Mr Ohimai is not new to the public space. He’s one person that mixes media, politics and lifestyle effortlessly. Getting Mr Ohimai for an interview wasn’t an easy one but thanks to Mr Gidado we finally did it.
We first started by wanting to know why he’s called MR Fix Nigeria.
First of all, thank you very much for the opportunity of this interview. Actually, the history of that name goes back to my national youth assignment days. It wasn’t that I gave myself that name. In 2007, after I completed by degree at the University of Ibadan, I was posted to Abuja for my National Youth Service (NYSC) assignment. I got to Abuja and was deployed to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). At that time, the EFCC was at the prime of its influence and impact as one of the most renowned government agencies.
Nuhu Ribadu was the Chairman and the Commission had come to be known and feared across Nigeria for its tough stance against corruption. So, this was where I found myself. I was deployed within the EFCC to the Fix Nigeria Initiative (FNI). This was the department responsible for corruption prevention and anti-corruption campaigns and was more like the human face and civil society interface of the Commission. I was so passionate about my work at this department that colleagues and my bosses started calling me Mr. Fix Nigeria.
It initially started like a joke, but the name stuck. Then I told myself, but come to think of it, why not? Nigeria needs a lot of fixing and here I was at an institution saddled with a critical part of that responsibility of fixing Nigeria. It soon became my alternative name and I just adopted it. It became the username for all my social media handles, including my email accounts.
But beyond just a name, it became something I started paying attention to. It began to define my personality, character and conduct such that wherever I found myself, I became so conscious of that brand name that I told myself I would strive never to be found doing anything someone who is fixing Nigeria should not be doing.
Most Nigerian men gain pounds after marriage but not you Mr. Ohimai. We need to know how you maintain your trim shape despite marriage.
Hahaha… well, I guess it has a lot to do with genetics. My dad started pretty much like this. My Mum used to tell us he was even quite slimmer than I am now when they married but later began to add weight. While I have that feeling that I might eventually start gaining weight, I am actually making a personal effort not to. I want to look 30 when I am 70. So I pay attention to what I eat and I also have a fitness schedule that I’m sure has contributed to keeping me this trim
Ohimai is a very accomplished youth with loads of passion for youth engagement, mobilization and advocacy. Here is what he has to say about his involvement and impact on the youth, especially their lifestyle?
I believe that I have been doing my best as an individual and sometimes in collaboration with like minds; we have managed to put things together with the aim of inspiring young people to focus on the things that really matter.
One example I will like to share is the Maga No Need Pay music project which I initiated in 2008 as an Ambassador for the Microsoft Internet Safety, Security and Privacy Initiative for Nigeria (MISSPIN).
What we did with that project was to use the vehicle of pop culture to inspire Nigerian youths on why they don’t need to steal to be rich. That song had Banky W, Omawumi, Rooftop MCs, Modele, Wordsmith, Bez and MI Abaga. It was produced by Cobhams Asuquo.
Of course, a tree cannot make a forest and I cannot do it alone, but I believe that with practical projects like this, I have been able to contribute my quota towards inspiring Nigerian youths and influencing their lifestyle. We definitely have a lot more to do. We will continue to do these things as time and resources permit.
Ohimai left politics and the Nigerian public space shortly after the government of Goodluck Jonathan left power to embark on some personal projects within and outside the country.
I started an online newspaper – SIGNAL. I started Olivier Pope Inc – an image crisis management company. I have become very actively involved as a Creative Adviser and model for my wife’s fashion label Tesslo Concepts and along with that I have been involved with some work as Editor-at-Large at OVATION International magazine – Africa’s biggest celebrity magazine that profiles the lifestyle of the rich and famous.
I have worked both within and outside Nigeria as a communications and brand consultant to leaders from other nations. There are several other things but these are the major ones for now.
Ohimai compares lifestyle in Ghana to that of Nigeria
Living in Ghana is pretty much not so different from living in Nigeria. Comparatively, Ghana is a smaller country. The pressure and hustle that you witness in Nigeria, especially in places like Lagos is missing in Ghana. They are more laid back, not in the negative sense of that word but in the sense that they are calmer, less aggressive and they take their time with things.
Life is a bit more expensive, perhaps because I lived there as a foreigner. But overall, Ghana was cool. Hardly would you hear things like people getting mobbed on the streets for stealing or things like that. They happen but not at the viciousness and scale at which you experience such things in Nigeria.
There’s less violence in a place like Accra, compared to a place like Lagos, and Ghanaians are largely a very peace-loving people.
He wasn’t done.
I think one remarkable thing while I was in Ghana was the issue of power supply which they seem to have been able to fix. Throughout the six months I lived there, I could count the number of times we experienced power outage. Kudos to the leadership of the former President John Mahama who was able to arrest the power crisis in Ghana. How he did it is something our leaders will need to learn from.
Yes, some Ghanaians were quick to complain that power tariffs were expensive but I always told them;
“Come to Nigeria. Many of us are even ready to pay for it but we can’t even get regular power supply. At least, you have it and you are complaining that it is expensive.”
The story of Ghana simply shows that we can do it if our leaders are really committed.
In spite of all that, Abuja holds a special in the life of Mr. Fix Nigeria and he always make his way back to the beautiful city of Abuja.
I once lived briefly in Lagos after my youth service in 2008 in Abuja but I got turned off by the chaotic hustle and bustle. While I was in Lagos, anytime I visited Abuja, the city had a way of restoring my sanity and humanity. That competition in Lagos where it seems everyone is running everyday to outdo the other person is hardly experienced here. You can think productively here.
Besides, Lagos is too congested for me. I want to live in a city where I am not spending productive hours all day in traffic. Less than six months in Lagos, I returned to Abuja. So since 2009, I’ve been here and whenever I travel anywhere in Nigeria, I can’t wait to return to Abuja.
Ohimai Compares Abuja to the capital of Ghana and other major cities of the world.
Abuja is cool. But for the poor lighting of the streets at night, Abuja can stand shoulder to shoulder with most capital cities across the world. Abuja shares a lot of the calmness and quiet with a city like Accra. But it’s nothing to be compared to a place like London or New York. These are cities that have lasted centuries and are in a class of their own. We will get there.
Mr. Fix Nigeria talks about what he’ll do to fix the Abuja lifestyle if he was the mister of the FCT
First of all, the lighting at night. All streets must have constant lighting at night. This has a way of encouraging night life. Night life is one of the biggest tourist attractions to some of the biggest cities across the world.
Second is the issue of recreation. Why can’t we have a major recreational park like the Dancing Fountain in Dubai? Just look at Jabi Lake. That place has a humongous tourist potential but it is wasting away. Imagine building a National Youth Park at that place with water sports, games, cinemas, eateries, amusement park, mini-zoo etc? What is so difficult about these things?
Then you have the issue of monuments. Nigeria is so rich in culture and history that there is no reason why we shouldn’t have monuments like the ones we have at Trafalgar Square, London at strategic places across the city, from Wuse 2 to Maitama and Asokoro. Why can’t we have monuments to Queen Amina of Zaria, Uthman Dan Fodio, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Oba Ovoramwen Nogbaisi, Jaja of Opobo etc. Do you know how much some these monuments if properly executed will attract to the city of Abuja annually?
Why can’t we have a designed part of the city devoted to graffiti? Imagine if we launch a National Graffiti Campaign where we select the best entries and commission the artists to paint certain parts of the city of Abuja with traditionally inspired graffiti? I mean, why are we so afraid of thinking out of the box? Why are we not having more hotel brands come to Abuja?
Enough about Abuja. Let’s talk about Ohimai’s unique and impeccable dress sense.
I am blessed with a wife who is a very talented fashion designer. My wife Tessy is certainly a gift from God. She has a B.A. Fashion Design from Middlesex University, United Kingdom. She graduated in 2005 and in 2006 when she returned to Nigeria won the Best Fashion Designer Award at the Nigeria Fashion Show (NFS) in Paris.
She’s very quiet and is the type of person that lets her work speak through her fashion label Tesslo Concepts. But she’s been in the game and since we got married in 2014, I have devoted myself to supporting her work. She was based in Lagos before we got married and one of the challenges we faced was how to relocate her fashion business from a more lifestyle-oriented Lagos to a less fanciful “government people” city of Abuja.
So one of the things we have created is The Sunday Look (#TOGASighted) by Tesslo Concepts. Since we are not in a city like Lagos where there are red carpet events almost every week, we had to create this as something to enables her showcase her creativity from time to time. So don’t get too jealous every time you see me in new outfits especially on Sundays. Husband and wife are simply promoting madam’s business by showcasing the work of her hands. LOL!
I model for my wife to support her work. I never really considered modeling professionally until it became clear that I needed to support my wife’s work. Severally, she had made efforts to get some people to model for the brand but sometimes, finding the right model is an issue. Then even when you find the right model, sometimes, they give you conditions that are not favorable to your brand, like dictating to you what they want to wear or not wear. And my wife doesn’t like being put in a box, so she said to me,
“Baby, it seems you have to start doing this thing for me, since it looks like I am getting a lot of trouble finding someone who is willing to consistently work with me the way I want.”
I was initially reluctant, but then, the things men do for love. LOL! I decided to start doing it for her. That’s how it started. But of course, this happened before we even got married. I remember officially modeling for her at the Nigeria Fashion Week in Lagos in 2012. It was my debut on the runway.
Now let’s talk about blueink.ng. What do you think?
You guys are doing a good job. Please keep it up. Never stop improving. Excellence is limitless. Every stage you attain, you will discover that there’s still another level.
Never remain comfortable with your standards or wherever you currently are. Challenge yourself to do more. Look at your industry and see if there’s someone doing what you’re doing in a better way and learn from them.
If you see the first edition of OVATION International magazine and what it is today, you will understand what I mean. It is the same with most brands that have survived the years. They knew there was always an extra to keep adding. That’s how super brands are built. Just keep moving.
All images were gotten from the instagram