- Alhaji MUTIU OLADEJO (ONIMALU) Reveals
+How He Made His Major Break In Herbal Drink Biz
The name Mutiu Oladejo may not ring bell instantly in Ibadan, but at the mention of Onimalu, people will know who you are actually talking about. Just as his nickname he got from trading in Cow business, way back, Alhaji Mutiu Oladejo is quite popular on the social scene as well. He has his powerful connections in high places within and outside Ibadan. He is the MD/CEO Mudet Real Solution Nigeria Limited and recently turbaned as the Asiwaju of Ibadanland. The 3-in-1 ceremony (turbaning as Asiwaju Adinni, Commissioning of modern mosque built by him at Agbede-Adodo and his birthday gig) was a mega, colorful and a celebrities studded one. Top Muslim leaders, captains of industries and popular traditional rulers like Olugbo of Ugboland Oba Fredrick Obateru Akinruntan; Oluwo; Olubadan of Ibadanland Oba Saliu Adetunji Aje Ogungunniso 1; Timi of Ede and many others graced the occasion.
Apart from his new position, Onimalu’s won’t be completed without Kick & Start, from which has made a major break after trying his hand in many trades. Today, the herbal drink for man-power and enhancement has become a bigger brand. The herbal drink is known for its potent and selling like hot cake in the market. City People’s Correspondent, DARE ADENIRAN recently spent quality time with Onimalu at his palatial house along Adegbayi-Ife Road (Onimalu Palace). A look at the building alone will tell more about the owner’s personality; it is a tastefully finished and furnished house with all the state-of- the-art fittings that one could even imagined. It also comes with a private swimming, VIP waiting room apart from the main building. It is a beauty to behold. In the cause of the exclusive interview, Alhaji Mutiu Olasejo was able to revealed so many things about himself, his businesses and new role as the Asiwaju of Ibadanland. We also touched his family background and how he has breakthrough in business.
The story of his life is quite interesting and inspiring, for a man from a very poor background to get to such position (though he is not the first person to have made it from poor background but his is interesting). The new position according to Onimalu has not but challenged him to do more for the community, Ibadan and Islam, even more than he has been doing. Being a philanthropist; Onimalu, on a daily basis, attends to many requests from high number of people, who normally besiege his home. Every day is always like a festive period at his house. He has done so much for people and he is determined to do more. All these and many reasons are why he was honored with the Asiwaju title. The interview is quite revealing and you can’t afford to miss the excerpts. Enjoy it.
You were recently turbaned as the Asiwaju Adinni of Ibadanland by Ibadan league of Imams and Imams in Council of Oyo State led by Chief Imam of Ibadanland. How does it make you feel?
I really thank God for them to have even thought of me in the first place because the position is huge. So if one is offered to serve in such capacity, you should put in all your best and all that God has blessed you with to support the cause. I am so happy to be given such responsibility. It is clear that I have been challenged to do more than I have been doing, in service to humanity and propagation of Islam. Special thanks to the Islamic leaders in Ibadan and Oyo State generally, most especially the Chief Imam of Ibadan land and the entire Imam-in-council. By the grace of Allah we will not let them down.
For the benefit of those who may not know, kindly tell us about the role of the Asiwaju Adinni?
So many roles, Asiwaju Adinni must always live by example in propagating Islam and Allah’s teaching. Once you are given such responsible you must always support the cause of Islam. That is very few of the many roles.
The newly commissioned mosque you built for your community at Agbede-Adodo, Oke-Are area of Ibadan has been adjudged the best thing to have happened to Islamic circle of the city. What inspired such gesture?
I want to believe that everything that happens in this life has been destined to be so by God. That is probably the reason the idea was graciously supported by all the Islamic leaders in Ibadan when my name came to be honored with the position of Asiwaju Adinni of Ibadanland . Because I must tell you that it was a big surprise to even me when I heard about it. It is also a big lesson for young Muslim brothers and sisters out there to always try as much as possible to support Islamic cause and live by example. There are so many benefits from it from God and even on earth, just be good. With all sense of humility I have been doing my best in supporting Islam right from my younger age even when I had noting. I have been doing things like sweeping mosque and its environment and little, filling praying jugs with water and little, little contributions here and there. Not knowing that somebody somewhere is watching apart from God. That was why the elders and Islamic leaders decided to honor me with the title on the day the mosque was commissioned.
How do they appoint Asiwaju Adinni? Is it by election or selection or what?
To the best of my knowledge in Islam It is strictly by God’s divine direction like I said earlier that everything has been ordained by Him to happen in life. I was just trying to contribute to the development of Islam, in my own little way and like I use to do, by building a modern mosque in my community at Agbede-Adodo. It was the mosque that actually attracted so much attention and what prompted the Chief Imam of Ibadanland to send some delegates to the area to investigate. Having known quite well that it is Ogun (lord of iron) and Egungun (masquerade) they worship in the area before now. And that probably convinced the elders that, this young man should be made the Asiwaju Adinni.
Now that you have become Asiwaju Adinni of Ibadanland, are there things you must not do again?
It is God’s plan, and besides nobody is perfect except Him. So it is only God that can put one in the right path. We are going to be asking for God’s guidance, so that we won’t be bad example to other an Islamic leader. For all our dealing to be acceptable unto God and to be a blessing to mankind.
What is your vision for Islam and Ibadan as Asiwaju Adinni?
Before now I don’t joke with Islamic matters even more than people could ever imagined. I told you earlier how we have been contributing our own quota to the development of Islam even when we were young and had noting. And now that I am the Asiwaju Adinni of Ibadanland, my vision is for great transformation to start manifesting in Islam and Muslim circle. We are going to put more efforts in propagating Islam and advise the government from time to time on why there must be sense of belonging for Muslims in government schools.
We are also not going to relent in telling private school owners where there are Muslims to make sure some kind of equity, that is not religion fight. Muslims must stand out in teachings and behaviors. There must be teachers with sound Islamic knowledge in these schools, so that at the end of the day it would benefit Muslims and the society generally. So that what we will be teaching our children in school would not be different from the one at home. God will help us to do even more than expect of us.
At what point in your life did you become strong in Islam, having come from a background where they are idol worshippers?
Like I said earlier that they worship Ogun and Egungun in my family but it was immediately my father came back from hajj that he left the circle. He divided the land they use for worshiping of the idols into two and built mosque on one 1953. So they continued worshiping the idols at one side while mosque is on the other side. Interestingly, in 2017 when I heard that one of our brothers wanted to sell the other place to some people who want to build a hotel. I find it ridiculous for the hotel to be beside mosque. That was why I pulled the whole land together and built that modern mosque on it. Right from time, I am one of those who had always known what our fathers were doing was totally wrong. So I have been passionate about Islam all along. Today, there is nothing like idol worshiping at Agbede-Adodo. God used us to achieve that.
As Asiwaju Adinni, you are expected to pay more attention to Islamic matters, attend Muslim events and have meetings with Islamic leaders and Alfas as well as many seeking help from you. How do you plan to juggle between all these and at the same time manage your businesses?
Well, thank God for the kind of wife He has blessed me with. She is a very supportive woman and a good mother. With her support we have been able to manage and one has never disturbed the other.
Tell us more about your businesses, how did business start for you?
That is a long story we won’t be able to finish in the next two days. You just asked about the story of my life but I would cut it short. ‘’Many things have been said about the little blessing I have gotten from God, some are saying it is money ritual’’. But thank God, it is when your handwork has made a mark that such things will come up. ‘’But not many of them know that I started from plank market, where I was an apprentice’’. In 1993, some things happened I left the place. After then I went to Quran School and at the end I went back to Gate, to learn tyre business.
From there I went to Kara to learn cow business in 1996. That is where people started knowing me and from where I got the nickname ‘’Onimalu’’ which has today become my second name. When things were not easy even in cow business, I tried my hand in locally made insecticides. I went round the popular markets across Yoruba land doing that. People may not know my name but once you mention ‘’murikan lo gun efon’’ they will sure know who you are talking about. I did that for some time, we introduced many insecticide products, we did liquid one, we did powder, and we did chalk. We also did many other things like liquid soap, starch, aftershave, fragrance, balm and all. I did ‘’Gbamu Gbamu’’ herbal drink, it didn’t work. I did ‘’Kebe Bitters’’, we didn’t relent. I did Azonto bitters. It was after all these that we now introduced ‘’Kick & Start’’, it is pure herbal drink without alcohol. Thank God it is well accepted and doing very well in the market.
Most of the local manpower enhancements are laced with alcohol but Kick & Start is not, where did you get the idea from?
‘’It will interest you that I got Kick & Start formula from my late father who was doing it for his personal use and not commercial purpose’’. My father married my mum at over 90. He died at the age 137 but till his death nobody could predict his age. He didn’t look his age at all and since I had known him then he was never been taken to hospital for any sickness whatsoever till he died. So I was very close to him, you know all these old men of those days, like they say, ‘’ohun ti agbalagba fi n jeko abe ewe lowa’’. He was using it as herbal powder with pap and none of the children knew about it but me. I was also using it personally too. But you know as a businessman, I was thinking on the next thing to do one day and that came to my mind. I later modernized it to liquid and launched it into the market. That is how it became a hit in the market; we thank God for His mercy. It was just the grace from Allah because nobody taught me how mix together to become what it is today and none of my family member is into herbal business.
What would you say gives you inspiration as a businessman?
Since I grew up to know my mum, she was a very hardworking woman. She suffered a lot and looked at our family from beginning to the end there is nobody you can run to for just #2000 help. So whenever I think about my background I always struggle the more. Poverty is not good at all, my brother. I have gone through a lot in life and I have come out stronger. What inspires me is the determination to make sure the glory of my family shine forth through me. It has become reality by the grace of God. I was working hard at the same time asking God to bless me to be able to break the poverty jinx in the family. They live long in my family but noting much financially. In this Ibadan before now, there were people who never knew an area called Agbede-Adodo. But for what we have done we have been able to let people know about us in a positive way.
How did you feel when you made the first major break with Kick & Start?
Wow, I was so happy. I never knew it was going to be accepted in such a way. It was this lady from Ode-Aje that first bought 50 cartons of the product from. She bought at #250,000, I was more than happy. Because when we started about four years ago, we hardly sell a carton in a day but today the story has changed. I started producing many things like I told you in year 2000.
Though you have been in business for a while you made a big break within a short period of time. What would you describe your success story to?
The secret is very simple; hard work, commitment and prayer. I was working hard and praying hard too and God answered my prayer.
When I came into this place; the building, architecture, furniture and all gave me kind of impression of a man with high taste coupled with your dress sense. What influenced all these things?
It is just to appreciate God for what He has done. Do you know that all the good things of life were created because of Muslims? When you get to Saudi where Islamic religion originated from, they are fashionable even more than any other place. Islam is pure; it is a religion of peace. Allah is a pure God and He won’t accept a small uncleanness from anyone. God answer prayer in a clean environment too. So there is no big deal in all you have seen. You don’t have to buy expensive cloth before you can dress well; just make sure whatever you are wearing fits, neat and clean. I got that from my father too, he was always neat.
Tell us more about your background and growing up?
I am a typical Ibadan man from Agbede-Adodo Compound, at Oke-Are area of Ibadan. My mother is from Beere in Laamo Compound. I grew up as a normal child and thank God for what we have been able to achieve today. I don’t know book but my brain is very sharp when it comes to counting money (laughter).