How to Play the Talking Drum in Seven Days

How to Play the Talking Drum in Seven Days
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Sunday, 15 August 2021



She was born on June 27, 1976.

She is a Nigerian entrepreneur and lawyer.

She is the founder and CEO of Zapphaire Events Group in 2002.

She is regarded as one of Nigeria's pioneering event planners.

She is the author of the Essential Bridal Handbook.

She has hosted many national and international conferences and workshops on event management.

She was an elder sister and only sibling to the late radio personality, musician and spoken word artist, Tosin Bucknor, who died a few years ago from sickle cell illness.


"Be your authentic self. Be genuine.

'Do not try to be someone else.

'Whatever you want to do, you must know your 'WHY'.

'Who are your customers?

'Who are your target audiences?

'What is your business about?

'Perfect your craft.

'Be consistent.

'Be focused but change your strategy when necessary.

'Find out what you can do differently at all times. Go back to the drawing board to re-invent yourself always.

'Surround yourself with a good network of people.

'Determine your values before you even start your business.

'INTEGRITY - It is not only about stealing money. It is also about doing what you say you will do for your client.


1. Everybody cannot like you. Even those who like you may not like you the way you think.

2. Learn from your mistakes. There will be mistakes with hiring your staff, marriage, friends, etc.

3. Know when to tell your stories. Tell your stories after you have overcome obstacles.

4. Obstacles will always come. Be ready to tackle and overcome them.

5. There is purpose in pain but there is always light at the end of a tunnel.

'Be kind to people.

'Be passionate about what you do.

'I was always a jovial child.

'When it came to choosing a course to study at the university, I did not know what I wanted to do but I was sure that I did not like mathematics but my parents wanted me to do a prestigious course like engineering, medicine, accounting, law, etc.

'I opted for law because it did not really require mathematics. So, I thought.

'Before sitting for SSCE, P7 was the minimum requirement to study law.

'Unforfunately, when it got to my set, C6 became the minimum requirement and I had a P7 in mathematics.

'So, I bought a GCE form and passed with a C6 which enabled me to get an admission in that year.

'From year one till I graduated, I did not like law but I kept on passing my courses.

I kept pushing on hoping that by the time I got to law school, I would begin to like it but that was not the case.

'Eventually, I completed law school and immediately I knew that I did not want to be a lawyer.

'Whilst in school, at the 

University of Lagos, I assisted my friends to organize their birthdays and other events but I did not know how to turn it into a business.

'The idea came after I watched THE WEDDING PLANNER starring Jennifer Lopez and that was when I knew that this is what I was born to do!

'I started going to the cyber cafe to make my researches.

'There was no mentor to guide me as no one was offering this service at that time.

'After school, I graduated to assisting my friends with their wedding events and other events.

'I simply thought that it would be a good idea to relieve people of the stress that they go through whilst preparing for their events.

'My character of being an outgoing person goes with the personality needed for an event planner.

'Zapphire Events is nineteen years old this 2021.

'I have worked for different clients. Inclusive in my list of clients is the daughter of Dangote.

'I planned her wedding.

'She sent for me and I had to go through different protocols before I could meet her one on one.

'She said that she had heard about me about five years ago before we eventually met and had penned down my name for the future.

'People are watching you.

'They may not patronize you now but they are watching you.

'So,put your best foot forward all of the time.

'Some of your clients will be stubborn.

'Do not complain or lament that they are the cause of the problem.

'Simply apologize to them even if you are correct and move on.

'Once a client of mine wanted to do an eight-course meal.

'They are Deltans and so Banga and starch would be part of the eight-course meal.

'I advised that an eight-course meal was too much and that we should do between a three and five-course meal.

'The client remained adamant.

'I obliged her and we did an eight-course meal which the guests hated.

'Still, she blamed me for the meal flop but I apologized.

'After the event, I sent her bouquet of flowers and a sorry note.

'She was surprised.

'Afterwards, I got about five more events from her family and friends.

'Be humble.

'Humily pays in this business.

'Thank you."


Musically yours,

DJ Irawo




Leke Alder is the Founder & Principal of Alder Consulting, Nigeria’s leading creative intelligence firm with offices in Lagos and London.

He is credited with introducing branding as a discipline to Nigeria and has consulted on policy, politics and business at the highest levels locally and internationally.

He has consulted on policy the formulation for the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Federal Ministries of Information & Communication, Education, Foreign Affairs and Solid Minerals Development, among others.

He has also consulted on political strategy and communication campaigns at national and sub-national levels.

Leke Alder wrote the blueprint for Nigeria’s image management programme – the Heart of Africa project and was the Chief Consultant to the Federal Government on the project.

He was appointed by the Federal Government to the Board of Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and was Chairman of the Board Tenders Committee as well as Chairman of the Communications Committee. 

He served on the Board for 4 years.

He was a member of the Steering Committee for the World Economic Forum on Africa, held in Nigeria and the Chairman, Sub-Committee on Media, Host Broadcasting & Advertising.

Leke Alder has been a member of the organising committee of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG) and a Member of the Board of Trustees of Day Waterman College.

He has served as a panelist at the Annual Africa Business Conferences of Harvard Business School, Wharton Business School and Kellogg School of Management.

He was a speaker at the Financial ADFocus Conference, South Africa as well as Leadership Forum, Ghana.

He was a guest lecturer at the School of Media & Communications (SMC), Pan African University (now Pan Atlantic University) and guest speaker at the university’s Entrepreneurial Development School(EDS).

He was also guest speaker at conferences held by the Nigerian Bar Association and Women in Management & Business (WimBiz).

He has spoken at The Platform conference several times.

He is the author of several books and was the host of a weekly radio business programme, Minding Your Business with Leke Alder on 92.3 Inspiration FM, Lagos.

Leke Alder is a lawyer, polymath and philanthropist.

His photographs and furniture designs have raised millions of Naira for nine orphanages supported by his foundation – Leke Alder Foundation. The Foundation has impacted over one hundred and twenty lives.

He is a patriotic Nigerian who is married to Morenike and has two children: Olamide and Toluwani.

(I read about Leke Alder in 2009 when I was surfing the internet in preparation for my audit consulting business which never took off. My plans of meeting him were not successful until yesterday.



"It is more impactful to tell stories for the purpose of teaching and mentoring and that is what I am going to tell you today.

'Nigeria is a predatory system where everyone is trying to bring you down: the economy, government policies, family, supposed friends and other factors but you must not give up.

'The gain is not now but in the future. It will come.

'Make money and scale. Do not spend earned money anyhow.

'Spend according to your earnings and from your profit.

'Do not compare your income with that of anyone.

'There can be no glory without trials.

'I went through trials before I got to where I am today.

'Some problems are peculiar to Nigeria.

'An example is envy.

'No business school is going to teach you about envy.

'As you are progressing up the ladder of success, those who never believed in you or who did not care about you or how you started will begin to envy you just for existing.

'You must learn how to deal with that.

'Do not marry someone who cannot manage your future.

'Marry right!"

(When Leke mentioned this, I screamed, "Yes o!" I must have looked stupid to my co-mentees but he who wears the shoes knows where they pinch.

'My ex-husband was my number one competition. He was always threatened by my successes).

"Once again, I say, 'Marry right!'

'I have been married twice.

'My first marriage lasted for twenty years.

'I did all that I could to save that marriage because I did not want to be a divorcee neither did I want to be seen as one or seen as a failure.

'I was depressed and I almost died in that marriage.

'In the end, I had to let it go because it threatened my peace of mind.

'I learnt that a man needs peace. Without peace, you cannot have a marriage.

'I remarried in 2012 to a wonderful woman and she has been of tremendous support to me and the Alder brand.

'Be meticulous in carrying out your services.

'Simply writing error-free content can get you to the top of your career.

'Let your market determine your faith. Provide goods and services that people want.

'No excuses!

'Have integrity!

'If you are smart, follow integrity. It will make you succeed in your business."

(I reiterate this on my wall all of the time. Integrity is key if you must succeed in business. Stop using false scales. Stop selling fake products as originals. Stop cheating people out of their hard-earned money).

"Integrity does not always have to do with money. It also has to do with keeping your word.

'There was a time that I was supposed to deliver training manuals to a company that I consulted for.

'This was during the early days of my consulting business.

'I was supposed to deliver the booklets the next day and a day before, there was no power supply at the printing press at Ṣómólú where the job was to be done.

'I decided to stay with the printer who did not have a generator so that once power was restored, my job would be the first to be printed.

'If I go home, another person's job would be done and I did not want that to happen.

'We decided to use the battery of my car to power the printing machine even though the result was slow but at least the job was getting done.

'After a while, power on the third street was restored. So, I suggested that we buy electric cables that could help tap power from the third street.

'As soon as that was done and we settled down to work, power on the third street went out and the power on the printing press street was restored.

'We quickly worked on the job to bring it to completion.

'Immediately after the job was completed, I went home, took my bath and set out to deliver the job to my client.

'I knew that I had already lost the profit on the job because of all the unforeseen expenses that I had incurred in completing it but I did not want to disappoint my client.

'In the morning, I delivered the job and never mentioned a word to my client about my troubles in bringing the job to completion."


1. Never give excuses.

2. There is no need to explain the troubles that you had to go through in bringing a job to completion.

"Having integrity will make people trust you.

'There was a time that the auditors of a bank listed my company as one of the defaulters.

'The auditors made public the names of other individuals and organizations excluding mine.

'They came to me privately and asked what the problem was because they knew that it was not in my character to default in such matters.

'I was able to make good the payment within six months.

'Be humble.

'Shortly after NYSC, a woman organized this kind of conference and invited my friends and I to attend it.

'I cajoled my friends to attend it but they said that they had better things to do.

'So, I attended the conference alone.

'Since that day, consulting had been ringing in my head but I did not know how to go about starting it because at that time, nobody was doing it.

'When I thought of starting out, people wondered how I would get paid for selling my knowledge.

'They laughed at me.

'So, I abandoned that idea and went on to become a lawyer.

'I worked my way up and almost got to the position of a SAN but I decided to quit because that was not my passion.

'I resigned and whilst still trying to discover what I really wanted to do, I became broke.

'Then I decided to start drawing, painting and designing greeting cards and picture frames.

'I sold my artworks from the boot of my car.

'The idea for the consulting business came back again and I decided to go for it.

'From the money that I made from selling my artwork, I decided to start my consulting business."


Your original talent may be a stepping stone for your real money-making talent.

The art and painting talent paved way for the branding and creative intelligence consulting which Leke started off with.

"This year, one of the friends whom I pleaded with to attend that conference asked me for money.

'He is not doing well financially.

'I had to oblige him because he is my friend.

'When I started out as a consultant, I was earning about N5,000, N10,000 then N20,000 then N100,000 until I started charging up to N75 million and above in Naira and foreign currencies.

To have a sustainable business, design an economic model for it.

No economic model, no business, no money.

So, I will leave you with these points:



3. PERSIST (Don't give up)


5. DON'T BE STUPID (Don't pour kerosene on yourself and wait for your enemy to light the fire).


7. DON'T HOLD ON TO ANYTHING IN LIFE (Flashy things do not last)



10. IT NEVER ENDS (Spend at the level of your earning).

11. KNOW YOUR REAL FRIENDS (A friend is born for adversity).



Thank you.

(Leke Alder has made me to reconsider my stance on a second marriage.

I will try it one more time if I meet the right person.

Now, I am VERY PICKY but I am optimistic).


Musically yours,

DJ Irawo