The biography of one of Nigeria’s most versatile businessmen, Biodun Shobanjo, was launched on Thursday, November 26, 2020, virtually. The biography entitled, The Will to Win: The Story of Biodun Shobanjo, was written by Mr. Dotun Adekanmbi, a business journalist and public relations expert. Adekanbi was named Investigative Journalist of the Year at the Nigeria Media Merit Awards in 2003 and elected Chairman, of the Nigerian Insurers Association [CAMCONIA] in 2010.
The occasion was graced by a host of dignitaries including ace broadcaster and a former Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, who was the chair of the virtual launch. Veteran journalist and former Editor-in-Chief of Newswatch Magazine, took time to reveiw the biography at the launch.
The Will to Win: The Story of Biodun Shobanjo is an “authoritative biography” written with constant access to Mr. Shobanjo as well as to dozens of current and former staffers, family members, and friends, including former colleagues and business partners.
Described as “a biographical portrait of Nigeria’s ‘Czar of Advertising’”, the book chronicles Shobanjo’s 56-year career, starting from his 1964 role as Studio Manager in then Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), now Radio Nigeria, to his days at Grant Advertising Ltd, an American-Nigerian agency. The book also details his experiences following his venture into entrepreneurship upon co-founding Insight Communications in 1980.
Author of the book, Dotun Adekanmbi, said: “I was motivated to write this book because I found Dr. Shobanjo’s personality and professional accomplishments quite intriguing, particularly because he evokes diverse passions in players in his industry. My determination to unravel the myths that surround him prompted my proposal to write The Will to Win: The Story of Biodun Shobanjo. His willingness to share his professional worldview with young practitioners and people in search of knowledge is what is now being presented to the public.”
While commenting on the book, Shobanjo admitted that he had been reluctant to be involved with a biography on himself that could come off as a vain ‘been there, seen it all and done it all’ kind of storytelling, noting:
“In my view, every biography must be a learning encounter for its reader; not a platform for a subject to blow the trumpet of perceived accomplishments in one’s field over several decades. For me, therefore, The Will to Win: The Story of Biodun Shobanjo is a legacy project intended to demonstrate how our Groups – Troyka Holdings, Insight Redefini, Halogen Group – arrived at where we are today in our industry. As I like to say, ‘unless people understand the dream, they cannot act the dream.’”
Mr. Shobanjo’s achievement is very unique because he remains the only major surviving advertising agency founded by advertising practitioners of his generation. The Insight Group is Nigeria’s largest marketing communications outfit. He has not only dominated marketing communications, he has extended his tentacles to other sectors. Halogen is Nigeria’s biggest security business, recently expanding to new areas like cybersecurity services.
He is known mainly as the founder of the advertising company, Insight Communications, but Mr. Shobanjo is Chairman of Troyka Holdings, a group that comprises other firms in the marketing communications space, a real estate company, and perhaps the crown jewel of the group, Halogen Security.