In this extraordinary book, Dotun Adekanmbi, a resourceful and diligent writer, shares with his readers, his findings and the astonishing winning streak of one ambitious man who changed the face of advertising and marketing communications practice in Nigeria.

THE WILL TO WIN is a thoughtful and provocative account of one of Nigeria’s most respected advertising practitioners. Biodun Shobanjo, an accomplished tycoon and a household name in the world of advertising and marketing, certainly has all it takes to win.

 

In this extraordinary book, Dotun Adekanmbi, a resourceful and diligent writer, shares with his readers, his findings and the astonishing winning streak of one ambitious man who changed the face of advertising and marketing communications practice in Nigeria.

 

In my view, THE WILL TO WIN is an expression of high regard for a man of many parts. It is also a great service to Shobanjo, the talented and taciturn entrepreneur well known for his radical and unconventional ways. Therefore, this story could not have come at a better time. It is apt and timely. And it is already filling all the gaping gaps in Shobanjo’s little-known personal struggles, childhood dreams and days, his private life, family, friends, his best-kept secret and his remarkable winning formular. This is without doubt, a compelling and complete biography that covers the subject’s entire life and career.

 

But the thrust of this absorbing book rests on two things: desire and determination. This, naturally, is the reader’s guide. In many ways, the biography validates the fact that any man or woman can achieve greatness under any circumstance, once there is the will to win. For those who love adventure, this book is an interesting journey. And the author who understands how to re-create in words, the life of an individual, provides all the necessary navigational support for comprehension and enjoyment. First, he brings on board, quality research and lucid writing. He also deploys creativity and innovation with the chapterization and compartmentalization of his narrative at the beginning of every new section of the book. So, reading THE WILL TO WIN, the reader is bound to come across famous quotes, real-life situations, high drama and chapter openers that improve understanding.

As the major initiator and Chief Executive Officer of one of Nigeria’s most audacious advertising agencies, Shobanjo, will always be remembered for weaving his magic. This ultimate game-changer and multiple record-breaking creative strategist who used his unique charm and energy to attract the best hands, is generally regarded in many quarters as a pathfinder and motivator. Even his worst critics at the time, believed he was an uncommon conveyor for creativity and innovation.

 

THE WILL TO WIN is therefore a window into this great life that attracted and nurtured a generation of creative minds. It is an interesting narrative; deep, unhindered and well-written. This story has credibility and balance essentially because the author represents the views of some people who, up till this moment, still disagree with Shobanjo and his weird ways.

 

As a matter of fact, Adekanmbi shows creativity and a good grasp of his subject’s fascinating life and essence. He probes his interests in advertising, broadcasting, public relations, philanthropy, politics and economics, and leaves the reader with the final verdict. Naturally, the book clarifies some notions especially with regard to Shobanjo’s ethical behaviour and professionalism. And like most authorized biographies, the author openly plays up his subject’s good qualities like his style, energy, creativity, courage and quest for immortality. This up-close analysis, apart from shedding light on Shobanjo’s extraordinary life, also opens him up for further investigation. Therein, lies the good.

 

Evidently, Shobanjo did not push his limit to survive as a young man in search of the ultimate prize. After a stint at the Nigeria Customs Service and a memorable training and broadcasting experience at the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation, NBC, he took a plunge into the glitzy marketing communications world. He cut his teeth at Grant Advertising but as a showman, he wanted more. So, he decided to go solo, ostensibly to run his show his own way. Insight, his advertising platform that did not only give validity to his big dream but also provided the initial platform, is now a happy grandfather.

 

It is obvious and interesting too, to note that Shobanjo actually set out to prove a point. Luckily, the boundary lines continue to fall in pleasant places for him even in retirement. He must be looking and reading about his achievements with a soft and contended smile like every high achiever.

 

This is a great effort, no doubt. I commend Adekanmbi for his ingenuity in creating story layers and presenting his subject from different perspectives using his training and sound professional experience.

 

This effort should serve as an encouragement to any authentic high-flier with a story. And for young people and anyone for that matter reading, THE WILL TO WIN also comes with benefits. In fact, the book has the power to physically transport a reader to earlier points in time, eras and long-forgotten stories and encounters. It is also a veritable companion for students, job seekers, employers of labour and those interested in Nigeria’s bubbly marketing communications creative rooms and studios.

 

The author, despite his unmasked admiration for his subject still manages to document Insight and Troyka’s desperate and low moments. This is commendable. But THE WILL TO WIN would have been much greater and richer had the author revealed more about his subject’s controversial exit from Grant Advertising in fuller details. In addition, bringing more voices and details from the ‘enemy’ camp, especially in marketing and the Ad World would have also conferred more credibility.

 

But the book is still a treasure because it contains life-changing lessons and insight on life and living.