He is young. He is Nigerian. He is determined. He has risen from the ashes of early childhood deprivation to become his own man who has his sharp eyes on a bright future. A future that is close now to touch.
Slowly but steadily, he is painstakingly working towards his dream against all odds.
His name is Adeola Ogunwa, a startup micro entrepreneur and fitness coach.
LastDaysWatch (LDW) interviewed Adeola Ogunwa as its everyday person-of-the-week.
He shared the mess-to-miracle experience of life, his fitness gym startup project and offered a timely advise to young Africans on finding purpose in a dark tunnel.
LDW: Tell us about Mr. Adeola Ogunwa
Adeola: I am a Nigeria from Ogun State, precisely. I hail from Ijebu Ode local government. I grew up in Ogunjobi Street Fadeyi, Lagos but now reside in Ogijo. I am happily married with three kids. Two girls and a boy. I am a furniture maker and a fitness trainer. I am presently working on my new project called Body Hug Fitness Gym.
LDW: Tell us about your new startup?
Adeola: The Body Hug Fitness Gym idea came to me some six months ago.
I reside in Ogijo under Sagamu Local Government in Ogun State, Nigeria.
The gym is presently located in Ogijo along Ikorodu Sagamu Road by Ogijo Bus Stop. I started the project at home but moved to my new location about a month ago.
LDW: What motivated you?
Adeola: Ogijo is a residential small but growing border town of Ogun and Lagos States. There is no known fitness gym centre or sports facility in Ogijo town. I am a sports man who had always trained in the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos when I was living in Fadeyi. After a speedy recovery from illness more than six months ago, the doctor attributed my speedy recovery to my fitness level. He encoraged me to keep it up and preach the fitness gospel to others.
LDW: What was life like before this new venture?
Adeola: I am into woodwork business. I am a furniture maker. It is a family business I inherited. I completed my secondary school but dropped out of Yaba College of Technology because my parents were unable to pay for my education. It was a devastating experience as I wanted to be educated at all cost. After dropping out, I decided to shun the temptation of crime and street violence to join my father in his furniture making trade. And the journey had been pretty rough. My inability to get decent education messed up my plans in life but now I have found a unique expression in my new project, the fitness gym centre that I am building. I have been involved in body building activities since 1989 alongside my furniture works. Now I find more fulfilment and personal satisfaction in fitness business more than furniture work because I consider myself now a lifesaver, just like educated people in the medical profession. It is like a miracle!
LDW: What do you mean you are a lifesaver?
Adeola: If helping people to manage their health and weight loss enlogate lives, then I can confidently call myself a livesaver
LDW: What is your dream for your new startup.
Adeola: I dream that Body Hug Fitness Gym will grow and I will get customers from all over Ogijo, Ogun State and Nigeria in the nearest future. I dream of training people across Africa. I also want the youth and everybody to know that through fitness they can live good and long life. Instead of the young people fooling and idling around with their lives, they can stay in the gym and learn new skills they can market even in the international sports market.
LDW: What services do you render?
Adeola: Presently, weight lifting is fully functional. I also offer personal fitness training for weight loss and weight management for individuals and groups. I am equipping the gym facilities to add more services to attract all categories of customers: working class people and housewives who are mindful of their health and want to manage their excess weights. Youths who want to learn skills to compete in competitive national and global sports events. I render personalized and custom-made private fitness training for busy executives and politicians.
LDW: Have you confronted any challenges?
Adeola: Yes. Funding is a major challenge. I want to buy more machines. I improvise some of the machines now but if I get help and funding I can equip the facilities to attract the right type of customers.
LDW: Have you approached any bank for assistance for funding? Do you have a business plan?
Adeola. Not really. It was only LAPO I approached but unfortunately I was told that their focus is on empowering women in the markets and small businesses.
LDW: What is your advice to young Africans, and Nigerians in particular?
Adeola: My candid advice to Nigerian youth to turn away from evil things. Being a sports man does not mean you are evil. I am a sports man and a church man too. I don’t do bad things youth do. Let youth desist from violence. We have many youth in the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos who are training to be successful. A friend of mine we trained together won a gold medal recently in the paralymic commonwealth games in the UK. Another friend is a basket baller who travels around to play his games. Young people should turn away from crime and violence to sports. Let our government and administrators build more sports facilities and support our efforts at nation building and youth empowerment.
LDW: Thank you for your time.
Adeola: You are welcome.
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