'Entertainment Is Key To Rescuing Nigeria From Recession'

Dayo Adeneye

Most true legends are made and not born, and Dayo Adeneye, Hon. Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ogun State, is one of such made legends, forged from the ever-bright fires of the Nigerian entertainment industry. Back in the day though, he was known simply as D1. He was part of a movement that changed the face of entertainment in Nigeria, and this is why many made artistes in Nigeria today pay him obeisance. Chief Dayo Olumide (D1) Adeneye in this interview with Saturday INDEPENDENT’s TOMI FALADE speaks on his life, service, passion and the diversification of the Nigerian economy.

What was 2017 like for you?

In all things, I give thanks. Everyone knows what transpired in the year 2016. The country was in recession and things were a bit slow, not to say stagnant. Everyone felt the pinch so to speak. But we thank God that 2017 was better. When you are alive and in good health, you cannot help but give thanks to Almighty God.

  A lot of us started in January 2017, went into February together, and by December, some were gone. So we thank God that we are alive and in good health. What can we say, but thank God and pray that 2018 would be a much better and much more prosperous year for all of us.

Do you believe that the Nigerian entertainment industry is capable of rescuing the country from the recession?

  I have no doubt about it. We have to diversify our economy away from oil. We have depended on oil for so long. I mean, take a look at a state like California in the United States, it has the fifth largest economy in the world. They do not produce oil, they sell movies and they sell music… well, a bit of Silicon Valley.

So, look at the abundance of talents in Nigeria. Kenny Ogungbe and I have always professed that entertainment is big business. For every Tuface, for every Dbanj, for every Richard Mofe Damijo that succeeds, they hire managers, they hire dancers; they hire all sorts of people. They create employment and they pay taxes also.

  All these record-breaking movies that are making five to six hundred million Naira, imagine if they are paying twenty to thirty per cent tax to government. And that is why we said that government should protect them, protect their copyright so that their works are not pirated, because when their works are pirated, they do not earn any revenue and government does not earn its taxes. That is why it is essential that government should create an enabling environment for these artistes to continue to thrive. So I have no doubt that entertainment is one of the sectors that can take this country out of that recession.

Lagos State Government successfully created an enabling environment for artistes of all kinds, do you think that Ogun State, other states and Nigeria as a whole is ready to follow suit?

  I don’t think we have a choice. Every economy has to diversify, every state has to diversify, the Federal Government is trying to do it by going into solid minerals and other sectors, and even increase our taxpayer base. So every state, for survival has to start looking at other ways. If it is not agriculture, or something else, you just have to look for other ways to find income.

  It is economics. Our leaders are resourceful and Nigerians are very resourceful and resilient people to have survived 2017. We are not there yet, but I believe by the grace of God, 2018 will be a much better year for all of us.

You have a background in entertainment yourself. Looking back, do you think that the up and coming talents today have the same exposure that you had back in the day?

  Well, like I say, you have to make your own luck. You can’t keep waiting for everything to be a hundred per cent like my governor will say… Just blaze a path; you do not need to follow the path that someone else has made. Think of a way to add value to your community, to your state and to your country. When Kenny and I started broadcasting and we created Kennis Music, Primetime and the rest, we were just trying to help.

  We were actually trying to help young people. These are people who had the talents and we wanted to help them. We were not thinking of money or any other rewards. But if you find a way to add value, to create a service that people want, believe me, it would put food on your table and the money will eventually come. But our young ones these days, they think of the money first. “Ha! Davido don hammer, me too, I want to sing.”

  They don’t think of the quality of what they are doing. They do not put passion into it, they are thinking money first. That’s like putting the cart before the horse. I would advise our young ones: “Think of something that creates value, something that is lacking, fill a void, find a service. The best way to make money is to create a service. Provide service and people will pay you for that service.” That’s the advice I have for them.

Do you have any New Year’s resolution?

  For me, I try to take it one day at a time. I try not to be one of those people that would list 20 things and then by June-July, they find out that they have only been able to accomplish three. My yearly resolution, however, is to take better care of my family, get closer to God, help my fellow man, try to do as much as possible as I can for the needy and the less privileged. Once you do that as a person, I believe you would sleep better at night. Those are my New Year resolutions; to help people in need.

What is the key to success for you?

  I usually list a couple of things. I always say get an education; find something you are passionate about. My father always says ambition without knowledge is like a boat in the desert, it is not going anywhere. Be ready to work smart. Most people will say work hard, but Yorubas say “Ka sise sise, ko ni ka lowo”. “Working hard does not automatically translate to having money.” You must work smart these days. When you do become successful, find a way to give back.

When you continue to give, you continue to get more. And it is something that is hard for people to practice. They say “Oh! I just have a little bit of money.” Give and you will see how much will come back to you. Find a way to give. Those are the principles that I live by. I think that you can be successful if you follow those things.

Is D1 as a brand still alive today?

  By the special grace of God, I’m very proud of the name and the brand, and I thank God that it continues to open doors for me. It gives me joy and pride when I go places and people say “Hey, that is D1! We like your work, we enjoy watching you, we miss you on radio and television.” That tells me that people still remember me, they remember the brand and they miss what I do. I thank God for that. A good name is worth more than silver and gold. I thank God that it is a brand that people are proud to remember and associate with.

You moved from the entertainment industry into political circles, and you made it look so easy and effortless. What’s your secret, what made the move appear easy?

  Well, I have always said that my life is about service. I find a way to serve humanity. Believe me when I say that. Richard Branson found a way to serve through Virgin Airlines. Mike Adenuga found a way to serve by providing quality, cheap and affordable airtime. If you find a way to serve, God will reward you. My life has always been about service.

  I taught in school for seven years, not because it was the best job, but that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to impact lives. I came back with Kenny to help found Raypower and AIT because we believed Nigerians could get better Radio and Television service. Having done that, helped with Kennis Music and Primetime in discovering young talents, I also helped take young people and make them superstars. But I felt it had reached a plateau and I could do more on a government platform. And with the power of government, you can reach more people and help more people.

  That is what I am doing now. My life is all about service. I believe that when you help and you serve, good things will come your way. Yes, it might seem effortless, but believe me, it wasn’t. The Yorubas have a saying that before yam becomes pounded yam, we must have pounded it in a mortar. So people don’t see the hard work you put into it, they only see the results. But we thank God that it appears effortless like that.

How would you rate the achievements of Nollywood in the year 2017?

  Wow, it has been a very busy year for Nollywood. There have been some very good movies, record-breaking movies, ‘The Wedding Party’, ‘A Trip To Jamaica’… so many movies that have made their marks and as you can tell, by the quality of the nominees for awards. You can tell that it has been a fantastic year for Nigerian movies.

So what’s the next thing for you?

  Well, we are committed to this political process; I will continue to serve in whichever capacity my people deem it fit for me to serve. When you are in politics, you are a servant of the people, so you cannot make demands. You find a spot where your services are most needed and you plug yourself in.   

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