By Peter Ikechukwu
The culture of birthday celebration has evolved over the centuries, from the Egyptians, to the Greeks, Romans, and the modern times. Birthday ceremonies have endured dramatic changes. But the purpose has remained the same: celebration of the most memorable day in the life of an individual, the born day.
For Seyi Tinubu, the son of President Bola Tinubu, who turned 38 today, it is a day to reminisce the philanthropic focus of an entrepreneur who has in the last few years busied himself with the issues that bother the masses most.
The Seyi I know is a textbook example of how a man can successfully pursue an onerous career and yet manage to serve society in ways that bring relief to those that need it most.
The CEO of Loatsad Promomedia, a digital outdoor advertising company in Lagos, is a leader in innovative marketing strategies. His works have had a tremendous impact on the concept of goods and services promotion.
Seyi also founded Noella Foundation, a non-profit organisation, named after his daughter, dedicated to supporting girl-child education, healthcare, youth empowerment, and poverty alleviation initiatives throughout Nigeria.
Noella Foundation is the umbrella body of the Seyi Tinubu Empowerment Project (STEP) aimed at employment creation and technological skill acquisition for Nigerians through the support of tech start-ups with skills development and seed funding.
STEP also provides business mentorship and networking opportunities for tech start-ups and gives them access to a community of pioneers in the tech space. The foundation aims to contribute to nation-building through human capital development.
With a combination of his business and philanthropic initiatives, Seyi has touched many lives far and near.
He says touching lives brings him a tremendous sense of fulfilment.
“I believe every human being is created for others, that is for God to use in fulfilling His purpose on earth,” he says. “Thus, for me, the most fulfilling activity is helping people to find their feet, contributing to the happiness of others, and contributing to the good of society, generally.”
Seyi is an executive member and co-founder of TELD NGO, launched in 2005 with the aim of improving the standard of living for underprivileged youths in Nigeria through sponsorship and mentoring programmes.
He has been committed to fostering a culture of excellence in his organisations through investment in talent development, extensive training programmes, and mentorship opportunities to employees.
Through the various ventures, he has demonstrated versatility and rare ability to thrive in a range of industries.
A trained lawyer with a Bachelor’s degree in law and a Master’s degree in corporate and commercial law from the University of Buckingham. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in 2013.
A lover of sports, Seyi is married to Layal Jade, a Nigerian-Lebanese entrepreneur and Political Scientist, who is the founder of Tot Toys. Tot Toys is a children’s educational toyshop and learning space providing an array of education-based items, such as toys, books, and activities to help children unlock their potential.
We don’t choose what family we are born into but we get to choose what to do with what we have. In my experience of Seyi, despite being from an influential background with a powerful surname, his rise to prominence has been largely merit-based.
Seyi enjoys polo and is, reportedly, building a horse stable outside Falomo. He is also Patron of the STL Polo Team in Lagos. He believes in the power of sports as a uniting factor.
His work has also been widely recognised in Nigeria and beyond, with awards, such as The Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the Leadership Excellence Awards in 2017; Business Person of The Year at the Entrepreneur Africa Award (2019); Special Recognition Award by JustU Magazine at the Justival Award night (2019); Patron of Man O’ War Lagos (2019); Europe Business Assembly (EBA) Award for Best Enterprise and Manager of the Year (2019); Honouree of the Most Influential People of African Descent under 40 (2019); and the Excellence Award in Media Enterprise by the Sapio Club (2019).
In 2020, he was inducted into the Institute of Public Resources Management and Politics, Ghana. In 2019, he was crowned the ECOWAS Youth Ambassador for Entrepreneurship and Youth Development.
However, in the midst of his noble pursuits, Seyi has sometimes faced controversies that tend to thrust him into opposition with sections of society. There were occasions his actions were misunderstood or his intentions misinterpreted. One of such was the recent controversy over his trip to Kano on invitation to attend the Kano polo tourney, being a polo player and patron of a polo club.
The photo of Seyi arriving the Northwest state of Kano in a presidential jet had given the opposition the needed missile to launch ferocious attacks on the Presidency, by whipping up sentiments on social media. Sadly, many innocently fell for the orchestrated narratives of the opposition.
But his critics missed the fact that all over the world, children of heads of state and government are high value targets of enemies of state, and are given special protection, which covers their movements both within and outside the boundaries of their respective nations. The protection could extend to the type of means of transportation, locations they could visit, secrecy around their movements and even where they could dine. Such are determined by the security and intelligence agencies.
Also missed by the opposition, was the fact that Seyi’s invitation and presence at the tournament actually brought this beautiful game of polo to the front burner of national discourse. The spotlight his presence and those of other dignitaries beamed on the sport he loved so much was enough consolation for the barrage of attacks he received.
As a polo player and patron on STL Polo Club of Lagos, he knows that the spotlight on the Kano Polo Tournament, in the coming weeks and months, would increase interest in the sport and attract investors
Seyi believes in service – service to the people, service to the nation and service to God. He also believes it’s human to err and that constructive criticisms could make a man better.
“I’m human and imperfection is all part of being human,” he says. “Only God is perfect. I humbly accept my occasional imperfections. But mistakes don’t define who we are.”
As humans, there’s a Seyi in each of us, which is why we always wish to be judged for what we mean to do – our original intentions – for who we really are, and nothing more.