La Mode: Can we meet you?
BF: Feb Idahosa. Husband of one wonderful wife, father of three soldier sons, bishop of Church of God Mission’s Global Bishopric and Instagram Bishopric, President of Benson Idahosa University, Chairman of the Above Only Group; but outside of that, just a regular guy.
La Mode: How has being a Husband, father, Bishop and leader been so far?
BF: I enjoy my life and the privilege that I have been given to be in the different roles that I play. Being a husband and father is what I enjoy the most because I have been blessed with an awesome family that I adore. I consider the other roles of Bishop and leader to be a privilege because people are God’s greatest investment and to be trusted to stand in front of a few of them is a great responsibility. Every once in a while I see the enormity of the task and have to ask God for wisdom to keep making the right choices. For example, our university employs over 500 people and a few wrong financial decisions could end up affecting 500 families and by extension a minimum of 1500 individuals. On the other hand, prudence in our actions and decisions today mean that there will be a roof over the heads of 500 families tomorrow.
La Mode: What is your daily motivational propeller?
BF: My family motivates me to keep going, especially because I look at my sons and realize that I have to hand over to them a better Nigeria. That’s really only about 8 years down the road when they are going to turn into teenagers. So I look down at the institutions that my father and mother have started and think about how I can make them better so that they last into the 3rd and 4th generations.
La Mode: What is your view about the role of the media in making of the youth?
BF: Media is extremely powerful shaper of the minds and consciousness of our young people. Many of the opinions that they espouse are usually the ones of other people that they have heard on television or on the radio or have read online; and now with the explosion of social media so many voices are out there that it is difficult for young people to interpret who has authentic authority and then decipher right from wrong. So that leaves a challenge for leaders like us who are “peddlers of the Truth” and dealers of eternal hope—we have to deliberately and consciously create content for (social) media so that our target audience can see and hear that which is right. The reason why there seems to be so much negative content in the media is because the right people are not creating content to feed us with the right counter culture. So in response to that, my wife and I have decided to become content creators for social media; that is, we use our various social media handles to push content with positive messages and advice on everything from life, to business, to relationships for men and women, in order to help this media generation think correctly. There is no point cursing the darkness—light a candle instead.
La Mode: As one who encourages entrepreneurship, how would you describe Entrepreneurship in Nigeria?
BF: Entrepreneurship is still in its birthing stages in our nation. The potential for people to create businesses such as the next “Apple” or the next great multinational conglomerate are enormous. We simply need to encourage our young people to spend time thinking up more great ideas and then create opportunities for them by connecting the ideas with funding, training, and incubation. One of my dreams is to create business incubators in various parts of the country that will train young entrepreneurs and give them a place to start their businesses before they scale up. You can get in touch with us via our Executive Square platform and we’ll help you get on the right path to creating a business that will live past the proverbial 5 years of new business failure.
La Mode: What do you think can make entrepreneurs better at what they do?
BF: Too many would-be entrepreneurs try to launch ideas without thinking them through and taking the thought from “idea” to “viable business.” Ideas are plentiful, but the entrepreneur needs to think about a way in which she can turn the idea into a product or service that people would willingly pay for. If the idea cannot get to a place where people pay for the solution it brings, then it’s just a nice idea, not a business. How can entrepreneurs get better, find a problem, solve it; find a need, fill it. Find a way to do these two things profitably.
La Mode: Tell us about the Idahosa Legacy
BF: The Idahosa Legacy is phrase that we use to describe the long lasting Gospel work and social enterprises that my father, Archbishop Benson Idahosa started in his lifetime. His ministry planted over 1000 churches, he started a Bible training college, a hospital, a university, and with my mother, started 96 schools (kindergarten to secondary). This year, we decided that in remembrance of him and his work, we would establish the #IdahosaLegacy 5km walk/run (follow the hashtag). With the run, we remind people about his life’s work, we use it as an innovative way to spread the message of Christ, and we encourage people to live a healthy, active lifestyle.
La Mode: What is your view about the current economic situation in Nigeria, what is your advice for youth out there?
BF: It is dire, but not impossible to thrive in. Recessions come and go (this is not the first one that Nigeria has been in) and they are usually followed be a period of growth, and sometimes even economic boom. The intelligent young person needs to position himself by watching trends now and find where the money is moving to, in a legal manner of course. Money does not stop moving during a recession, it just moves differently. So, find areas that people will keep spending money on, no matter what. Examples include food, childcare, eldercare, healthcare, services to those in the healthcare industry, construction, vanity services for young people (hair and makeup, pictures and the like), diapers, the list goes on and on.
La Mode: What is your favourite quote?
BF: I have quite a few of them that motivate me at different times, especially those of my father. Some of them are:
A big head with no brain is nothing more than a heavy load on the neck.
Life does not give you what you deserve, life gives you what you demand.
If you want to go further, follow someone who has gone farther.
La Mode: What do you at your spare time?
BF: I’m not sure I know what the phrase “spare time” means [laughs]. However, I try to create time for recreation and exercise daily. Every morning before taking our children to school, I run between 1 to 3 kilometers; and when I’m not working, I love to read books and also catch up on the newest movies.
La Mode: Which international and local fashion Magazine is your favorite?
BF: That’s not a difficult one to answer at all. La Mode, of course! Not only because I know the Editor-in-Chief, but because of its innovative style and multiple angled approach to the fashion industry, I see it growing into one of Nigeria’s biggest lifestyle brands in the next few years. You need to save this edition of the magazine because you will want to refer back to it when the prophesy comes true.
La Mode: As a great leader what is your advice to youth who are yet to find their place in the society?
BF: There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. There is a growth process that all young men and women must go through. Be patient and learn the ropes, take your time and learn. There is no such thing as wealth without work. In the same way that a medical student must go through the 6 to 10 years of medical training to become a doctor (sometimes that can be 15 years if you go through a public school with their strikes and government palaver), you must go through your process and grow into your future, or grow into your success. No one can lay hands on you to anoint you to become a doctor, and in the same way, no one can lay hands on you to become a successful man or woman. Be patient, learn, ask questions, and take the time to grow though the process.