Starting a small enterprise with its attendant challenges was enough to make Lanre Makun, the CEO of Lanre Makun Events, quit business. But today, he heads a fast growing event management outfit in Lagos.
In this interview, Lanre Makun, who is the younger brother of a famous entertainer and showbiz maestro, Ayo Makun (popularly known as AY), bares his mind on the fundamentals of running an event management business in Nigeria as against international best practices.
Basically, I worked and still work under my brother AY, the comedian and I manage his events in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and London. That was how it all started and I must say today, I learnt all I am doing in business from AY, because I am the production head of AY Show, till date. I didn’t see it coming at all. I suddenly realised that I could actually put events together for comedians and musicians because I learnt so much about events planning and management from AY who is a multiple award winner. He is also very creative and talented. I got to know so many things from him and that is what I am doing today because I understand the business of entertainment. I have been into other things more. As it stands now, I also have a boutique called Dressing Room at Surulere. I have opened another one in Lekki where we run a spa and all that has to do with beauty for both genders. I am still the production head of the AY Show and I’m the stage manager of the live show. I still have a lot to do if I am not doing this, like managing show businesses, managing artistes and providing artistes for those who organise events.
First, you must understand the game. You need to understand the business of entertainment. I can assure you that AY understands entertainment and that’s the secret of his success. It is God that has given him the wisdom and talent but he also understands what God is asking him to do and that’s why he is getting it right. There is a way to stage a show at Eko Hotels and AY understands that very well. I learnt that from him and fast too. Today, I understand what it takes to achieve a successful show.
I cannot tell you how much I make in the business because my priority right now is to make a statement. Doing it right is my major drive in business. I don’t put money first. In whatever I want to do, passion is all that is key to me and the money definitely falls into place. Whenever I am on a project, I don’t say this is what I am expecting from it. What I am always after is the success of the event and what I get after is cool by me. I can only say that my biggest contract so far is the Warri Again concert convened by the NFF President, Mr. Amaju Pinnick. Over the years, I have been opportuned to work with Mr. Eddy Lawani, because AY was not around as he was the one that packaged the event for Lawani before he went to shoot his movie, 30 Days in Atlanta. He just told him that he would send me, his younger brother, to them. They said they didn’t believe in me and AY told them I am the one behind the success of all his events. AY insisted that I went, even if it was to play a supportive role. After the event, which was a success, as I was the one that stage- managed it with the support of Eddy Lawani. When they wanted to do the next show, Mr. Amaju Pinnick called me to come in. His brother-in-law told him that he felt I know about stage management and that was how they thought of giving me the contract.
They said I should write my proposal and when I did, they said I gave them exactly what they had in mind. We brought the likes of Ashanti and Ja Rule and I was the stage manager. We worked with the likes of P-Square, Flavour, Timaya, Mavin Crew, Wizkid, Davido and all the best comedians in town. We did that that year and that was how it kept coming. That, I will say, is my biggest so far. The next is the one I have been doing with Akpororo at Eko Hotels and it has always been a success too. I also did the Mc Galaxy album launch in Uyo and that was a success also because former governor Godswill Akpabio was there and appreciated us so much and thanked us for deeming it fit to bring the event to Akwa Ibom State. MC Shakara and MC Acapella events too are great events that I have managed so far.
Sincerely speaking, I can’t really tell. It’s those that employ me that can tell you what they see in me. It’s like a man going for a particular woman. Nobody knows what he likes in the woman, not even the woman herself until the man starts to tell her. We all have our styles of doing things and you just go for whatever you like about us. If you feel that Lanre Makun Events is best for you, you go for me. It is like musicians. If you want Igbo audience, you go for Phyno; if you want Yoruba audience, you go for Olamide. If you want the mix of the audience you get both Olamide and Phyno.
One of my challenges is having to still work with AY. I work with him and I earn salaries. Combining the work and my business is so challenging and I must commend AY for his support. He’s the type that wants everybody around him to succeed in business, not just his brothers. Many of us his staffers are doing big things for ourselves now. AY is the type that encourages you to do your own thing and earn a living for yourself. I would say he is the reason the business is still thriving and I want to thank him for that opportunity.
I have a very big dream. In the next few years, I want to see myself being the number one showbiz entrepreneur in the country. That’s my wish and prayer. I believe I have enough resources to make me attain that very height in business because the resources I have are very strong and that is God, for a start. I can boldly say I can encourage my kids to go into this business, someday. Why not? If that is their passion and if talented along that line. Why not? The reason AY allowed me in his team is because he saw that I’m passionate about it, not necessarily because I am his brother. He could have said ‘why don’t you do something else?’
The truth about the matter is that Nigeria is moving forward. I cannot compare Nigeria with other developed countries that have been making it big. Nigeria is still coming up. Ten years ago, it was never like this because there was not even enough money to manage an event. But now, I will say that we are gradually moving forward. For someone like me to come out from somewhere and start the business and today, I have people everywhere asking for my services, it means there is future in the business.
I will first advise that they draw closer to God, because He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Just let Him direct your steps because if you have Him, everything else would fall into place. Ensure you let Him direct you and you should just do your best in whatever you are doing. Sometimes, people would be there to discriminate against you and say that you don’t have what it takes to put up a successful event. Don’t ever give up. See what they tell you as a challenge and be keen on proving a point to them. If you have that mentality, then things will come out well.
I mention my brother always, because he is that type and whatever you tell him he cannot do, he dares to do. The challenge that he cannot put up with a great movie made him go on to produce the movie 30 Days in Atlanta and it became the best movie in Nigeria and even in West Africa. Everybody is still talking about the movie. It means that, sometimes, when people discourage you, don’t mind them at all. In a little time, you will see yourself being celebrated.