Damouche and Agbaje: Two Men, One Vision

Different people have different visions for their cities. Some want to create jobs. Some want to improve the standard of living. Others want to solve traffic headaches. For two friends, Adedamola “Damouche” Layade and Adewale Agbaje, the mission is quite simple. They want to re-establish Ibadan as a powerhouse and restore its glory days using nothing but their vast knowledge in the world of entertainment and business acuity.

Given what you are known for around the city, one might be tempted to call you event planners.

What we are is a whole lot more than that. We have a company called Hams Universal Consulting that deals with project management, event consultancy, brand consultancy even business development (for more info, visit www.hucnigeria.com). There are four of us who started the company – two are based in Lagos while we both are here in Ibadan. Our business model involves promoting different enterprises in South-West Nigeria but our own primary focus is Ibadan.

Which known projects have you guys handled in the past?

We were on the team that handled Rauf Aregbesola’s digital marketing and branding campaign/inauguration; we were project managers for ‘Chilling with Ajimobi’, a "round table" forum that held last year; we handled the last edition of Laffmattaz. We organise our own events. Last year, we had Groove at the Park and Grill at the Park that held at Agodi Gardens. Also, we have been running the Ibadan Music Industry Night with Rolake Bello for about three years.Why the interest in Ibadan?

Why the interest in Ibadan?

We have practically lived all our lives here and so for us, there is a whiff of sentiment involved, you can even call it a bias. Our interest stemmed from what the city used to be which was the glory and the pride of the South-West. What we dream of is creating situations where we can restore the golden days.

What has been the major hindrance to the mission?

The problem with the city is that its reputation as a ‘retirement home’ precedes it.  Despite having an enabling population and being an emerging market, brands sponsorship for events happening in the city do not support these figures. Things such as this limit the profit margin here but obviously overhead is low compared to other places around so that makes up for the gap.

What do you make of Ibadan as an entertainment hub?

As a nation, we have gotten certain things wrong. Success is now measured financially. So in a situation where you don't monetize success, then there will be no reason to leave here. Part of our long term goals is creating a situation where shows are sold out and an artist can actually sell over a million cds or legal downloads. The government needs to step up for the entertainment industry here as is the case in eastern states.

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