Saturday, 23 August 2014

World Exclusive! Africa’s most influential Fashion Designer, Mudiaga Enajemo grants asabeafrika unrestricted access to his prized antique cars …Talks about the pain of Success + Relationship with 2 African statesmen + “Why People think I do drugs”


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Mudiaga Clement Enajemo tells the GDA what thrills him about his Lemon Green Grand Piano
It all started with a chanced encounter on the famous MUDI Lane, Anthony-Lagos; South West Nigeria. A moderate street named after no one else but the biggest and most influential landlord in the area, Mudiaga Clement Enajemo who has  spent an accumulated two decades in the neighborhood sowing cloths for the high and mighty.
The Friday August 8th encounter later blossomed into an appointment schedule with the average height-slimmed but gifted MUDI boss. For real, this Delta state, South-South Nigeria born world class fashion icon is simple, humble and very understanding. When we told him that the interest of our interview was majorly on his acquisition of two classic (antique) cars; one a 1972 edition old skool model Mercedes Benz Car and the other a 1957 edition 504 L model which he drives around Lagos on rare occasions, he didn’t turn down our request. In stead he asked us to make the appointment for the evening of Tuesday August 12 which happens to be “World Youth Day”. The appointment which was marked for 5:30pm was almost taking place by 6pm when MUDI sent in words to our team that the interview couldn’t hold again as he was having a very tight and traffic filled schedule with some high net-worth clients who visited his show-room for new bookings. The encounter was promptly shifted to the next day, 8am. We made it there at the appropriate time and the first man to welcome us into his ambience was the fashion icon himself who was already on duty as early as 7am. By 8:30am when the interview session started, it was almost like having a torrent of revelations from a god. The man surely has many chapters, verses and pages that you will find very irresistible. All the facts about the personality and myth of the man called MUDI is what your Africa’s Number one Celebrity encounter blog, asabefarika got for you in one of our most expensive encounters with an African icon. Enjoy the excerpts. 
MUDI....'A good musician must dress well likewise a fashion designer must listen to good music'

Starting the day with his Lemon Green GrandPiano
 By the time we were led into his ambience, MUDI was already busy on an Italian made 2014 edition Grand Piano with the lemon green color which coincidentally is the color of his 504 L Model antique car. So, what is so special to Mudi with this piano? We asked the fashion icon who was on a stripped colored T-shirt and black trouser  “I wanted to do something different from the regular” he began before telling us the source of the Grand Piano  “I ordered for it (Grand Piano) from Italy and I find it interesting anytime I run my hands on the buttons and reel out tunes. It is fun being at this corner of my place once in a while to have fun with my grand piano”.  So, why the color Lemon Green?, “I chose this color for a change. I decided to order for this particular color to spice up the environment because all I have here is black, grey and white. The lemon green is just to spice up the feel of what you see”.
I have put in my best ability to change the rules of the game and I am very happy for that.  I am the first Nigerian designer to advertise on a billboard not one, not two but about five bill boards at a time, the first to advertise on television, the first African designer to own shops outside the boarders of his own country; not one but four outlets outside his country. The first African Designer. I am not just speaking from my own volition, it was a conducted study. African Magic did a study and it was made public to the knowledge of everyone. I think after Oswald Boateng of Ghana, the next man was a Nigerian called MUDI.
Mr.MUDI tells us what Music and Fashion means to him
Music, Fashion & MUDI
 As an artist, what does MUDI thinks fashion has in common with Music?, “There is a lot; as an artist who sings you must dress well. So, it interconnects. On the other side of the divide you must also listen to music. As an artist and designer you must listen to quality music. I get inspired when I listen to music. So, it is an inter-related aspect of arts. In music you get inspiration, in dressing well you are equally inspired. So, we can say music is connected to fashion in so many ways because both compliment each other”. So what brand of music attracts MUDI’s attention? “I listen to only pure African music. Rooted music; traditional music”.
The GDA in a heart-to-heart chat with Mr. Mudiaga Enajemo of MUDI AFRICA
The 5 Music Legends @ MUDI’s place
At a strategic part of his tastefully furnished Lagos office, you will see the pictures of 5 African music legends namely; Bob Marley, Salif Kaita,  Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Yossou Ndou and Chief Osita Osadebey the Highlife maestro. What do these five music legends mean to MUDI? “Yeah, Bob Marley to me was a great guy and I think he died a bit too early. Very short time he lived on earth but his impact on humanity was great. Salif Kaita is a great man and above all, he is a great friend of mine. He came to Nigeria to specially visit me two years ago and it was a private visit. So, we share a bond.  Fela Anikulapo like we all know is the legend of all times, Yossou Ndour is a great guy and late Osadebey was a great man. Those are people I listen to their works and I get inspired. They have influenced my life in so many ways”. We asked MUDI  to name his number 1 among the 5 Greats  and the enthusiasm that burst out of him was awesome as he declared  “Oh, Salif Kaita”; he continued “His music is harmonious, his music is very spiritual. His music inspires. That is the bottom line, inspiration”.
The GDA having a chat with MUDI AFRICA boss beside his Grand piano

The Meaning of Music by MUDI
Like a professor of philosophy, MUDI took a quite stance before he told this blog what music meant to him when we told him to do so “Music to me is a way of life; it wakes up the soul. Life without music is zero. It would have been boring if life had come into existence without music”.
Mr. Mudiaga Enajemo in the early hours of the day on his Grand Piano
What I would tell 2000 Nigerian Youth in a ball room
Against the back drop that the World’s Youth Day was just 24hours ago, we asked MUDI what he will find most interesting to tell 2000 Nigerian Youths if the opportunity to speak to them in a ball room arises “My first message is to first of all preach value system; our value system has collapsed and we need to remold our value system. At the end of the day you discover that a youth without good value system is a youth in waste. Once you lost your value system it will be difficult for you to be great in whatever thing you do. So, first of all I must preach values. Moral value is key to anything you do.  Once you lost it, it will be difficult for you to become famous and successful in what you do. A good value system is the currency of living. It is the currency of life itself”.
MUDI AFRICA's LAGOS OFFICE with pics of Pres. GEJ, Gov. BRF and Mr. M. C. Enajemo
The Parent takes the blame first
On who to blame first for youth decadence in the society, MUDI didn’t find it hard to land the blame at the door step of the parents “The parent system is the first layer of the disciplinary circle. What you become unto the society starts from the lowest rung of the ladder which is the parental ladder. You can’t take away the parental layer out of the bigger society. You are a total reflection of what you saw your parent do. A wayward foundation will lead to a wayward line of action. In a family where it is common for the woman to always abandon one man for another, you will discover that the children are likely to follow the same footstep. But in a family where it is a culture to read book, there is probability that majority of the offspring will become intellectuals. You can’t produce what you don’t have. You are a summary of your humble beginning”.
Mr. Mudiaga Clement Enajemo, CEO, MUDI AFRICA
Values of my own days by my parent
On what he could term to be the number one value of his growing days and what life looks like at the time, MUDI said “Character; we were taught that character is key; character in the sense that one…you see most times when you say character, it is a vast thing. For instance in those days when we were growing up we woke up as early as 6 o’clock, unlike now when there is borehole everywhere you have to trek a mile to get water for the family to use. All parts of character were enfranchised in the sense that waking up very early to do the family chores makes you to become discipline. That will naturally build your hard work quotient. It makes you to have a hard work attitude and equally makes you to know that life is not easy.  So, it is all part of character building and above all, in those days if you fail exam, you are make to repeat. You keep pushing it until you succeed. But today, it has changed. Parent will even go to the length of paying fees to ensure their children sit at once and pass the exam which negates the philosophy of hard work. It is so sad”.
More Awards for the Mudi boss
What is lost in today’s youth
 Asabeafrika asked MUDI to name the biggest quality that he thinks is lost in today’s youth and he came quick to say “I think trust” he continues “In those days I can walk into your house and you won’t be there and I will pick a shirt from your wardrobe, once I see your mum I can have my meal and feel like a member of your family. But these days there is no trust. It is so sad there is no trust. And trust was just the way of life and that was one thing we keyed into for a good living. But today, everyone seems to see his or her neighbor as a suspect”.
The GDA & MUDI AFRICA boss chats over his Grand Piano
My dad by me
Mudiaga Clement Enajomo hinted us a bit about his father “My dad is late; before his demise he was a true Christian. He tried his best in terms of discipline. He was able to ensure strict discipline across board. Ours was a polygamous home but we were united in trust, character and discipline. You were trained to be very happy with whatever you get and that helped us to grow into successful adults. We were about twenty-seven. I am in the middle (Laughter) My Dad is Johnson Enajemo, he was a contractor to Local Government areas in Ugheli  (Delta state) in those days. He was a man of high character and discipline”. “The biggest philosophy dad sold to us was “Contentment; contentment, contentment and contentment; whatever you have cherish it. If you have just a pair of slippers, cherish it don’t envy a man who has shoes because you don’t even know if the shoe is pinching him”.
GDA chatting over the Grand Piano with Mr. MUDI

And Mum….
“My mum was just a hard worker. She used to run a cafeteria. In those days Shell Workers used to patronize her cafeteria and she was very good at her work as well. She was a very down to earth person but very strict and sincere. I think what she used to sing into our head most was hard work, hard work and hard work.  She will tell you hard work pays; my mum will wake up as early as 4 am to start cooking her meals for her numerous customers. It was something that looks strange to us in those days but today we understand. She was an epitome of hard work and beauty”.
GDA & MUDI talks about the benefits of a Grand Piano
How I managed to keep success at my beck and call
 It appears that many success makers do lose it at the mid term of their life as they pander to other distractions of life. This blog wanted to know how MUDI has kept his own success in the last 22 years. He told us “Passion first, drive is second and discipline is the third. You must have the passion for what you do; the passion will keep you on even in the face of adversity. Drive is what will make you take your brand to another level, keep pushing it until you push it to an enviable level. Changing and upping the game is due to drive. Passion will keep your leg on the ball, drive will give you the energy to dribble the ball and the last one is discipline. Discipline will enable you to keep working, to remain focused. I get to the office 7 am everyday. That is discipline. And when I close depends on the level of the volume of work at our disposal. That is passion” And for drive “Each time my boys are working I must stay with them; apart from motivating them it is almost like a two way thing, motivating and monitoring. Monitoring them and motivating them is two things in one package. You monitor them while they are working and your presence alone motivates them. It boosts their morale and drives their adrenaline to be alert to creativity”.
His Collection of French & Spanish Wine brands comes like this
The Secret of Keeping High Profile customers
In a recent encounter with famous pilot, Chris Najomo inside his Lagos home, he had told this blog how he  make orders from MUDI and within twelve hours, the order is delivered at his door step. How MUDI does keeps such reputation with high net-worth clients? “It is your job, you must keep working; you must keep coming out with new ideas. It all falls under the concept of focus. Once there is good concept and new ideas keeps coming out everyday, clients will stick to you and equally stick to your brand. So long you are not stagnant, you keep thinking, you keep moving because this work requires a lot of thinking”.
An artwork of a sewwing machine with the emblem of MUDI West Africa
How a day starts for Africa’s busiest tailor
“I wake as early as 5:30a.m, I do my prayer with my family, do a little bit of aerobics; it is either I jug or I use the gym inside the house. Then shower and i am off to work. I leave home as early as some minutes to seven and by 7am I must be at work”.
The GDA walks into the MUDI AFRICA boss' ambience for an early morning chat
My family is no issue
On why no one has ever seen MUDI and his wife at public engagement, he smiles before answering the question “I enjoy it, even apart from seeing my wife in public, most people don’t even know the face behind MUDI and I enjoy it. I put MUDI as a brand aside. I push the brand and not the face behind the brand. It is the brand I am selling not my family, not even my face. By the time I walk into eateries or other public environments, people don’t even know who is standing and I enjoy it. It makes me to have a sense of privacy and to equally enjoy my own life”.
The Lemon Green Grand Piano ordered from Italy for the MUDI boss
The story of my wife
“My wife’s name is Daisy Oyindamola Enajemo. She is half Yoruba, half Ghanaian. She hails from Ikenne in Ogun state. Her father is from Ogun state and her mother from Ghana; you ask what drew me to her, simple-Humility; it pays to be humble. Everything is not about beauty, but you must be humble and what attracted me to her is her humility and that has helped our relationship in so many ways”. “We met in Nigeria here. I met her through this my work; I went to see a friend of mine who is like an elderly brother and I met her there. And that was how it started.  We met in 1999 and we married in 2004. We dated for five years before we got married. The marriage is blessed with a boy and a girl”.

To MUDI 'Awards means comending excellence not mediocrity'
His many plaques of Awards
What Awards does to me
On the wall of MUDI’s posh office you find different kind of awards bearing the names of various organizations locally and internationally which range from media, NGOs, business groups down to diplomatic bodies. So how does the man feel with all the honors? “I think apart from getting an award, it goes beyond the conferment. You must ask yourself what value you are adding to humanity, if you can not answer that question properly then you are not qualified to earn the accolades. Let just say ‘okay, you got an award today, you must ask what warranted the award, what value are you adding to the society.  It is key; take for instance there are people who wear my brand outside Nigeria and whenever they want to have a ceremony or an event to attend, they want to wear MUDI. That alone is more than the billions of money notes stocked in the Central Bank of any nation.  At least, it shows that I am touching lives across border. To me, that is the greatest achievement. It is beyond money and that is the reason for all the awards you see here. It goes beyond money; it is as a result of passion and choice. My passion is to be a designer and my choice is to use my brand to touch as many people as possible across humanity”.
The MUDI boss has well over 50 award plaques displayed in his office
The story of my giant stride across Africa
Talking about enlarging one’s coast which the Bible spoke about in spiritual terms, MUDI seems to have accomplished it in physical terms with the establishment of four branches in four capitals of countries in  West, East and South Africa namely Accra in Ghana, Nairobi in Kenya, Dakar in Senegal and Johannesburg  in South Africa. Asabeafrika asked him to name the price he paid to achieve such a giant stride above all his superiors he met in the trade and this is how MUDI puts it “Let me say with all sense of humility, I have contributed my own part to this industry I know I have done well. I have put in my best ability to change the rules of the game and I am very happy for that.  I am the first Nigerian designer to advertise on a billboard not one, not two but about five bill boards at a time, the first to advertise on television, the first African designer to own shops outside the boarders of his own country; not one but four outlets outside his country. The first African Designer. I am not just speaking from my own volition, it was a conducted study. African Magic did a study and it was made public to the knowledge of everyone. I think after Oswald Boateng of Ghana, the next man was a Nigerian called MUDI. It was a study done in South Africa not by me. So, I can say God has given me the grace to achieve that peculiar mile. I am the first Nigerian designer to design for a foreign president, not one but two. So, I have achieved in all ramification to the glory of God and benefit of humanity”.
Three more of the 5 Music Legends MUDI admires
Two of the Great 5 Music Legends hanging on MUDI's office wall
My Relationship with John Kuffor & Raila Odinga
This blog pleaded with MUDI to name the two high profile African statesmen that are on his client list and he did “First of all is the former Ghanaian President, John (Agyekum) Kufour, I design for him. The former Prime Minister of Kenya Raila Odinga, I design for him up till now. So, they are statesmen who have taken time to invest in my creativity.  On what it means to design for such men of valor MUDI explains “I think first of all apart from dressing them, I think most times they see me as their son. They advise me and put me through on knotty issues, so it is beyond just making clothes for them. They give me quality advice because they know I have done well by opening shops in their countries and giving employment to citizens of their countries. I think I took a risk actually to have entered another man’s country, no contact, no god father nobody there and I got a lawyer, got an auditor and registered a business. Got a shop and start business. So, it wasn’t a joke and those two men appreciate my courage and I think they are good men. Their patronage for MUDI was as a mark of appreciation for investing in their countries”. 
Some other awards from foreign bodies
 (Please, watch out for part 2 of this explosive interview titled “WHY I DRIVE A CAR OLDER THAN NIGERIA with exclusive pictures of MUDI’s antique cars you are dying to see on this blog tomorrow)

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog

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