There is popularly maxim that ‘a God’s prophet is not usually accepted by their people’. While the statement can not be cast aside in its entirety as we have read in the scripture how some prophets were first castigated and rejected by their own very people but in the case of Engr. Dotun Sanusi, the Chief Executive Officer of Ilaji Stadium and Resort Center and the Proprietor of Institute of Collage of Arts and Science (ICAST) Group of Schools, his people have reciprocated in quantum the love he has showered on them. Infact the paramount ruler of his hometown, Ibadan, His Imperial Majesty, the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Saliu Adetunji Ogunguniso I, will, in recognition of his contributions to the socio-economic of Ibadaland, be conferring on him and his wife, the Otun-ApesinOla and the Yeye Otun-Apesinola of Ibadanland today, Saturday, October 20, at his palace, Popoyemoja, Ibadan.
I have known Engr. Sanusi for two years now and he is someone who sees progress when every other person sees challenges especially when it comes to projects execution. He is someone who believes in planning and he has a methodology that has worked so well for him. In 2016, in the course of the interview I had with him, he told me then that he wanted to build a ‘Games’ Village’ in Akanran town which will have all the infrastructural facility of any given city. This Game Village according to him will generate it’s own electricity which will be extended to Akanran and its environs. His reason; it will prevent the rural-urban migration, relieve the city off the pressure on its infrastructural facility and change the mindset of the youths in the rural areas that it is only when you get to the city before you can reach your pot of gold. That Games Village is what has been transformed as Ilaji Stadium and Resorts Center. It generates it’s own electricity via solar energy. It has become a Mecca of sort to the youths not only the ones in the village but to the ones in the rural areas as well.
You don’t need hours around Engr. Dotun Sanusi to know that he is a cosmopolitan person. There is hardly any classes of people that he doesnt interact with. You need to see him with the labourers who work in any of his establishments to understand this; he would laugh, joke and dance with them. There was a time a friend of his warned him to associate less with the people of the lower class so as not to make himself vulnerable for unnecessary attacks. Though, he thanked the fellow but insisted it is the right thing to do. It took a year before I found out the wisdom behind his action. I was in his car that evening and he said in a low voice “I see shocks in the eyes of the owners of the stalls around our stadium here anytime I go there to buy something or to play with them. I have heard some people say I should be careful. Sometimes I wonder, to be careful of what? why would you alienate yourself from the very people who are your first line of defence? I am someone who is not always around. And here is a multi-billion naira facility. These people here are the first set of our security. If they see a strange face, they are the first that will challenge him even though they know that we have security personnel”, he concluded.
It is an open secret that Engr. Sanusi is a lover of the physically challenged. I am not saying this because he distributed 70 wheel chairs to the physically challenged persons on Wednesday as a way of marking his Golden Jubilee birthday; not at all. But because I had witnessed first hand the genuine love he has for these people. One of the God’s talents Engr. Sanusi has is his ability to move people into actions through his speeches. To say he is an orator is not an exaggeration, but because some events demand that he delivers his speech via printed material, he went to this particular occassion with copies of his speech. I had a premonition that something emotional was going to happen when we got to the event and he refused to wear his well starched and well ironed Agbada. Why would the Chairman of an event refused to wear his Agbada when he had it at the back his car? As if he had read our mind, “I have entered places where the Highs and the Mighties hobnobbed. I have never been asked, for once, to turn back due to the quality of my wears”, this was his response to our queries. This answer kept us mute until we enter the venue of the event. The event which was organised by Revd. Tunde Tioluwani was meant to raise funds for the Man of God’s school for the physically challenged. Engr. Sanusi was ushered into his seat as the Chairman of the occassion. We (a friend of his and yours sincerely ) were also treated nicely too. There were presentations by these special creatures from God. During this period, any able-bodied person who understands the workings of God would have been thanking God Almighty for making all his organs perfectly functioning. When it got to the turn of Engr. Sanusi to deliver his speech, I was waiting for him to start before distributing his speech but the very first statement he uttered in a sober tone that complimented his sober look made me jettison any idea of that, “today is not a day for many words, it is a day for action” this was his first sentence after grabbing the microphone amidst sobs and tensed atmosphere, he continued but not without using his white handkerchief to remove, intermittently, the cloud of tears which has gathered in his eyes, “to know that these special people live all their lives in these kinds of state witnessed here this afternoon is too much for me to bear. What have we (able-bodied) done for God for granting us this huge favour by allowing our organs to function perfectly?”, he thereafter announced his decision to buy certain number of wheel chairs which ran into millions of naira for some special people there. He added by declaring that he would be assisting the school with 150,000 every month “as long as I live as my own little contributions to the wage bills paid by the school’s leadership to the teachers of this school”, he concluded and thereafter dropped the microphone. To say everyone was surprised was to say the least. The presiding pastor of the church was shock to the brim because it was the first time he was meeting Engr. Sanusi. The pastor was told to make Engr. Sanusi the Chairman of the occassion through a staunch member of the church who knows that Engr. Sanusi and philantropism are Siamese twins. It wasn’t long after his speech that press men demanded to interview him but he rejected their overtues instead directing to interview the presiding pastor of the church or other notable personalities in attendance.
That Amuloko-Akanran axis and other 50 communities have not had light for over 15 years is no more news, infact the news of the flag off of the resuscitation of the electrification project in these communities has since gone viral. What some people may not know is the compassion for humanity that led to the sponsorship of the project by Engr. Sanusi. “When the people came to plead with me begging me to save them from the shackles of darkness that has enveloped them for over fourteen years. I didn’t have any choice than to give in to their request. I had to look at other sources of my income to finance the project. This electrification project was not in my plan”. What then could have been the reason that spurred him into sponsoring a project that has gulped well over 35 million naira. Was it a spontaneous action? can someone of his status do things solely because of rush of emotions? All these were going through my mind when he continued “I can’t turn my back on these people. The covenant I had with God is that in as much as He continues to give me the means I will never turn my back on any projects that bothers on my people social well being”. he concluded.
If I want to highlight all the humanitarians activities of Engr. Sanusi that I have witnessed since over a year ago that I have been working relatively closely with him, then this is not the right medium as I will have to publish a book on that alone. Engr. Sanusi is a professional to the core. He is a Identifier and someone who nurtures and reward talents if he sees it in someone. He is a good administrator not only of companies but of people too. He is an industrious individual who transmits such to anyone working around him. You can’t afford to be lazy or laxity in the work given to you by Engr. Sanusi. He is a boss who speaks little but shows much through actions.
He translates to his employees his vision and leaves you to create path to get to that destination. His time consciousness is unrivalled. He has made look stupid several times when he gets to an event before I do.. Despite the fact that he has given his employees roles to play in any event he organised yet he still moves around ensuring that everything goes according to plan.
How he compartmentalises his brain to cope with his thousand of employees is still a mystery to me. Engr. Sanusi knows every of his employee inside out. He knows our strengths and weaknesses. He plays to our strength but gives us everything we need to improve on our weaknesses. Engr. Sanusi at 50 is someone who works as if he is half his age. His energy level is amazing. He is also a family man to the core. His love for his extended family is as strong as the one he had for his nuclear family. He is blessed by God in all fronts and you need to see his wife to appreciate this as she is beautiful, dutiful but most importantly God conscious. She keeps things very tight at home while his husband is away on business trips.
Like the Biblical Moses, Engr. Dotun Sanusi, was sent forth by our Creator to ‘liberate’ his people; his thoughts and actions are pointers to this claim. Or how can one explain an entrepreneur who has spent billions to establish a company but whose main objective is to use the company for the uplift of the underpriviledged. I once told him an idea someone shared with me about how the elites in our society can constantly visit Ilaji Stadium. His answer was “our vision for the establishment of Ilaji Stadium and Resort Center was not solely for the attraction of the elite class to the resort. We want the children of the less priviledged, the commoners in our society to make use of the facilities here too”.
I will round off this article by narrating his explanation for refusing to allow his partner companies to sponsor individual advert today. “I told them that rather than spending huge money on published advert just to congratulate me on my birthday on Saturday when Olubadan of Ibadanland will be conferring on me a chieftaincy title, they should spend that money on the development of this community. Just look around this community, even the deaf will hear that this community is crying for help”.
Hazeez Ayansola, a journalist is Engr. Dotun Sanusi’s Media Assistant.