Generally referred to as Otunba Gadaffi, Mr. Isaac Durojaiye exhibits a lot of calmness and gentility, encountering him was an experience for me. What first struck me was his quiet and calm nature, then….His height, Meeen…he’s tall! That made him a favourite “bullet-catcher” while he stood as the Chief bodyguard of the late MKO during the 1993 electioneering campaign and the imbroglio that ensued. I attended a seminar in which he was a facilitator, I listened to him speak and had the opportunity to continue to be his audience much after the meeting was over. He shared much of his own story and how the idea of a mobile toilet dropped in his heart, he moved on to talk about how being a shitman has helped him to become a formidable social entrepreneur, winning the Schwab international social entrepreneur of the year and how he came to be recognized by the United Nations as the UN ambassador on sanitation. He mentioned how his experiences as a security expert, graphic artist, and the son of a plumber came handy at crucial points in His life.Thus, transforming a shitty business into a multi million naira company. Today, he presides over the company that is the 2nd largest producer of mobile toilets in Africa, tackling unemployment as he engages diverse army of the unemployed with its impact felt all around the nation, and how he represents the United Nations as the UN ambassador on Sanitation, meeting over 30 Heads of States, and has come to be regarded as the most outstanding social entrepreneur in Nigeria.After talking with him, he suggested I use part of the seminar for some part of his story, while he clarified other areas and answered some questions. He shares more than a story; he delivers with examples, lessons and principles that were landmarks on his path to significance… with God, the nation, and the world at large. I present CEO, DMT mobile toilets, “Otunba Gadaffi;”
deola kayode: On his background:
“Somehow I found myself in security & intelligence training; engaging and training people about counterterrorism, anti-robbery, counterintelligence and anti-insurgency deals. I was privileged to be part of a special team where all presidential and governorship bodyguards were trained. Interestingly you had to be at least 2 feet taller than your subject (client); this makes your shoulder to be at the head level of your subject. This means we are supposed to use your body to catch the bullets meant for another man’s head. Hence, they called us “bullet catchers”. It was a job that had to be done and I found myself being assigned as the chief CSO assigned to catch bullets meant for the Late MKO Abiola’s head especially during the 1993 campaign.”
deola kayode: How he discovered his niche
“When Kola Abiola, MKO’s son was to get married, I was in charge of security and went to inspect the cricket pitch of the Tafawa Balewa Square and discovered that there were only two toilets available for a projected guest ratio of 10,000. I decided to report to the committee that something had to be done to take care of the situation. After being asked what to do, I suggested, “why don’t we hire mobile toilets?” For the first time in my life, after spending 9 years outside Nigeria, my creator dropped the word ‘mobile toilet’ in my mouth without having a prior knowledge, thought or even seeing one. I was thus mandated to make the necessary contacts. After searching for 4wks throughout the nation, from Lagos to Port Harcourt, Kano and Abuja, we could not find any.I had to report my search results to the committee; they asked me how the problem could be solved since I brought the idea. Somehow I came up with the idea that of using portakabin “containers” in building mobile toilets. The late MKO asked me, sho sure pe a se e, bayi? (Are you sure this is possible?)And I answered, ‘we can try’.I woke up the next morning to meet three ‘containers’ right in front of my house. Without an architectural plan, like a modern day Noah, with the help of plumbers and people, e converted each container into a 6 cubicles containing a w/c each. This process was cumbersome having to use a forklift to evacuate the waste. This waste we took fresh to a fishery in Apapa and I forgot about the dream completely until 13 years after.After June 12 crisis, I worked with American express on cases of credit card scams and though I was stripped of my license, gun and papers by the Abacha regime for refusing to work for him, I was left with nothing. While looking to God for help, the idea continued to pickle me within that I should go back to the idea of “packing shit”. After consultations and fabrication of a simplified and easy to use MT, I got an office, painted it and pasted on it DMT toilet “exotic convenience for people of taste” and parked the MT in front of the office for the next 4 years that we got no offer. After not selling for 4 years, I decided to offer my friend free services for his wedding in March 1999, on that day, we had 6 bookings. Since that fateful Saturday till now, no single Saturday has passed without us having orders to meet up with.”Today, DMT is the 2nd largest producer of portable toilets in Africa; they are in about 7 countries in Africa and are functional in about 8 states in Nigeria presently. We are sole supplier in Sudan, Liberia, S/Leone and Darfur, all proudly made in Nigeria. Having met with 29 head of states/ presidents/ ministers apart from Fidel Castro (whom he met while with Abiola).He goes around speaking in nations about sanitation and public health.
Excerpts from the seminar (the 21 lessons)
*Do what you love to do and commit yourself to excellence:I met a building graduate who left his job to start peeling oranges. He’s so good at it that he uses the blade to shape monuments of Ghana on it. Today when there is a state banquet in Ghana; he’s always been called to peel oranges.I have committed my self into packing shit to excellence. At the world economic summit group in Switzerland, president Obasanjo walked up to me on stage and hugged me saying “you’ve made me proud to be the president of Nigeria”. In 2 weeks time, I attracted an investment of $230 million, where the waste we get from biogas will be converted to biogas, electricity and fertilizer.
*Who are your mentors?Most of note is Fela Durotoye. Without him I’ll not be who I am today. I’ve spoken in 65 engagements within and outside Nigeria this year alone (2007). He has been a great influence especially in that are of my life.
*Dream big dreams: Before the earth was created God had a dream and a desire. So also, visualize, imagine and create a picture of wealth and prosperity. During the campaign periods, MKO would be retiring at night to play with his bodyguards and talking about his personal experiences. One day he mentioned that when he was young, he always said that if all the other stars in their millions fall to the ground with one remaining, I have chosen to be that one; he achieved that dream before he died. At Stanstead airport, he became the 1st man to drive a Cadillac limousine to the tarmac. He taught me to dream big, and I have not stopped.
*Have Integrity: Financial success goes hand in hand with integrity. After June 12, I was working with American express on credit card forgery, Abacha wanted me to work for him but I remembered a Yoruba proverb that says “A pigeon will never eat with the owner and run away in the day of adversity. Subsequently my gun and license were withdrawn by staying loyal to MKO. This subsequently closed the door to going back into the security an intelligence business, but it also opened me into the business of packing shit.
*Be a problem solver: I pray everyday for more problems in
Nigeria because for every problem you can solve, you are on your way to success. We were able to find a solution to the problem of people meeting together without a toilet to use. Lagos just passed a law that at every construction, renovation or building, there must be a mobile toilet; my headache now is how to cope with the demand.
*Have a sense of direction: Shit business is a business nobody wants to settle for. People always told me you stayed abroad for nine years and all you do today is to pack shit. While being MKO’s bodyguard, I probably met with 2 presidents including Fidel Castro but as at today I’ve met with 29 presidents and prime ministers all because I’m involved in shit business, improving sanitation, public health, creating jobs and using a business model to solve problem, It is a direction no one wants to go.(dk: serious business!)I have a friend in Ghana who makes money by crying, another in South Africa by standing on queues for people which he called queue-for-you. Dr. Rafiu Ladipo showed me his passport, it had 50 booklets stamped, what was he doing singing and clapping.You must love what you do, if you don’t want to RUST. If it is sleep you like to sleep, sleep and give it a touch of excellence. People have danced their way to relevance (i.e. Kafayat)The nuggets which he discussed extensively at the seminar are;1. See yourself as self employed
2. Work longer and harder.
3. Dedicate yourself to lifelong learning.
4.Pay yourself first.
5.Learn every detail of the business.
6. Dedicate yourself to serving others.
7. Be absolutely honest with yourself and others.
8. Set priorities and concentrate singlehandedly.
9. Develop a reputation for speed and dependability.
10. Be prepared to climb from peak to peak.
11. Practice self discipline in all things
12. Unlock your inborn creativity.
13. Get around the right people
14. Take excellent care of your health.
15. Be decisive and action oriented.
16. Never allow failure to be an option.
17. Pass the persistence test.
For a copy of the CD call 08063288584