The compelling success story of the Odole Odua, Sir Adebukunola Adebutu Kesington, will surely make an award-winning masterpiece if well-knitted. For scholars, looking to bag a degree in any business-related field, his success story will surely serve as motivation, guide and reference point to the fact that persistence, doggedness, sincerity, focus and above all, dedication played a vital role in his resounding success in business.
The Iperu-Remo, Ogun State-born Chairman of Premier Lotto started his career at Claffin Chemical Limited, an American chemical company, producing caffinol, magnesia, among other chemicals in the 60’s, as a sales manager in charge of Lagos State and the whole of Mid-Western state. At a point, he quit his job to focus on business.
The question that comes to everyone’s mind is – why will a sales manager with an American company quit his job and opt to start a pool business? This decision is apparently not for the fickle-minded. It takes audacity and focus to make such a life-changing decision without blinking an eye.
“While I was working with them, I stumbled on a book written by an author called Meron. It says, ‘Whatever work you do, one day you must leave. Either because of retirement or by sack’. The book continued, ‘in any business lifespan, when you leave it, you leave it to yourself; that is, you leave it to your children.’ That promoted me to be in business.”
Interestingly, that was not the only reason he quit the job, he further added.
“Working at that time for me was like not working. I enjoyed the job as a sales manager, but when you take February salary to pay the debt of January, financially it does not look interesting.”
At this point, he made a wise decision by finally settling for business. He left with no start-up capital for his business. “I left the chemical company with no capital, I was looking for a business to venture into that won’t request much capital. I discovered that as a pool agent, all you needed is a desk, pen and rent. I rented my first pool shop with just 3 Pounds.”
The sustainability of business is not rocket science. One would wonder how with just 3 pounds, he was able to set up a business empire presently worth billions of dollars, with over 300 workforce. During the early days of his business, he was almost swept away by storms raging from various angles.
“At this point, forecasters were forecasting correctly and winnings were on the rise. During this period, most pool companies folded up and left the business. As for me, I remained stubborn.”
He was able to weather the wavering storm with grace. Asked his secret to success in business, he replied, “Honesty has kept me to this point. Some pool agents will sell pool and keep some behind. When there is winning, they are in trouble. I didn’t do that, when I turned pool promoter, I paid winnings promptly even when it was difficult to pay the winners, I went as far as collecting overdraft from banks.”
During his childhood, his lofty dream was to become a lawyer but this could not be achieved. His mother was unable to finance it. Did he ever regret not studying law? His words: “No regret whatsoever. God bless my friend of blessed memory, Chief Molade Okoya Thomas, my school mate and classmate. When he was going to Europe, I told him before he returns, I was going to be a millionaire. God heard my prayers. Till his death, he calls me delicate millionaire.”