EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH BUSINESS MOGHUL, REAL ESTATE MAGNATE, RECORD LABEL BOSS, YOUTH INSPIRATION AND PHILANTHROPIC ICON, MR. OLABISI AKANBI, CEO, LABO GROUP

Mr. Tijani Sheu, Online Reporters Association of Nigeria ORAN President, addressing the media at the Labo Group Office.

We’re achievements rated by size, not many would have spared him a passing glance; infact, so humble is he that his demeanour is always calm and friendly. Seated behind his ornate desk against a backdrop of Fendi wallpaper, the multi-talented businessman with a heart of gold, famous for being the catalyst in many rags to riches tales was well balanced and mentally sound to receive the media. Looking dapper in his made-to-fit traditional attire, he was leaning over his laptop and after a few mouse clicks on his laptop ( to acknowledge the billions that had just dropped into his various local and domiciliary accounts perhaps), he was ready to roll. The interview which was held at the Labo Group Office touched on important aspects of the group and it’s plans for 2021, and the future. Below is the excerpts of the revealing interview.

Q : How do you feel about the award you won recently?

A: I feel great indeed. The beautiful thing is that people out there were noticing my work and I am glad that they were able to appreciate what I’ve been doing so far, and it motivates me to do more. I’m glad I was presented with that very honorable award. So, I am extremely happy. Actually the body that came to present the award were youths like me, and they realized that I’m a youth like them, so I feel it’s just their way of appreciating me for empowering them.


Q:Having been presented an award by a political body, do you have any future plans for politics?


A: I don’t have interest in politics; the group that presented the award were youths, so I think it’s just a way of them appreciating me as a youth showing love to fellow youths. I’m just doing what I’m doing as a way of giving back to people and it is the reason why I created Labo Foundation, where I can help the less privileged.


A: Humility is one of your greatest virtues. Was it inherited or cultivated?


A: I will say it was inherited, because of my father way back then when we were very young. Had an ant bitten him, he was ready to prostrate. So my humble nature is inherited. Being humble goes a long way because you don’t know who you will meet on your way to success.


A: Can you tell us more about The Labo Group?


Q: The Labo Group is a frontline marketing company with subsidiaries in Automobiles, Real Estate, Entertainment and an NGO. In our automobile section, we deal in different kinds of cars. We have been doing that for almost five years now.
We also have LAFAITH Properties which is the Real Estate arm of the Labo group. It has been up and doing for seven years now and we’ve been able to do quite a number of projects in Abuja and in Lagos; Island and Mainland to be precise.
Even as we speak, Lafaith Properties has a mega project which is ongoing at Ibeju-Lekki themed “Lafaith Estate and Resort because part of the estate is facing the sea. We also have other properties on the mainland which we’ve developed and been able to market.
There is also Labo Entertainment which has been there even before Labo group itself, and it’s been over a decade in existence. Presently, Labo Entertainment is trying to showcase some upcoming artistes because we believe upcoming artistes equally need a veritable platform to showcase their talents, and so far, we have been trying our best to help lots of talented youths. Also, under Labo Entertainment, we have Dotman, who is our super star and his hit-loaded album is coming out on the 5th of February, 2021. However, we also have other talented artistes under Labo Entertainment.


Q: As a successful investor, what would you say inspired you to venture into investing?


A: Right from childhood, people knew I loved business a lot. While in secondary school then, my friends and I were practicing how to make money. When my mates engaged in games after lessons, I was able to start a savings plan to get a bicycle which I then rented and turned over, till I had six more bicycles for hire. I also had a video game center. So that was how my journey as an investor started.


Q: What were the challenges encountered while combining all the businesses together?


A: When I started the entertainment outfit around 2003-2004, I encountered lots of challenges which I faced with a focused mindset, and by this, I now know how to manage the challenges.


A: What does it take to be a successful property investor considering the cut-throat competition in that sector?


Q: I believe there is no business one can venture into that does not have competition and challenges. But your goal, mission and vision will keep you going. We had a lot challenges but we were able to manage it, and that is why we are where we are today.

Q: Looking at all your investments so far, would you say you had a godfather who supported you in getting where you are today?


A: No, I don’t, the truth is if you calculate how long I have been doing those businesses, you will realize that the journey has been a long one. Like my favourite saying “Rome is not built in a day.” It was through a gradual process. Before I got where I am today, I started somewhere by working for somebody. So I don’t have any godfather except God.

Q: What would you say are your strengths and weakness?


At The Labo Group, we have been using swart analysis to differentiate our opportunities from our weakness. My strength is that I know when to act and when not to. Also, our strength is to always satisfy our customers.


Q: With respect to your ongoing estate project, LAFAITH ESTATE & RESORT, what class of people will be able to afford it when it is ready?


A: The estate will be affordable for everyone. That is was why we have different categories. In the same estate, we have 3 bedroom duplexes, 4 bedroom duplexes; we even have two bedroom duplexes as well as flats. If you cannot afford the duplexes, you can as well go for flats. So, the estate is for everybody. We also have a flexible payment plan whereby if you are not able to pay once; you can come to our office and tell us how you want to pay.


Q: What would you say are the lessons you have learnt so far as an investor, and what advice do you have for anyone aspiring to go into the business?


A: I have learnt a lot about Properties investment but I am still learning. The advice I have for anyone planning to go into properties investment is to know one’s budget and know the kind of people one is working with because there lots of fake people out there. Even your workers will rip you off anytime. Basically, before going into any business, try to make friends with those that are already successful in it and understudy them well. That way, learning would be better ingrained.

Alfred Abiodun, Editor-in-Chief.

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