By Henry Ojelu
By profession, Babatunde Raimi is an insurance salesman but by calling, he is an author, life coach and a motivational speaker. Inspired by personal and field experiences, Raimi is using a unique approach to tackle critical workplace issues. In this interview, he shares his life challenges, inspirations and literary works.
I had my primary education at Central Primary School, Festac Town, Lagos. I then had my secondary education at Festac Grammar School from where I proceeded to the University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba and obtained a B.Sc. (Ed) Business Studies. I am currently studying for my Masters in Business Administration. I am presently a Unit Manager with AIICO Insurance – American International field force. I love the marketing profession because as an author, it helps me to somewhat understand the psychology of human relations. Aside from my professional life, I do a lot of coaching and mentorship especially on work, life balance, business and entrepreneurship. This is where I find absolute fulfilment, helping people achieve their lifelong goals.
Challenges growing up
Being a product of a polygamous and broken home, I grew up before I grew up. I faced so much emotional trauma as a child that almost led to full depression. I attempted suicide twice because I felt life was unfair to me. But on both occasions, God preserved me because suicide is never an option. I never knew, God was taking me through all these rough paths that I may have a story to tell and inspire my generation.
My first book, “Planning Your Retirement” was inspired by my late father, Moroufou Akanbi Raimi. Until his death, he was a linguist and an academi who retired as an Assistant Director of Education with the Lagos State Government. Upon his death on March 11, 2007, after waiting for more than two years to receive his pension, I discovered that his terminal benefits after 35 years was meagre and he did not have a Plan “B”. So, I decided to embark on a research to demystify this mentality. I have been television and radio stations spreading this gospel of conscious and early retirement planning. You will not work forever; planning your retirement helps you to avoid retirement pitfalls, so that you can embrace it without regrets. One day you will retire.
My second book, “Beyond Salary” was actually inspired by my first. The first was somewhat of a diagnosis of our entire working life, while beyond salary is a compendium of knowledge. It is every worker’s manual and compass to navigate their most active working years. Beyond Salary alters traditional perceptions, particularly among African youths, civil and public servants, most of whom are fixated on the idea of trading their certificate and entire useful years for salaried jobs. This book challenges the reader to look “Beyond Salary”, especially when it makes you forget your aspirations. The book is for people who wish to be liberated from the slavery of salary to the freedom of initiatives, innovativeness, creativity, inventiveness and boldness that come with working towards fulfillment and self-actualization.
My third, titled “The Beauty Of Tragedy” was inspired by my field experience selling technology to the Japanese, ice to the Eskimos, sand to the Egyptians and entertainment to the Americans. In my over 14 years of selling insurance products, I have realised that it is a better to have insurance and not need it, than need it and not have it. Not having a life insurance is likened to travelling on a long and lonely journey without a spare tyre. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. I wrote this book to bridge the gap between the sellers and the users of insurance products to deepen penetration by helping prospects see value other than mere products. I also have more than 185 poems covering all genres.
For me, writing is therapeutic and enables me express myself in my realest form. I have been writing since I was seven years. When I am angry I write, when I am sad, I write. I am highly motivated by the little things of life, my environment, my challenges and stories I hear from others. Stories of defeat and victories which is the glue that binds us together. I am motivated by the desire to contribute my quota towards the betterment of mankind at large, providing intellectual solutions to societal ills bedeviling our continent and the world at large. These are just few of the things that motivate me.
Having to go back to school after years of trying to travel abroad but ended up being duped, while all my mates had graduated. I just kept hearing from my spiritual father “It is never too late to be right”. I am glad I did because today, many are inspired by my zest to be whom God said I would be.
Definition of success
For me, success is a progressive attainment of your goals. I believe that the process of any endeavour in life is more important than the goal, therefore I see failure as an opportunity to begin again more intelligently as postulated by Henry Ford. Successful people have failed severally, so if you are afraid of failure, hear what Disraeli said “All my successes have been built on my failure”.
Nigeria is a country that is being ruled majorly by analog leaders of the industrial age. This is not to play down the place of mentorship and experience, but we cannot continually use the solutions of the industrial age to solve challenges of the technological age.
This generation is smarter and needs to move at the pace the world is moving. Look at most successful brands in the world; they are led by young, vibrant and dynamic minds.
When we keep being ruled by our ancestors who are not in tune with current trends and development, it is likened to sitting on a rocky chair.
Our leaders should prioritize skill based education, change our archaic educational curriculum, improve our technical schools, grant more youths the opportunity to serve and create policies that will empower our youths to become self sufficient.
Spiritually, Bishop David Oyedepo is my mentor. He is an embodiment of knowledge with a passion to liberate the world. In business, it is Jack Ma. I love him for his courage and street smartness.
For life coaching, it is Soji Oyawoye, MD/CEO of Resource Intermediaries Limited. On relationship issues, it is Esther Aworinde, Chairman, May Clinics Limited, Fola Alex Aina and Azubuike Augusta. All these people have directly and indirectly touched my life in beautiful ways.
Advice for youths
My fellow youths, one day your generation will ask you what you lived for.
Until you catch a vision and run with it, you will just be a part of a park. Do not be a wandering generation, be a meaningful specific.
In the beginning, it will be tough, but it is a sign that you are doing the right thing. Go to school, acquire skills, start your business or work a little, save and start your own empire. Learn a skill, serve a master, learn basics, principles and pay the price for the prize.
Do not engage in fraudulent activities, you will be caught and it will bring your name and that of your family to disrepute. Do not be poor and proud; be responsible, it is the price to pay for greatness.
When you finally succeed, strive to raise another, and like that we can take back our Nigeria, our Africa and once again make it the cynosure of all eyes.
Together, let us turn Nigeria and Africa at large into a Mecca that it was.