative decision after we had evaluated several platforms and we had collectively determined that ANN is the platform. So, while you see me here, there are many other people, in fact quite a few tens of thousands at the very least who have joined the ANN and will be joining the ANN immediately.
On his presidential aspiration, he said:
“I do aspire to serve my nation and I believe that to be able to do the most that I can, it will require that we have the kind of leadership for the nation that I believe I can offer in terms of priority of vision, in terms of a set of clear values that can bring about the kind of behaviour and culture of a new Nigeria.
“More importantly, in terms of the fact that I am someone who has spent the most of my life helping others build their businesses, find their careers, and I don’t know if there is any other platform that will enable me to serve the people as the presidency. So, I am grateful to Nigerians for their encouragement, and if my party, ANN gives me the nomination, I will be honoured to serve my people as president.
Asked if he did not fear that his incursion into politics would muddy his poster-boy symbol as an ethical motivator, he said:
“I have always said that I believe that the only thing that we hold valuable, most priceless are our values. I share with my team that on this journey, by the grace of God, I will not have to compromise about this. I said if I have to compromise on my values and I lose my values and identity to win an election, then I have still lost everything.
“And it will be worse still if you compromise on your values and then lose the election because that could be a tragedy. But I believe very strongly that it is possible for us to hold on the values that we profess and still be able to win an election because there are more people who value people like me.
“There are people out there of all tribes and societies who want people of integrity to manage the affairs of our country. People who will not steal, people who are faithful in their commitment to their duty, people who hold excellence and professionalism as a value, there are people who truly value people like myself. And once people like me step out there and join with other people who are like me but have already gone ahead of me, I believe we will not have to compromise our values to win this election.”
Will he remain in ANN if the party overlooks him to pick another person as presidential candidate?
“Of course not! Especially if the party has and carries out its promise which we have checked out, of truly free and fair democratic elections. It will be my joy to see the best candidate emerge from all the list of aspirants. My commitment is to a new Nigeria, not just an elected office,” he enthused.
Durotoye describes himself as a business management consultant talks of his background:
“My focus is business strategy, and my area of specialty is in corporate transformation. I started my professional career in 1992 as an investment manager and consultant with focus on venture capital and project finance. I worked with Ventures and Trusts Limited; at that time the sole investment consultant to the European Investment Bank. Thereafter, I went to do an MBA. Then I came back and joined a company called Phillips Consulting. I worked in the Total Quality Management Unit.
“From Phillips Consulting, I eventually set up my consulting firm called VIP Consulting, and we focus mostly on service delivery, performance management and over time into service culture delivery, and that is how companies begin to do culture transformation. So, that is the journey of my professional career. I think that the whole concept of motivational speaker has come from just my natural style of delivery. Even if I’m teaching on business strategy or customer management, people say ‘ I am so inspired.’
“The world came to know me more as a motivational speaker because when they see me on public platforms, that is what I am trying to do. To inspire a generation that is going to believe in Nigeria; to inspire a generation to believe that we can build a new Nigeria; to accept the responsibility to build it and to go ahead to do what we can to build it.”