The Story of an Enterprising Leader, 'Femi-Royal
How was growing up like?
Hmm... I grew up in Meiran, Lagos before moving to Sango Ota... Life was difficult for us as we struggled to live from hand to mouth. My family was inflicted with abject poverty as we struggled to have a meal a day. I would wake up to look for firewood in the street and rubber to prepare breakfast before going to school. It was so bad that we had to move to my hometown when we couldn't cope in the city. At my hometown, I remember cooking beans with cushioning used to package electronics in its cartoon. I would sell chin chin and puff puff in class to get money. I would do menial jobs like cutting grasses, packing sand with wheelbarrows to get money to survive. In the process, my mum fell sick and my dad was far in porthacourt trying to get money for the family, I had to stand in. The story is that of a young guy who defied all odds to rise. I can't exhaust my story in this interview really cos today, it is different story, a story of success. Very interesting! Lol* let's stop there please!
What brought you to limelight?
The journey has just started. Jesus is my source and support. I lost my mum when I was 16 and I have since decided that whatever it takes, I will give it, I mean to be a force to reckon with. I seek God for a divine dimension of exploit and he is doing it. He endowed me with special graces including the ability to be like Daniel who was cunning in all knowledge, skillful in all wisdom, well favoured and without blemish. I work like a crazy person, I rarely have break times. I'm almost always engaged in one activity or the other that was necessary to pilot me to the grander vision of mine. My friends usually advice me to take things easy but the truth is when passion envelopes you, it will have a stronghold on you, it might kill you eventually but it will distinguish you, remember that what is not worth dying for is not worth living for. I risked my life at many times to do certain things including using my school fees to publish a magazine during IT risking expulsion in final year, including travelling at night. My bosom friend, Lanre invited me for a program in Ilorin but I was at work and we close by 7pm yet I still graced the road and got to Ibadan at 12am, trekked a 30mins distance alone, also as a partner at Royal Diadem, I was to attend our AGM and I graced the road around 9pm when I finished from office and didn't get there till 11:30pm, likewise when CBN invited me for a training, I graced the road around 8pm, got to Osun around 12am and had to pass the night at the park. I don't give up easily. I have a die-hard spirit and this experiences were not so interesting but they have availed me the opportunity to grow patiently and be better. Like Napoleon Hill would say, whatever you conceive and believe, you would achieve, that's just it.
Who are your mentors?
My main mentor in Nigeria is Sam Adeyemi and Toyosi Akerele, others are Niyi Adesanya, Fela Durotoye and countless others who give me advices regularly. Gbenga Sesan get to do a lot of work on me since he agreed to mentor me while outside Nigeria, I get to be mentored through John Maxwell and Myles Monroe's books. They have formed the basis of my perception, conviction, beliefs etc
You wrote a book on leadership, so what is leadership to you?
Well, leadership has always been about influence. You have a vision, you get people to make it work and the world gets better in the process. That's sheer leadership. It's unfortunate that Africa lacks credible leaders in her member nations. They do not have visions let alone get their populace to achieve it. It's pathetic and we are anticipating a change process that will enlist exceptional leaders to take us to our promise land. I actually stopped complaining about our leadership challenges, I actually remember the words of John Kennedy, don't ask what your country would do for you, ask what you would do for your country. If empires like Microsoft, Apple can have revenue almost the GDP of a nation then I shouldn't be shortchanged. I launched a campaign on #NewNigeria and it's gaining it's footings. The change mantra must begin with us and that implies that we must develop enviable leadership qualities as youths that will be contagious to our colleagues and eventually make our nations better. To this end I wrote a book on leadership that talks about being exceptional. It's titled, the exceptional leader. We have a norm and a conventional way of doing things but we must decline that level and proceed to the topnotch level. That level is average and we can't continue to be there. It might be a bit challenging but it's the best route for us at a time like this.
How does our institution sustain creativity and originality?
Every speaker has a message just as every writer does. It really has to be beneficial to your audience and peculiar to you. The best way to avoid repetition is to embrace meditation in solitude, understand how your message affects you based on your peculiar experience. As a young man on campus, I and a few colleagues founded an organisation named Top-Notch Writers Organisation to promote creative writing, public speaking and journalism. We had our peculiar experiences and we tried to make student members get creative through our various activities, it's a good thing that the legacy is still thriving in Ogun and Ondo State. I tell people, one of the most tedious activities a man can embrace is thinking especially creative thinking. It's not as easy as you think. I currently work with one of the largest youth focused social enterprise in Nigeria, RISE Networks and what I get to do almost everyday is thinking on our numerous project and I can tell how excruciating it becomes. Most of our public institutions do not encourage thinking because they are used to so much of routines. Someone can be in one office for 3 years doing the same thinking, it's not the same with private institutions. Everyone has unusual capacities which should be carefully tapped into by getting them to do what they think they cannot do, that's what my boss, Mrs Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji gets to do for me on a daily basis, I get out of my comfort zone and get matchless results in the process. If you are a young person and you have challenges with creating sometime to engage in creative thinking on a daily basis, you would soon be obsolete and by this you have given the world the permission to leave you behind as she access greater exploits.
What are some of your notable achievements?
I have not had so much yet and like I said earlier, it has just started. However, I have been privileged to cause some dramatic changes in the last 4-5 years. Very recently, I carved a niche for myself as an Audible-Author which implies that I speak as much as I write. I published about 40 articles consistently in the space of 2 and half months which received national and international Commendations.
I am currently an alumni of Daystar Leadership Academy, LagosShapers, CBN Entrepreneurship Development Centre, LEAP Africa. I have had several radio shows in about 5 radio stations in Nigeria speaking on leadership, politics, governance, youth development etc. I have delivered several presentations in about 7 states in Nigeria featured on Television as well.
I was awarded the most creative Agricultural student on campus, the most creative Final year student in NIFES, even the 5th most influential student in campus. I have features on Nigeria’s most respected newspapers especially The Nations, Tribune, National Mirror, Vanguard and News-Direct newspapers and he also features on radio programs on Rock-City FM, Radio Global FM, Lead city 89.1 FM, Impact Business Radio 92.5 FM to mention.
I was a delegate at the African Youth Peace Call Conference on Leadership in Ghana (2013); the International Council on Economic Education Training on Entrepreneurship by Rotary Club of Altadena, California (2014), the Western Regional Conference of Student for Liberty, University of Ibadan (2013), the National Leadership and Development Seminar in the Republic of Benin (2015), the Global Leadership Summit by Williow Creek Association, USA (2014), the Young Leaders Pre Forum Convergence on Sustainability, Lagos Business School, Ajah (2014) and the Youth Stakeholders Forum with Governor Fashola (2014).
I blog at femiroyal.wordpress.com and he I'm a proud author of few books including, The Exceptional Leader, You have an Amazing Destiny amongst other.
I'm a Business Development Strategist and the privileged International Director of Top-Notch Writers Organisation, the Executive Director of Royal Foundation, a humanitarian organisation and the CEO of McRoyal Consulting LTD. I can go on but let me peg it there for now.
What are the reasonable impact of your initiatives?
So far, Top-Notch Writers Organisation has groomed thousands of youth about 5000 directly and over 15000 through her Programs, publications and activities in the 2 institutions she currently exist. We have great writers doing exploit in different part of the world who went through our organisation, they got the platform to explore their potentials.
Royal Foundation has held business summits and has given rewards in form of seed capitals to winners of our business challenge in past years even though she is restructuring to focus on humanitarianism where she improves the quality of life of citizenry in Africa member countries.
Personally, I have mentored over 100 people in different part of the world including United Kingdom, Ghana, Pakistan etc and graciously I am proud of them all because right now, they provide opportunities for me based on the niches they have carved for themselves. It feels great.
Plans are still in place to engage more youths in future years in conscious mentorship and in a bid to provide a platform for them to build a better life that would translate to them having global prominence and consequent upon this, allow for proper representation of our youth force in the global landscape.
Advice to youths!
I don't have any advice for them. You know why? When you advice people, they usually don't utilise it especially if it doesn't align with their present need however I have a few words for you. The world is filled with an avalanche of conundrum, many difficult problems, we all have a decision to make either to let this problems swallow us up or we fight and keep fighting, maybe win some battles, lose some and eventually win the war. It's a matter of choice. You are a creature of splendour, you are made to win, if you must win, it's up to you, if you don't win, you have wasted resources, it better you die now than allow God's investment to be vain after spending several years on earth. I have shared some ugly and beautiful experiences with you so you can know that life isn't a bed of roses but the rose you see with some people was made possible because while their colleagues slept, they toiled through the night and such a great height they have attained. Be wise!