Putting Communal Services First

Putting Communal Services First

  Chief Kingslee Okafor’s enthusiasm and determination to be of help to indigent people has put him on the spotlight severally and in different fora. As the CEO of Korporate Kings Group Ltd, and a Knight of St John, he considers service to humanity as a divine call. In the beginning... It wasn’t quite easy starting up in life. It was even more difficult, because I was from a polygamous home and, like in most polygamous homes, sufferings and hardship were ever present, irrespective of how wealthy ones parents were. You were, more or less, on your own and your mother dictated things to you. I had a very caring father, but, seeing as he had 51 children and I was the 22nd, it was not all rosy. It was tough starting up, but determination and zeal was enough to move me closer to my dreams. Taking advantage... First off, the fact that I am a trained sculptor and artist makes me more human, as I have to appreciate the things I see around me. I don’t just collect art, I promote art. I believe that the nation will find art to be a means to make a lot of money, given the current economic value of oil, the country stands a chance to make so much money from tourism and arts promotion. During the 1977 edition of the Festival of Art and Culture [FESTAC ‘77], the Nigerian government went to the British government to ask for the Benin mask that was taken from Nigeria sometime back,but the British government requested for the sum of £2m from Nigeria as deposit before they would release the mask. The question now is, who truly is the owner of this work of art under contention? Suffice to say that the British understand and place high value on arts. So, the earlier we begin to understand the place of art, the better for our country. We are talking about diversifying our economy, but we can leverage on the wealth opportunity availed by the arts to make a fortune. The oil industry is not as profitable and attractive as it once was to a fresh graduate. The fanfare which once surrounded it is dying out. Morocco is making so much money from the art industry. Nigeria can get that sector up and running, as well. Motivation… What gives me great satisfaction is seeing indigent people become responsible persons in the society. I do not like to take credit for the many lives I’ve touched through my foundation, Ome-Ihe Ukwu Foundation, which concentrates on giving out bursary to indigent people, promote sports, give people the needed capital to start up their businesses, partner with the government to bring about infrastructural development to communities, towns and villages, amongst others. The future... I see myself doing the same thing, helping the indigent. Plans are underway to establish more skills’ acquisition centres, thereby reaching out to more people. In business, we are doing well. We are almost on auto cruise. I believe that the more people get aware of the art industry, the more we get involved, the more we make a living from it. So, in the next 10 years, with the way the world is going, Nigeria will be more aware of the arts and get involved in it. It won’t be like in the past where people can’t reckon buying a work of art for N1m. Words of wisdom... Things do not happen overnight. If you have the passion, you [must] work hard at it, do it right and expect your reward. The youth, who have refused to take their rightful place in the society want to make it within the snap of the finger. If they see you with an iPhone 6, they want it. Sadly, they don’t know how long it took you to burn the midnight lamp to get to where you are. Patience is the keyword here. Let’s focus more on the things that will bring communal benefits to us than individual gains. Then, we will have a nation which everybody will be proud to be identified with.
Stanley Bentu: Getting His Mojo On

Stanley Bentu: Getting His Mojo On

Co-presenter of the ‘The Morning Mojo’ on Abuja-based radio station WE FM, Stanley Bentu, speaks to SI about his passion for his community and how he brings this to bear on his job. As a radio talk show host, what exceptional qualities have made it easy for you to fit into your organisation? Maybe I talk a lot. I think everything is in line with what we want to achieve as an organisation, which is creating progressive discourse in Nigeria. As you know, one of our catchphrases is “The more we talk, the more we find a common ground.” Also, we have realised that if we can engage people positively in conversation and we seek to understand our different views – even if we don’t agree with the person we are talking with – we will leave the conversation better educated about whatever we are talking about. What would you say is your strength as a person? As a person, I think I like to read a lot and learn new things in the process. I’ve always seen myself as a pupil of life, so I don’t think I see myself as the all-knowing presenter, as is the tradition in broadcasting. I am just one of the myriad of voices out there, but you are free to disagree with me. But, I like to read and study a lot, so as to know and understand what is going on. Beyond that, I need to be able to proffer a solution to a problem. So, for me, it’s about three parts; understanding the history of a problem, how serious the problem is and most importantly, how we can get out of it. That is the problem-solving mindset that led to the creation of the template for The Morning Mojo. Today, it is a show for the thinking, idea-driven man. If you had the power to change one thing about yourself, what would that be? I think it would be to be more expressive about my personal life.  I talk more easily to groups of people than I do to individuals. Not because it is more difficult, sometimes, I tend to hold back some of my feelings. So, I wish I could tell people how I feel more often. What is your greatest motivation? To be the best in all I do and because of that, I like to work very hard. I’m a bit of a workaholic. I like to study a lot and be prepared for whatever presentation I have to make. I’m motivated by the desire to be the best, the desire to make a difference. I like to make a difference. If anyone comes in contact with me, I like him or her to take something away from me, just as I gain from him or her. Take, for example, my MD, Steve, who is a brilliant producer – maybe very little of that is known – but he is quite involved in all of the things that I do. Always, I go to his office and knock, sometimes when he is very busy, which can be very frustrating for me sometimes. I knock and say, “I want to pick your brain.” He is a huge reference point for me. I like to learn a lot. I’m inspired by people, especially successful people. What are your hobbies? I like to listen to music, a lot. Also, I like to write songs. I like to express myself through music. I play tennis, though I don’t have much time to do that these days, because my job is quite demanding, but whenever I get the opportunity to do that, I don’t pass it up. I like to spend time with my kids these days – talk to them, learn what’s going on in their lives and how they are dealing with things. I like football; I’m a Manchester United fan. I love to watch football, especially with my son, because he’s a football analyst. Maybe, one day, he could be a football presenter, if he chooses. Who knows? Do you believe in Nigeria? Absolutely. Why? Nigeria is a great country. Her potential is frightening. I believe Nigeria can dominate the world. Nigeria is one of the countries on earth with the most gifted population. We talk about the under-utilisation of our resources all the time, the mineral resources and all that, but forget about our most under-utilised resources – the people. If you doubt me, you can look all over the world and see how Nigerians are excelling under different circumstances. There is no city I’ve been to and sat down without being blown away by the wisdom they possess.  The application of that wisdom is another issue entirely, but what that tells me is that if we can change our mindset, we will be unstoppable. What is that one thing you would want to do for your immediate community? Well, I am already doing one of the things I really want to do and I think every individual – including me – should make a difference in his/her generation. I think it’s very important, because the essence of life is not in how much you acquire, but how much you can give. A great personality once advised you should die empty. Give yourself, that’s what I believe.  I’ve been in advertising, commercial printing, music, politics and governance and now, I’m in the media. Whatever it is, wherever it is that I have a talent, I feel that talent should be used for the benefit of my society, my community. I think I’m already doing that. If I can contribute to discussions to move our country forward, engage people and be the link that brings people with various ideas to discuss ways that Nigeria can move forward, I can hold my own mini national conference within the confines of my studio – the arena or space that I’ve been given – that would allow people to reach into themselves and come up with ideas that can move the country forward. Perhaps, we can present this to the people who can help make a difference, those in positions of power. That’d be wonderful and if I have that opportunity in the future, at least I would have drunk from the fountain of knowledge of all of my guests to point me in the right direction. For me, I don’t think there is anything I wouldn’t do for this country. The quote that inspires you the most... “Be like water, my friend.” When water is poured into a cup it becomes a cup. There is this quote made by Bruce Lee, “The secret of life is to adapt to your circumstances. Don’t be rigid. Always have the ability to adapt.”