Otunba Allan Oyesanya

What Was The Vision Behind Mars?

Our mission in vision, from the outset, was to change the contours of the pools business by maintaining a very high standard of transparency and reliability that will give stakers absolute value for their money and efforts. The football pools we promote is just like the pools in England and the typical pools done in pools shops around the streets, but in a very unique way. The journey started more than four decades ago and there has never been a going back. We have consistently set a pace in the industry our competitors have had no choice but to imitate. That is why we have always been ahead of others, leading the way for them to follow. If it is pools and it is not Mars, it can never be Mars.


What Makes Mars Different From Other Pools Brands?

Mars as a planet, without any iota of doubt, provides the best hope of survival for mankind outside earth. But that is not what makes us special. And the name was not even coined from that planet. MARS is an acronym for Money Always Ready for Stakers. And that stands us out from all other promoters, because a staker, stakes to make money. Mars is the first pools promoter in Nigeria and Africa to go online in September 2007. And we are the first promoter in the world to allow pools enthusiasts stake their coupons by sms. At Mars, we believe that people who see us as a reliable platform to better their societal status deserve every opportunity to become rich without much stress. And that is why we keep introducing new exciting products, like the Super7, where you could become a millionaire with an investment of just N1000. We give our stakers the comfort and convenience to place their stakes from anywhere at any time in confidence and privacy. What you do with your investments and what you make from it should be your concern.

What Were The Major Challenges Mars Encountered At Inception?

When we started the online pools promotion in 2007, the major challenge was the issue of trust. We went online, at a point, when the average Nigerian staker was finding it difficult to trust pools promoters on the ground, whom they had been dealing with for decades and who were finding it difficult to pay winnings. The major fear was that if the promoters you can see, were finding it so difficult to meet their obligations, what will be their fate in the hands of what they called a faceless promoter. Also, the spate of scams being perpetrated by Nigerians online didn’t help matters. But, with persistence, we have been able to prove our worth to warm our way into the hearts of so many stakers. The list of promoters who had forayed into the online pools business and had fallen by the wayside is a clear testimony of the challenges very inherent in the business. But we thank God for everything.

Where And Where Are You In Nigeria?

Mars has a presence that spreads across the nooks and crannies of Nigeria. We are virtually everywhere. And like the Yorubas will say, “Odu ni wa, aki se aimo fun oloko” And with all sense of modesty, I can boldly tell you that we are known by more than 85% of the stake holders in the pools business in Nigeria and beyond.

Why Is Mars Not A Popular Brand In Ogun State?

Actually it’s not that we don’t have a presence in the state. In 2009, we secured a license to operate as a pools promoter in the state, having satisfied all the statutory requirements. And we operated in the state, until the business environment of pools in the state forced us to suspend operations. We found it hard to cut corners, then, like other promoters were doing. Mars does not believe in shifting the posts when the match has already started. But thank God we are making every efforts, now, to fully resume pools promotions in the state based on the favourable signals we are getting. And we are making Ijebu land a pivot of this rejuvenation.

Can We Describe Pools As Gambling?

The word gambling is a very subjective matter. In England, where football pools started about a century ago, pools does not fall under the Gambling legislation. Pools betting should be seen like playing the lottery or taking part in one form of raffle or the other, which today have become integral parts of our national life. And on a more critical note, winning football pools doesn’t actually rely on pure luck. You can use statistical analysis, reasoning, skill and judgement, in predicting the outcome of a football match before placing a stake. And honestly, this puts football pools betting in the same league with stock trading, each with its different  elements and degrees of risks. Life we must all agree is a wide expanse of risk itself. But we must always be cautious when we take risks.

Are Pools Stakers Truly Irresponsible?

I disagree with that. I would have reeled out names and names of our customers that have made it very big through pools on our platform. But that would be a violation of our Private Policy rule. I don’t know of other promoters, but an overwhelming percentage of our customers are very responsible. We have a reasonable clientele base made up of respected and accomplished members of the society who see pools as an investment channel and Mars as the platform to expand their financial coast.

Do You Play Pools?

Yes I do. And I stick religiously to the Mars tenets of social and moral responsibility. “At Mars, we believe people must engage in pools betting responsibly. Money you have budgeted for personal issues should never be invested in pools. Never use the money for your house rent on pools. Don’t ever use your kids’ school fees on pools Don’t ever dispose your property because you want to stake.”

Why Do Some Promoters Find It Hard To Pay Winnings?

Honestly, we may need to ask such promoters, what the problem is. As far as Mars is concerned, the payment of winnings has never been an issue with us. And our teeming customers will readily attest to that. Mars came into the pools business with a focus and we remain focused on our mission.

What  Message Will You Want To Pass Across To Your Customers?

To our prospective customers, I will use the Yoruba saying: “Danwo lo bi iya okere”. The taste of the pudding is in the eating. Until they try Mars, they won’t know what they are missing. Mars remains the best partners for serious stakers who want to make money from pools and who won’t want stories when they win, because Mars does not tell stories when it comes to winning. Transparency and reliability remain our watchwords. And to our committed customers, I want to let them know that we really appreciate their patronage. We will always thrive to beat their expectations. They will always have extra value for every naira they put into Mars.




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