Interview/Opinions

Nigerian youths need good role models—Sinari Bolade Daranijo

 

 

Sinari Bolade Daranijo is a serial entrepreneur who has put in over three decades into the business world. Starting from a very early age, Sinari knew his call was entrepreneurship hence, he pursued it to an enviable height leaving his imprint in virtually every sector.

 

At present, he is a member, Board of Trustees of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and also the CEO, SINBOL Group of companies, comprises a group of SME ventures in various areas of endeavours spanning information technology, manufacturing, oil and gas , HR consulting, telecoms, farming, security, health safety and environment, publishing, exporting, property development and entrepreneurship development training .

 

In this interview with MediaConsortium, an amalgam of three media platforms, comprising Amechi Obiakpu of Espinews, Adetunji Faleye of Brand Impact and Godwin Anyebe of Consumers Assembly, Sinari who is not known to crave publicity, said it was time for the Nigerian youths to begin to have a mindset change and to live up to that slogan that the future belongs to them among other sundry issues.

 

According to him, the current trend of emulating make-belief lifestyles that have flooded the social media space coupled with the get rich syndrome that is now common among the Nigerian youths are some of the causes that have led to the misplacement of priorities by the youths.

 

For him, this trend may continue, unfortunately, unless there is a deliberate mind set shift among the youths in particular and the citizens in general. And because the youths are the future of any country, one of the ways to guarantee the shift is for them to pattern their lives after good role models. Though, it is not like the country lacks good role models, however, there has to be intentional move on the part of the people to have somebody or people to emulate positively. Excerpt:

 

You started an initiative where you planned to empower Nigerian youths, what is it about?

Primarily, it is my thoughts regarding mentorship and entrepreneurship, innovation and in building up of ideas, based on my own experience. As an entrepreneur the major resource you need in starting a business is not money but ideas. Unfortunately, a lot of people believe that you must have money first. I tell you if your idea is compelling, money will chase it. And if you are going to embark on anything, you must do it on a small scale first before you move on.

 

I have been an entrepreneur for a long time and I laugh when people say certain things in business. I will say in my 30 years of doing business, I have seen a lot of trials, and I know how things should not be done when it comes to business.

 

However, I think everything depends on your environment and location for success. Apart from you coming up with an idea, it must be at the right time and at the right place and with the right people. Basically, for me the mind set that you need money first before you start any business is wrong. like I tell people, money is supposed to help you to articulate your ideas first and turn your vision into reality and try to sell it. There is money all around you if you know how to find it. But don’t waste your time looking for millions for a new idea when that idea may just need N50,000 to execute it.

 

It is like in this day of online shop a young lady says she wants to rent a physical shop to sell when better opportunities abound in the digital online shop. I personally took someone up on it— she opened a physical shop, and I asked her how much she had sold and she said about 5 compared to more than 200 she sold online… then I pointed exactly where the market is for her.  The basic principle of zero to cash is mainly mentorship.

 

We need to teach people how to create wealth because creativity is the future… and that is what is happening today. The young ones are actually taking advantage of creativity, like the crypto and the digital money opportunity. Many people do crazy things to make money like having numerous followership through which they are making money. We must realise that we have left the era of paper money, though some people are still under the illusion that paper money is still what it is.

 

 

You talk about creativity, how will creativity work for a hungry person?

One of the basic factors of success is what you just mentioned. Hunger drives people into negativity and positivity. Hunger creates a determination not to be hungry again. Just as poverty creates determination not to be poor.

 

The name Sinari Bolade Daranijo has imprint in virtually every sector and business what inform all that?

 

Those are the journey of an entrepreneur. They say that entrepreneurs are born or made. Some people just have this creativity bursting in their DNA.

 

I have been able to identify that in any environment we must be flexible. In any environment multiple streams of income is what you desire. When you go to school, they teach you how to get a degree to get a job. To me education itself is a problem and too much of education is a problem also because it limits your world view. If you don’t get the right education, it’s a problem also. People who go to Harvard and Cambridge are trained to be managers unlike the regular universities.

 

So, what is the content that is offered in a Nigerian university and the extra content offered in the Harvard or Cambridge? We need to understand the way of the world. Take yourself out of the box. For me I have been a non-conformist.

 

 

Considering the harsh economic climate, how can the average start up business survive?

What the present day youths need is mindset change. The thing is that, as soon as you come into this world at this time, you become part of the www.worldwide children. You just have to keep on doing what you are doing as long as it is legitimate.

 

What you really need is the right investment, the right mentorship and the right direction. From day one I started business, I had two major visions- the house I will live and the office I will work from must be bought and paid for before I am 30 and I achieved that. Every other investment is business. Once you can take care of your abode you can sort out any other things.

 

For me, this was a vision I ensure I closed- like they say: whatever your mind can conceive, you can achieve. This is based on the right vision. The youths must know what they want, because nobody owes them anything. They should research what they want and go for it.

 

One time in my early 20s, I used to travel to Abuja by bus looking for opportunities. I constantly travel to Abuja. one day I was coming back to Lagos from Abuja, a woman sat beside me and she asked what business I do, I told her I was into security- CCTV, intercom, radio and installation. She said it was interesting and she requested where my office was, I told her Ilupeju, Lagos and she replied that hers was in Mushin.

 

That was how we got talking and later in the morning she wrote her address for me stating she had a supply to deliver to one of her clients and was hoping I will help with the supply. She wanted to buy 300 radios, Motorola which I helped her to procure. One thing in life I have learnt is to say I have everything. That is what I call from zero to cash and that is my principle.

 

That same morning I had searched for Motorola head office in Lagos to look up for the price of the item so, when I met the lady, she had with her a Ghana must go bag filled with cash. She got the transaction for about N300,000 for the radio that was paid 50% upfront. So, I told her, it was N180,000 per one and she said there was no problem and handed me the N150,000 cash alongside her PA. I took the money to the Motorola office then paid for the item with N100,000 had a balance of N50,000 cash and expected balance of N30,000, all these had happened before 12 noon. Since that day, I stopped travelling to Abuja by road. This was 30 years ago, I was in my 20s.

 

The truth is, it does not happen like this all the time but, Keep on doing what you are doing, God has placed avenues for us to be blessed.

 

The only thing is that, what do we have that God will bless? Most people don’t have anything. some people might look like they are in a spot for years but when the turnaround will happen, they will be shocked. There is always a divine point of meeting in entrepreneurship because you cannot invest so much and not reap from it. However, some people don’t get to the point of reaping before they give up…

 

Back to the question of why have I been into so many sectors?

It is because I have hunger for success. I have exported broom to London, exported yam, exported snails to London at a time on a weekly basis. I have engaged in everything good that can be converted to money.

 

You have been in business for a long time… how would you access the business climate between last year and now?

The truth is, it was not just Nigeria- the world almost collapsed because of covid-19. A lot of people have not been able to do anything- they have lost money, have lost passion like Jack Ma said at the beginning of covid-19, he said the biggest thing that we will carry out of this covid is if we stay alive. That will be the biggest profit this year. That we have life is profit- Do you know how many people died? So, when they said it was tough, it was tough for everybody. It was just a flow through and then we survived. What next? I am always forward looking. That period was to stay alive and stay healthy.

 

 

Why do we hear of products exported from Nigeria yet rejected abroad for certain standards or condition?

I have a problem with exporting raw materials. For me the question is, who determines the price? I have done a lot of export, yam, charcoal name it. The problem of Africa is that the price of the product is determined by the buyer. Let Africa go back and rethink that aspect.

 

Why do they keep coming to buy raw materials from us? Because nobody will say no to the buyers. They will buy at low price by telling us the quality is low.

 

I know we have issues from farm to source- Transportation issue, storage issue, delivery and packaging issues.

 

The problem with Africa is begging people to come and buy our cocoa so that they can convert to chocolate, begging people to buy your crude oil so they can refine it to finished products. We beg people to buy raw diamond so they polish it. Basically, Africa needs to determined its own affairs.

 

 

What kind of mindset change would you want to see among Nigerians?

We use to have National Orientation Agency (NOA) that was doing the mind set re-orientation sometimes ago. What we need is the right person speaking the right words to our youth. Mindset change is what we need now, which is why I am doing what I am doing. We need to find the right role models that can speak the real thing to the youths. If you are lucky to buy a G-wagon at 21, it is advisable not to drive it at that age because of the society we are. Even if you can afford it and prove that it is yours police officers will stop you on the road and harass you. There is a general psychology everywhere in the world. Even in the world over, the police man is more likely to stop a 21-year-old driving a Ferrari than a grey-haired man driving one. Like they say, there is time for everything. And when you fit into that time everything just works well.

 

 

What is your projection for Sinbol Group in the next five years?

In the next five years we want Sinbol Group to make a difference in the lives of millions of people in the market place. I really don’t do business for myself, I look for business that can impact a lot of people, not because you cannot make money but of course, so that a lot more people can benefit from it. Like Facebook- do you know the amount of people that are benefiting from it?

 

As a business consultant and mentor I only need 5 minutes and I can tell you what business can and cannot work- from oil and gas, agric, export etc. What raw materials are available? Where they can be found and the value harnessed with in the country? I can tell you there is no state in the country that is not viable- we all have inherent resources in each state that can be harnessed…

 

 What is your final message to the youth?

My final message to the youth is that they should be calmer because the future is theirs for the taking. They must change their mindset and get good role models so that they can see that life is in stages. They should also envision a better Nigeria and not give up on the country- Nigeria is still the best country.

 

 

 

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