5 Years of Spreading Luck – Everyone Needs a Little Help -Tony Elumelu

In business the role luck plays in success and personal achievement is rarely discussed. If luck is mentioned, it is done with slight condescension, and usually dismissed as a product of hard work, not deserving significant attention. While hard work is paramount –and I have written extensively about the importance of working hard – history and my own experiences show that there is often a large element of success that hard work alone cannot explain. It is simply not true that “you make your own luck.”

I started my career as a salesman, a copier salesman to be specific, young, hungry, and hardworking, but the reality was that I was just one of thousands of young Nigerian graduates, all eager to succeed. How did I get from there to where I am now? Of course, hard work, resilience, a long-term vision – but also luck.

A year later after earning my Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Lagos, I applied to join a new generation bank, Allstates Trust Bank. The bank’s one-page newspaper advertisement demanded a minimum 2:1-degree, but I applied regardless, submitting a cover letter and filled out application with my 2:2-Economics degree.

By a stroke of luck, my application was reviewed by the Chairman/CEO, a painstaking man who carefully read my cover letter and was drawn to the confidence in my words. “I know I may not have met the qualifying criteria for the advertised roles, but I am intelligent, driven, ambitious and I will make the bank proud. My 2:2 degree does not demonstrate the full extent of my intelligence and ability, and I know I can do so much more.” He read those words and took a chance on me. Though “unqualified”, he decided to throw me a lifeline, an opportunity.

I was invited to join the shortlist, followed by a long series of interviews and even more tests. At the end of a very rigorous process, I received good news – I had a place as an entry level analyst. Even now, I wonder: What if the Founder had not personally gone through my application? What if my application was rejected at the very beginning? What if I never got the opportunity to work at Allstates Trust Bank?

The story continues: within 12 months at the bank, aged 27, I went from analyst to branch manager – the youngest ever bank branch manager at the time. I was hard working, energetic, creative and prioritised getting things done, but it was also good fortune that my bosses Toyin Akin-Johnson and Ebitimi Banigo took notice, and then, believed in me. They took a chance on me by appointing me as branch manager after an incredibly short time in the bank. They recognised in me the raw materials needed to make a good leader and were prepared to invest in me and my ability. My rise to Branch Manager within a short period is a great story but I know in my heart, I was lucky, as well as deserving.

This position of branch manager was a solid platform which launched me into several top leadership roles. When we, a small group of hungry, determined, young outsiders, took over struggling Crystal Bank, it was as a direct result of the preparedness and exposure that we received early from our superiors and mentors. Without the intervention and goodwill of these people in my career, I would not have been prepared as I was to take on far greater roles. These learning opportunities laid the pathway to future achievements. Put simply, I was lucky enough to be identified and trusted so early on in my career, and this put me on a unique road to success. I keep this in mind – it is humbling and also drives much of what I do today.

When I left UBA as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in 2010 to pursue other interests, I made a vow that through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, I would “institutionalise” luck and democratise access to opportunities for young Africans.  I promised to leverage the success I have enjoyed, to spread luck and hope, provide opportunities and to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs to succeed. Without luck in my early career, I would not be the man that I am today. I am a leader and philanthropist today because I encountered people who gave me a chance early in my career. It has been a lifetime goal to pay this forward in a transformative and impactful way.

Over the past three decades I have spent as a banker, investor, and turnaround expert, I have had the opportunity to meet thousands of entrepreneurs, like me.  Many of them young people, with incredible dreams and business ideas but without the experience or the access to mentoring and support required in order to build successful businesses. But most importantly, they have not yet been exposed to the right opportunity.

Our entrepreneurs are hard at work across the continent, identifying gaps in the market for specific products and services, and bridging these gaps with their innovation and ingenuity. Yet, many of these budding entrepreneurs often lack the capital, the networks, the training, the support to take their small business to national or regional scale. All they need is a helping hand, some luck, someone to believe in them and take a chance on them.

This is what the Tony Elumelu Foundation offers: a platform that empowers African entrepreneurs– from business management training, to mentoring, to funding to networking – championing their cause and giving them a global voice to actualise their ambitions. This is precisely why I launched the USD$100 million Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs. Indeed, these may be the next UBAs (United Bank for Africa).

So, when I am asked, “Tony, why are you and your family doing this? What is in it for you?” I smile and recount my own story of luck. Luck is real, it is powerful, and I am committed to spreading it as far as I can. I am a beneficiary of luck, and I am passionate about sharing it across the continent, to all 54 countries.

I want our young aspiring entrepreneurs to apply. I want you to be a part of this global movement for good. I encourage you to be bold enough to let luck find you. There will be 1260 places open from January 1, 2019. Will you be among the lucky ones this year? Take a chance on yourself. Your future may begin today. Apply now at TEFCONNECT.COM

Tony Elumelu Foundation Opens Applications for 5th Cycle of $100m Entrepreneurship Programme

Application exclusively available on TEFConnect.com – the largest digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs

Invitation to join existing 4,470 programme Fellows

4th Cycle drew over 150,000 applications from across the African continent

The Tony Elumelu Foundation, the leading African-funded and founded philanthropy committed to empowering African entrepreneurs, is now accepting applications for the 2019 cohort of the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme.


The Programme is a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs. The Programme’s objective is to generate at least 1,000,000 new jobs and create at least $10 billion in new business revenue across Africa. Now in its 5th year, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme has empowered 4,470 entrepreneurs, using a bespoke and robust selection, training and implementation process to create visible and sustainable impact across all 54 African countries.


Outstanding African entrepreneurs running existing start-ups with high growth potential and aspiring business owners with transformative ideas are invited to apply. We are particularly looking to grow representation from French, Arabic and Portuguese speakers, as well as female entrepreneurs.


Inspired by Tony Elumelu’s economic philosophy of Africapitalism and his vision to institutionalise luck and democratise opportunity for a new generation of African entrepreneurs, the Foundation has implemented one of the most ambitious entrepreneurship programmes globally. Selected entrepreneurs from previous years have transformed their businesses and their communities after gaining from the Programme’s 7 pillars: $5,000 in seed capital; business development training; one-on-one mentoring; access to TEFConnect; pan-African meetups; TEF network membership; and participation at the annual TEF Entrepreneurship Forum, the largest convening of the African entrepreneurship ecosystem.


Founder, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, stated: “The private sector must be the core driver of Africa’s economic transformation, but this sector cannot attain its full potential if entrepreneurs are left behind. We call on all stakeholders – policymakers, business leaders and development agencies – to actively commit to creating a better future for our young Africans who have demonstrated intellect, skill, and passion, to empower them to succeed because their success is Africa’s success. The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is by far the most impactful project of my life and represents my commitment to transforming Africa through entrepreneurship”.


Parminder Vir, CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation, said: “Our entrepreneurs illustrate the Foundation’s commitment to transform the African economy, by building on the intelligence, skills and resourcefulness of Africans. I encourage all ambitious young Africans to take advantage of this unique opportunity”.


The Foundation, which has recently hosted President Macron of France, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana in dynamic interactive sessions with young African entrepreneurs, is committed to supporting the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem – from the entrepreneurs themselves, governments who must provide enabling environments, to capital, advice and most importantly access and networks.


The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is open to citizens and legal residents of all African countries, who run for-profit businesses based in Africa that are no older than three years. The deadline for applications submission is March 1, 2019.


Applications will be judged based on criteria including: feasibility, scalability and potential for growth of the product/service; market opportunity for the idea/business; financial understanding, leadership potential and entrepreneurial skills.


Applicants can apply on TEFConnect – www.tefconnect.com – the largest digital networking platform for African entrepreneurs.


Additional Information:

Link to the Impact Documentary showing the transformative and impactful stories of the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurs: https://goo.gl/XcYqCP

Oil Magnate, Scott Tommey Denounces Being A Member of Advisory Council of Buhari Campaign Team

The media office of preeminent oil and gas businessman, Scott Tommey, has issued a statement reiterating his apolitical status in spite of being appointed into the Advisory Council of the President Muhammadu Buhari campaign team constituted by Hajia Aisha Buhari, wife of the President.

Tommey was named into the Advisory Council alongside some popular Nigerians like Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd), IGP Suleiman Abba (Rtd), General Buba Marwa, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, Professor Pat Utomi, Prince Tonye Princewill, Festus Keyamo (SAN) and Muiz Banire (SAN).

In a statement signed by Femi Ajayi, the media aide to the billionaire oil magnate, “It has become pertinent to clarify the status of Mr Scott Tommey, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Osmoserve Global Limited, named into the Advisory Council of President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign team. While Mr Tommey is honoured to have been considered for this appointment, he feels obliged to let the public know that he is not into partisan politics neither is he a card-carrying member of the APC.”

Over the years, Tommey, a man of great feats,  has made several contributions toward the development of many sectors of the economy, especially oil and gas. He has built a world-class multi-billion business enterprise in Osmoserve, whose specialty has brought physical infrastructural transformation to the region and given jobs to countless of the region’s hitherto unemployed youths. Osmoserve Global is an indigenous company that provides marine and engineering services to the oil and gas industry.

OFFICIAL ALBUM: Stock Exchange President, Bimbo Ogunbanjo, Brothers, Bag Otunba Titles In Erunwon

The Nigerian social establishment burst at the seams, literally, on Saturday, January 2017, when Mr Abimbola Ogunbanjo, the President of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, was conferred with a chieftaincy title in his native home in Erunwon, Ijebuland, Ogun State. He was conferred with Otunba Baamofin of Erunwon title by Oba Adebayo Jonshon Okunbena, the Elerunwon of Erunwon.

His elder brothers – Senator Tokunbo Ogunbanjo and Lekan Ogunbanjo also bagged Otunba Oluomo and Otunba Fiwagboye of Erunwon-Ijebuland, respectively.

The very grand installation ceremony featured a heavy A-list of notable personalities, drawn from all the facets of the Nigerian social circuit.

The Ogunbanjo brothers are the sons of Chief (Dr) Christopher Oladipo Ogunbanjo, captain of industry, baron of commerce, patriarch of the organised private sector and doyen of commercial law practice in Nigeria.






FirstBank Vibes With The Stylish Kids At Nativeland

It was a denim affair at the Nativeland festival on Friday, December 28 where four lucky cool kids got to vybe, VIP style, with FirstBank.

The cool kids won VIP tickets from the #FirstBankIssaVybe, #DecemberIssaVybe promo on social media.

One of the winners, Kenneth Donatus, could not contain his excitement at his win.

“I was having a bad day, wondering how to make it for the festival when I saw the post (announcing the ticket giveaway) on Instagram, took part and won,” he said.

Throughout December, FirstBank has given out free VIP tickets to lucky followers of its social media pages on Facebook: First Bank Nigeria Limited, Instagram: firstbanknigeria, and Twitter: @firstbankngr. By using the hashtags, #FirstBankIssaVybe and #DecemberIssaVybe, tagging friends to posts and giving correct answers to quizzes, the coolest kids got to win tickets to Burna Boy Live, Wizkid Made in Nigeria, Davido Live in Concert etc.

“I can’t commend FirstBank enough for this initiative,” another winner, David Amelia said. “They have really proven that December is truly a vibe.”

A third winner, Kaine Ugochukwu, looking sharp in his white shirt over dark jeans, talked about watching Burna Boy perform, adding that the promo had made him learn more about FirstBank and to appreciate its brand.

#FirstBankIssaVybe and #DecemberIssaVybe is geared at connecting with hard working young people -achievers, go-getters with a dream – who know how to work hard, play hard. Because apart from being a financial institution that can help them achieve their financial goals, FirstBank also takes care of them away from their boring work lives, helping them achieve their lifestyle goals: comfort, style, leisure and travel.

Lucky Davido Fans See Him Live Thanks To #FirstBank

Two lucky fans of Davido, Tina Ediale and Timilehin Anibaba, got to see the singer Live in Concert on Thursday, December 27 thanks to  First Bank.

Throughout December, First Bank has gifted some of its followers on social media VIP tickets to premium events in Lagos. So far, fans of Adekunle Gold, Wizkid, Burna Boy and Davido have been privileged to see them in concert from following FirstBank on Facebook: First Bank Nigeria Limited, Instagram: firstbanknigeria and Twitter: @firstbankngr.

“It’s a good initiative from FirstBank and a great way of connecting with young people like me,” Tina said. “Most of us would love to attend the concerts but ordinarily can not afford the tickets especially VIP but thanks to FirstBank we got that opportunity.”

Timilehin who could not contain his excitement, explained he won his ticket by following FirstBank on Facebook, using the hashtags #FirstBankIssaVybeinitiative and #DecemberIssaVybe,  tagging friends to the page, and taking part in the quizzes.

“I was surprised when I won but I’m grateful for the ticket,” he said. “It’s a great initiative from FirstBank.”

The FirstBank #DecemberIssaVybe and #FirstBankIssaVybe giveaway fest is driven to reward old, new and potential customers with tickets to premium events around Lagos. Follow FirstBank on its respective social media pages, thus on Facebook: First Bank Nigeria Limited, Twitter: @firstbankngr and Instagram: firstbanknigeria and get lucky to win tickets for A-list events happening in 2019. Among the A-list events partnered for a vybe with FirstBank include Burna Boy Live, Davido Live and many more including the stage play, Oba Eshugbayi and Moremi.

December IssaVybe As FirstBank Serenades Lucky Winners At A-list concerts

In a first of its kind promo, all through December, FirstBank is gave away tickets to premium events around Lagos. Lucky followers of the Bank’s social media pages on Facebook: First Bank Nigeria Limited, Instagram: firstbanknigeria, and Twitter: @firstbankngr got a chance to win the much coveted VIP tickets to Burna Boy, Wizkid Eko Atlantic and Davido Live amongst other prestigious events.

With VIP tickets going from N30,000 to N50,000 , it was an opportunity many lovers of music and the arts didn’t want to miss.

As one of the lucky winners to Rhythm Unplugged, Azeez Animashaun who has been a long time attendee at the event pointed out, “If I wanted to come on my own, I would have bought the regular ticket (N15,000) but thanks to (FirstBank) I get to have the VIP experience.”

FirstBank  free ticket giveaway is geared at connecting with hard working young people -achievers, go-getters with a dream – who know how to work hard, play hard not just this season but after. And in line with its brand promise of putting its customer first, FirstBank demonstrates that it  a financial institution that can help people achieve their financial goals, expand their business network whilst connecting with customers by  helping them achieve their lifestyle goals: comfort, style, leisure and travel

So far, more than a dozen – old, new and potential customers – were gifted tickets to Wande Coal’s King Coal Concert, Adekunle Gold’s concert, Wizkid VIP Experience, Rhythm Unplugged, Bobby Brown and Bel Biv DeVoe etc.

The ticket giveaway was not relegated to concerts. FirstBank also sponsored the play; Oba Esugbayi which ran for three days, starting from December 23 to 25, at the Muson Centre, Lagos. Social media followers also scored invitation to parties: Island Block Party, All Black Everything; conferences Golas Grit Grind 2.0; festivals: Native Land, Plamwine Festival; and pop up sales: Mente de Moda.

The goal of these is for lovers of FirstBank – Customers and its followers on its respective social media channels –  to  #HaveaFirstBankChristmas.


The Silent Achiever, Ekua Abudu Finds Love Again At 53

+ Marries Finance and Accounting Guru, Femi Akinsanya

One of Nigeria’s most prominent women of substance, Ekua Titilayo Abudu, has found love at last.

Ekua and her fiancé, Mr Femi Akinsanya had their marriage blessing ceremony  yesterday, Friday, 21 December, 2018 in Lagos. The ceremony, which took place at the Guilding Light Assembly, Parkview Estate, Ikoyi, was strictly a private affair, witnessed by close friends and family members.

Ekua, a lawyer and chartered administrator, is the proprietress of Greenwood House School, one of the most high profile private nursery and primary school based in Lagos. She is the former president of International Women’s Society, IWS; and the current Chairperson, Interior Designers Association of Nigeria.

Ekua is the first child of Taiwo Koffie Sagoe, the highly respected society patriarch, lawyer and entrepreneur, who passed away in 2012. Her mother, Chief (Mrs) Modupe Sagoe, is the doyenne of textile business in Nigeria.

Cutting a picture of a regal queen of infinite graces, the 53-year-old bride held the church hall spellbound with her charm.

Ekua also holds a Nursery Foundation Teaching Diploma from the London Montessori Centre and has served on the board of several education institutions such as the FSP Nursery/Primary School (a Nigerian Federal Government project), White Dove School and she is one of the Trustees of Nigerian International School Association, NISA.

She is also active in several charitable organisations such as The Well Being Foundation, where she is the Education Consultant, EC, a member of Olave Balden Powell Society, which founded the Girls Guide, a member of the Nigerian Bar Association and Musical Society of Nigeria. Ekua has a natural flair for interior designing and has been involved in several projects in Nigeria.

Her first marriage to Wale Abudu, a lawyer, is blessed with three children.

Aside Toyin Saraki, who is known to be her best friend, Ekua is also close to Gbemi Sashore, Mo Abudu, Bola Awolowo, Kemi Ashiru, Ikepo Braithwaite, Subu Giwa-Amu, Sade Ladenegan, Sola Coker, Lape Adebayo and many others.

An accomplished chartered accountant, the groom, Femi Akinsanya is one of the most distinguished Nigerians who have achieved distinction in their various professional careers. He is the chairman of First Ally Capital, a financial institution. The company is a forward thinking, proactive and client-driven financial services firm set up to create and deliver value to our various stakeholders.

He qualified as a chartered accountant  with Arthur Andersen & Co and is an Associate and Merit Award Winner (1983) of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. He is also an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers of Nigeria and a licensed dealer of The Nigerian Stock Exchange.

He began a career in merchant and investment banking with First City Merchant Bank early in 1985 and left the bank in 1993 to set up two professional investment banking entities – Hamilton Hammer & Co and United Securities Limited. He was actively involved in designing processes that modernised the securities market and was instrumental to the development of the investment banking in Nigeria. He was a founding member of the Steering Committee for the establishment of an over-the-counter (OTC) market in Nigeria and was for many years on the Board of Directors of NASD Ltd.



MTN Appoints Funso Aina Senior Manager, External Relations

MTN Nigeria has appointed Funso Aina as senior manager, external relations with immediate effect.

In his new role, Mr Aina will provide deep insight on strategy and drive targeted engagement with MTN’s critical stakeholders.

He will also provide support in the business’ strategic approach towards enhancing its corporate reputation, particularly as regards engaging and managing critical stakeholders.

With over 22 years work experience in journalism, cultural diplomacy and telecommunications, Aina is celebrated as a result-oriented professional with varied competencies and hands-on experience in public relations, corporate communications, media relations, public affairs and crisis management.

A 1992 history graduate of the University of Ilorin, Aina acquired a master’s degree in international relations from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 1998).

He is an associate of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).

His earlier education were Saint Joseph Secondary School, Agege where he got his O/levels and King’s College, Lagos for A/levels.

Aina joined MTN Nigeria in January 2009, and until his latest appointment, he was the company’s public relations manager where he had oversight responsibility for MTN’s reputation and perception management, stakeholder management, media relations and PR leveraging for all activities; corporate sponsorships and events management.

Prior to joining MTN, he was the communications manager of British Council, UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.

Before then, he was at different times, The PUNCH’s chief correspondent in Aso Rock (Presidential Villa), Abuja; foreign affairs correspondent and a member of the newspaper’s editorial board.

Other portfolios he has previously held include assistant editor with The Nation and senior reporter with Independent Communications Network Limited, publishers of TheNews, Tempo and PM News.

His remarkable reportorial skill was recognised by the US State Department in 2003 when he was invited to the US under its prestigious International Visitors’ Programme.

The Commonwealth Press Union extended a similar gesture to him when it admitted him to its fellowship in London in 2005.

He once did job shadowing in British Council, India and also had a stint as an intern in a UK newspaper, Portsmouth News.

Married with three children, Aina’s taste in music is catholic. He listens to jazz, soul, highlife, R&B, blues, agidigbo, dadakuada, awurebe and juju.

A supporter of Manchester United, his other hobbies include reading, writing and watching movies.


Source: Qed.ng

Lagos Lawyer, Seye Fasoranti Makes Bold Statement With JoshEsther Olive Hotel

Situated in the heart of Ikeja, precisely on number 11, Samuel Awoniyi Street, off the busy Salvation Bus stop, Opebi, Ikeja, is that sprawling edifice that is an embodiment of splendour, grace, beauty and pleasure – all encapsulated in one phrase – JoshEsther Olive Hotel.

Comprising 21 special rooms for 21 special people and families, JoshEsther Olive Hotel, which derives its name from three wonderful children – Joshua, Esther and Olive, is a home away from home. A home made for only people who admire and cherish class and pampering.

With the state of the art facilities fully present, a catalogue of dutiful staff and local and continental dishes like no other, a prospective lodger may have reached the last bus stop of relaxation, friendliness and pleasure.

Located on a spot very easy to access from every corner of Lagos, especially the International Airport, JoshEsther Olive Hotel, managed by the indefatigable Oluseye Fashanranti, a man of many parts, is just the right place to be. The ambience is out of this world, and so is the lighting, which boasts of many colours.

From the entrance through to the gold plaited automatic elevator, and on to the VIP Lounge, only kingly reception awaits the customer. The Conference room is spacious enough with inbuilt projector for board presentation as well as carefully sourced furniture for convenience and comfort.

The same pampering is replicated in the restaurant and bar where well trained staff are on standby to treat one’s request with honour. The rooms are something else – class and glamour are not enough for description. Only a taste can fill the vacuum.

And most interesting part of JoshEsther Olive Hotel is the affordability of all facilities. Honestly, a simple try will thoroughly convince YOU.

Visit JoshEsther Olive Hotel today, and you will be happy you did. See you there!