How Muslims can explore limitless opportunities amidst daunting business terrain
DOING business in Nigeria could be very frustrating, nerve racking and nerve cracking. It is indeed a terrain for the lion heart.
Therefore Muslim scholars at the just-concluded yearly reunion convention of the Obafemi Awolowo University Muslim Graduates’ Association (UNIFEMGA), identified key areas to be exploited by Muslims who aspire to successfully hold an entrepreneurial flag in the country.
The National President, (UNIFEMGA), Prof. Abdulwahab Egbewole, who set the ball rolling, raised some hypothesis about doing business in Nigeria.
“How do you explain or cope with everyday fall in naira compared with the dollars? How do you accommodate the constant perennial power failure if you want to be magnanimous, it is real non-availability of power and permanent dependence on generating set? How should Muslim navigate the business terrain? How do you define your business in the face of daunting corruption and don’t lose your identity as a Muslim?” he asked.
The public lecture featuring erudite lawyer and business mogul, Dr. Wale Babalakin, as guest speaker and award of scholarship to outstanding 59 students last Saturday were major highlights of the three-day outing.
In attendance also were, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Association, Alhaji Rafiu Ebiti; Chairman of the occasion, who is also Secretary General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Prof. Is-aq Oloyede; Chief Imam of OAU Central Mosque, Prof. Abubakar Sanusi; Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics, OAU, Prof. Abayomi Salami, who represented the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Tale Omole; Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State was represented by Engr. Basir Lawal; Alhaji Ahmed Tunde Popoola, Alhaji Abdul Waheed Odeyimka among other dignitaries.
The lecture with the theme: “Challenges of Doing Business in Nigeria: The Muslim Options” also had the Economist, Mr. Ahmed Popoola who is the Managing Director and Chief Executive officer of CRC Credit Bureau Limited, as a lead discussant.
The Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, urged the association to continue to be the best to the country and the society at large. Noting that what can prosper a nation is proper planning, the don enjoined the association to always embark on programmes that could help the faith as all the programmes that could help are gradually fading away.
He stressed that trade and commerce is recommended by the Quran, indicating that Islam encourages people to involve in commerce.
To have a successful business, Oloyede attributed it to key factors such as obedience, validation, quality control, documentation and data gathering, proficiency, capability, consultation and contingency that is in whatever you are doing you must have a plan B .
He also gave some guidelines in running a successful enterprise that as a businessman, you should avoid monopoly, dishonesty and shun dishonesty, unlawful business practice and fraudulent practices.
And for those who see business as a risk venture, Oloyede advised that they should have a rethink because every facet of life is a risk and above all “You cannot accumulate if you don’t speculate,” he concluded.
Discussant of the lecture and Managing Director, CRC Credit Bureau Limited, Alhaji Ahmed Tunde Popoola praised the guest lecturer for his enlightenment and also enjoined Muslims to go into commerce.
He said: “Nigeria is the seventh most populous country in the world but in terms access to finance has always been an impediment as most financial institutions prefer to give credits to highly rated customers and conglomerate. While micro finance institutions are scared of providing to a highly risk customers.”
According to him, Nigerians are very interested in business. 80 per cent of them have perception that they would go into business but some of these businesses collapse after five years of its operation.
To Popoola, the first challenge of doing business in Nigeria is to challenge the government that if we want Nigeria to be one of the leading 20 economies in the world, government should provide an enabling environment. In the developed world in is the private business that moves the business.
And can we get to change the way we do business? Popoola explained that is by providing funds and sound human development. Networking is also keys as learning under the feet of successful business men on how they succeed will help the incoming ones.
The Chairman of Bi-Courtney Construction Company, Babalakin highlighted some of the challenges in managing business in Nigeria, saying: “as a nation we need to re-organise in a way that will encourage development of knowledge, application of knowledge, fidelity to contract and generally ensuring that we support the template that can lead to universal development. I am a lawyer by profession, an aspiring scholar and I have a hobby which is doing business,” he said.
Going down memory lane, Babalakin said, failure of a nation starts not only in doing business alone, but when she fails to pay attention to what it has.
Citing OAU as an example, he said: “University of Ife was built in the 60s/70s when resources were scarce but sadly this is 2015 it has not been replicated. We should be worried. Each time I am called to talk I am sad because of the situations in Nigeria”.