It’s 6AM in Lagos, Nigeria.
I’m sitting at my desk, looking back at the past few years of my life. I haven’t had much sleep, haven’t seen my kids in two days. I’m wearing the same clothes from yesterday.
But I’m not complaining. Instead, I’m actually grateful.
It’s 6AM on February 27, 2015 – just about 11 years after I left the University of Ibadan with a third class degree. Just 11 years ago, when I was a hospital reject, a homeless and unemployable ‘graduate’.
It’s 6AM on February 27, 2015. Eight years and 14 days since I officially left paid employment. I remember the day on February 13, 2007, my dad’s 63rd birthday, when I looked my boss in the face and said ‘actually, sir, I don’t think I want to work here anymore’.
It’s 6AM on Friday February 27, 2015, eight years and three months since I started what is now known as BHM. By now, I’m sure everyone knows the story of how we started with zero Naira, how we squatted for years and used my wife’s salary to run the business.
It’s 6AM on Friday February 27, 2015, over three years since we crossed the $1m mark (yes, a big deal, for a little Lagos agency), nearly five years since we started our second business (Nigerian Entertainment Today) and the day we officially launch our third – ID Africa – a sexy company that will introduce new ways of helping brands and consumers use social tools to connect with those they care about.
I don’t like to write when I’m emotional; because then I go places I usually would not. But how do I help being emotional on a day like this?
How is it that I was begging to feed in UI eleven years ago, having Doyin Adesida pay the house rent in Agbowo-Ibadan, squatting with Charles Mayomi in Ketu-Lagos and taking a N60, 000 loan from work to pay my first rent in Akute 10 years ago; and now – I’m launching company number three? Employing nearly 60 people and living the life I could never have dreamed of?
It’s not a big deal, really, in the books of those who grew in privilege. For those born brilliant, for those with access to great education and finance. Not a big deal for those who grew up knowing what and who they were. And it’s but a tiny achievement, within the scope of the dream for my life and our organisation. But considering where I’m coming from; looking back at how I battled to fight off stammering, how I wrote JAMB for five years, struggled through university only to fail out, how I fought plenty complexes and didn’t know my self; thinking of many of my friends who are still job hunting, in jobs they hate, still stuck where we’re coming from; or those the circumstances of our environment have limited or destroyed, I consider myself a miracle.
So it’s more than a big deal, it’s a major miracle that we’re kicking off ID Africa today. Unlike BlackHouse Media and Nigerian Entertainment Today, we’re actually starting our new company with a couple of computers, an office space, and a combination of skills that’ll work wonders. We actually have capital. Ha!
Friday February 27, 2015: I’ve waited long for this day!