Tajudeen Adepetu epitomizes the latter of the three types of people in this world: those who watch things happen, those who wonder how things happen and those who make things happen. Since his emergence, you can tune in to your Television set and get entertained beyond measure courtesy his numerous TV projects.
INTERVIEW by TAYO FALOYE
Known to be one of the most creative geniuses in the media industry and rated as one of the young millionaires by a popular tabloid, Tajudeen’s down-to-earth nature, humility and friendliness give credence to the belief that greatness actually grows out of character. In this interview with him, his geniality came on strong making the session an effortless affair.
Tajudeen, the publicity shy Theatre Arts graduate of the University of Jos and the Nigerian Television College, married to beautiful Adewunmi, the mother of his three lovely kids, is the brain behind many of the TV programmes viewers enjoy. They include Laugh Patterns, Saints and Sinners, Nollywood, One Love, Everyday People, Domino, Family Circle, Blaze of glory, Frontrow, When You Are Mine (Paloma), Second Chance, Soundcity, the Soundcity Music Video Awards, Finding Aisha and many more we enjoy or have enjoyed.
So, how did he start out to be a force to be reckoned with in entertainment? “I have always loved TV right from when I was growing up. I kept wondering how things are done there and prayed for an opportunity to be a part of one someday. After my secondary education, I discovered that there was a Television College being run by NTA at Jos, Plateau state. So I went there, got the form and struggled to make sure I was admitted. Ever since then, I have never regretted it. I believe that’s one of the best decisions I have made.” He explains.
In recent times, television viewers are thrilled with high quality musical entertaining programmes on Soundcity which runs virtually on most of the stations we have. However, the question on many lips is: should Nigerians expect to see a Soundcity TV station in the near future? “Soundcity right now is not exactly a musical programme. If you are observant, you will discover that we have about 15 programmes under the brand, Soundcity. We have a terrestrial window, we have a cable window, and we have a Satellite window for Soundcity. So, it is a full fledged 24 hours Channel. It is a music and lifestyle channel”
A couple of years back, Nigerians –old, young, male, female, Christians, non-Christians- were held spellbound and kept at the edge of their living room seats by the popular soaps, “When you are mine”, “Second Chance”, anytime they were aired on TV. Responding to the question if he knew before hand that the foreign soaps were going to be that successful in Nigeria, Tajudeen who brought the Telenovelas into the country and had the exclusive right to them, said: “Yes, everything I do in business is informed by research. I don’t go about doing things on a probability scale though there is an element of luck in everything human does. Yes, I knew it was going to be successful. It was just a matter of time. Though there were some ‘doubting thomases’ who never gave it a chance in terms of marketing. To say the truth, I am not really happy that it’s a foreign programme that was doing so well. I would have been happier if it was a Nigerian production with our own casts.”
With his hands on various ventures such as the SoundCity, Business TV, Villagesquare TV and Spice TV, Tajudeen relaxes while working and spends quality time on weekends with his family though he wishes he could share more moments with his kids after school. But, he attributes the less stress he has in his job to his team. “I have a great team. Everything is nothing without these people. I dream up these ideas but the people around me help in bringing them to reality and that is even more difficult than just dreaming up ideas.”
At the reception lounge of his posh office, the first things the eyes behold are his numerous awards won over the years, adorning the walls. With this, it shows he is a man of great achievements, and contentment. “Well, if you are working hard and doing something different from what is being done, recognition will come. But, I am not interested in self-promotion or the appendage of my name to my works. I am interested in making life better for the well being of the people. If man begins to see awards as achievements, he becomes stagnant. I try to move away from anything that makes me too comfortable,” he enthused.
On why he prefers to ‘run things’ from behind the scene and not otherwise, Tajudeen answered by saying “I love making stars but I don’t want to be one. I feel fulfilled when people who come in contact with me or my productions became stars.”
Following the success of the maiden edition of the Soundcity Music Video Awards, Tajudeen said: “it is a technical awards on videos. This is an event that presents an award ceremony the way it should be. We employed the best of expertise to deliver the best. The emphasis is not on artistes but producers and directors who work behind the scenes in terms of quality of videos, aesthetics; storyline and the totality of the video and the song itself in terns. We are rewarding those that have excelled so that they can do better.”
In life, everyone has someone he/she looks up to- a hero, model or mentor, but Tajudeen feels otherwise. “To answer that question, I will say me, myself and I. I strongly believe in spirituality. I believe in God who can do all things. And, when you have faith in what you are doing, then nothing is impossible.”
Just like any other entrepreneur, Tajudeen believes that the major problem facing many entertainment entrepreneurs is funding, lack of corporate sponsorship, structures and piracy.
Speaking on the challenges he confronted when embarking on Soundcity, he said: “Before I start anything, I am convinced of what I want to do so I don’t get discouraged. I understood that everybody cannot be like me. Yes, people laughed and mocked but you see the quality of what ever you are doing is directly proportional to the quality of you conviction. I don’t subscribe to self-defeatism.”
In leaving a word of advice to people wishing to make an impact in the entertainment industry, he concludes by saying: “stay focused and you will get nothing short of success. Be on top of your game. Know what is happening in your industry and be on top on it.”