Keeps: Sir, can you tell us about your humble beginnings?
Fela Durotoye: Well I think the best way to describe Fela Durotoye would be a man an ordinary man just like anybody else who somehow has been empowered by God to do many things that other people call extra ordinary but I’m just an ordinary guy. Many people talk about my humble beginnings of few years ago when I was sleeping in a one room-room, not a one room apartment. Sleeping literally on a mattress with my wife and the only furniture we had in our room was a Cain dustbin. And as far as I am concerned just simply by divine inspiration and excellent execution, and these are the two things I want people to remember the most. Divine inspiration and excellent execution, whatever I am told by God, I do it with all the excellence that can possibly be found, just doing that step by step starting small and taking the next step and doing each step as excellently as I know how I think that today I am privileged to be able to say that truly God has blessed me.
Keeps: Sir how would you rate the youths in Nigeria today, in the US a sixteen year old could be a millionaire but in Nigeria today you find so many youths that are still trying to survive how will you rate them when it comes to entrepreneurship are they trying or is there any improvement?
Fela Durotoye: Well I will say that everywhere in the world you find 18 years old people that are millionaires; the question is, how do they make the millions? Because some of them in abroad and even here in Nigeria, It could be yahoo. I mean some of the young 16 years old, 17years old guys are doing a lot of things that today are all about creating wealth. I would like the youths in Nigeria to take their focus away from creating wealth and put their focus on creating values. Value is what you create every time you solve a problem. Value will always bring wealth, value must always be rewarded with value and that is called wealth.
So this is what I am saying, it is possible for you to create wealth either through yahoo-yahoo, 419 whatever means, you know, stealing on the street, rubbing somebody or even using a uniform and a gun to rob somebody and say if you don’t give me kola you are not going to pass anywhere, it is possible for you to stay at a port and say that well because I have authority I will not sign whatever it is that will release your container you can create wealth by those ways but you are not creating any value. It is also possible for you to be employed and you collect your salary but you are not doing the work you are creating wealth but you are not creating any value my message to the youths of Nigeria is this, be focus on creating value and wealth will come.
How do you create value, solve problems. Nigeria is the most blessed nation when it comes to problems; therefore it means that Nigeria is the most blessed nation when it comes for opportunity. The reason why Nigeria is blessed and our people are poor is that our people have not yet started to find solution to the problems that we have, we don’t have water, solve the problem we don’t have light…many of the Lebanese are coming up with generators they are not complaining whether NEPA/PHCN gives us light, they are not agonizing, they are organizing. Nigerian youths stop agonizing start organizing.
Keeps- Sir, it’s been said that you influenced the banking sector, is there any other plan you have for other sectors of the Nigerian economy?
Fela Durotoye: Oh yes indeed, as you know I am working on a project to build Nigeria into one of the world’s most desirable nations to live in by 2025 and that just gives us about 15years to really be able to get our economy to become one of the top economies in the world. Not just one of the top 20, we have what it takes, we got the people , we got the land, we got resources, we’ve got everything you know there is no reason why Nigeria should not be one of the best economies in the world. There is no reason at all, and my goal is to make sure that we are able to focus on other sectors. Sectors that include telecoms, banking and finance, relationships and education.
I’m working on a project right now called RACE revive academic excellence in our schools and educational institutions which would help us to build Nigeria into one of the leading centers of academic excellence in the world. We are hoping that by 2025 students will be applying in Nigeria embassies all over the world for student visas. This is one of the things we are working at; it is not just a pipe dream. It is a strategy that is building up into a plan and it will require every single person to accept to deliver the future. We are working on housing, food and nourishment I’m not talking about just agriculture but the production of it, the transportation of it, the packaging of it. When I say we, I’m saying we are providing a guide line to the nation. It is the people that have to do it.
I can tell you we (Nigerians) are the most blessed people and all we need to do is to accept responsibility to deliver the future that we are carrying, it is a great future. There is no nation that I know that is as great as Nigeria, Just look at the second stanza of our National anthem and Just Imagine if God were to answer the prayers in that second stanza. Oh God of creation direct our noble course…what if God were to direct our noble course and give us this kind of mission to build Nigeria into the best nation in the world… guide our leaders right what if God gives us good leaders that have the right guidance, help our youth the truth to know, what if everyone that thinks he is youth knows the truth about what he is carrying, about the solution that he can proffer, about how he can begin to find where he wants to be the best in the world and begin now. We are celebrating Louis Hamilton for being the youngest formula one racer, he started racing at the age of six. We are celebrating Andre Agassi, he started playing tennis at the age of three. Our youths must discover what it is that they are good at, and they must decide that they will become the best at it. Just imagine every line of that second stanza as a prayer; just think about it, Nigeria would be the greatest nation. Our God answers prayer, it is left for our people to accept responsibility to deliver the future now.
Keeps: It is been wonderful having this conversation with you sir.
Fela Durotoye: Thank you.