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?
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.”