DAVID OYEDEPOInterestingly, motivational speaking in Nigeria began in the church.And authoritatively, I can tell you that Bishop David Olaniyi Oyedepo pioneered in the late 80s and early 90s.He had been heavily influenced by Dr. Mike Murdock’s books and teachings and began infusing Murdock’s style of preaching and philosophy into his faith-based teachings.Do you remember the era of ‘quotes and inspirational rhymes’ by the Bishop in the 1990s?In the early 1990s when Oyedepo arrived Lagos from Kadunna, one of his huge selling points was his Business and Motivational Seminars that attracted thousands of people to his Inyana Paja auditorium in Lagos.

About that same period, a certain young man broke out from Rhema Chapel pastored by Rev. George Adegboye, popularly called the walking bible. That young man’s name was Sam Adeyemi. Rather follow the conventional pattern of preaching up a storm or dazzling people with scriptural quotations like his former boss, he went motivational .

In 1994, he began a 15 minutes program on Eko FM Lagos sponsored by Mutual Alliance, an insurance company. One would not forget that lovely intro when he would say: “Hello, I am SAM ADEYEMI”SAM ADEYEMI

Even till today a lot of people still don’t know that Sam Adeyemi runs one of the fastest growing churches in Nigeria with over 5 services and 20,000 members. Later, he reduced the radio program to 5 minutes and took over sole sponsorship.

By 1995, a journalist by the name Sunny Obazu-Ojeagbase began a monthly magazine called SUCCESS DIGEST. It focused on business development for start-ups and small scale business owners. Later, he began to run business and internet based seminars. Through that platform, a lot of Business and Motivational speakers emerged.

People like Akin Alabi, Olatunde Samson, Henry Omenogor, Iyabo Oyawale and many more can be traced to the SUCCESS DIGEST wave. This wave lasted from 1999 to about 2009. Today, though still operational, the move has dwindled.SUNNY DIGEST

In 1999, a third class Biology Education student of the University of Ilorin started a publication called Achievers’ Manual. It contained several motivational stories, especially of top Nigerian  figures like Larry Izamoje, Pat Utomi, Bunmi Oni, Christopher   Kolade and many others. This young man is Ubong Essien.

Ubong Essien’s magazine became an instant success with distribution all over Nigeria. It was he who began to help people see the professionalism of motivational speaking. He went on to become a top motivational speaker and consultant to many companies in Nigeria.

Ubong Essien made NSA, National Speakers Association, in America come to Nigeria. NSA is a body that has Brian Tracy, late Zig Ziglar,Late Jim Rohn Les Brown, Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE- Award Winning Speaker, Executive… and many others as members

It was Ubong Essien that clearly distinguished between motivational speaking and preaching. ubong Essien

Today, Ubong Essien is the only CSP(Certified Speaking Professional) in Nigeria, as at the time of this writing. That means he classed with motivational greats like Les Brown – Mamie Brown’s Baby Boy , Willie Jollie, Brian Tracy and all the greats we know of.

About that same year, a young man started working with a consulting firm called PHILIPS CONSULTING. His name is fela DUROTOYE . After serving for a while there and learning the ropes, he went solo and started moving from banks to banks, companies to companies plying his motivational speaking trade.

Perhaps he is the most successful, non-pastor, motivational speaker in Nigeria. According to him, in 2011, he had 1,100 speaking invitations and had to reject many. One organization actually bought 55,000 copies of his motivational books at N2500. That was when he made his first $1 million dollars(N150 Million).

Fela Durotoye became the commercial success of the motivational speaking industry. fela durotoye

He also has influenced a number of young speakers today, worthy of mention is the instant success Steve Harris. Steve Harris, a 2 times university drop out yet corporate sell out, is a protege of Fela Durotoye.

These people have also built the motivational speaking industry in Nigeria.  Mentionable is pastor Matthew A. Ashimolowo. He brought Dr. Mike Murdock and Dr. Myles Munroe  in 2002 to Nigeria. The twosome, though with obvious religious tilt, created a massive wave back then.

Also to be mentioned is Pastor Bimbo Odukoya In 1992, she began a singles and married motivational program on TV that was a massive success.Her motivational style was relational and she pioneered that area in Nigeria.

Praise George also made a name with small motivational and relational books in the late 1990s into the early 2000s. When I interviewed him earlier this year in Lagos, he told me that he had published more than 50 books!

Other motivational speakers who have shaped this industry are : Leke Alder, the brand guru and speaker; Niyi Adesanya, the leadership consultant(a protege of Sam Adeyemi) ; Uju Onyechere, one of Nigeria’s most syndicated columnist and speaker; Adeolu Akinyemi, the network marketing guru and speaker and many others

Today, there are very many motivational speakers in Nigeria. Most of them run churches, only a selected few do it the way it is done in America.

It is important that I  note that the motivational speaking is an industry just like the comedy, acting and music industry. Of the four:it is the least developed. Mostly because most motivational speakers turn mostly to religion…and corporate organizations rarely invite religious ministers to give motivational  talks.

Unfortunately, there is no association – credible or nationally recognized association – of motivational speakers in Nigeria. Other industries have. Perhaps because most people who get into motivational speaking think it is preaching or don’t clearly understand it.

I hear some people say : “we don’t need motivation in Nigeria”. How so myopic. The motivational speaking industry in America is about 200 years old. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Orison Swet, Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale, Earl Nightingale and many others pioneered it in America, and America’s success is because they are a highly motivated society.

Nigeria needs more motivation, more motivational speakers.
If you want to know how to be one, send SPEECH POWER to 2348187133153 or to and I will get back to you.

Stay motivated!



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