He started humbly, worked hard to perfect his trade, moved up in his profession and now looking back to help others. Giving back comes naturally to him.
Abdul Azeez Olajide Adediran, is the Chairman/Group Managing Director of Core Media Group, Datanet Project Services Limited and the lead visioner of JANDOR FOUNDATION.
Born, bred and educated in Lagos. He started out as a media practitioner and has by dint of hard work, dedication and perseverance branched out into other areas successfully. A hardworking entrepreneur who is also passionate about helping people. Jandor, as he is fondly called, gave some insight into his life and passion in this interview conducted for Feferity by Afolayan Adebiyi.
You have been in the media, but now in management with your own established outfit. How smooth was the transition?
Well, media work is one profession that teaches you to know something about everything and everything about something. If you are well-grounded in our profession, I don’t see which department you can’t fit into. There wasn’t a transition at such, because something that we do daily, is to have in-depth knowledge about something, I mean everything around us. It’s being a great experience.
JANDOR Foundation has been helping the indigent Lagos population. I have seen some of your activities as listed online. What drives your passion? What guides you when you see these indigent citizens of Lagos State?
First and foremost, you can’t give what you don’t have. And before you can assist someone, I want to believe you must have gone through something in life yourself so that you would be able to appreciate how it feels not to have. I mean growing up wasn’t a very palatable experience for me, but to God be the Glory, through the assistance of few God sent, I think I’m able to be where I’m today. And I then deem it very necessary, that if some people actually assisted me to be here, it then behoves on me to see how much I can assist people around us. And this has informed our decision and the establishment of JANDOR FOUNDATION.
So far, in the two years of registering this foundation, we have been able to touch over 6,000 lives in Lagos State. We have executed close to a thousand projects, established our presence in the entire Local Government Areas in Lagos State because I’m from here. We are actively present in the entire 57 Local Government Areas, both the old and the new put together. We started the tour and empowerment visits of all Local Government Areas last year. So far, we have about 7 LGA’s or thereabouts on our major empowerment program. We have visited about 6 for the mini empowerment programs. We were in Badagry, Ojo, my own Local Government, Alimosho, Ikorodu, Surulere and Epe Local Government areas. For the mini-projects, we have been to Shomolu, Odi Olowo, Ejigbo, and Ojodu will be over soon. So far, these are what we have done in the last two years, always trying to lift our people out of poverty. That is the ultimate goal.
Are you satisfied with what you have done so far or what would you change given another opportunity?
To God be the glory, If we have more, we will do more. This is a foundation that is being sponsored by the proceeds from my business. We do not take grants from anyone. Not from any international body or any local NGO. This is solely sponsored by myself through the proceeds from my business. As I said, if we have more, we shall do more. And we are not under any pressure to do the little we can to support our people. Like I said, if we have so much, we will be able to do so much more.
How do you adjudge an idea to be the right one? How do you evaluate an idea before pursuing it?
First thing first is we have an idea. If you do your due diligence very well, you know that you won’t be here and say you won’t try because nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. The most important thing is to look forward, just hit the ground running, with your idea, along the line you will see that there are one or two things to improve upon and to also work to improve the idea and ensure that this idea comes to fruition.
You have no doubt done well in enterprise and a solid team is a veritable part of the success of an organization. How do you choose and manage your team for efficiency and productivity and get the best out of them?
Like I have said earlier. everybody I have here in JANDDOR FOUNDATION, who’s been running the organization with me are those that I have known for the past two decades and beyond. For example, I have known both the current central coordinator and the past central coordinator for the past 25 years. We attended the same school. Over the years that we have been together, we know each other and understood one another. We have never left each other for a whole year. So there is no how I will have a better manager if not the people that I understand very well, those that understand your culture and you have also grown to know. Although we have our worst moments as friends, we have also had our better moments as colleagues and today, we believe in this vision together and that’s why they fit in doing this. Along the line, we also recruited those that we have seen with a “can-do” attitude and ability to help in running the organization with us.
This is Lagos State. You are from here, from Ojo Local Government Area to be precise. Now with your NGO going round the State, trying to intervene in the lives of the poor, you would have notice something about the lives of the people. It’s like a city-village, rich-poor population. How can you create a balance in the middle of this?
Well, if you say Lagos is a rich-poor city then I will ask what the percentage of the rich compared to the poor? Don’t forget we have a population of 20 million in Lagos. And how many of this 20 million can you say are the rich? What I know is that the government of Lagos over the last two decades have been trying to ensure there is an infrastructural development that can bring everybody to a certain level and to par in enjoying the basic amenities which everybody needs and thereby create a very veritable and viable middle class. But it is still a work in progress. We are not there yet. We cannot get there in one day. I believe that with a new and proactive idea, with the new way of doing things, I believe in no distant future, we should be able to get to where we are going.
This is Lagos. And it is a land of opportunities. It is a land full of prosperity. Everybody wants to come here to see what is going on. That influx of people, though it comes as blessings and again it also has its own shortcomings too. The most important thing is for the government to ensure that there is Infrastructural renewal as people troop into Lagos for them to have a habitable life.
You mentioned the people’s daily influx into Lagos. If you stay at Julius Berger entry point in Ojodu you will be embarrassed by the numbers trooping into Lagos daily. What do you think the government can do to contain and sustain these people?
Well, the most important thing is that we need to do more in terms of data collection. Because when you have people you need to create an infrastructure to see how you can accommodate these people. I think the creation of a new town is very, very important. Because In the developed world what I know is they create infrastructure with the expectation that one-day people would migrate to occupy that infrastructure, but today people come before the provision of infrastructure. And since we have known our Lagos with this status, a land everybody wants to troop into, I think the government ought to have done a whole lot in creating new town especially in the border towns to accommodate these people with all the necessary daily infrastructure.
Like I have said, all these influx have their own advantages and disadvantages at the same time. Where you have the people, is where the market is. So, it is a blessing for Lagos. But unfortunately, over the years, we just keep making this noise that people are trooping in without doing the needful and more importantly, in terms of data collection to know how many are we? How many do we get in daily? What is the kind of infrastructural provision that is required for us to accommodate them in the State?
How has it been managing a private television station in Nigeria considering the harsh economic environment?
Well, I mean it’s been hectic. Just like any other business where you need to run on diesel almost all the time. It’s been hectic in an economy where you have huge competition. But again, for five years running now, we have been hanging in there and trying to push the very best contents as relate to our own inner style, to our teeming viewers. I can say, it can only get better, but it’s been a proud experience.
You see, the television station was a decision I took in 2013, but then I was basically providing my company’s services mainly for the government. And I asked myself: what becomes of one’s life if the tenure of such a government rounds up and the terms served? Does that mean the business also expires with the outgoing government? So, for us, as a team, we a took the decision to step out of our comfort zone, seek for license even in the face of hardship and be able to float a particular brand that wouldn’t know a particular party or a particular government but that, that will be there for everyone who wants a difference or new thing within that sector to plug into, and to God be the glory, it’s been the next phase of our business and we are happy we are.
Images, courtesy Jandor Foundation
© Feferity Media Group, 2020