Dear Paddy Adenuga, dream on! – #DukeOfSomolu

By Joseph Edgar

Did you guys read Paddy Adenuga’s summation – his travails and attempt at building a worthy African oil and gas franchise that would not only defeat his father’s huge empire but keep us totally enslaved so that he would now have full and unfettered access to all of our single girls. Me, I thanked God the boy failed o. Abi how can his papa be chancing us in this country and then he will now come and add his own.

I am happy he failed abeg and instead of writing this kind epistle, he should go and sponsor our bobsled team going for the winter Olympics.

Don’t mind me jo, I know bad belle people would be happy at the opening of this my write up and will be licking their lips and clapping in dangerous envy at the very handsome and highly intelligent young man. Paddy has won my respect and as far as I am concerned, has become a man. Although I could not bring myself to finish reading the story, the little I read showed a determined young man who could have just relaxed and enjoyed the lucre of his father’s almost limitless wealth. But what I saw there was hunger in the midst of plenty. The fact that he could leverage on his name to pull down such quality partnerships must be commended.

His clear understanding of the bid process, clarity as to the strategy required, and desire to pull all the stops as could be seen with his going to meet his mentor especially the anonymous Nigerian he had to go see in the tiny Swiss village is worthy of emulation.

He raised $50m to push in his bid and this sealed it for me. My partner, Lami and I have this mindset. From nothing, we placed a bid to acquire Keystone Bank and with sheer passion and hunger raised N24b to place our bid. Like Paddy, we pushed and pushed and pushed but unlike Paddy, we did not have any London pub to go drink or go to Amsterdam to take in the sights. We just holed up in our tiny office on Jide Oki in Victoria Island to cry and drown our sorrows. We made over a thousand phone calls, held several meetings and put together a powerful proposal of intent and submitted it and left everything to God.

The mail came one viciously cold morning. We had been pre-selected and they wanted our profiles. Two boys without a prayer, one Ogbomosho Prince and the other not yet the Duke of Somolu but a titled individual nonetheless seating at the backwaters of Victoria Island with almost nothing in their accounts had just been preselected to buy a Bank with depositors funds in excess of N60b. We shed tears of joy even as we told ourselves that we had won no matter how this goes. We went as far as the process could take us and eventually lost out to the winners.

This emboldened us to the point where we have set up a new Advisory firm – Hamilton and George and on the platform, we threw in our bid to acquire 9mobile. As usual, they called us mad, even some of our Directors just looked at us. I can remember selling the idea to Mr. Wale Edun the former Commissioner of Finance in Lagos and an Investment banking genius. When I finished talking on the phone, he sighed and said: “My brother this is bold and audacious.” I smiled for we had killed fear. We were going with our N80m firm for a behemoth like 9mobile with debt in excess of $1b.

Our technical bid must have been strong enough for we were shortlisted and put on the front page of Thisday. We were among the 13 initially shortlisted and when we could not provide the 150b Bond we were dropped.

This is just the beginning because we are determined to positively disrupt the economic landscape with our audacious and blood stirring ambitions.

I personally connect with Paddy’s story and would take his permission to use it as I speak to young people. Nothing limits us in this country like the lack of vision. Dreams don’t cost a dime, just dream nobody will flog you for dreaming. Dream and work towards your dream. Paddy despite my bad belle for his pedigree and divine good looks has inspired me with that write-up.

I will build a multi-billion naira investment banking franchise that will take the industry by storm. I will drop my Isale Eko on the hallowed stages of Broadway. I will contest for the Presidency of this country at 55 years of age. I will keep dreaming nobody can take that from me and not only dream, I will like Paddy, execute and not be pushed down by failure but be fuelled by it.

Paddy thank you so much. I will invite you to my inauguration as the President of this country and you will give the speech for you have legitimised my passion and fire.  You remain an icon in my mind.

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