by Hauwa Gambo
For more than one year, the rumour mill has been humming with the news that flamuoyant UK-based businessman and Guinness World Record holder, Alexander Amosu will be bringing British king of gossip, OK! Magazine to Nigeria.
Will it go toe to toe with Citypeople and Encomium, or will its competition be Ovation.
We haven’t been able to guess as its arrival has been slow. But we can now confirm that the magazine arrives next month!
Below is an article in the UK Guardian on Sunday by Hugh Muir. What do you think? Read it and share in the comment box!
I ask Alexander Amosu, 36, how it happened. Did he look at the computer screen in his room on that council estate and say, “Yes, that’s it. That’s the first million”? No, he says. “I knew it could make money. How much? I had no idea.” He loved his mobile phones, but couldn’t bear the ringtones. He wanted something a bit grittier, so he made his own urban version, based on Big Pimpin’ by Jay-Z. And then he did some for his brother’s friends. After a while he was in yet another business, but that wasn’t a surprise in itself. He had launched his first company when he was 15. Pretty soon he was rich.
So what has he done since? More hunches, more businesses, involving phones and ringtones, but also media, clothing, property, luxury goods. Diamond iPhones. A diamond Bluetooth headset for David Beckham. He is on the Sunday Times rich list and in the Guinness Book of Records for creating the world’s most expensive suit – yours for £70,000. Then there was the diamond-encrusted Blackberry Curve. Worth £240,000.
So what next? An unlikely alliance with Richard Desmond. On 9 March, Amosu will take the glammy, glossy mix of Desmond’s OK! Magazine to his family’s place of origin, Nigeria.
“OK! is in 25 countries around the world, but this is the first in Africa,” he says. “There is a lot riding on us to make it a success.”
He didn’t go to Nigeria until he was 15 and until then he viewed it as a place defined by poverty and tensions. “I had bought into a lie,” he says. “You go there and see the opportunities.” The rich are very rich, he says. He is taken with the polo clubs. “These are people who have £300,000 horses, and they have five or six of them.”
How will the OK! mix work in Nigeria? Well, already they have Pop Idol and Big Brother, but the formula will need a twist. They lean much more towards seriousness. “They like politicians, actors, musicians.” Less so, figures famous for being famous.
So he’ll fuse stuff about Brad Pitt and Angelina et al with glossy shots of names from Nigeria, and, if it works, it will sell. If it works, we may acquire a more balanced view of Nigeria. As much light and shade there as anywhere else.