Politician, estate developer, entertainment guru, event manager and music promoter, Dipo Olorunrinu, was a student entrepreneur in his university days. SEGUN KASALI sat with him to hear his story.
HOW interesting was growing up?
Growing up was quite very interesting. It was fun and I had very excellent and wonderful parents. They were very godly and inspired me a lot. They instilled the right morals in me and I must give them the credit. I went to a private school and I was brought up godly parents until I lost my mum when I was 16. And I left for my grandma’s, until I lost my grandma. I loved playing as a young lad.
Do you mean playing pranks?
I always felt I was very smart until I understood that for every level you attain, you are a foolish person. Take for instance, the kind of spirit you would have had in primary school would be different from others. And leaving secondary school for university, you will laugh over some attitude you had then. Even now, I laugh over some attitude I had at the university. This means that you keep discovering knowledge and understand that the Bible says the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Speaking on the pranks, I was very playful. I knew I was so playful to the extent that all I needed was just play because I believed that life was a bed of roses (laughs).
And the result of the playful nature?
I received a lot of spanking and slaps. Oh my God! My parents were disciplinarians and maybe I got this from them. They took us to the best parks (amusement parks), in those days of Morfix burger and pinto. I have the memory of the fun part, but most especially the serious part. I love playing the keyboard a lot. I am very excellent on the drums and I play the piano as well. I was once running a record label.
What propelled you towards setting up record label?
It was church. I was a church boy. My parents were strong Christians. Look at the history of FESTAC (Festival of Arts and Culture). If you look at the successful artistes today, most of them are from FESTAC Town. We have 2 face, Faze, Black Face, Azardous and so many others. I enjoyed my time at FESTAC Town and it helped me considering the fact that I had almost all the reigning artistes around me at that time.
What about the negative vibes of the FESTAC environment?
To be honest, I was enjoying it because I went to Government College, Ibadan. It was an old, nice, good school and I was in the boarding school. You don’t go to Government College, Ibadan and become a full boy. I don’t support parents sending their children to boarding school because you lose the parental guidance. Maybe mine was different because of the word of God my parents instilled in me. I could have been one of those bad guys you are talking about. That helps me a lot because I remained standing despite walking with the bad ones.
I think most parents think that sending their children to boarding school gives them that independence. You know you don’t say ‘yes’ to everything even though you know you can give it to them, so you don’t become a money-miss-road. Having success doesn’t mean your children would be successful. Your children must not be money-miss-road and parents must understand that the real success is the impact on the child. You must also have the mixture of both life – you can be pleasing and also be a disciplinarian. Regarding my record label, I had landmark achievements.
I am naturally a PR person. I love meeting people and I love interacting. I love marketing and I love selling things. In the record label industry then, it was challenging. I was part of the first people who organized Henessey Artistry. I was the publicist. I started my record label as an event organizer right from school. Then at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, I used to bring artistes and organize shows. I was living in FESTAC and so I had my hand all over them. I would bring them down to school and make money off it. I was more of a business developer than politician.
Which is better, politics or business?
Of course, to be a businessman is the best. Of course, I have always had that spirit of impacting and trying to help people and that was why I went into the record label business and I was actually using my skill to help people and I, using the fund and the sales management aspect. I was also into the selling of land. So, when I get my proceeds, I put into my passion which is music. While I was a student, I had a joint outside the school where we sold drinks, asun and the like and I used the artistes to promote the joints.
How did you come about your business passion?
My mummy was a big time businesswoman. In fact, she was the main supplier of some frozen foods. Put succinctly, she was supplying Christ Redeemer’s Ministry (CRM) (laughs). Before then, she was a banker and when she left, she went into fabrics. Of course, my mum was a godmother. I can conveniently tell you that I don’t know what they call poverty but I knew what they call seriousness because when I finished from school, I must join the staff. The only time you would know the difference between me and the staff would be when they wanted to feed the staff. Of course, she would give me separate meal being her son. But, I carried the cartons with them and also did supply with them.
What are your memories of OOU?
That would be when I was given the most popular student award and the popularity did not come from being a club boy. I was never a club boy. I was running the highest number of shows. I think I had one of the best cars because I made money from organizing shows. We didn’t just restrict my event business then. We were going for weddings and birthdays. I have had a busy life since I lost my mum and that was when the reality dawned on me. I was not taking fat chicken again. I wasn’t even taking sharwama again. People who knew me called me Thumbs Up
Thumbs up means good luck. So, that inspiration came up in my memory. Thank God for the gift of having that excellent initiative. It was a friendly tool for people to identify with. I initiated the name by myself in order to have an identity for my show business.
When would you say you hit it big in the industry?
I will be honest with you. I never hit it in the music industry. I only hit it in the events industry (laughs). You know they all fall under the media. In fact, I was positively lured into the music industry. It was very challenging. I can assure that there are lots of excellent artistes with good songs in the archives of producers. They have excellent songs but no sponsors.
You are handsome and tall, what are your experiences with girls?
(Laughs). We need to realize that not every man is promiscuous. Of course, we see beautiful ladies outside. But what keeps people like us going is not because we don’t see the beautiful girls. I would tell you this for free – I was always matchmaking in school. From my brain now, I can count four people that are married now through my matchmaking. There is no form of light that won’t attract different kinds of insects. But, you must always understand that for every clap you get, you must always work for it. I understood that at an early age. I see those beautiful ladies, don’t get me wrong. But, I see them as distractions. I appreciate constructive discussions more.
Where did you meet your wife?
I met my wife in school. We dated for long. So, you understand what I am saying that I met a friend, thus I didn’t see any reason to misbehave.
What was the attraction?
She had a listening ear. Go and find out about people who have a listening ear. So, I found that other part of me and it was something to complement those things I didn’t have.
What was your love story?
Of course, what do you expect from a lady? She would look at you and tell you she would think about it. So, she thought about it and then said yes. Let me be honest with you, we dated for seven years and our wedding year made it the eighth.
What does she want you to stop?
I am not going to give you an answer to that. You know why? Marriage is supposed to be private. That question is supposed to be for me and her.
What is that thing that gives you so much joy, maybe not plenty of money?
Getting people fulfill their dreams, giving people hope because when there is hope, there is life. When there is hope, it kills depression as there are lots of depression stories out there.
What are your unforgettable moments?
One of them is when I got into politics at an early age. Initially, I felt it was meant for the elderly. When I won the election, I never knew I was going to win. My interview today should school people on the reality of life. When I got into office, I was 32 and never knew I was going to win. Don’t forget it was and still a state ruled by the and I got to the position on the platform of the PDP. Another time was when I lost the same election.
How sociable are you?
I am a definition of being social.
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