Friday, 27 January 2017

Why a 70 Yrs. old man repairs my antique Peugeot 504 Car—MUDI Africa boss + Opens antique Cars & office for Asabeafrika

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Celebrity Blogger Gbenga Dan Asabe with Fashion Icon, Mudiaga Enajemo of MUDI Africa inside his antique 504 L Car

It started with a street encounter on the famous MUDI Lane, Anthony Village-Lagos; South West Nigeria one sunny Friday afternoon. A moderate street named after no one else but one of Nigeria’s most influential tailor landlord in the area, Mudiaga Clement Enajemo who already spent two decades-plus in the neighborhood, sowing cloths for the high and mighty.
MUDI's Mudiaga Enajemo with his 1957 Model Benz Antique Car from France
The street encounter in front of his aesthetically blessed structure (MUDI PLACE) later metamorphosed into an appointment schedule with the slimmed built and smart fashion icon. For real, this Delta state, South-South Nigeria born fashion guru is simple, humble and very understanding. When we told him that the interest of our interview was majorly  his two classic (antique) cars; one a
1957 edition old school model Mercedes Benz car and the other a 1972 edition  of 504 L Model car which he drives around Lagos on rare occasions, he didn’t turn down our request. Instead he gave us a four-days-later appointment.  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 traffic filled schedule with some of his 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 a rehearsed stanza from a special Christmas hymn. 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 behind MUDI is what your Africa’s Number one Celebrity encounter blog, Asabefarika got for you in one of our most exclusive encounters with an African icon. This is the first part but, enjoy the excerpts.
Killing a moody day with MUDI on a Lemon colored Grand Piano
MUDI on his Lemon colored Italian made Grand Piano

 Starting a day with Mudiaga Enajemo, CEO MUDI Africa might mean having couple of minutes with him on his Italian model lemon colored Grand Piano which is the same color with his 504 L Model antique car. Seems the fashion entrepreneur has a freak for the color lemon. So, what is so special about the piano? Asabeafrika asked the MUDI Africa boss who adorned a strip colored T-shirt and black trouser at the time of the encounter 
MUDI & the GDA shares a joke by the Piano bar
“I wanted to do something different from the regular” he began. He continued “I ordered for it (Grand Piano) from Italy and I find it interesting anytime I run my fingers 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”.  Why the color Lemon Green? Asabeafrika prodded, “I chose this color for a change. I decided to order for this particular color to spice up my 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”.
Music, MUDI & Fashion…
MUDI to Asabeafrika....'Music is life'
 The next question from Asabeafrika is straight “What does MUDI think fashion has in common with Music?” He looked at his grand piano and gave his reply to our question “There is a lot; as an artist who sings, you must dress well.
Three of MUDI's Best 5
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 complement each other”.
Two of MUDI's best 5
And what brand of music attracts MUDI’s attention? We asked further and this is what he said “I listen to only pure African music. Rooted music; traditional music”.
The 5 Music Legends of MUDI’s heart…
Men who captured MUDI's heart with their music
MUDI discussing Music with the GDA
At a strategic part of his tastefully furnished Anthony Village, Lagos office, your eyes will catch the crafted pictures of 5 African music legends namely; Bob Marley, Salif Kaita,  Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Yossou Ndou and Chief Osita Osadebey the Igbo (Eastern Nigeria) Highlife maestro. What do these five music legends mean to MUDI?  He started with Bob Marley “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 art and humanity was so great”.
MUDI to Asabeafrika....'Salif Kaita is not just a great man but he is my friend'
He moved to Salif Kaita 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”.  His next one is Fela Anikulapo-Kuti  Fela Anikulapo like we all know is the legend of all times. His music is still very much around with us. His lyrics are prophetically connected with our present realities. We live our realities to remember him everyday”
MUDI to Asabeafrika...'Fela's music still lives with us in reality'

 On Yossou Ndour, MUDI says “Yossou Ndour is a great guy, he is the guy from the far west and his recent elevation from local music to the continental board is a good development for Africa. I am proud of him as well” Late Osita Osadebey is the next in line “Late Osadebey was a great man. His highlife is very distinct from many others. So, he and the rest are the people I hear their works and I get inspired. They have influenced my life in so many ways”. We asked the MUDI Africa boss to name his number 1 among the 5 “Greats” and the enthusiasm that followed was quite awesome as he spoke further “Oh, Salif Kaita”; he followed up with more enthusiasm “His music is harmonious, his music is very spiritual. His music inspires. That is the bottom line, inspiration”.
What music means to MUDI...
For MUDI....'Life would have been boring without music'
As if the question poked his heart, the MUDI brand boss took a quite stance before he told this blog what music meant to him as an individual “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”.
MUDI takes GDA though his Music Love
 The art of keeping success by MUDI…
The Symbol of MUDI
 Struggling to make success is one thing; keeping success is another thing entirely. Asabeafrika asked the fashion business guru to tell us how he has managed success in the last 2 decades. He didn’t hesitate “Passion is first, drive is second and discipline is the third” he came verbatim and stressed further.
MUDI to Asabeafrika...'Passion, Drive & Discipline keeps me going in success'
“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 despite the odds; you keep pushing until you push it to an enviable level.
MUDI to Asabeafrika....'I dont joke with my work schedule, Never'
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”.
My Office Schedule….
MUDI to Asabeafrika....'I am not a boss who boss orders at the boys. I work with them'
“I get to the office 7 am every day. 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 stay with them; that is motivation; Apart from motivating them, it is almost like a two way thing, motivating and monitoring their skill quotient. 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 creative”.
MUDI to Asabeafrika...'My day start with prayer and gym'
Starting a Day for Rich Tailor…
A section of his posh office in Lagos
“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 possible. By 7am, I must be at work”.
MUDI & the Awards…
Plaques of Awards for recognition of MUDI's creative work in Africa
On the wall of his posh Anthony Village—Lagos office, you find different kinds of plaques announcing Mudiaga Enajemo and his MUDI AFRICA as recipient of several honorary awards  from media establishments, NGOs, individual bodies down to diplomatic establishments. How do these plaques make him feel?
MUDI got more endorsements from on-shore and off-shore bodies
“Getting an award goes beyond the conferment. You must ask yourself what value you are adding to humanity, if you cannot 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 gesture, what value are you adding to the society?. Take for instance, there are people who wear my brand outside Nigeria and whenever they want to have an event, they wear MUDI.
More awards for the MUDI boss
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 nations”
MUDI: It is not a joke that he is the best
Sorry! MUDI don’t read books…
MUDI to Asabeafrika...'I don't believe in reading books. My life is a book for others to read'
 If you think your next question will give your host a cause to smile and reel out names of authors or books that gives him edge in his business or in other areas of life, will be shocked to discover you are in town with an odd guy in that regard “No, no, no.  I don’t believe in reading books” he announces with a straight face.
MUDI to Asabeafrika....'Many people read, yet they are dullards'
He speaks further “Ten ways to be successful etc” it is not my philosophy, I don’t believe in all those things” He tells us why “If you check those things, you discover that it fails more people than elevate them”. “Take for instance, if you check people who read books, they have read all the books but they are stagnant. It is not about what you are reading, it is about what you put in. it is only in Nigeria people say they network. They are networking, what are you working?
MUDI to Asabeafrika....'I just believe in being purposeful'
You have nothing on ground, you are doing nothing and you say you are networking. You must have something doing before you network. You must come with substance before you start networking. It is not about fantasy and fallacy. It is not about bragging, it is about originality. Originality of purpose; originality of ideas and sincerity of purpose as well; you must come to the table with something not emptiness and you say you are networking”.
The MUDI boss with the Asabeafrika team
…But MUDI loves antique Cars
The name of the car is MUDI
From his book reading dilemma, we moved to one of the reasons for the encounter; ‘Why does MUDI drive Old School cars, antiques?. His answer came with a brim of nostalgic feelings
MUDI in a rare pose with the GDA inside his 504 L antique car
“These cars only remind me of the good old days of my country” He continued as the smile on his cheek stayed “I think it is a part of history; heritage. Let me put it that way. They remind me of the good olden days and the kind of simplicity that was applicable to life then. My father once sat us down to tell us a story of how he wanted to buy a Peugeot car at a time and he couldn’t buy a Peugeot brand, so he had to buy a Lada.
The GDA in a rare pose with MUDI's wheel
I think he bought it then for N1600 (One thousand six hundred naira). In those days, a Volkswagen car was going for N3200 and I think a 504 car was on the high side. So, to me, it is art. It is beyond just driving a car. It is inspiring and at the same time, it is a lifestyle.  To live a quality life is not about having one billion naira in your account; you can live your quality life with the small money in your hand. It is what you put in trying to give life a meaning that matters”.
The GDA with MUDI in rare pose beside the 504 L car
Story of my 70 years old mechanic…    
Like his 504 car like his Giant Piano....All comes in Lemon color
So, who work on his antique cars since mechanic of nowadays might not be too familiar with the mechanical organs of those cars?
MUDI's Car serviced by a 70 Year old Man
The fashion icon replied “I have mechanics that handle those cars; I have a very old man almost in his early 70s that services my 504 L car for me. He is a Yoruba man that services my Peugeot antique.  So, it makes it work for me”. What are the features that endear him to his Peugeot 504 Car? “I think the color comes first; I cannot afford to miss the color. Secondly, the Air Conditioner works, it is intact. The cigarette lighter works, everything works. It is a perfect car. I bought it from France, so it is a complete car”.
MUDI drives a Benz Car older than Nigeria…
MUDI's 1957 Model antique benz...A rare brand in Nigeria
 The MUDI Africa CEO drops a bombshell when he told Asabeafrika that his old school Mercedes Benz Car is a 1957 model; what can be more antique than that? What it simply means is that the car is older than Nigeria which got her independence in 1960. He spoke further on the mystery of the car
The car that nearly got into the Museum in Germany but 'hijacked' by MUDI
“I got the car from Germany through a friend who informed me about the car and I furnished him with my email details and he forwarded the photograph to me. A white man who wanted to sell the car as an antique was approached. And we talked over it and the money was paid to his account and the car was shipped down to Nigeria.
The GDA and the MUDI boss in the heat of the encounter in his Lagos office
The car was almost going into a museum as an antique but we made the purchase and today it amuses everyone that we can still be driving such a car in this age and season”
.  He enthused with a tone of accomplishment.
Cost don’t matter less in antiques’ market…
MUDI's wine lounge
The moment you want him to tell you what it cost him to purchase the two antique cars, he suddenly becomes a philosophy lecturer of sort and his lecture comes free “I don’t like mentioning money. It goes beyond money; you can’t quantify what gives you pleasure in terms of Pounds Sterling and Dollars. There are journalists who come here and ask me how much it costs me to build this structure and I tell them it is not in my culture to display wealth by revealing figures to justify accomplishments”.
The chat with MUDI by the lemon Grand Piano
“We were not raised that way to talk about money like that. By doing that, you might send a wrong signal, it is either you are trying to flaunt wealth or you are pompous; that is not me. Don’t forget these cars are antiques and they don’t come cheap but the value for acquisition is primarily laid on the door of passion”.
MUDI, Music & the GDA
The MUDI Fashion boss kept talking “It is a passion to have them. Antiques are classics. Anything classic doesn’t come cheap”.  On how he feels anytime he is behind the wheels of those cars, he found an answer “I feel happy, I feel happy because it simply means that I am expressing myself. Above all, over time, if you check my history right from when I was growing in business, most of my friends know that ‘this guy is different’. Anything he does always comes with a difference. I like expressing myself in a very different way”.
MUDI's Pink colored Grand Piano specially for the VIPs
MUDI’s dream car is….
 Does the MUDI Africa boss still have a dream car in mind, apart from the ones in his garage at the moment? “No, I don’t have such a passion. I can’t say I have one particular car I can say is my dream car”
The MUDU Arena
Not even a Rolls Royce? We asked him. “No, it is not in my immediate index of needs. If God blesses me to buy, fine, I don’t have anything against driving a Rolls Royce but I just take life the way it comes, in phases. I am a contented person. Anything you have, you have to be contented, if you have slippers, polish them well and manage them till you get shoes. And let me say this, for you to have the spirit of contentment, you must have self confidence. You must do away with inferiority complex, you must develop self confidence. That is the hallmark of success”.
MUDI & the GDA in a ride of antique Peugeot Car
No Role Model for MUDI…
MUDI to Asabeafrika....'I don't believe in Role Models'
On the issue of role model like book, you find out that your host is at odd with such idea. Hear him “I have people that inspire me but to be honest with you it is difficult for me to say I have role models these days. There are some people I treated as role model years back, but today, they have disappointed me. You see them and you say they are your role model but when you see events come and you see their ways of life, and things begin to open up and you feel ‘oh, this guy that I call a role model has changed’.  So, that is the reason I don’t have a role model, it is difficult for me to say I have one”.
Awards for the Fashion Icon
Between MUDI and Women
A trophy of Honor  for the Fashion Icon
MUDI has won City People Awards three consecutive times
With his huge success in fashion business, do women chase Mudiaga Enajemo and how does he handle such? “I would not want to use the word “chase”, it is “admire”. Normal people admire you; even men admire men, women admire women. It is a normal thing. Once you are doing what will attract people to you. So, one of the reasons I said discipline is key is what you have just raised. Discipline is an all-inclusive thing, your way of life, how you treat people and even your food regime. I don’t eat after 6 ‘o clock. It is all part of discipline to keep fit.  So, discipline is a broad thing and it is the only thing that can keep you off the tag of controversy. I am married, I am not a saint. I won’t tell you I am a perfect human being. People get attracted to you. It is normal to have friends but you must be disciplined. You must know when the handshake is going beyond the elbow. If the handshake goes beyond the elbow and didn’t stop at the wrist, then discipline is missing. I am happily married and I treat female admirers with great respect”.  
More Awards for MUDI
MUDI works and play whenever his schedule calls for Play
Let's give honor to Whom Honor is due-MUDI

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog


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