CEO on Spotlight: Babalola Omoniyi, Co-founder, Celebrity CleanUp and Publisher of FBI Africa Magazine

I have always observed that great people have great humble beginnings and being one of such people, I decided to have an exclusive Interview with Babalola Omoniyi, the co-founder of Celebrity Clean Up. He shared his entrepreneurial venture from age 19, to sharing what the eclectic Charlyboy did to him as his employee, running up to how he is able to get celebrities to roll up their sleeves to clean surburbs in Abuja. His magic is demystified in this chat. Enjoy reading.



Can we meet you?

My name is Babalola Omoniyi. I am the Publisher of FBI Africa Magazine a Lifestyle and Fashion Magazine, Co- Publisher of Kingdom Celebrities Magazine, a Christian Magazine, Executive Producer/Founder-My Hero Nigeria Kiddies Tv Talk Show and Co-founder/Project Coordinator Celebrity Cleanup. I grew up in Lagos, had my education in Lagos and Ogun State. I am also a product of the prestigious London Business School where I obtained a certificate in Business Administration. 

I also have Certifications in British Certificate in Petroleum Management System (ISO 29001), Industrial and Labour Relations, Project Management and Public Relations from Nigerian Institutes of Public Relations. I had an interesting childhood. Grew up in a family full of love. We were not so rich with money but extremely rich in love. We enjoy going the extra mile to help each other no matter how discomforting it is. My doting Father taught us how to be honest and faithful and this he did and still does by leading by examples. My family motto is “without Family we are Nothing; without Family we have Nothing.”


How was the Journey to becoming a CEO? What were the challenges and how did you surmount them?
I founded my company when I was 19 years. I registered it at age 21 then I was an undergraduate. I tell people that the company you keep as a young person can either make or destroy you. Then, I kept a company of young and focused guys. At the time when our mates were going into internet fraud (Yahoo Yahoo) in school, we were hustling to do things legitimately and be relevant. We called ourselves “league of extra ordinary students.” We were five in number and fast forwarding to this present day, we all are doing very well. The salakos (Wale and Omotayo) are running the only Modelling Academy in Nigeria. Funsho runs a confectionary business having had to resign from a telecommunication company to pursue his dream. So starting up as a young CEO was fun because of the people around me. We saw every challenge as an opportunity to make an impact and be better. 


I remembered when we started My Hero Nigeria Kiddies TV Show. Then it was the only kiddies show in Nigeria. The project itself scared us. It was way too big for us to handle considering that none of us had any real experience in TV Production and there was no other show we could use as a model; but we encouraged ourselves. I also remember that most of the people we met then for sponsorship told us we didn’t know what we were saying. That our idea wouldn’t work in Nigeria. Some even literally chased us out of their offices. But guess what, instead of feeling bad, we would get back to our rooms and mocked everyone that didn’t believe in us. We turned every set back to jokes. We persisted. Many times, I felt like letting go and giving in to other people’s opinion but whenever I remember those that said I couldn’t get it done, I’ll rekindle my faith, re-strategize, listen to music or inspirational tapes and forge ahead. 

The amazing thing that happened during that project was when Babatunde Fashola, then Governor of Lagos State invited us for a meeting and supported us with half a million naira. That changed the whole game. We said if a whole Lagos State governor could see sense in this project, then seriously, there are a lot of blind people wearing suits who only look but can’t see. When people say they can’t see anything good in you. Hug them so tight and say life can really be difficult for the blind” Eventually, the project turned out well. 

We just shot the 4th edition of the project last quarter. In fact I tell people that the only way to know your vision is going to wow the world is when people told you that dream is crazy and wouldn’t work. You don’t become a hero doing what everybody does.

One of the very few people you worked with was Charlyboy. How did you guys meet?
I met Charlyboy while I was pursuing this same My Hero Nigeria Kiddies Show. Charlyboy was one of the very few people that believed in the project. I will never forget what he told me when I met him to discuss the project. Then I was a student. I travelled all the way from Ogun state (my school) to Abuja just to have a 30-minute meeting with Charlyboy. He said “ even if you don’t look like you can handle this project, your commitment and passion to this dream is overwhelming. Don’t let anyone kill your dream no matter who they are.” He didn’t just encourage me; he also supported the project financially. So when I got out of School, I needed a place I could learn and gather more experience and the person that came to mind was Charlyboy. I called him and told him I would love to work for him for FREE. Fortunately, he was in Lagos. He invited me over and we talked. After the discussion, he told me to resume in Abuja in two days. It wasn’t easy convincing my parents I was leaving Lagos to work for Charlyboy for free in Abuja. After many hours of reasoning, my dad reluctantly allowed me to go. When I resumed at Charlyboy’s Place, he said he was going to be paying me 15k for my logistics. Remember I told him I was going to work for free. After some months, he increased my salary to 30k. 

I worked for Charlyboy for 4 years and resigned with almost 120k as my salary excluding other benefits like accommodation which most of his employees were not paying for. What Charlyboy did to me as an employee is what brings food to my table now. I haven’t worked for so many people but I can boldly scream on the mountain that Charlyboy was the best boss I ever had. He knew how to encourage his staff to get the best from them. He has his own flaws just like every human being but  truthfully, if we have 100 of Charlyboys as a boss in Nigeria, unemployment will reduce drastically because Charlyboy doesn’t develop good employees, he develops amazing employers who will leave him to start their own businesses and lead others. Check out everybody that passed through him; the likes of Stella Damascus, Ronnie Dim, Tunde and Wunmi Obey, Amb David Egwu; these guys are doing extremely well. Like I said, Charlyboy has his own peccadillos so does every human being.

TELL US MORE ABOUT CELEBRITY CLEANUP
Celebrity Cleanup is an initiative of Cleanup Ambassadors. It is the 5th edition of the Cleanup Ambassadors Project. We are mobilizing 1,000 Volunteers including Celebrities to make a positive impact in Duste, Abuja. We have Volunteers like Charlyboy, John Fashanu, Empress Njamah, Dr. Mike Omotosho (District Governor, Rotary Club), Expensive of Wazobia FM, Captain Balami (President of Association of Pilots and Aircrafts Engineers), Hon. Bala Kaoje (Fmr Minister of Sport), Amb. Collins Adeyemi (FCT PMAN Governor), Ordinary Ahmed Isa of Brekete Family, Amb. Racheal Backam and many more. We believe that no matter what you do, without the support of the society where you operate, you can’t succeed hence this year’s theme “Giving back to the society that made us”. This symbolic cleaning will feature the following:
·        Environmental sanitation
·        Free medical services including free eye test
·        Free eye glasses and drugs to 200 people
·        Free wheel chairs and crutches to the disable.
·        Distribution of food, clothing materials and Mosquito nets to the public
·        Performances from notable Musical artistes/ comedians/dance groups


The Major highlight of this project is the Launching of 30,000 Customized Cleanup waste-baskets to be distributed at strategic locations around the Area Council.

So we are encouraging everyone to join this exercise. The event is coming up on Saturday, the 27th of June 2015. Take off point is Berger round about where we leave in a convoy to the sanitation venue. Departure time is 8am. Registration starts by 7:30am. Free sanitation kits for the 1st 50 people. We don’t have lots of materials to work with, so the little we have will be on a first come, first served basis. For further enquiries, call 08057343539 or 08065662495.

LAST WORD FOR UPCOMING CEOs:

I won’t tell you it’s going to be easy becoming your own boss. You have got to work smart like dangote, think hard like hmmmnn…be patient like Jonathan, be persistent like Buhari, be dogged like Charlyboy and believe in God. Believing in God is a sin that even the devil did not commit so don’t joke with your faith. If you fail, never give up because F.A.I.L means “First Attempt In Learning”, if you get NO for an answer, don’t be disappointed because NO means “Next Opportunities.” You can work for people who have excelled in your area of specialization with the mind to learn how the tricks work. While you are doing that, remember that as long as you work for someone else, they are controlling your destiny. So learn what you have got to learn to start yours

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