When the paths of two giants intersect and they become friends, infinite possibilities open up for the promotion of the values dear to their hearts. A pivotal moment it was, then, for a nation that was set for general elections, with all the uncertainties and the heightened tension to be infused with a rousing dose of inspiration. The February 1, 2019, release of the Anthony Joshua Television Commercial (TVC) was a salutary event that stirred the positive feeling of patriotism in Nigerians across the world. It was great timing by Globacom Telecommunications as it provided a welcome respite for all across the many fault lines that tend to divide Nigerians.
It’s the same well thought out sense of timing that has informed the release of the sequel to the Anthony Joshua TVC, so close to the Easter Season. More so, as the inspirational message contained in the commercials also resonate with the theme of Easter: Self-belief, sacrifice, suffering and resurrection. A winning message well fitted as a teaching moment. Why won’t anyone wish to learn what makes these two global champions glow and inspire?
The momentous bonding between the British-born World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and the Nigerian-owned telecom giant brand, Globacom, reflects their universal appeal within their respective nationalities and across the world. Everyone is advised to have a peek at this Anthony Joshua TVC, whose vistas with a nationwide coverage resonate with rousing words of durable values for a nation that still seems to be stuck in the doldrums of unfulfilled potentials of greatness.
Very appropriately sequenced, the TVC begins with a University of Lagos female undergraduate watching the Anthony Joshua commercial. Next is a teenage boy in his father’s sitting room watching the TVC. We are then transported to behold fishermen flinging their net for a haul in Lagos. A struggling tailor in Aba drawing inspiration from Anthony Joshua’s message follows. The female basketballers on a court, jointly watching the Joshua TVC from an IPad are not left out of its vital message that inspires.
This is instantly followed up by a classroom ambience in Sokoto, where the students band together to behold Joshua’s message on a laptop. A fledgling boxer also took some cues from the world champion, and he later won his bout. And, at a location in Abuja, a lady executive was also shown tapping some inspiration from the Joshua message on her phone.
The array of Nigerians in different stations of life living in diverse locations and cities of the country represented in the Anthony Joshua TVC seeks to underscore the nationwide coverage of one vital product out of the basket of offerings, which the Globacom brand has deployed to meet the expectations of its over 45 million subscribers across Nigeria. That is, the Glo 4G, which is ranked first in the country due to its spread and coverage, which, again, is not dissimilar to the universal profile and appeal of the Heavyweight Boxing Champion of the world, Anthony Joshua.
Certainly poignant, memorable and worth noting in the TV commercial are the words of self-revelation by the heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Anthony Joshua, which unambiguously announced his Nigerian identity and his indefatigable spirit. The twin traits that he confessed are the bases of the affinity between him and the Globacom brand.
“You need strength?” he asks. And then he responds, “Yeah, that comes from the hard knocks that life throws at us. And we are Nigerians, we know all about that.”
Pursuing the theme of his Nigerian identity and the irrepressibility of the Nigerian spirit, he used the metaphor of boxing to illustrate life’s challenges, while affirming the positive idea of tenacity: “You don’t stay down, you’ve got to fight. You have to dig deep to be a world champion.”
The unbeaten and seemingly unbeatable world heavyweight boxing champion, Anthony Joshua, referred to his Nigerian roots repeatedly, like a refrain in a song of inspiration for his audience across the nation and the world, when he narrated a bit of his life’s story, especially at its points of intersection with the equally beleaguered history and awe-inspiring accomplishments of Glo:
“There’s always been a big piece of my heart as a Nigerian, and I do believe that it is a piece that sets me apart. It always says to me: never give up, dream big!
We come from a nation of warriors, and that is why I believe in Glo.
We have that same tenacity, that Nigerian fighting spirit that makes us game-changers! We are relentless. We don’t just face our challenges; we step into the ring to win again and again and again. If you believe in yourself, there’s no limit to what you can achieve. Yeah, I used to be a bricklayer in England, but, now, I’m heavyweight champion of the world!”
Regardless of what station you occupy in life, why won’t anyone desire an expanded fortune and impact in life simply by learning what makes these two global brands Glo and inspire hundreds of millions of people across the universe?
A vital part of the story also resides in the pay-off line of the TV commercial, “Always in your corner,” which is a boxing metaphor that symbolises the succour boxers get from their corners, where their trainers will clean off their sweat with towels and offer them more tips that would assist them to overcome their opponents. We can readily transpose this metaphorical phrase, “Always in your corner,” to the Globacom setting and the message it transmits to its over 45 million subscribers is precise: Glo 4G also solves all data related communication challenges by allowing subscribers to breathe easy with data widely regarded as oxygen to the needs of its customers.
So, ultimately, what’s the force of attraction between the individual British citizen with Nigerian parents and ancestry, and the fully Nigerian-owned corporate citizen, the Globacom brand?
Of course, the ready simplistic response would be: Anthony Joshua and the name behind Globacom, Mike Adenuga, share the same Yoruba roots in the Western region of Nigeria. But, so also do millions of people from that same region.
It is clear from the stories of their astounding accomplishments against formidable odds, that what made the difference in their respective lives are the time-honoured values they subscribe to. In other words, the key to the winning streak of these exceptional forces of nature resides within them: the heart of the champion, the heart of the obstacle-buster that is expressed in self-belief, hard work, sacrifice, suffering and tenacity.
The stories of their beginnings and the trajectory of their becoming exceptional global icons will fill the already well-informed initiates with the deeply affective pathos of the famous poem, by the equally indefatigable spirit of Maya Angelou (1928-2014), titled, “And still I rise:
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
…Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Apparently, from the accounts of the evolution of their respective iconic personas, it is imperative that for anyone to glow in the league of champions, they have to abide by the above-stated principles. They share not a dissimilar posture towards adversity and the huge odds against their mission to accomplish their goals.
For the uninitiated, the Anthony Joshua, bonding with Glo in the TV commercials should not only be a one-minute inspirational moment, but a teaching moment that’s relevant for a lifetime, as they learn how these two global champions have overcome the hard knocks that life threw at them before they began to glow and inspire us.
A little detail from the life story of these two global champions that glow and inspire us is most pertinent to reinforce the message in the TVC here for the uninitiated as well as the initiates. And, also, to remind us that these great “entities” did not just happen by wishful thinking.
Described as “a knockout artist” by the GQ magazine, in an interview, Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua braved so many odds to arrive at this global acclaim.
Born on October 15, 1989, in Watford, Hertfordshire, is the son of Yeta and Robert Joshua, who divorced when he was 12. A boarding school student at Mayflower School, Ikenne, Ogun State, he returned to the UK when his parents divorced. He was a bricklayer before taking up boxing full-time. He was put on remand home for what he described as “fighting and other crazy stuff.” A misdemeanor that could have earned him 10 years in prison and altered his life’s story irremediably.
His boxing career began at the age of 18, in 2007. He had an amateur record of 40-3, a phenomenal record by any standard.
On July 11, 2013, he turned professional. But, before this crucial turning point, he had already signaled his ambition as an amateur in the super-heavyweight division, when he represented England at the 2011 world champions, winning a silver medal. He also represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympics. In 2014, a year after he turned professional, he was named Prospect of the Year by The Ring Magazine. In 2017, The Ring and the Boxing Writers Association of America named his victorious fight against Vladimir Klitschkov ‘Fight of the Year’.
Joshua is the second British boxer, after James DeGale, to win both gold medal at the Olympics and a world title by a major sanctioning body, as well as the British to do so.
As of September 2018, Anthony Joshua was ranked as the world’s best active heavyweight in The Ring, the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (TBRB) and BoxRec.
Anthony Joshua, who is known for his exceptional punching power, has got the job done before the official end of the bout by finishing all but one of his fights to date by a knockout.
With a hard-earned sense of triumphalism, Anthony Joshua reaffirmed, again, the credo of his being and becoming a global champion who glows and inspires, when he said: “You are not going to be a boxing star without going through heaps of pain. Nobody’s interested in the knocks and bruises, the bad eye, the struggle. Boxing gave me a belief in myself.”
Currently, Joshua holds four of the World Heavyweight titles – the International Boxing Organisation (IBO), the International Boxing Federation (IBF), the World Boxing Association (WBA) and the World Boxing Organisation (WBO). Soon enough, he could claim the fifth presently being held by Deontay Wilder. A feat that has never been accomplished before. The heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Joshua, was never under any illusions about the great price he had to pay to arrive at the pinnacle of his career. He reiterates the theme of sacrifice:
“Boxing is the sport that rewards hard work. I stopped smoking. I stopped late nights. I cut out everything that didn’t help boxing. Does taking out lots of women help boxing? No? Then, cut it out. Does going to this party help boxing? No? Then cut it out. And when I cut out all the negatives, it began to happen.”
As if this Wikipedia celebration of Joshua would not satisfy the perpetual doubter, the GQ magazine restates what’s already public knowledge worldwide: “He is a warrior and a gentleman who insists on treating his opponents with respect before and after the fight.”
Even though the man behind the setting of the second largest telecom firm in Nigeria, Glo, Mike Adenuga, cannot be described in pugilistic terms as a warrior, he shares the same psychic drive of the warrior and gentleman boxer, Anthony Joshua.
Born April 29, 1953, (aged 66 this month) in Ibadan, Oyo State, Adenuga is a Nigerian billionaire businessman, and the second richest person in Nigeria. His company is the second largest telecom operator, and has presence in Ghana and Benin.
Adenuga has also been an obstacle-buster like the boxing champion of the world. After obtaining his Higher School Certificate (HSC), he worked as a taxi-driver to help fund his university education and graduated from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Pace University, New York, with degrees in Business Administration.
Nobody in the federal government, till today, has explained why a Nigerian investor was treated so shabbily as Adenuga, when he ventured into the highly risk-prone and capital-intensive incipient telecom sector in Nigeria. In 1999, Mike Adenuga was issued a conditional licence. And it was revoked and he lost a humongous sum to the revocation of the “conditional licence.” But, he didn’t stay down.
After the revocation of the first payment for the same license, he paid again and received a second one when the government held another auction in 2003. His telecom company, Globacom, spread quickly and started challenging the giant South African telecom group ahead of his firm.
Glo Mobile, the Nigerian multinational telecom company was founded on August 29, 2003, by Mike Adenuga. As of June 2019, the company has employed more than 5,000 people worldwide, with over 45 million subscribers, making it the second largest operator in Nigeria.
It has also been committed to being in the corner with its valued subscribers, by deploying the Glo 4G for the widest spread and coverage by any telecom operator in Nigeria, its sponsorships of sports, entertainment and the high-impact CNN African Voices.
He was named African Entrepreneur of The Year at the African Telecoms Awards (ATA), in August 2007.
Of course, it was not such a smooth-sailing tale all the way for this most self-effacing of corporate barons. In 2012, he was made Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) by the government of Nigeria. In 2016, Ghana offered him its highest award of Companion of the Star of Ghana (CSG), while in 2017, France made Adenuga a Knight of the Legion of Honour (Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur) and was elevated to the level of Commander of the Legion d’honneur within eight months, rather than the 13 years statutorily reserved for the promotion. Does anyone still have any doubts why global champions glow and inspire millions of us across planet earth?
•EZEANAH, a multiple award-winning poet and former Editor, Sunday Monitor newspaper, is CEO Paradigm City Publishing, Abuja.