‘There’s a lot of bad blood in our business’
POPULAR night club owner, Akeem Shodeinde is gradually bouncing back. The gifted entrepreneur who has been sick for over a year is gradually grabbing his groove and strength and even ready to reopen his club, Movida.
A visit to his Idowu Taylor Street, Victoria Island, Lagos night club on Thursday, November 14, 2013, revealed that business is set to kick off again at Movida.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with him about his experience while he was sick, his business and lots more…
How are you feeling now, how is your health?
First, I give glory to God, for giving me the third chance in life. It’s only when you get there you will understand the world is full of things you don’t know. I thank the Almighty God and I appreciate the prayers of people and those that stood their ground that my health must come back. It’s not something that I can explain. It’s only you that feels the pain that can understand, but I thank God that I am healthy. I am not 100 per cent okay but life is about challenges. If I start thinking I am not okay then I am not a man. At the end of the day people will not help you. It’s only you that can help yourself as a man. Achievements are made by yourself. Anything that goes up forever cannot last. Life is about ups and downs, and probably I have gone through the down and I will definitely go up again. I thank God for what He has done for me. I have life and I can still work very well.
What are the lessons you have learnt from your health challenge?
The lesson I learnt is not to put all your hopes on people. Whatever you do, always remember there is an unseen force that protects us. We should remember there is a God that protects us. The air we breathe, nobody knows where it comes from. And we should not have negative thoughts about others.
How does it feel that Movida is about to be re-opened?
It is exciting to me and I still need a lot of work. The challenges are there. My achievements when I used to do Movida are no longer there. Everybody has buckled up. One should always be ready for challenges, it makes you stronger. When you have a business and there are no challenges it won’t be interesting.
What were the things you lost as a result of its closure?
There is something I learnt from one old man: health first before wealth. Whatever you lose when you are sick, you don’t count it as a loss. Whatever is lost is lost. As long as you have life, it is better than anything you have ever achieved. I don’t count my loss. I find ways to make them back and achieve more. That is what makes a man.
Full excitement! Surprise is always the key. Make sure the unexpected happens when it’s not expected. Surprise is the key to your goal.
When exactly are you reopening the club?
My target is November 29, 2013. It’s a two-day carnival. It’s a carnival for life, thanking God for all He has done. There will be free drinks and food. There will be invites because dignitaries from all walks of life will be there. People that are already members based on followership and those that are my friends that I cannot reach through the invite will come.
Will there be any artiste that will perform that day?
That is why they say surprise is always good. I will not let the cat out of the bag till the D-Day.
Have you really missed your clients and patrons?
I have missed everything. I missed my life first and I think it’s a way to get me closer to God. I was a carefree person, it has made me get closer to God and I am not getting younger.
How old are you now?
I will be 43 on December 28, 2013.
In what special way are you going to compensate them, for your absence for almost a year?
A lot of things but I can’t say it now. If I say it now it won’t be interesting anymore. My absence in the business is over a year.
There have been a lot of speculations about your state of health. Some said you have HIV, some even said you were dead. How did you take it?
People that name diseases can’t even go for common malaria test. I just believe one thing, if you have something to do, you won’t talk about someone else. Imagine someone like Dangote or the owner of Shoprite to sit down and talk about others. You do so when you are jobless. I am happy they are talking about me. They can’t talk about someone that is not important. If they don’t talk about you, then you are a dead man. Even Jesus Christ, they talked about Him. People that said I was dead, I don’t know who died o but I know it added more years to my life. I can’t blame anybody. Whatever happened is meant to happen. They made me look up to the challenge of life. You can only be a friend and respect everybody, that is the key to life.
For Movida to close down for almost one year, does that mean you don’t have capable hands to run the business?
A night club is about high patronage, a night club is full of creativity and most of the people I had then did not learn these things. But now I have realized I need to groom people on how to do the business. The days are gone when I used to do it alone. I have trained many people that are achievers and I think there is nothing bad in teaching a lot of others. The major thing for me is to thank God and those that stood by me during my sickness. Without them, I don’t know where I would have been. I can’t mention all of their names. My friend Dagogo paid for my ticket and those of my partners that took me outside the country. It is not easy for a friend to do that. Chief Nobert, Chief Ugo, Dumolu Briggs, my baby mama, she is a darling to my heart. She has done a lot for me. She put my name in the book of life. So many people whose prayers mean a lot to me and I thank them for supporting me.
There are so many clubs now, are you also going into lounge business?
I am strictly a night club, but there will be a cigar bar for people that smoke olden days vintage cigar. The stress of lounge business is much and diesel kills the business too. There can be one thousand and one people but God will give me my own two thousand people. There is a lot of bad blood in this business. When I was sick, none of them came to check on me. Unlike me that will go around other clubs drinking and chilling. I don’t blame people because they don’t know what was wrong with me. There are a lot of fetish stories, that I buried a person in my club and all that. I don’t have any grudge against anybody. Everybody did what they did because they felt it’s what is best for them. Everybody is still my friend, but there’s a distance.
But you have also resumed night life?
I’m actually doing that to understudy the terrain after my long absence. You can’t just stumble into something you left for long and think you can win. I do business to cater for the rich, celebrities and the average man. I don’t want to go down my level. Most clubs died because of the bouncers at the gate which is why I will be standing at the gate for a while.
Do you still smoke?
For now, to be honest with you and God, I still do. But I will stop before my opening. I am under pressure, I have cut down drinking and a lot of things I used to do. It is not easy for me. Things I have been used to for 15 years. I made a vow to God, everything will stop.
Have you stopped gambling?
I have stopped gambling actually. I made a vow that if I ever go back to gambling God should punish me. Maybe that is where my trouble started. Gambling has a lot of things people don’t understand. When you gamble as a means of living that is when you die. I am diabetic, I only drink in the club to make people buy, not that I enjoy drinking. So, I can’t go to a bar and start drinking like a drunkard. My business is in the night. During the day, I rest. The kind of gamble I do is not the type that wreck one’s life. If I make a million naira and gamble with N10,000, I don’t think it is an offence. Some big men gamble. Life itself is a gamble.
Do you think it is easy for you to stop smoking?
Yes, I stopped for three weeks when I was in India. I know I can stop it.
Did the doctors tell you to stop smoking and drinking?
Yes, they did and they gave me injection to stop pain and make me sleep because I am used to waking up early. If you don’t appreciate what God has done for you, then you are dead. I want people to know God is true and I want to make His name known.
Do you think you can still handle the business effectively like before?
Some people do night club business because of money, I do it because of the passion. It is something I love. There is nothing I can do other than club business. Even if I am not that strong, the passion motivates me to go ahead. I will do what I can do.
Where are you taking Movida to in the years ahead?
Everything about Movida, nobody can say this is what will happen. But with the grace of God and the crowd of patrons, it is well.
– AJOKE ONITOLO