The advent of internet has increased the penetration of online sports betting in Nigeria with both young and old (even some underage children) patronizing the various betting platforms available. This industry has become so big under such a relatively short time, that it has made millionaires of owners of the online platforms.
But long before the advent of online betting, there have been older generation gambling enterprises that catered to low income earners. One of them being Premier Lotto, popularly known as Baba Ijebu.
Established in 2001, Baba Ijebu is a prediction game business in which winners emerge based on chance or probability. Due to its affordability (with just N5, one can get a stake in a game) and the availability of an offline gambling option, it is popular among low income earners. The more internet savvy class is not left out, as one can access the platform online and cash out through cash centres.
Today, we present the brain behind Premier Lotto, Sir Kensington Adebutu, who is a businessman, socialite and philanthropist. Let’s learn how he garnered wealth through this rare line of trade.
Early life and Education
Sir Kensington Adebukunola Adebutu, is a native of Iperu Remo in Ikenne township of Ogun state. The young Adebutu received his elementary education in his town of birth at Wesley Primary School till Primary 4. He later moved to Ijero Baptist School in Ebute-Metta, Lagos where he completed his education, and proceeded to the Baptist Academy, Lagos for his secondary education in January 1954.
After rejecting a scholarship offer to be trained as a teacher at Iwo Baptist College, he started work at Cable and Wireless Ltd, later renamed as NITEL. Moving forward, he worked as a sales manager and later, regional overseer at Claffin Chemical Ltd, a pharmaceutical company whose Andrew liver salt is frequently demanded in drug stores.
His stay at the pharmaceutical company unknowingly opened the window of opportunity to Adebutu, as he amassed significant business connections and skills while handling various responsibilities at the pharmaceutical company. He later started his company, Face-to-Face Million Dollar Pools Limited.
According to him:
“I felt bad that the expatriates were regarded as my bosses. That was what spurred me on to be on my own. I wanted a job of my own. The money was not there. I couldn’t have gone into the pharmaceutical business; it was capital intensive. I had to look for a business that required the least minimum of funds or even nothing. The only thing that came to my head was to be a pools agent.”
Starting his Lotto business
Born into a family of entrepreneurs, the Premier Lotto boss had his business plans cut out early in life. He opted for a pool business, since he could not afford the capital to start a big enterprise. The first pool shop was located at 8, Bale Street, Alakara, Idi-Oro in Lagos, and it had only a table, paper, and biro. He enjoyed good patronage because his brother was a well-known landlord in the area. Also, the pool business requires a lot of honesty and integrity and his customers found him trustworthy enough to handle their money. In less than a year, he had opened 2 additional pool outlets and later, his pool betting business metamorphosed into a lotto business.
Adebutu’s Premier Lotto Ltd was incorporated in 2001 and has grown into a mega-franchise which boasts of 200 principal agents overseeing 16,000 retail gaming representatives sprawled across western Nigeria. The Lotto company widely boasts of its impact on reduced unemployment among the teeming Nigerian youths. This it does by engaging the Nigerian youth population at different stages of the business value chain. With interest predominantly among the male population cutting across all age groups, the lotto industry has become a budding venture.
Alongside his betting business, Sir Kensington juggles a construction company named Arbico Plc, where he doubles as the Chairman of the building construction/engineering company. The construction firm is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Sir Adebutu enjoys 69.9% shareholding if the construction company.
Philanthropic work and awards
Not only is Sir Kensington a successful business mogul, he also continues to contribute his quota to humanity. The Kensington Adebukunola Adebutu Foundation (KAAF), Medical Laboratory and Maternity Centre was established in 2005 to contribute to the cause of humanity. It is a fully equipped medical facility with state of art equipment and qualified personnel.
Baba Ijebu is a recipient of several awards; among them are: Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) and Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON) both conferred by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
More on his personal life
Baba Ijebu is a polygamist and acknowledges the fact that his love for women is one of his weaknesses.
“I am very weak when it comes to women. If I see a woman I like, I make sure I take her as a wife. I don’t waste time at all. I don’t like to play games. If I like a woman, I talk to her and eventually, I take her as my wife. That is why I have so many wives.”
He is a gentle family man and has committed his resources to the education of his children, many of whom are directors in his company, politicians, and successful businessmen. Notable among his children is Mr. Adesegun Adebutu, CEO of Petrolex, an integrated energy conglomerate that provides services spanning across refining, storage, distribution and retailing of petroleum products.
Another of his popular children is Hon. Ladi Adebutu, a member of the House of Representatives representing Remo Federal Constituency in Ogun State.
Additional Information provided by Ibukunoluwa Samuel