This move into moments with Mo….. when that one came, I was concerned “Who are you going to tell, what are they going to think ….”
When Mo Abudu left her roles in the cooperate sector to dabble into entertainment at almost 40 years old, it was natural for many to conclude she was crazy for wanting to become “just a TV presenter”
Mo Abudu before Ebony life was your typical suited corporate mogul
She had a Successful job at Exxon Mobil as head of human resources, in Nigeria you know an oil company Job, is a job for life.
But Mo was restless, it felt as though life was calling on her to rise up and be more.
Against the counsel of many who asked her to stay back as head of human resources in Exxon Mobil- Mosumola Abudu left her plum job to become fully hands on with her side hustle – A human resources consultancy at a company she co- founded Vic Lawrence
years into her practice, she discovered her company was always in need of a training center, Eko hotels was always booked out with weddings and concerts- So she decided to build her own training center
Not that it was easy, she did not have the cash to build a training center- so she lobbied for partners until Protea hotel came on board – The result is a three-star hotel- Protea Hotel Oakridge Lekki Lagos, complete with a professional training center co- owned by Mo- Abudu. Another tick to her name after leaving Exxon Mobil
While busy in her cooperate sector, the desire to tell African stories became obsessive. Everyone was watching foreign shows like Oprah and Tyra banks, Mo felt it was time to make the content discussed in Oprah and Ellen’s show relevant to our environment
If a man is beating his wife, and she is a victim of domestic abuse, How is Oprah’s show in America going to help her overcome that battle in Nigeria?
There were many organisations in Nigeria dealing with victims of domestic abuse, but no one was talking about them
Mo Abudu took the bold decision to start a talk show- it was scary because she knew Absolutely Nothing about entertainment
At almost 40 she started training to become a talk show host
she got a friend in entertainment to teach her while she pretended to be hosting a show
Finally she went to London to study – her class mates were twenty-year olds- she was apparently the oldest in her class. She also binged watched all of Oprah’s video compilation.
After an extensive training, setting up for her show was not easy either
She had to learn everything : how to market for sponsors, set up a studio, and hunt for her first guest – Wole Soyinka.
Mnet rejected her many times, sponsors changed their minds at the last minute, but after a long roller coaster, Moments with Mo a pan African syndicated talk show was born.
Her show became a global success and her guests list expanded to include dignataries like Hillary Clinton, State Governors, Nigerian presidents and IMF boss Christine Lagarde
Ebony life TV
everything you know about Africa is about to change forever
After many years of moments with Mo, she was ready to launch a TV channel
Mo wanted to show the other reality of Africa outside the poverty-stricken images that existed- growing up in London, people asked her embarrassing questions about Africa. she wanted to change that perception.
Whenever Hollywood makes films about us, it’s 12 Years a Slave or The Butler or The Help. That is not the sum total of who we are as a people.
The only But problem was, she knew nothing about starting a TV channel
She contacted DSTV because her show moments with MO was already on their platform… the chase for a channel started.
After months of several rejections, planning, re-organizing, consultations and meetings with experts- DSTV gave her a slot channel 165
But there were two conditions- she had to go out and find a full year funding, in addition she needed to set up a fully functional studio
she started talking with banks, and possible partners to come on board with her to start her show.
When hard work and determination meets the grace of God: here is how Mo funded her channel
A friend invited her to interview the Governor of Cross rivers state, Liyel Imoke and his wife Obioma but she was very reluctant to go because she was busy looking for partners and funding for her TV channel
She finally agreed to interview the Governor of Cross Rivers State (after lots of pressure)
When she got to Cross River State, She sent out her very first tweet – Happy new year, lots of love from Calabar – A follower responded – how is Tinapa?
Out of curiosity She decided to drive around Tinapa to check it out for herself but on getting there it was empty
When it was time to meet the governor- that was the very first question she asked him- why is such a beautiful place like Tinapa empty . The question struck a chord, Liyel Imoke was desperate to tell the world how beautiful Tinapa was- and Mo was the vehicle to do just that .
on the foundation of that interview and discussions around growing Tinapa she found funding for her channel. Much later the Governor facilitated a 2.4 billion loan through first bank to kick start Ebony life.
Tinapa had an existing studio that was not in use – it was Win win for all.- Mo Abudu gets to use the studio and also gets funding for her channel, she will in turn create the much needed publicity for Tinapa and the Cross Rivers State project
July 1st 2013 – DSTV channel 165
Mo Abudu had successfully launched the first Pan African channel broadcasting to many African countries and across the world – The Nigerian and African TV landscape had been changed forever.
But MO Abudu remained restless in the Pursuit for the next big thing.
She has since diversified from TV to Ebony life Movies and ebony lifeON, a subscription service just like Netflicks
Last week, MO was back in the news for diversifying into Ebony-life Place which has 5 Cinemas
A complete lifestyle place with 5 cinemas, fine dinning restaurants, wedding halls, rooftop bar and a 20 room boutique hotel- there is no place like it in Nigeria at the moment
Take sometime to consider how much Mo Abudu has achieved within the last 10 years. Pay close attention- she pursued a grander vision, it was about filling the gaps, love for country, patriotism. She had visions that were not just about her……Now lets rise for a woman with some guts.