For years, the famous quote, “The youth of today are the leaders tomorrow” by late Nelson Mandela, civil rights leader in South Africa, have been misconstrued by societies – especially in Africa to mean that the youth population are expected to take passive stances when it comes to leadership, participatory politics and all-round contribution to society, until a certain undetermined period in their lives, vaguely referred to as ‘the future’.
However, with the emergence of unconventionally futurist and effervescent young Africans like Nigeria based South African Businessman Oladipipo Yusuf Olaseni, who is fast becoming a model and prototype for entrepreneurial astuteness and leadership, the late Madiba’s word on the marble can now be best put in perspective.
Describe Yusuf Olaseni as a serial entrepreneur, and you would have captured the multi-sector investor and player aptly. His company Goalsbam Ventures, with a net worth conservatively pegged in Billions of Naira in net worth is registered in Nigeria, South Africa and Canada, as an export company, dealing primarily in the exportation of Nigerian food stuffs in containers to South Africa. He has several outlets in the country where these commodities are sold.
Olaseni’s other business interests include real estate both in Nigeria, South Africa and a travel management company . Olaseni is also a stakeholder in the beauty and fashion industry, with several outlets across South Africa.
Until 2007, when he moved to South Africa on business sojourn, Yusuf Olaseni, a Lagosian both by birth and origin had lived his formative years in cities across Lagos.
Born to an ishagira, (Ojo local government) Awori father, and a mother from Ikorodu both in Lagos, Yusuf had studied Ticketing and Reservation at Anis International School of Aviation, in Lagos, and also bagged a degree in Public Administration from the prestigious University of Lagos. He traveled to South Africa for the first time in 2006 for INDABA, a tourism conference in Durban.
The following year, Yusuf had attended the next edition of INDABA, after which he decided to remain in South Africa, where he lived until 2017.
Based on that exposure he had as a tourist, he set up a complete travel and ticketing agency then known as OlaMayo Limited fully registered in South Africa, in less than 2years of operation, it became a success story. Olaseni’s restlessness in his desire to conquer the business world based on trading exposure to his mother’s experience and practice made him to venture into commodity trading, importing highly demanded food stuffs from Nigeria to South Africa.
Olaseni’s propensity to build structures and reinvent himself as a leader is proven, since he relocated back to Nigeria in 2017, his businesses has continued to thrive organically, his absence notwithstanding.
Recounting his days of humble beginning in Lagos, Nigeria, Olaseni hinted how challenging it was living through cities like Ajegunle, Mushin, Oshodi, Ikorodu and Alimosho, which is his primary constituency.
In his words, “people merely survive in Nigeria, day-to-day life in Lagos is quite challenging, I did not realize that until I began travelling, to experience other cultures and climes.
“Give it to Nigerians. Comparing life in Nigeria to some of the cities i have traveled to around the world, I’ll say it is more hectic here. The average child that goes to school and graduates here in Nigeria must be really determined. And that is my story, I can identify with that. Our education, health and other core sectors are not as well structured as what is obtainable in developed countries globally. When the basic amenities are provided, it makes life easier for citizens. However, there are abilities in disabilities. Anyone that can survive Nigeria can live through anywhere else in the world,” Yusuf Olaseni posited.
So far, the well-travelled businessman has travelled to not less than 19 countries across different continents. Some of which are the US, Canada, UK, UAE, Turkey, Belgium, France, Holland, Singapore, Kenya and Ethiopia.
Yusuf Olaseni thinks of himself as privileged to be where he is today, even though he did not grow with a silver-spoon. He grew up with his mother, a trader in raw food stuff, and a one-time distributor of Dangote and BUA products in Daleko Market Mushin. Yusuf’s mother travelled during his early years, and that inversely affected his schooling, seeing him constantly changing primary schools at the time, depending on their location.
Although he started importation business on a small scale, Yusuf recounted how he added investment to scale up his importation business. According to him, the property he inherited from his late father was sold, and the money amount to six million naira, which was supposed to be shared between himself and his elder brother, was invested in his importation business. This was with his elder brother’s permission.
Married to a South African lady who runs a fashion business, Olaseni revealed that he decided to invest the fashion industry in South Africa, after his wife complained about certain challenges her business was experiencing, and he had stepped in to offer consultative services, only to realize how much of a goldmine was in that industry. He saw opportunities, and diversified to fashion, including owning a chain of stores across major cities in South Africa.
A great player in philanthropy activities, youth empowerment in South Africa , taking Nigerian youths out of the street and empowering them. He is also respected for inicitating dialogue that reduces xenophobic attack in Nelspruit, one of the safest city for Nigerians to live in South Africa due to his constructive dialogue with the locals. He was part of the founders of the Egbe Omo Yoruba Association in South Africa.
Olaseni is passionate about his people back in Nigeria, and what concerns them. Olaseni admitted to being interested in politics since that’s the most assured way to be of service to the people on a large scale.
As a pragmatic personality, Olaseni is a stunch believer in the ideology that if you don’t remain laid-back, nothing changes, as such, he is willing to be the change he wants to see.
Olaseni says he attends congresses of All Progressive Congress just to see and understand how things are being done and actively participate at ward and local government levels.
“If we don’t get involved in how decisions are being made, we do not have a choice, we will have to live with the choices others make for us. It is binding on us,” he submitted.
Olaseni’s understanding of this, and passion for his people are is propellants. He is interested in contributing to the legislation of policies that affects his people, drawing from his widely acquired experiences globally.