Tope Fasua is the Founder & CEO of Global Analytics Consulting Limited. A former presidential candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Tope is the Chairman of the Statutory Audit Committee of Infrastructure Bank, and a Director at First Central Credit Bureau Limited (both part-time). He was previously a Regional Director of Equitorial Trust Bank, Abuja. He is as versatile and perceptive as they come.
Who is Tope Fasua?
He is a very simple person with no sense of entitlement. I expect nothing from the world. I believe I can work my way through. I thought I would somehow have enough but I have been delusional about that. Now, I have settled to just getting by in this world and that is okay by me. I was raised by a very strict dad, rose through secondary school fast, and studied Economics at the university. I have a master’s degree from the UK in High Finance, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Policy Analysis. I am married to my beautiful wife, Dorothy and we have three children.
Tell us about your family background
It’s a little bit choppy. I was raised by a very stern dad. I didn’t grow up with my mum around, but a stepmom, so it was hard at some point. I have a brother, sister, and stepbrothers. I think the difficult period of growing up shaped us to be strong, and, some will say, successful. We saw it all. I never met my paternal grandpa who may have departed in the 1960s. He was a politician in Akure. Abraham Fasua was called. I also didn’t meet my maternal grandparents but I grew up at some point with my paternal grandma.
So, I could be called an omo-agba (someone who picked up traditional wisdom from living with old people). She was a kind woman who allowed me to eat much of her food at that stage when boys were always hungry. Mum and dad separated when I was three. I found it tough to reintegrate with my mum later. I felt I didn’t need a mum after all. But today, I am more mature and I understand that things happen. So, my mum is still alive but my dad passed in 2020 in the thick of the darn Covid-19.
Which words best describe you and your personality?
I don’t know. I have learned that sometimes the vibes you think you give are different from what people feel. I would have said I am a bit reserved but also talented. I can switch. I could be a man of the people but I also often need my space. I like to think, and I write. I have written thousands of articles for newspapers, and ten books on my own. I also have other talents. I speak, I sing, I dance, and I love intelligence. I like to help people. I like to live simply. I understand just how vain we humans have become in this world and I prefer to live differently. I believe the essence of this life is to make the world a better place and help those around us.
What are your core values and life philosophy?
I value sacrifice to the motherland and also getting involved, not just hanging around looking for whom to blame. I value integrity, truth, and simplicity. I value broadmindedness too. I like it when people try to understand other people rather than put them in a box. I believe people must be given a chance. I disagree with the statement in the Bible that humans are bad and wicked or something to that effect. I am guarded but I give everyone I meet an opportunity except they prove otherwise.
I believe in service. I think therein lies all the happiness we seek. So, I throw everything out there – especially my little knowledge. By throwing out what I know, I get to learn a whole lot more, thanks to social media. I believe in the saying that the best things in life are free – knowledge, happiness, laughter, love, and friendship. I value honesty, integrity, simplicity, neatness, love for the environment, knowledge, and self-development. I believe that many people give up too early. When you see a man that goes around in sacks, it may mean that he has stopped seeing himself as valuable.
I encourage people to perk up. You don’t have to appear in designer garb, but the few things you have, keep them neat and dandy, and always appear like someone who can potentially encourage the world to goodness. Lastly, I am not one of those people who like pointing fingers. If I am pained about something, I act on the source of my pain – like I did when I organised a political party and ran for the presidency. I am a grateful person. While I worked in banks, I never for one day complained about salaries being small and so on. I was first of all grateful for the opportunity.
What is the nature of your current professional engagement?
I run Global Analytics Consulting Ltd. We have offices in Abuja, Nigeria, and in Ras al Khaimah, UAE. The RAK office affords us some internationality. I established the company in 2006 while rounding off my long-postponed Master’s degree. We have a training and consulting arm that keeps us constantly busy and can be deployed all over the world. I also own a couple of SMEs; a bookshop (you’d be surprised that indeed our people still read), and a printing press. I write for four newspapers and online journals every week. I also deliver speeches on specific topics around the country and abroad.
How did you climb the ladder of success?
Ha! I don’t think I can be called successful yet, except to the extent that I am a contented man. Abraham Maslow described the stage a man reaches – a stage of self-actualization, where he asserts himself and gets in touch with the reason for his existence. He further wrote about an even higher state – self-transcendence (a stage where a man stops living for himself). I have seen the vanity of life and all these acquisitions by which human beings measure their success. It’s all folly. So, success is measured by how well someone can acquire earthly chattel, which is not my thing.
But I must recall that I didn’t know anyone in the first bank I worked in 1992. I just walked in and got lucky. And since then, I have not looked back. I did that first work as my life depended on it – and it did. Though I was in the less-favored Operations Group, I got my promotions as and when due. When an opportunity came to move on, I did.
What was life like when you were growing up, and how have you coped with the challenges of life?
It was as tough as I could remember. Maybe because of the parental separation I mentioned earlier, but we grew up under a stern father whose word was law. I remember he was almost always angry, so we disappeared at any sign that he was approaching. I think that was how they knew how to raise children in those days. Times have changed. So, we started as proper aje-butter kids but business went south for the old man and we saw real hunger. There were times we could only have a meal a day, sometimes none. Dad was a believer, and he had all these pastors around him who sometimes prescribed fasting, so we fasted a lot, not necessarily in fasting season. I recall feeling that we were on prayer overdrive and that there had to be other ways to get out of the financial crisis. We had moved back to Akure and I was like 10 years old. The earlier years in Lagos were a blur.
When I was in Lagos and in Primary 4, one day as we were rounding off the class, the ministry people came and we found ourselves all promoted to Form 1 in Jakande School in Okota. I was assigned to Mushin Community High School. I was eight going to nine years old. We had no options in the matter. By then – and from documents, I saw only after my dad passed – he was having some stress working for this construction firm after he had left Shell BP. My mum wasn’t around. My step mum had her children to deal with. So, my dad only got to know I was in Form 1 one day as I trekked back playfully from Okota to Papa Ajao where we lived.
I recall feigning tiredness when I sighted his car. He slowed and asked where I was coming from. I explained and he moved on. I had some friends in that Jakande School that did not have windows and when it was rainy season, the rain-drenched us in class (you know, those windy rains). I didn’t care anyway. We all trooped around after school. I recall Nuru, and one Jide Idris guy whose dad was a bit well-to-do. Well, fast-forward to when I wrote my JAMB exams and I scored 229 or so. I was offered admission to Psychology at UNILAG, and Economics at Ondo State University (now Ekiti State University). Of course, Ado-Ekiti was closer to Akure so I ended up there.
It was around that time that my brain started to wake up. I recall thinking a lot in those days about just about everything and challenging everything. I thought about existence and life, heaven and religion, like a philosopher. It was at the University I started doing well academically. I was average before. I wrote my first WAEC exam at age 13 because of the earlier triple promotion (undeserved I will say). Getting through university was crazy tough. I came to university late every semester, I mean like eight weeks into the lectures. I copied my notes by hand and didn’t read much.
We wrote the exams and I topped the class all through, graduating as the best student in the whole University in 1991. I just developed an ability to read a little and be able to expand on what I read. I wrote a lot during those prose exams. I was the extra paper guy. I just like to pour my heart out. My dad’s financial issues had gotten worse, hence my usual lateness to go back to school. It got desperate in Year Three and I had to reach out to an Uncle in Lagos. I even approached our tenant who lived in the other duplex and he saved me from dropping out entirely. His name is Mr. Awosusi from Aramoko. He ran a cocoa trading company then. He was a very cool guy; I am forever grateful to him. I looked for him everywhere later to express my gratitude. Then, I ran into him one day and he had a limp. He must have had an accident.
What are the success principles you would like to share with us?
Again, I am not yet successful money-wise. I took a different route. I left banking in 2005 and never returned. I think I saw some futility in that route. Sometimes, it comes with a lot of money but that is only a fraction of the time. Most times, it doesn’t come with freedom and happiness. So, I decided to be on my own because I didn’t want to live a life that wasn’t mine. It is very okay to work for people and gain experience. I am not one of those who put down those who make careers. I felt I had learned enough to move ahead. It’s been incredibly tough to get ahead and I am still being saved by my dear wife as I type.
Thank God for understanding. To succeed you need to be consistent in what you set out to do. Be ready to play the long game. When you start on your own, be ready for disappointment. Those you know and who know you (maybe because they do), are unlikely to help you. Promises will fade. If you are no longer a big man occupying an office from which you can dispense favour, people will stop picking up your calls. Expect anything. But God helps you if you chicken out too early because that is when people will start offering you business.
I see that many people teach how to get rich quickly in Nigeria. The latest fad is to teach people how to make money from networking, and how they don’t have to produce anything. I would rather try and produce something or offer a service. I don’t wind up my companies so easily, but I’ve closed one or two – like that recycling company I once had. The cost of transportation to Lagos from Abuja killed it. I did a projection and concluded that it will not work. If you are consistent enough, you will get a lucky break.
What is your advice for young Nigerians?
They should understand that there is no country in the world without its problems. They should get involved positively in the affairs of this country, and get in leadership pole positions rather than putting their country down every day. They should cool down and try and enjoy the joy of gradual growth, struggles, and experiments. These days, they want to leave university and buy the latest cars or live in posh areas immediately. I don’t want to sound like some grandpa. But what I want to tell the youths is that they must know where they are coming from.
We are Africans. We have historical disadvantages and we haven’t also been too lucky with our leaders. So, when they know this, they will understand that we need to put roots on the ground. We cannot be enjoying everything that is produced elsewhere and even binge on them while we produce nothing. It should worry all of us, especially our youths who have much longer to live on this patch of earth than the older folks. They must never sell this land and heritage cheap. As it is often said, we are only borrowing the resources in this country from our unborn children. We don’t own anything.
Tell us about your unforgettable moments, both the pleasant and unpleasant ones
One day I was so broke in the hostel and had no food to eat. There was this older roommate (they were all older than me anyway) who attended Deeper Life, Mr. Joseph. His dad was rich. He used to take me to deeper life church in my Year One. There was this day someone came into our room, saw me, and called me ‘Omo Mr. Joseph’, and someone started singing that funny song about how the child of a poor man becomes someone else’s son. ‘Omo alailowo domo olomo’. It was etched even though I just laughed that day. That is part of the reason I usually give away everything I have since I started working. I always remember when I was really in need. On the good side, I cannot remember any specific day or event. I have never really chased anything with so much fervour. I appreciate every day, every waking moment. I have only celebrated one birthday in life – my 50th. I intend to celebrate more though. I think I could say I was happy when I finally scaled my Ph.D. That one stressed me.
How do you socialize or unwind? What are your hobbies?
I don’t socialise often. I am rather shy but I can switch. I only decided to be actively attending people’s events perhaps after the Covid experience. Life is short. That was a time when they locked us down. It was a worldwide terrible social experiment foisted on us by powerful people in the world. So, now I attend owambes. It’s good for networking. But I spend more time typing articles and researching my work. I sing and dance. I was checking my talents the other day – like those guys in the Bible. I draw (fine arts and even used to do some sculpting as a teenager). I write fairly well, and I also speak fairly well. I play Scrabble. I thank God.
What is your assessment of the Nigerian political landscape?
Right now, I am supporting Bola Tinubu. I made up my mind early and usually, I don’t change easily. Peter Obi came later. Maybe I could have considered him, but his prevarication is a put-off in itself. This is Nigeria’s presidency we are talking about. I ran for the same office in 2019. In that quest, I started putting things together in 2016. I brought guys together to form a party. Anyhow, back to the present, I have good reasons to support Tinubu. I think we are beyond the edge and only a very experienced, strong leader can rescue us. Impunity has overcome Nigeria. Everything else mounts on that. Total indiscipline has led to a situation where the little resources of the nation are being stolen blind. We need an elite consensus urgently, an unprecedented type.
The elites should be shown a picture that this is a life and death matter. They need to invest back to save their country. They need to be told that if we perform this operation now, they may make their monies back several folds. This rescue mission is about bridging the income gap, painting a new picture for our people, getting serious, clearing slums, returning millions of children to school, and ensuring that they stay there, doing things differently. I think that though flawed, Tinubu can do some of these things and some of us are here to support him if invited.
I think we don’t have time to start political back and forth, by which an opposition party wins and then spends so much time proving to us how corrupt the dethroned party was. I have read Tinubu and listened to his colloquia speeches. His ideas align with mine solidly. He is left of the centre. He talks about why it’s bad that we financialise our economy rather than industrialise it (by building banks and not industries). He is anti-austerity. Austerity bears down hard on the poorest. I started hearing that in 1980 under the Shagari government. After that, the military always told us to ‘tighten our belts, even when the waists of most Nigerians have disappeared.
You tell people to tighten their belts while you are living resplendently. Even Tinubu has called for more taxes on the rich – himself included. Buhari has no ideas and did nothing. Sad. Atiku is coming with far-right ideas like privatization (I don’t know what else we have to privatize having sold everything). I think such ideas can only delay the energizing of the average Nigerian. We need to breathe life into our population, to become productive. This requires some serious investment. Six years of hard, enforced education for EVERY child in Nigeria will change this country forever and break the Almajiri link for example. Equally, the area boy link will be broken. This country has what it takes to be productive. I have written about different little taxes, dues, fees, and fines that can be enforced as they do elsewhere. If we can roll up our sleeves and stay consistent for a while, we will do magic.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to just coast along, do well, and be able to cater to my family. I look forward to God granting me strength and keeping my mental functions intact so that I can continue to write and intervene in national affairs. I am afraid that we Nigerians may not be able to manage the affairs of this country without getting into major trouble. I have seen the chasm between the leaders and the led. I fear that even if we have a good leader the people will always heckle him and the interests which want the country to continue begging and scraping will machinate to ensure he loses it.
I had hoped that I could get into public service. I had my Ph.D. in Public Policy – but I have seen too many people destroyed by Nigeria’s leadership. I think it’s a graveyard of reputation. I believe we haven’t done any work on understanding ourselves and saying the truth about our history and socio-psychological makeup. What we have are people who think so narrowly, just all about feathering their nests. That never works. There is nothing wrong with this country at all. Other people of the world will kill to have a country like ours.
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