By Gbenga Bada, Adedayo Odulaja and Dayo Showemimo
With Nigeria standing tall as the fastest-growing hospitality sector in sub-Saharan Africa, according to W-Hospitality Group, top entertainers in the country have also delved into the sector, investing almost N1b.
However, recent investments by a young crop of entertainers isn’t the first, as entertainers in Nigeria have invested heavily in the hospitality sector long before now, with ownership of hotels, restaurants and night-clubs.
Already, an estimated $500 million is expected to be injected into the hospitality business in Nigeria by leading hospitality group, Starwood Group Hotels, which is set to build more hotels between 2014 and 2015.
Meanwhile, hospitality business experts have described the industry as a key beneficiary of the surging domestic and foreign investments in the country, even though it accounted for only 1 per cent of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2014.
Though some of these entertainers have failed in operating a few of their investments, others have teamed up with experts in the sector to invest heavily and wisely.
From Comedian, AY’s recently opened ‘MVP Lounge’ to 2face Idibia’s ‘Rumors’ and Dayo Adeneye’s D&C Suites and bar, entertainers seem to see the hospitality sector as the next big thing.
Nigerian Entertainment Today chronicles the success and failures of entertainment personalities in the hospitality sector over the years.
Estimated investment: Over N300m
Simply known as AY, this is one entertainer who has shown he knows how to set standards. Definitely not the first in the world of comedy, but not much had been heard about his entrepreneurial skills before the advent of MVP Lounge.
He hit everyone with a bang, investing millions of Naira in a Night club and restaurant outfit in the highbrow area of Lekki Phase 1 in Lagos.
Called ‘MVP Lounge’ which is an acronym for (Most Valuable Player), the lounge is at Omission Emporium Plaza, on Bisola Durosimi Etti Street.
After about a year of construction and architectural designing done to his taste, the luxurious premium nightclub is ready. Before it was officially opened, reports in the media had initially put its’ approximate cost at around N200 million. But the comedian reportedly rejected the figure.
In his words: ‘I’m setting up the one of the largest clubbing facility in this part of the world, and it’ll be an understatement to estimate it at the aforementioned figure (N200 million). When you come to MVP to see what we are putting in place in Lekki, Lagos, you’ll understand. It’s a world class and premium restaurant Nightclub Lounge, but if you want an exact figure from me, you might want to interview the accountant of MVP and the contractors in charge of different aspects of the project to get an exact figure.’
D & C SUITES
Estimated investment: Over N100m
Media personality and co-owner of Primetime Africa, Dayo Adeneye made the list of entertainers who have invested heavily in the hospitality business on a really strong footing.
The award winning media mogul recently opened his very own hotel called D&C Bar & Suites in Lagos. Located at Bako Estate off the Ikorodu Road, Mile 12 axis in Lagos, the hotel opened for business in June 2014.
The showbiz personality said, ‘Well it’s something I’ve been planning for four years and knowing fully well that it’s an extension of what I do and I’m known for, the entertainment business.’
Also speaking on the reason for building the hotel in the area of Mile 12, D1 said ‘we picked the area because nothing of sort existed in that area till now and residents in the area have shown positive response to the investment. We are giving the people in that axis a feel of what is obtainable in Ikeja, Victoria Island and Lekki,’ he explained.
Dayo Adeneye’s investment in D&C Bar & Suites is put at over N100 million, with the hotel boasting of a total of 19 rooms, divided into Standard and Executive suites, a multi-purpose event center as well as executive bar and lounge.
Dayo Adeneye, who is believed to own private properties in other choice locations, also hinted of his intention to build the brand, with plans to add a number of branches of the hotel around Lagos.
Rumors (2 branches)
Hotel (under construction)
Estimated investment: N350m
2face Idibia has said repeatedly in interviews that he invests a lot of his money in real estate; little wonder he decided to go into the night club business, which is seen as a money spinner.
As part of his plans to expand his growing investments, 2face Idibia delved into hospitality when he announced his initial partnership with popular Lagos club owner, Dotun Omotoye some years ago.
Kicked off in 2012, the 2face-Dotun Omotoye partnership began with the leasing of the property housing former La Cachette Night Club in G.R.A to kick off their business venture.
In the process, a source hinted that the duo had invested almost N250 milion to refurbish, equip and position the Club Rumors.
Obviously satisfied with his first investment in the Ikeja, the ‘African Queen’ singer went on to open another branch in Festac, Lagos.
In the process of extending his business frontiers, 2face allegedly spent a little over N100 million, bringing his investment in the hospitality business to over N170m.
At the moment, 2face has begun construction of a multi-million naira hotel in Festac, estimated to have gulped over N40m so far from the musician, whose investment in hospitality outfits and real estate is on the rise.
In an interview with City People Magazine 2 years ago, 2face revealed his involvement in the hospitality world saying ‘I am not only an artiste; I’m also an entrepreneur. I want to make the night club a model like Jay-Z’s Club 40/40. I want to have my clubs in major cities in Nigeria and one in South Africa, Europe and the US.’
Estimated investment: over N60m
For a man that runs a pub which is open all day every week, Femi hasn’t only invested time and money but also passion into his investment. Just like his father, who ran a similar pub during his days, Femi’s Afrikan shrine has remained a lucrative investment in the hospitality sector.
Estimated investment: over N30m
For Dr. Victor Abimbola Olaiya, his investment in the hospitality business might have been as a result of his association and relationship with the late Bobby Benson, who invested in one of the most memorable but defunct hotels in Lagos. It came as little or no surprise when Dr. Olaiya erected the famous Stadium Hotel, few streets away from the National Stadium in Surulere.
The hotel, which still exists, is not only one of the most popular owned by an entertainer, but the oldest as it stands. The veteran trumpeter and singer’s investment in the business is put at a staggering N2m which has now grown to over N30m after some renovations on the property a few years ago.
Estimated investment: N40m
In 2011, highlife singer Flavour hinted at his decision to invest in the hospitality sector but didn’t give specifics about what he wanted to do until 2012, when he released his third album, ‘Blessed’ and decided to launch the album alongside his club, 2nite Klub.
From the decorations to the accessories and architectural designs, Flavour made his investment worth the while of fun seekers. Sources close to the singer also claim that the singer has plans to build a hotel in Enugu State.
Early investors with defunct outfits
The history of entertainers investing in the hospitality sector did not begin with the likes of 2face, D1 Adeneye and AY.
The late Bobby Benson, King Sunny Ade and Ben Bruce all invested in the hospitality sector long before comedian, Tunde Adewale, popularly known as Tee A, Don Jazzy, D’Banj, and D’Prince delved into the business, running bars and night clubs at one time or the other.
Estimated worth: Undisclosed
The late Bernard Olabinjo Benson, who was widely known as Bobby Benson, was a comedian, a singer and a great performer who made an impact in the hospitality sector as well as the entertainment sector.
He was a role model to several Nigerian musicians and gave top acts like Victor Olaiya, and Roy Chicago a platform to rise in the music industry. While his actual investment worth couldn’t be ascertained, he got into the hospitality sector when he established the Caban Bamboo, a popular nightclub, which was later converted into the very popular Hotel Bobby, situated in Fadeyi, Lagos State.
After his death on May 14, 1983, the management of the Hotel Bobby couldn’t keep up with running the hospitality outfit and it was shut down.
King Sunny Ade
Ariya night club
Estimated investment: Undisclosed
Juju maestro, King Sunny Ade is also one of the top Nigerian entertainers who invested in the hospitality sector.
Just like his mentor, Bobby Benson, King Sunny Ade established his popular Ariya nightclub, which was situated in Jibowu area of Yaba, Lagos. While his actual investments in regards to the funds used to establish the night club was undisclosed,
Ariya became a spot for the entertainer to also dish out his juju tunes to fans and followers. However, Ariya didn’t stand the test of time and it was shut down after few years.
Fantasy Nite Club
Estimated investment: Undisclosed
The man behind the Silverbird group, Ben Bruce didn’t just dabble into the Nigerian entertainment industry.
In the 1970’s, long before he kicked off the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria beauty contest and the Silverbird group, Silverbird TV, Silverbird Cinemas, Silverbird Distribution company, and Rhythm FM, the young Ben had invested in the hospitality business when he ran a night club alongside his cousin, Chaz B.
Known as Fantasy Nite club in Yaba area, Ben competed with popular clubs including Chicago, Club E, Thorburn Avenue and Faze 2, all in Yaba.
Tyme Out Lounge
Estimated investment: N10m
Although it is no more in operation, Tee A’s bar business, known as Tymeout Lounge used to be located inside the premises of the Ivory Health Club on Ogundana Street, Allen Avenue in Ikeja.
While it was operational, Tymeout lounge, which was ran and managed by the comedian and MC, was a hot spot for entertainers and fun seekers. Sources disclosed that Tee A invested almost N10m in running the Tymeout till it was shut down in 2012.
Estimated investment: Undisclosed
Famous Nigerian standup comic act, Ali Baba had also invested in the hospitality business when he floated an event center, XQZ Moi in the Lekki/Ajah axis of Lagos State.
Though his financial investment in the business wasn’t disclosed, the outfit created a buzz in the entertainment industry. However, just like Big Bamo, the comedian and MC was dealt a blow by the Lagos State government, when the Ministries of Lands and Environment demolished part of his Lekki/Ajah based events center
Estimated investment: N10m
Unarguably the only entertainer in Nigeria who has boasted about his entrepreneurial prowess most, D’banj reportedly invested N10m into the kicking off of Koko Lounge, located inside E-Centre at Yaba where Ozone Cinema is currently situated.
When the club berthed in 2010, it was the envy of several clubs that couldn’t boast of the array of celebrities and music fans, who throng the club regularly to have a glimpse of their favourite music and movie stars. However, the club started losing its popularity before the eventual crash of the Mo’Hits clan and was finally shut down 2 years ago.
Estimated investment: undisclosed
D’Prince joined the league of club owners when he invested an undisclosed amount into the night club business in 2011, kicking off of Koko Lounge, located inside E-Centre in Yaba.
The club berthed a year after D’Banj bought into Koko Lounge, but unlike D’Banj with Koko Lounge, D’Prince had issues with his business partner, the late Suzy Q for a great part of the deal.
Estimated investment: N15m
Popular comedian, Basketmouth also contributed to the growing hospitality outfit when he decided to team up with Kayode Peters to open an upscale lounge in the heart of Yaba, Lagos.
Known as Embassy, the hangout was always filled activities and had heavy patronage from undergraduates, corporate execs and Nigerian entertainers while it opened. Sources put Baskemouth’s estimated investment in the business at N15m, while his partner also contributed to the hangout, which met its waterloo after it was first raided by armed robbers and later by men of the Nigerian Police Force.
Estimated investment: N2m
Big Bamo, the former manager of defunct music duo, Maintain Olu and Tolu was also an investor in the hospitality business -a pub- until the Lagos State government shattered his investment during the beautification plan.
The pub, which was situated around Marwa Gardens in Ikeja, Lagos, used to be one of the popular spots for entertainers to hangout and meet with fans. Sources disclosed that Big Bamo relocated his pub to Egbeda area of Lagos State after the demolition, which left him devastated.
Kefee Obareki Momoh
Estimated investment: N5m
Before her untimely death, singer Kefee Obareki Momoh was one of the top and early investors in the growing hospitality industry.
Kefee invested in the business at the height of her career and crashed marriage, as many of her colleagues wondered what was next for her. Kefee solely owned and ran the business, which was situated in Maryland, Ikeja, Lagos till she died in the United States of America in 2014. Sources put Kefee’s estimated investment in the business at N5m.
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