Today marks the 15year anniversary of the “Best Presidential Election” ever held in Nigeria. The election was annulled by the military and that incidence is popularly refer to as June 12 by Nigerians. Today, Nigerian Politicians will gather and make wonderful speeches about the incident and the adverse effect it has had on our growth as a nation. I am not a politician and I try as much as possible not to meddle in political debates. However, I am interested in the Hero of June 12 who was once the greatest Nigerian Entrepreneur!
Chief M.K.O Abiola as he is fondly called was a successful Nigerian Entrepreneur with a thriving business empire that spread its tentacles beyond the coast of Nigeria. He single handedly floated million dollar investments in different industries. He was a force to recon with in the Nigerian Airline Industry, (Concord Airline), he was making waves in the Nigerian News Media Industry with Concord Newpaper and was also doing well in other industries. You may begin to wonder how come we no longer hear anything about those investments?
Well, it is sad to note that they all went under. His involvement in politics and his eventual demise led to the collapse of the thriving financial empire that he built. While my heart goes to the family of the late Chief M.K.O Abiola and all other families that have sacrificed sons and daughter for the sake of entrenching true democracy in Nigeria there are two lessons that I have learnt from this sad story.
Build your business on a system, not on a person – As an entrepreneur, it is very important you build your business on a system instead of yourself. Your business must be able to exist on its own without your presence. I am certain that if Chief M.K.O Abiola is alive today, those businesses would have survived the turbulent crisis that sent them under. He had all the skills and business network needed for turning a dying business to a thriving one. Unfortunately, he is gone and there was none mentored by him that was able to step into his big shoes!
Business and Politics do not mix well in Africa – Democracy in Africa is not the same as what is being practice in other continents. Politicians with different ideologies consider anyone not in their camp(political party), as an enemy that must be crushed and totally annihilated. One of the greatest tool that has been used over and over again in destroying political opposition is using state power to crush the source of oppositions wealth. During Chief M.K.O Abiola’s struggle for his June 12 mandate, the powers that be used the state apparatus to crush his business empire. Subtle government policies and legislation ensured that the thriving business empire that was his backbone were slowly destroyed. Today, being 15years after, there is hardly anything left of the great business empire.
My conclusion is that if you must build a business, ensure that you are building a system that can survive in your absence. If your business is built on a person (the entrepreneur or an employee) it will not be able to stand the test of time. Also, if you decide to delve into politics, ensure that you have de-invested yourself from your business investments, that way, your political opponents will have a tough job crippling your ambition. Actually, I believe political ambitions should not be financed by personal estate since that is a sign that when the ambition is eventually realised, the temptation to recoup such expenditures from the national treasury will be irresistible. Evidences abound in Nigeria where some political office holders have turned state treasuries into personal purse and are using it to finance personal business interests.
Please note that this write-up is in no way meant to discredit the achievement of the great June 12th hero in the person of Late Chief M.K.O Abiola. He is loved and adore by many Nigerians and non-Nigerians. His personal achievement and benevolence has impact on the life of millions of Nigerians. I respect his memory and I pray that God will give his family and friends the fortitude to bear the loss of this great Nigerian Hero.
I will love to hear your views about the issues raised in this post. Your comments and criticisms are welcome. Enjoy!