A Day with Olusesan Ekisola, Raypower FM's Pioneer GM

by Tope Adeboboye

Life in America

In the last ten years, Ekisola has resided in the States. Did he just get tired of Nigeria? “Oh no,” he replies. “I first came here as a guest of the American government. I was taken around to see how broadcasting is organized here. I visited several radio and television stations and discussed with the stakeholders. Then I went back home. But then, we found out that it was not too safe for me. So the United States government gave me a waiver and allowed me to come back.”

And how has he fared since? The veteran broadcaster hesitates a little, shakes his head and smiles softly.

“You know the regular Nigerian thinks that America is God’s own country. So you think you will get here and start picking the dollar bills off the sidewalks. That never happened. When I came the first time, I was paid for travelling around. So I had thought it was going to continue like that. But no, it didn’t. I was on my own. Then little by little, things started falling into place. Yes, I walked through the valley of the shadow of death.”

Valley of the shadow of death

Things might be looking up now for the broadcaster. But initially, things weren’t particularly smooth. “When I came back, I called somebody and said; hey I would like to set up a radio station. And he said, are you a citizen? I said no. Then he said that’s not possible. You need to be a citizen first. So,before things started getting better, I did everything here. I drove cabs. I waited tables. I worked in factories. I did everything. Coming from Nigeria, you expected to be given some treatment. You thought all you had to do was call some people, then go and take up a job in some respectable office. That is never going to happen. So that was why I was going to set up a radio station, to explain to people back home. The last time I went, I still told them. I went early this year and spent three months. Before you can settle down here and be living from hand to mouth, you need at least three years. Then before you can be reckoned with in terms of money, you must have spent like eight fruitful years during which you must know what you are doing. If you don’t know what you are doing, then your sentence will be longer. And if you think you are very smart and you want to take the short cut, you will end up in jail. You see, what the authorities here have is time. They give you plenty of time. There was a Nigerian who went to school here, graduated and became an architect. He had a nice office in New York working with the city, apart from his own private business. Then he got into bad company and started selling drugs. These people followed him to Asia; got all the information they needed and followed him back to the United States. Right now, he’s serving thirty years to life.” He pauses.

“The reason why our people keep having these fantasies about America is because the American government spends billions of dollars to project their country as the ultimate paradise on earth. But when you get here, you discover that what you’ve been seeing on your TV back home is not the real America. People don’t tell the truth. But I’m not ashamed to say this is what I’ve gone through, as long as people learn something from it.”

No longer in the valley

But now, Ekisola has undergone tremendous transformation, away from those dry days in America’s wilderness, setting up his own business outfit and veering into the real estate sector. “We are managing,” he concurs, a little smile playing on his face. “Now I sell houses. I help people to buy and sell houses. Nigerians who want to purchase houses here can rely on me to discreetly do the necessary paperwork and make sure they get a good deal.”

How true are the stories flying around that he’s planning to float a magazine? “Very true,” he says. “We’ve tried a few things. We tried to set up a radio station, we’ve tried to do a TV show. But these things are not as easy as one had thought. We also planned to start a magazine. Now, when we sat down and looked at some of the issues involved, we decided on doing a newspaper first to gauge the response. Then we can go on to bigger things. We plan to cover four continents, South America, North America, Europe and Africa. We are trying on these things and see how they go.”

Please, stay home

Ekisola sure possesses a gregarious spirit, but he’s also blessed with a blunt tongue. Ask him to offer some advice to Nigerians with a good career back home but who are desperate on seeking better opportunities abroad and his counsel might shock you. “I will just tell them, stay at home”, he says. “People are not likely to take my advice. They will say this man is selfish. I have a nephew who was trying to come here. Before he came, I went to Nigeria to meet him. I told him, everything you’ve been seeing on the TV, it’s not going to happen. He didn’t believe me. When he got here, he expected the dollar bills to start flying. He was shocked. So if you have a good career back home and an opportunity to advance, my advice is, don’t abandon all that for the unknown. Please stay home.” And with that he stands up and walks briskly into the house, leaving a throng of thoughts rioting in the reporter’s mind.

(All photos from the Ekisola collection)

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Segun Adeyi August 22, 2011 - 12:27 pm

Where is Alex Conde please ? These guys need good recognition NOW !!!

My favourite DJ…Allllllllllleeeeeeeeeeeeeex Condi !

Segun Adeyi August 22, 2011 - 12:24 pm

I won LOADS of records too on that same saturday morning program “Write it With Music”. I still have most of those vinyls in my bedroom in Oyo. Sesan was such a HIGHLY TALENTED radio presenter. I think he should be a consultant to State / Federal Government on the establishment of radio communications infrastructures. Yeah, I went on to study in Rivers State, and Radio Rivers FM was phenomenal. OGBC gave them a great run for their money however !

Nicholas Awoyera February 13, 2011 - 12:33 am

I want Sesan to contact me. It has been a long time I spoke with me even during the days of my favorite DJ, Alex Conde.

Olowu September 4, 2010 - 11:36 am


I am sure you know who will pronounce your name like that, out of Chicago.

I am very proud of you Eki and I thank God for your life.

This was very interesting reading to me. It is early 6am Saturday morning and I just googled your name and this article, I mean three of them just showed up, and they were like sweet early morning coffee to me….They woke me up men…………

mike July 23, 2010 - 4:28 pm

On Sesan’s program on OGBC, more than 30 years ago, I used to win records with “Write it with Music”…

I still emember Sesan as being a highly talented presenter. Those were the days of Alex Conde

Mike Taiwo September 15, 2006 - 10:37 am

"Sir Eki" as we used to call him, Sesan Ekisola was two years my senior at "JOGS", Ijebu-Ode Grammar school. All I remembered of him before listening to his voice on OGBC FM2 was how during "literary and debating" he and other seniors would play different roles on what they would like to be when they become men. I am not sure, but I think his role then was that of a night soil man "Agbe po" which was very hillarious. I could hear him say, "when I become a man, a night soil man will I be". Today he isn't a night soil man but a man with a wealth of knowledge and ready to expand on whatever his horizon. This I believe he earned while passing through JOGS. I live in Lakeville, also a surburb of Minneapolis and I have encountered the veteran on many ocassions. I also want to advice brothers and sisters back home to think twice and listen before embarking on relocating abroad, not just the US. It isn't what you think. i have been there and I can relate to it.

UP JOGS!!! Non Nobis Domine

SMJ August 21, 2006 - 3:04 am

Very refreshing. Olu–sesan…Ekisoola. Hmm OGBC news. Gone are those days at the University of Agriculture Abeokuta (UNAAB). Under the tree (Abegi) at the Isabo campus, you listen to the golden voice of Sesan Ekisola and others. Isabo area of Abeokuta city became a bubling part of the town with students from Lagos, Ibadan, east, and the north.

Truly, Sesan Ekisola is one of those that make undergraduate life easy for those of us who like to listen to music. We study listen to Sesan's voice at the UNAAB Annex and at the main campus. When you hear the jingle that says "Olusesan Ekisola" in a feminine voice, be read to enjoy music whether you are at home or at the pepper soup joint at Onikolobo.

When we left Nigeria, some of us still ask about him and heard that he was with Ray Power.When we visit, we change the station to hear Sesan.

It's a surprise to hear that he finally joined us here in the United States, but we wish him all the best. Minneapolis will not be a good place for people of your caliber, New York or California will be a great place to live. There are more opportunities for people like you, all you need is to do some research and link with the right people.

You are a great person and please we want to hear that voice again. Good luck and this is a nice piece.

Femi Olawole August 19, 2006 - 6:14 pm

I must say…at last…this is a wonderful article. I had been wondering when someone would write about or do an interview about this great communicator. Having known his professional antecedents, I was not surprised at all by his down-to-earth responses to questions and his philosophical attitudes to life. I was especially grateful for the candid advises he gave to those at home who see America as another paradise that they must come to at all costs—including quiting good jobs or prospects in Nigeria.

And to the writer, thanks for a good job…please keep it up! You see…there are some of us Nigerians in the diasporas who are fed up with the daily menu of political articles and other balderdash that fill up the many Nigerian-oriented web sites these days. Most times, one can only wonder what's going on with those commentators going by their choices of articles and comments. We need something as refreshing as this article/interview…more so of a man with the type of experience as Olusesan Ekisola.

Again, please keep it up!!


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