Alhaji (Otunba) Adedayo Wasiu Oyefuwa is a successful UK-based entrepreneur who has made a name in the UK and beyond. In this interview, he relived his experience since he arrived in the UK in 1985, and also offers insights into how young Nigerians just arriving in the country can make headway.
Tell us about your birth and family background
My name is Otunba Adedayo Oyefuwa. I was born in Lagos in the early 60s to Alhaji (Chief) Adeleye Hassan Oyefuwa (a trader) of blessed memory from the Alaase family in Ilakan Quarter, Aiyepe, Ogun State, and Alhaja Chief Sidikat Ajoke Oyefuwa (nee Odusanwo) from the Odusanwo family, Aba quarter, Aiyepe Ogun state (a Nurse). I attended St Paul’s School Breadfruit, Lagos. I completed my secondary school education at Eko Boys High School, Lagos, and Egbado High School, Igbogila, Ogun State. I did my A-level at Lagos State College of Science and Technology, Isolo, Lagos.
I obtained an OND in Business Administration from the London College of Further Education in London, UK; a BA in Business and Finance from the University of London; a PGD in Business Management and Leadership at Coventry University; and an MBA in Global Business at Coventry University.
What was your childhood and growing up like
My childhood was full of sweet memories sprawling from the seaside of Marina near Leventis, where we usually went swimming, to the creeks of Apapa Wharf where we watched the sailing and arrival of merchant ships with full excitement. I would walk with friends from Lafiaji, Campos all the way to Ikoyi just to pluck fruits and have a feel of the serene environment and the gated boulevards where the rich and civil servants lived. Those were fun times when you could walk from morning till night without getting tired because of the many iconic buildings and locations that beheld your sight. Some examples are the city hall on Catholic Mission Street, the High Court on Igbosere Street, and the fountain in Tinubu Square just to mention a few.
How do you derive motivation?
I derive motivation from putting a smile on other people’s faces and proffering solutions to a myriad of life’s problems
How and when did you arrive in the UK?
After graduating from the Polytechnic, I decided it was time to face another challenge by traveling abroad to further my education. I arrived in the UK on the 5th of November 1985 via Heathrow airport
How would you describe your experience since you arrived in the UK?
The UK is a lovely country with good people and friendly culture. I received a warm reception from my uncle, Aare Abiodun Odusanwo in whose house I stayed upon arrival in the UK. I quickly realized that I could not work with the Diploma I had in Nigeria. I needed to do a menial job to make ends meet. I enrolled in the London College of Further Education where I studied Business Management. It was not easy juggling school with work but to God be the glory I was able to achieve my ambition
What were the challenges you faced since you started doing business and how have you overcome them?
After graduating from the University of London in 1989, I got a contract with the London College of Further Education to take care of the school’s Café. I later diversified into a Travel business after a short course on Travelling and Mortgage, selling tickets, and business Services. Through the Mortgage business, I was able to help some of my friends to get on the property ladder. News of my competence soon went around, and new customers kept trooping into my office at 74 Clapham Park Road, Clapham Common SW4, London. Business was very good with at least a 10% markup until the world economic crisis of 2008. This affected the mortgage business severely such that most of my customers lost their homes, and I was not getting enough jobs to stay in business. I quickly realized that as people lost their homes they needed to rent properties. I, therefore, moved into lettings and it was profitable as well.
What are your success principles?
Hard work, dedication, and a high level of integrity
What is your advice for young Nigerians just arriving in the UK?
They need to take things easy. It is not a place to get rich quickly. There are laid down foundations and principles which must be adhered to in order to achieve success. Success can be achieved through legitimate means as long as they work hard and stay within the law.
How can we develop Nigeria?
We need the right leadership to steer the country in the right direction. It begins with a president that believes in equity, justice, and fairness
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