Life lessons my grandma taught me

By Funsho Arogundade

With 12 television channels, six terrestrial radio stations, six digital radio stations and a dozen experiential platforms, Tajuddeen Adepetu is arguably Nigeria’s biggest media entrepreneur.

However, the self-effacing businessman keeps such a low profile that most Nigerians could hardly recognise him as the owner of popular media platforms like Soundcity Radio/TV, OnTV and ONMAX, Correct Radio/TV, Spice TV, Urban 96 FM, and Access 24 Radio/TV, as well as the organiser of Made in Lagos Festival.

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For Adepetu, a deep passion and love for what one does is quite important, but above all, he puts a premium on family while harping on humility as an important factor for success.

Tracing his life trajectory, it is easy to understand why he would confess: “I love radio. I love it!”  Perhaps it was this enthusiasm that Adepetu’s wife saw in her husband when she urged him to start his own radio station. Incidentally, many years earlier, Adepetu’s elder brother had also advised him to pursue a course in television production at NTA TV College, Jos.

According to Adepetu, that singular push was what set him on his path to becoming a media mogul and owner of the largest independent media group in Africa. “I honestly think that I ended up being the television producer that I am today because of my brother. My brother really did inspire me. And he’s been a great support. He inspired my dabbling into television, and my investing in the media,” he recalled.

But Adepetu’s journey from being a boy growing up in Jos and criticising everything showing on TV, to being regarded as the most accomplished independent producer of scripted programming in Nigeria, was not quite smooth. However, despite being born to a wealthy father who owned a vast car dealership and a house full of butlers, a setting that reminds one of British aristocracy, Adepetu’s world came tumbling down when his dad fell ill. It was while living with his grandmother that most of what he became today was forged.

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“I’m not sure how differently things would have played out for me had my father not fallen ill, but what I do know is that my grandma transformed me into the man I am today. It was the patience and discipline of my grandmother that eventually got through to me, and helped to define the principles that have guided me in business and personal life. My grandmother taught me honesty and self-control. She taught me to be respectful and to care for others even as I look out for myself,” he stated.

In 1993, Adepetu left Jos for Lagos. His mission was to go chase his dream of a career in television. “I left Jos for Lagos because I was convinced Lagos was where I was going to make my mark, but I did not leave behind all that my grandma taught me,” he quipped.

Adepetu would go on to establish Consolidated Media Associates and Alphavision Productions, which in 2021 were integrated into a new media, entertainment and digital experience firm called Group8. Today, content and programming from Group8’s media assets have reached approximately 100 million people in 70 countries.

Perhaps, it is Adepetu’s appreciation for the role his family played in his life journey that inspired some of his remarkable works in television. Productions like Family Circle that won the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence in 1999 and Everyday People (2000) revolve heavily around families and their impacts on individuals and society as a whole.

Even now as Adepetu consolidates on his over 30 years of hard work in the media space, he just wouldn’t stop talking about his grandmother’s life lessons and how humility has helped push him beyond his talent and passion.

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