Silently enamoring, Prince Dapo Adelegan may be hard to notice among the crowd, a testament of his humility and calm demeanor, but his achievements sit in dignified places across multiple sectors in Africa and beyond.
The year was 1988, Lekki was still a shadow of itself. The beautiful houses and corporations that now dote the settlement were still unhatched. Lekki’s undefined outlines were painted with brushstrokes of loneliness and pre-modern greenery. The mood around the beach was black and wreaked with silence, with her coastal sands starving of soles and melody. Miles away from Lekki, a passionate and dogged young graduate from the University of Ilorin, was planning to host Africa’s biggest concert in Lekki. Indeed, no one takes you seriously when your outsized dreams defy modern possibilities. Most people are other people, their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, and their passion a quotation, but not Dapo Adelegan. Determined to wade through the stagnant air of impossibility expressed by the cynical crowd, he assembled a superior team, knocked on doors, and worked tirelessly to host Lekki Sunsplash.
For the next 10 years, over 10 million people would gather in Lekki to watch the finest and biggest entertainment event in Africa. The love for Lekki had grown, and Dapo Adelegan’s activities on the Lekki Peninsula had paved the way for modern Lekki. His concert led to a radical re-engineering that changed the Nigerian musical scene. Talents were harnessed, and the famed Alibaba, the iconic comedian, in his biography, mentioned Dapo Adelegan as a foundational part of his success. Artistes like Lagbaja (the masked one): King Wasiu Ayinde Marshal, KWAM 1; Alex Zitto; Daniel Wilson, Mandators; Ras Kimono and Pasuma Wonder, are some of the artistes who owe their rise to fame and prominence, to the erstwhile annual Lekki Sunsplash.
In 1999, a new National mission was calling vehemently. It was time to transform the world’s perception about Nigeria as a passive consumer to a culturally rich and business ready environment. The dignity and economic value of Made-In-Nigeria products was sinking, and needed a well thought out plan to synthesize global interest in Made-In-Nigeria products, galvanize investors and create sustainable business linkages. And like an Olympic class gymnast, consistently titillating the minds of her audience with breath taking performances, Dapo Adelegan was it again. The pathfinder came on the scene with class.
Buoyed by an unflinching desire for growth and innovation, Dapo conceived and executed the Made-In- Nigeria Exhibition, MINEX, in the UK in 1999 and 2000, as well as in South Africa in 2005 and 2006 in partnership with the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, Nigerian Investment Promotion Council and the Nigerian High Commissions in United Kingdom and South Africa. It was the first of its kind. In 2002, he pioneered the Introduction of Electronic Outdoor Advertising in Nigeria through Benjamin Black & Co, a revolution that calibrated the Out of Home (OOH) media industry to prime position in the marketing and communication industry in Nigeria. Prince Dapo Adelegan pioneered the use of electronic billboards in Advertising.
Furthermore, Adelegan, under his organization, PR Africa Ltd, collaborated with the late Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, who was the Director-General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS and STDs, NACA , to professionally organise the International Conference on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases, STDs, jointly organized by the Federal Government, the United Nations, UN and NACA. The success of the International Conference on AIDS recommended Adelegan and his team for further patronage by other inter-governmental agencies. PR Africa was commissioned as the professional conference organizer in 2006 and 2007 to organize the International Technical and Vocational Conference and Exhibition, by the Education Trust Fund, ETF.
For seven straight years, Prince Dapo Adelegan consistently received the PMAN Music Promoter of the year award from 1989-2006, as well as the Success Digest Nigeria Entrepreneur of the year 2007. Similarly, he was recognized as one of the top 50 marketing experts in Nigerian Marketing Memoirs, a landmark marketing publication authored by two Nigerian editors.
Those of us who share his commitments to service as a hallmark of transformational leadership, and the desire to lift many out of poverty through entrepreneurship were not surprised when he became the 14th President of the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce in 2015, a chamber he had served for 22 years before becoming President. In three years of service 2015-2017, the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) recorded a 71.51 percent spike in revenue under his administration. Adelegan’s achievement remains unparalled.
Interestingly, Dapo’s irretrievable foray into business was never planned. Listening to his impeccable command of English will leave you asking why he never opted to study Law or become a pastor. While a good diction is not all there is to pastoral work or becoming a lawyer, Dapo’s persuasive skill usually drive his audience to action especially if you have ever been under his ‘Life in the 21st century’ lecture series. Till date, Dapo is a diligent Christian, and has a heart for people. Despite bagging a degree in English, Adelegan feels more comfortable with Yoruba worship.
From growing up with his grandmother, losing his father at age 11 to serving with his mother at her modest catering shop in Akure, Adelegan, the philanthropist, reminds you of the maxim that nothing is impossible with God. He constantly encourages young people to believe the same through his mentorship platform, The September Club of Nigeria, for young business owners in Akure, Ondo State. Prince Dapo Adelegan is an Alumnus of Lagos Business School. He has equally undergone executive management trainings in South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States of America, USA. Adelegan had his elementary education at Ladi-Lak institute in Yaba, Lagos and his secondary education at the famous CMS Grammar School, Lagos, where he concluded his ordinary level West African School Certificate Examination, WASSCE, and proceeded to his A’levels at the School of Arts and science, Ikare, Ondo State.
Prince Dapo Adelegan is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Direct Marketing, Fellow Institute of Directors President, Abuja Business Club, Council Member, Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Member Lagos Business School (LBS) Alumni Council, Member of Metropolitan Club, Member of the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) and Public Relations World Alliance (PRWA), Chairman of Ondo State Lawn Tennis Association, Member, Island Club, Lagos Lawn Tennis Club.
Quite frankly, humility is not taught in most places of education. We are not taught to say ‘I don’t know; but I will find out’. We are not taught to keep our head firmly on our shoulders in the wake of unprecedented success. Having acquired the best education from some of the best institutions, and working on global projects, one wonders how Prince Dapo Adelegan is able to stay humble and down to earth. He attributes his success to God, his parents, and the many mentors God has brought his way. Prince Dapo Adelegan is a prince from Ijebu-Owo, and is blessed with a Beautiful Wife and successful children.
Finally, the race for who becomes the next Governor of Ondo State is on. Ondo State has all it takes to be a successful State, and all it requires is a genuine, compassionate and competent leader. We choose to pull ourselves from under the cumulative heft of inept leadership that has continued to keep us poor as a State. Our youths need to be employed, and who else can do this if not someone who has created over 5000 jobs directly and indirectly in his 33years of self-employment. We believe Adelegan can do the job. We want him as the next Governor of Ondo State.
Join the train.
Article written and sponsored by the September Club, Nigeria.