The Guardian’s special focus and Nigeria’s most impactful and award-winning CEOS in 2021: Part 2
How 4Point is Breaking Home Ownership Barrier Across Africa by Wale Olayanju
One of a few Nigerian business leaders whose tenacity and innovative thinking have set them apart as is Wale Olayanju, CEO, 4Point Property, one of Nigeria’s property development companies making a significant stride in creating affordable eco-friendly homes.
An alumnus of the University of Ilorin and the Lagos Business School, as well as management skills acquired from the Metropolitan School of Business and Management (United Kingdom), Marcforte Business Consulting, Wale is an astute business professional with over 13 years’ experience across construction, sales, communications and brand management among others. He was conferred Doctor of Science (D. Sc. Hons) Degree in Property Management & Estate Development by European American University in Republic of Panama in 2021. A consummate professional with a passion for excellence, Wale also doubles as the CEO of The Amari and Errandpadi Logistics.
Growth Strategies at 4Point Property
We are customer-centric and result driven. Our vision remains on creating value, from providing land ownership opportunities to investments and construction, we are committed to consistently creating new innovations in real estate that guarantees high return on investment.
Trust is a key driver of off-plan property sales, now of purchase, we are essentially selling a promise rather than a tangible product. Therefore, without trust, there would be no off-plan sales. There is a direct correlation between customer trust levels and the success of 4point Property. Trust can only be achieved through transparency in today’s digital era of immediate knowledge transfer. We always listen to the voice of our customers in addition to delivering on our promise. We consistently uphold affordability and high quality as a guiding principles in the delivery of all projects.
Moreover, we are committed to the highest levels of transparency in everything we do. Investors and stakeholders must be kept up to date on completion progress and allocation, company announcements, and any other information that is relevant and useful to them. This is what 4point has continued to focus on and this has been very key to our growth.
4Point contribution to Nigeria’s Housing Deficit
Affordability has been identified as a key barrier to home ownership in Nigeria, we were able to recognize this prevailing setback and proactively introduced an extended payment scheme that allows home owners and subscribers extend their payment up to 18 months at minimal mortgage rate. What makes customers the happiest, though, is a strong return on their investment. The convenient and flexible payment plans we created are put in place to cater to customer needs and are an adaptation to the changing market sentiment being guided by the growing interest in moving from rental living to owned homes. The Rose Gardens Series developed by 4point Real Estate are strategically located at Magboro, Aseese, Simawa, Orimerunmu and Mowe in Ogun State, Nigeria.
4Point in the future
We are committed to our international mission of developing lifestyles and enriching the lives of our residents with a focus on catalyzing the vision and development of the markets that we operate in. We intend to become the real estate developer of choice for the new generation, working together with the leadership of Nigeria and Africa to continuously innovate.
We foresee a future where Nigerians fully trust their development partners to deliver as promised because they can be trusted to keep their words, we foresee a Nigeria where property buyers confidently subscribe to off plan projects that are built to exact specification and delivered within the pre-communicated time without failure or excuses.
4point real estate is driving the reality of this future and with every milestone achieved we move one step closer to making it a reality.
ARMSTRONG AKINTUNDE: Giant Strides of a Human Dynamo, touching lives, providing homes
Like rivulets trickling down the cottage rack, so are landmark achievements in the life of young, affable housing merchant, philanthropist and politician, Armstrong ‘Tope Akintunde. His contributions in various capacities of human endeavour come in torrents, so much that government at all levels and corporate bodies find this Iperu-Remo-born real estate manager from Ogun State, a needed ally.
Indubitably, Akintunde is a fast-rising star who makes waves in the real estate industry. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Aerofield Homes, Lagos.
Apart from advancing the cause of affordable homes for the less-privileged, he has also made remarkable inroads into humanitarian efforts aimed at providing essential needs for Nigerians in his neighbourhood, and has in fact vowed to expand the frontiers of his goodwill.
The property merchant, who believes in the political emancipation of the people, has raised a formidable and strategic support group which now has over 5,000 membership. The mission statement of the support group is simply to empower the less-privileged and improve their socio-economic situation.
Keeping faith with that avowal in concert with persons of like mind, Akintunde recently distributed various empowerment tools to thousands of beneficiaries, in gratis. These items include 100 motorcycles, 100 grinding machines, 100 freezers, 100 barber’s clippers,100 sewing machines, 100 generators, 100 standing fans, 100 washing machines, 100 gas cookers, among others.
Armstrong, as he is fondly referred by hordes of his admirers, displays uncommon courage and strength in selfless services to humanity. Rationalising the philosophy behind his recurring acts of generousity and human empathy, Akintunde said, “I’m always in pains watching others in pains, and by bringing smiles to their faces also brings smiles to my face”.
He has never pretended about his undiluted love for the continued prosperity of the people with whom he relates in this age and time when energetic, resourceful and result-oriented youths are in great demand, to raise the curve of responsive governance in the country, Armstrong is believed to have all it takes to assist in building a virile nation and further give hope to the people.
Born to the family of late the Fowodara of Araromi, Iperu-Remo, Ogun State, Armstrong attended Wesley Primary School, Iperu, between 1988 and 1992 and proceeded to Christ Apostolic Grammar School, Iperu-Remo, where he studied from 1992 to 1998.
He proceeded for a degree course in Agronomy at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (UNAAB), now known as the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB). At the university, typical of a young man always looking for opportunities to serve, Armstrong joined student unionism. He became General Secretary of the National Association of Iperu Students (NAIS) between 2000 and 2001 as well as General Secretary of the National Association of Ogun State Students (NAOSS), between 2003 – 2004.
He was later elected President, National Association of Ogun State Students (NAOSS) and served between 2004 and 2005. Although he started as an Agronomist, it must be clarified that Armstrong found a new passion in real estate and today, he is one of the big players in the booming real estate industry in Nigeria.
He started his professional career with Suru Group Limited and has now graduated as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Aerofield Homes Limited.
Armstrong has been privileged to attend several Real Estate and Project Management Courses, Seminars, Trainings and Conferences in Nigeria, Europe and USA. He joined Suru Group Limited in 2009, and he is now the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Aerofield Homes Limited.
He is a Fellow of the Institute of Professional Managers and Administrators of Nigeria (IPMA), Associate Member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) as well as Certified Customer Relationship Manager (crm/cep).
He bagged an honourary Doctoral Degree in Business Administration and Corporate Governance from European-American University, Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara and Republic of Panama, among others.
Sitting impressively as the Chief Executive Officer of Aerofield Homes, Armstrong’s passion lies in providing shelter for Nigerians and he remains an apostle of decent housing for all. He has always championed private sector partnership with the government, as one quick way to assist in bridging the housing deficit in the country.
We’re focused on leading the Mortgage Banking Sub-Sector within next three years” – Anyogu
Incorporated on 21st July, 2004 as a private limited liability company, AG Mortgage Bank PLC (AGMB) obtained mortgage banking license from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in December 2004. It commenced business in January 2005 as a Primary Mortgage Bank (PMB). Following a Private Placement of its shares which resulted in having about 5,000 shareholders at the end of the exercise, the PMB was converted to a Public Limited Liability Company in April, 2007. In May 2015, the Company’s name was changed from AG Homes Savings & Loans Plc to AG Mortgage Bank Plc.
The principal business of AG Mortgage Bank Plc is the provision of mortgage lending, real estate construction finance, drawing from the mortgage funds (for example, National Housing Fund Facility) for on-lending, acceptance of savings, term, mortgage focused demand deposits and financial advisory services. From inception, the Bank focused on serving all segments of society as it committed.
Led by versatile and energetic Managing Director/CEO, Ngozi Anyogu, the Bank’s strategy as a National Mortgage Bank is to drastically raise the amount of its funds in order to expand its business both locally and internationally by way of making mortgages available to Nigerians at home and in diaspora. Operating under the slogan” – a partner you can trust”.
Anyogu noted that “the need to support affordable housing development in Key Centers and take business advantage of the huge housing deficit across the country prompted the establishment of AG Mortgage. We offer access to affordable home ownership through the Bank’s Construction Finance and Mortgage products. AG Mortgage Bank is a faith-based organization, so the Bank’s value proposition is TRUST. These are part of the organisation’s growth factors.”
Concerning the values that made him stand out as an administrator and as an organization, he attributed these to “Effective Relationship Management. Being close to service providers and players along the housing delivery chain and end users has paid immense dividends. We are blessed with a committed workforce with the discipline to reach out to clients through several platforms while the COVID-19 lockdown lasted.
Recession had a universal impact on businesses. But we had anticipated that the pandemic will disrupt supply chains and exacerbate poverty levels. We reached out to our Mortgage customers and restructured the facilities of the most vulnerable within the window permitted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). We kept constantly in touch with our key account holders to reassure them of the safety of their investments with the Bank.
A Life Patron for the Advocate for Global Peace International and a Fellow to some professional associations including The Chartered Institute of Bankers, London/Nigeria, Anyogu disclosed that he has rejected countless accolades in the past and only accepted the Recognition given by The Guardian because of his respect for the Paper’s reputation.
His projection was to see the establishment of AG Mortgage Bank PLC’s leadership position in the Mortgage Banking Sub-Sector within the next 3 years.
In his advice to upcoming professionals, the highly cerebral and result-oriented mortgage banker summarized it thus “Know your Business; Know your Customers. They must trust you! This is the age of collaboration. You must collaborate with your industry key stakeholders. They should be solution driven because a challenge that is not confronted cannot be defeated.”
Only smart investors can leverage on brimming opportunities in the Nigerian Real Estate Sector – Egbochie
The real estate sector is a locus of opportunity for anyone aiming to build or preserve wealth. Broadly, real estate consists of both tangible and intangible assets with a guided interest or bundle of rights an owner can exercise. The tangible assets include land, building, cash, equipment, vehicles, natural resources, crops, airspace, and waterbody amongst others; while the intangible assets comprise licenses, trademarks, patient, and copyright.
The multi-faceted part of the subject includes residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural asset types. Presently, the exploding wealth available in the real estate sector is stimulating wider interest from the public and private investors. Of course, the declining oil economy has left investors searching vigorously for new areas of investment opportunity.
The options available out there are few. The Information Technology and Agriculture Sectors offer viable investment opportunities but the vagaries of uncertain long-and-short term events can trash any projection into the sectors’ future profitability. As the ownership of land, which is constant, and private-public pivot to housing development activities provide fundamental life support for communities and the economy, the real estate sector is seeing increased traction.
In Nigeria, interest in real estate has been rising in geometric proportion since the shock of the oil burst. Increased activities in the real estate sector as a result of the scaled interest keep driving up north the contribution of the sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
It goes without saying that the opportunities in the Nigerian real estate sector are massive. And analysts have established that real estate is an edge against inflation. Considering the niggling level of inflation in the country, making an investment in a real estate asset is a brilliant choice for government and private investors.
For the government, an investment in the development of the real estate sector will help improve the national economic position. Precisely, the gap between the supply and demand of housing in Nigeria is huge. Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), a global management consulting firm, estimated that there is currently a deficit of over 17 million houses in Nigeria. This implies that the Nigerian real estate market has the potential to absorb over 17 million houses.
In this vein, government and private investors can tap the steep growth potential to invest in land development, infrastructure upgrade, and the construction of housing estates and municipals to accommodate the burgeoning local population. This will help bridge the gap between the demand and supply of housing and yield impressive return-on-investment for smart investors.
On a grand scale, private investors can leverage the asset appreciation potential of lands and landed property to improve their financial position by buying and holding a real estate asset for reselling later in the future. Beyond reselling a property outright, an investor can make money from rent, lease and royalties on land for any discovery of mineral resources such as gold, oil, the list goes on.
In sum, the inflationary trend in the country makes timely investment in residential and commercial real estate viable for the long run.
At ATCO Homes – a thriving real estate firm, where I serve as the Chief Executive Officer/Founder, we are supporting government efforts to enrich the investment landscape and provide housing for the sprawling local population by developing impressive real estate products that cater to everyone along the socioeconomic ladder.
Presently, we have over 16 gated, well-developed estates in the Ibeju Lekki area of Lagos. And we are open for business from interested investors and potential homeowners.
Seeing the fallout of the prolonged lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, galvanizing investors’ confidence in wealth-building opportunities such as offered by the real estate sector is key to stimulating a robust return to economic activities. This is why at ATCO Homes, we have developed a bespoke business strategy that prioritizes customer satisfaction in all our business engagements whilst helping the investors put their money to better use.
Absolutely, when real estate development is embraced by the government and private investors, it can serve as a solution to the skyrocketing unemployment rate in the country. Tailored policies that check unfavourable spikes in the cost of housing materials will go a long way to encourage players in the real estate sector and ensure jobs are steadily being generated along the value chain.
ATCO Homes works with quite a number of consultants and employ brilliant young graduates across its units. We engage periodically in CSR projects such as social investment in grassroots sport development and the donation of essential items to orphanges. Most importantly, we keep scaling our operations and are set to double the number of people on our payroll in the coming months.
CHARLES NWADAVID: Disrupting The Status Quo In The Real Estate World
His character speaks integrity, his expertise defines efficiency and his life has become a roadmap for professionals who still believe that hard work, good morals and playing according to professional ethics, are the only recipe for career satisfaction. This description is most apt for Charles Nwadavid, Founder/CEO of Nigeria’s fast-rising real estate company, ChaviD Properties Limited.
With a background that exposed him early in life to strive for excellence by virtue of his parents who are successful professionals in their respective fields, Charles, as he is fondly called, started out as a rental agent in the real estate industry and gradually gained knowledge of the industry which has made him a professional. He said as an avid learner he has “painstakingly gone through the real estate process to arrive where I am today. Having been able to amass tremendous knowledge in the real estate sector and beyond, from administrative aspect, to sales and marketing, technical know-how, team building, as well as people and leadership skills. Life as a learning journey and I believe so much in personal development. Thus, the moment you stop learning, ignorance sets in.”
Charismatic and unassuming, he explained that by investing in the workforce, ChaviD has been able to achieve an exponential growth within its short period of existence. According to him, investing in the team members has helped in the delivery of exceptional customer service. “Developing our team members is a non-stop process, by so doing we are able to leave up to our mission which is to positively impact humanity because you canot give what you do not have. Equally, we are focused on customer satisfaction which has played a significant role in helping us expand our portfolios, exponentially.
He stressed that “We have always been eager to do more as enshrined in our care values referred to as QIPS which stands for Quality, Integrity, Perpetual Innovation, and Surpassing Expectations. We live and work via this template and that has propelled us thus far.”
Committed to becoming a dominant player in the Real Estate Industry, the ChaviD Properties boss explained that the company is driven by the goal to develop 80,000 housing units yearly which is aimed at reducing housing deficit not just in Nigeria, but also in other major cities of the world. He noted that Nigeria currently have a housing production of 100,000 units annually which is a far cry from the deficit of about 22 million which implies that the country needs about a million units annually to be able to drastically mitigate her housing gap.
Commenting on the challenges of home financing in Nigeria, Nwadavid lamented the rising barriers associated with house ownership in the country. He highlighted the challenges which range from stringent requirements and difficulty accessing finance, to high interest rates and cost of land. However, he believed people-focused government policies can play a huge role in mitigating the issues in home financing.
In his view, the financing of housing programs should be considered as a national responsibility and taken seriously. Just as the private sector should be encouraged to invest in providing funds for housing development and home financing. He advocated strong collaborations between government and private sector as an imperative approach to mitigate these numbers.
An unrelenting go-getter with amazing leadership qualities which has earned him recognition from far and near, Nwadavid is a recipient of the Nelson Mandela Leadership Award, Distinguished African Youth Ambassador by the West African Youth Council, as well as the Outstanding Leadership Recognition and Inspirational Leadership Excellence Award in West Africa by CF. PRMP, Ghana.
On what has kept him going as a CEO, he explained that his drive for personal growth is embedded in a daily routine he termed SMP where “S is for Spiritual health – pray and read four chapters of the Bible daily; “M” – for Mental health (read, mediate, reflect and journal daily), while “P” is for physical health – working out 3-4 days a week and eat healthy.
To him, “This is a system that helps me stay focused and on check. I perpetually strive to outdo my yesterday. This propels me to do better. No matter how high you climb or how much you make, stay humble, be hungry and never be complacent. For me, stagnation is the beginning of the end. You must keep growing regardless of your spot on the ladder of life.”
How harnessing digital technology accelerated Creditville’s growth by Rotoye
Richard Rotoye, the Group Managing Director/CEO, Creditville Group Limited, is a boardroom strategist with over 13 years of experience which spans across corporate leadership, financial advisory, capital market, lease financing, Microfinance, Fintech, Sales and Consulting.
A Stanford University-trained executive, Rotoye also holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Obafemi Awolowo University as well as a master’s degree in risk management from the University of Lagos.
Prior to joining Creditville in 2018, he proved his mettle as a result-oriented professional at a number of companies which includes Cavari Capital, Rosabon Financial Services and RenMoney MFB Limited.
Through specialized members of the Group, Creditville participates actively across the financial and investment sectors of the Nigerian economy as it delivers on its primary objective, which is to add value to the lives and businesses of its esteemed clients. These subsidiaries include TouchGold Microfinance Bank, Kohrville BDC Limited, Creditville Finance Limited, Redwood Asset Management Limited, Creditville Nigeria Limited and Creditville Properties Limited.
According to Rotoye, the company “has implemented a couple of effective strategies over the years which has contributed to its growth. I will touch base on some core strategies that were adopted in the last two years. Firstly, we developed clear foolproof strategies that made sure all our shareholders get valuable returns on their investments. We also invested in technology to enhance our business, and this birthed the C Money Mobile App, an initiative of our recently acquired Microfinance Bank, TouchGold. Lastly, we focused on strategic staffing by hiring the much-needed manpower and technical expertise for sustainability and growth.”
Speaking further, he explained that the recent acquisition of TouchGold Microfinance Bank by the Creditville Group, has given the company the leverage needed to harness the opportunities in digital technology with the deployment of the C Money Mobile App. According to him, the application has helped the company to increase its customer base and also create more awareness on financial literacy despite the impact of covid-19 on businesses.
He added that “The C Money App has opened a new way of doing business for the company, customers can now save, invest, lend money, pay bills and buy airtime at the click of a button. Also, it provides a platform for better engagement with our customers as they can easily access our services from anywhere in the world.
We are also revamping our company website with the help of our newly set up IT department to meet the ever-growing needs of our customers for our leasing (Creditville Finance Limited), loans (Creditville Nigeria Limited), and our fund management services (Redwood Asset Management).”.
He stressed that the company “has also leveraged on digital technology for effective marketing, and to drive financial literacy, because we are operating in an era where having a strong digital presence is essential. The use of several digital channels such as social media marketing, email marketing, digital PR, and pay-per-click advertising are extremely effective. Digital technology has accelerated our business growth, increased our customer base by reaching a wider audience, and build lasting relationships with customers to promote brand loyalty.”
A Fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration, he is also an associate of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers, as well as the Institute of Credit and Collection Management of Nigeria, Rotoye maintained that the goal of the Creditville Group is to be Africa’s most reliable financial services provider, working very hard to deliver innovative and affordable financial services so our customers can have a good life.”
How ICT sector’s growth can create more business values in Nigeria by Adeyipo
Wale Adeyipo is a proficient technology enthusiast and Business Executive with extensive experience in Strategy, Management, and Leadership. Over the years, he has demonstrated knack for proffering diverse innovation angles and an aggressive drive for new ideas, revenue generation, and market penetration.
Currently, he serves as the Group CEO, CWG PLC – a leading ICT conglomerate with Headquarters in Lagos and operations in three other Africa countries. His consultancy for several organizations within the sub-Saharan region, gave him diverse experience and the application of technology, as an enabler for business success and expansion.
In 2014, he led the CWG PLC’s Pan Africa Initiatives (PAI) – a brainchild that produced CWG’s strategic delivery partnerships and business expansion in 23 Africa operations.
With a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Ilorin, the certified AFN CEO Panelist, and an alumnus of several Institutions, including Lagos Business School, Business School Netherlands, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and London Business School, has extensive study in Entrepreneurship, Valuation and Funding, Dynamic System Thinking, Digital, and ITO transformation. He is also a Member and Fellow of several organisations, including the Institute of Directors, Nigeria Computer Society, Nigeria Institute of Management, Institute of Management Consultant. He iss a facilitator at the CWG Academy, established with the mandate to groom technology-savvy professionals.
In the various roles and positions held over the years, he has demonstrated practical knowledge in dynamic work design that simplifies the rigorous processes and procedures in the workplace, bringing about the required efficiency and productivity.
When asked to describe the level of professionalism and astuteness involved in ICT companies business operations in connection with re-positioning Nigeria to the path of wealth creation and economic growth, Adeyipo noted that many agencies globally including the US Department of Commerce identified that ICT is the best prospect industry sector in Nigeria.
According to him, “We have seen the evidence from the investment and number of talents the ICT sector has developed within the country. Nigerian businesses have relied on the ICT players as most of the nation’s industries embraced virtual work conditions. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has it that telecommunications contributed as much as 17.9% to the GDP in the last quarter of 2020. This growth is attributable to increased demand, several years of policy implementation, and investment drive in the sector.”
He stressed that for some years now, Nigeria has been Africa’s largest ICT market controlling about 82% of the Africa telecoms subscribers and 29% of internet usage. The NCC estimates that Nigeria has about 76 million subscriptions on broadband (penetration of 40%) and 187 million lines in the voice segment as of May 2021, representing 97.9% teledensity.
In his words, “Professionals in the ICT sector have moved forward in research, planning, designing, testing, advisory services, concepts development, among others. We have seen significant improvement in the way ICT players operate. Going forward, we envisage more collaboration and co-creation opportunities within the private sectors. For example, collaborations among local accelerators such as iDEA and the Co-Creation Hub (CC-Hub) in Lagos. These initiatives have attracted foreign investors like the Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator, who recently participated in pitches by Nigerian start-ups and New York-based Andela, which established an incubation centre in Lagos to recruit and train talented Nigerians to code and subsequently outsource them to foreign firms. The ICT sector growth has been enormous and filled with foreign investors who believe in the values being created in Nigeria.”.
Concerning his experience in the nation’s ICT Sector, vis-à-vis other innovative approaches that have impacted the running of most technology companies in particular and the industry in general, the ICT guru explained that although, the ICT sector has experienced growth along with its challenges, key players in the industry have grown exponentially to understand the challenges and value within the value chain.
“We are creating relevant solutions every day to plug and fix these challenges. I have heard several times when people say the challenges are too much here in this part of the world – I say so are the opportunities. The innovative approach I have observed include: Startup in the ICT sectors making innovation a unique and central topic of its development projects; Local talent developments; Government support using efficient policies; Effective management principles; Improve customer engagement and communication strategy; Efficient allocation of resources into more innovative solutions to existing problems.”
In his view, more investment is needed in the sector in order to harness opportunities. While pointing out that 90% of Nigeria ICT investment comes from FinTech, he noted that in 2021, over $417.5 million funding was raised in FinTech alone. which was nine times more than what has introduced five years ago! He expressed hope that with the interest in ICT as shown by Government, the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021 to 2025, Volume 1, has projected about N150 billion investments in the sector.
PATRICK MCMICHAEL: Success Inspired By Strategic Transformational Leadership, Passion For Innovation
Patrick McMichael is the pioneering Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Eat‘N’Go Limited – African’s leading food franchisee for Domino’s Pizza, Coldstone Creamery and Pinkberry Frozen Gourmet Yoghurt.
With over 32 years’ experience in the global quick service restaurant business, Pat joined ENG in 2018 as Chief Executive Officer, and later became the Group MD/CEO in 2020. He started his illustrious career in the quick food service sector in 1990 as a trainee manager in his beautiful home country, Australia. His genuine passion for innovation in the industry saw him quickly rise through the ranks, garnering a deep wealth of experience across various markets such as New Zealand and Australia, and later becoming CEO of Domino’s Pizza, Indonesia
Since Patrick McMichael resumed as the CEO at Eat ‘N’ Go in 2018, the organization has expanded exponentially. The QSR service provider now has over 170 stores across Africa, with over 3,000 employees in 18 States of Nigeria. His strategic leadership has been the catalyst for significant transformation for the EatNGo brand over the years. He has successfully inspired the brand’s shared vision of delivering premium Pan-African Quick-Service Restaurants (QSR) to people across Africa.
Upon joining ENG, he has won multiple national awards including Business Leader of the year 2021 Award and Top CEO of the year 2020 Award respectively from the Nigerian Stock Exchange & Business Day. He also won The CEO of the Year 2020 & 2021 from Marketing Edge, BrandCom & Pan African International Awards and won The Man of the Year 2021 from the Pan African International Award.
While describing his key success factors, Pat explained that “In 1990, I was originally looking to have a career in management in five-star hotels. I only applied for a job in Domino’s Pizza as I could not get into management during the first gulf war due to an economic downturn in Australia. I loved eating pizza, so I thought it would be fun to work in a pizza shop. Interestingly, despite not really taking the job seriously, I found that I enjoyed it and I was good at managing the store and the team. I also found that I knew how to build sales.
Thus, once I saw that I could build sales and a bigger business, I got addicted to excitement of the pace of the business. I am lucky as I wake up every day 32 years later with the same passion to build sales and grow the business. The scale has changed, and the challenges are greater, however it is still one customer at a time and making sure you never lose a customer.”
He noted that “Eat’N’Go is one of many companies that is building success in Nigeria. This success creates employment, career opportunities and lifestyle improvements for team members, and boosts revenue for local, state, and federal governments to provide services and infrastructure for the great population of Nigeria. We take our responsibility to the continued growth of Nigeria very seriously.”
He added that “as a significant taxpayer, the company supports many local industries with over 80% of products sourced locally. The ripple effect of Eat’N’Go across Nigeria for employment is significantly higher than the 3,000 team members directly employed by the company. Each company creating success in Nigeria creates the same ripple effect which drives the ongoing development of the country. Government needs to work with companies to help them succeed for the good of the country.”
In his words, “The last few years have been extremely challenging for every company. The pace of change that was brought on by the pandemic required quick thinking and quick actions. The rapid digitization of all parts of the business has created a more robust structure. The digitization of customer channels has changed the revenue compilation of the company and opened up more opportunities for more customers to order our products.
We were lucky that we were quite advanced with Dominos which is already a digital business. Cold Stone Creamery had a steep learning curve over a very short period to bring on delivery options to customers with websites and apps. The rise of home delivery was a significant change to many in the QSR and casual dining sectors. Those that handled this change well have benefited from the changes in customer ordering trends.
With Eat’N’Go’s success and the fast growth in the QSR sector across Nigeria, others are prepared to invest in the country. This is positive for the industry but these investments must be well considered as they do come with risk if companies do not do enough research. This is not a plug and play market. Although, there is a large growing population to support businesses, however, one must understand the dynamics of being in business in Nigeria. As Government works on multiple fronts to develop the country, the engagements come with opportunities and challenges for local companies. Nevertheless, more consultation with the private sector is important to avoid policies that are counterproductive to local businesses.”
“With Azuri Towers, we are setting standards at Eko Atlantic City – Opayinka
“Some people dream of success, others make it happen.” – Wayne Huizenga
This statement aptly describes those individuals who not only yearn for success, but achieve it when others thought it is impossible. This calibre of people is rare and wherever they are found, they do not only call the shots, they walk the talk by leading the way for others to follow. One of such rare gems, is Mr. Olawale Opayinka, Managing Director/CEO, Eko Development Company FZE – the developers of the multi-building skyscrapers called Azuri Towers located in the Eko Atlantic City.
Opayinka, an accomplished professional with actuarial and financial regulatory background, has 30 years’ experience in financial engineering with emphasis on real estate and large infrastructural projects. His track record in the real estate sector has seen him develop successful concepts, financial models and funding solutions for medium to large scale projects.
According to him, his desire is to contribute to the socio-economic development of the country and also project the concept of how things should be done at the luxury end of the real estate market informed his investment in the Eko Atlantic City. “From a fundamental viewpoint, change is not what you have seen, it comes from what you do and being available for people to see. For a city like the Eko Atlantic, we are leading the way to show people the standard that is expected and also inspire those coming behind us.”
Sitting on a footprint of 13,500 square meters, Azuri Towers are part of a long-term programme to create outstanding homes with luxurious living in the Eko Atlantic City. Her idyllic position on the Marina District combines the tranquillity of the three water bodies alongside a sophisticated pedestrian-friendly urban centre to ensure that her inhabitants enjoy a lifestyle befitting for kings and queens and a wealth of amenities in a secure environment. Without a doubt, the Azuri Towers is a privileged place to invest, work, play and live.
The towers which are angled such that no one edifice is blocking the other, Azuri One and Two are residential apartments that boasts of world-class luxury lifestyle, while Azuri Three is a 32-storey high-tech office building with state-of-the-art amenities such as fibre optic data connections and SMATV. On completion, Azuri One will be the tallest residential tower in West Africa and the second tallest building in Nigeria.
He noted that “When we came into the market, we felt there was a need to create a space for very successful people to live and work together. The security system of the City is something we are eager to offer. The need to broaden out the transportation network that we have in Lagos by bringing the waterways to the fore as one of the primary options of getting around the city is also an inspiration behind the Azuri Towers given the Marina located in front of the Azuri Towers. This provides the opportunity of connecting Apapa, Epe, Badagry, Ikoyi and Lekki on the waters.
Without a doubt, investing in real estate is the best way to create wealth that endures for generations. The prime location of the Azuri Towers makes it a choice real estate asset to have in an investment portfolio. An investment in the Azuri Towers projects a rental yield of six percent per annum which is above average yield for investment in properties trending at 3% – 5% per annum in the Nigerian real estate sector.
Environmentally, Eko Atlantic will have a reduced carbon footprint – the power system is such that residents would have no need for generators. The City is also protected by an 8.5 kilometre long sea wall. In addition to the smart features available in every apartment of the Azuri Towers, the City itself offers first class technology. There are no powerlines or electricity poles as electricity cables are laid underground. If it rains, you would not find water bodies around, given the technology which seeps down water to about 10 feet underground.
The Eko Atlantic City has been listed as an International Financial City which sets the country out with the likes of South Africa, Mauritius and Dubai. By extension, this will have a multiplier effect on tourism in Nigeria.”
An exceptional personality whose life simplifies excellence, Opayinka explained that his entrepreneurial journey has taught him to plan ahead for the future and create opportunities out of challenges.
In his words, “Making the best use of time is an important lesson I have learnt in life. For each day, I spend more time preparing for the future.
When I came to Eko Atlantic City in 2009, I saw what the City would look like and being able to sit in one of the buildings twelve years later is an actualization of the goal to deliver world class luxury apartments in the City. Out of 136 apartments, we have sold 106 units and we are not stopping with the Azuri Towers. We will keep developing by demonstrating what we believe through what we do.”
Collins Oforgu- Thoroughbred Marketing Tech Expert, Empowering SMEs, Providing Opportunities Globally
Strategic marketing planning is the fuel that propels a business and, in its absence, startups risk failure or stagnation.
Understanding the critical importance of marketing planning and implementation to businesses’ success, Collins Oforgu was inspired to start Evaluate Media, one of Nigeria’s leading Marketing Technology company to help businesses communicate their brands via a cost-effective marketing strategy amidst stiff competitions in their industries and growing cost of advertising.
Performance-oriented and result-driven, Collins has etched his name on the sands of time in the Marketing Industry not just in Nigeria where he started but in Africa. With an MBA and BSc. degree in Micro Biology, his business interest spans across sales, marketing, real estate, consulting, and business administration among others.
Collins has made a significant contribution to the success of many businesses in Nigeria. He is an expert problem-solver with a strong focus on user satisfaction and customer service.
Prior to the establishment of Evaluate Media, he worked at two multinational tech startups Propertypro and Supermart.ng, and Swift Networks a renowned telecommunications company in Nigeria. In search of his Golden Fleece and quest for new challenges he established Evaluate Media.
While reacting to those who call him “innovative and customer-centric”, Collins explained that he has been simply committed to finding better ways to accelerate the digital transformation of businesses in African than staying convenient with the status quo.
He said “Before I started Evaluate Media, I had worked for many large enterprise brands and was recognized for driving growth and sales but I wanted to do more for businesses, to help them meeting customers’ ever-evolving needs.
He disclosed that when starting Evaluate, he parlayed the experience, insights, and connections at those brands to bring them in as Evaluate’s first client. “The heart of the economy is significantly hinged on the success of SMEs and if the businesses do not succeed enough, the SMEs would have short lives and most of them would die off without achieving significant contribution to the nations GDP.
The world has gone digital and SMEs need to move towards that direction, which means they need the right knowledge, guidance and strategy to rise to the top of the digital world. Accelerated digital technology innovation has also changed buyer behavior, there are new business models add complex dimensions to how the digital age consumers think”, he added.
In his words, “The way to making yourself memorable is by adding unique value through content. The digital landscape is dynamic. Keeping up with every small change is difficult. Top that with the massive online competition and the digital territory becomes even more challenging. That’s when you need a professional uplift and that’s when we come in to help you weave a successful digital story.”
Since its establishment, Evaluate Media has helped over 200 businesses accomplish their marketing goals. With a wide array of businesses and practices of its own-PR Management, Digital Advertising, PR distribution, CEOPR, Video advert Production, Website development and Management and Sales and Marketing Consultancy, Evaluate Media has seamlessly integrated marketing strategies that businesses increasingly need.
Beyond creating value for brands, Collins is certainly one of those leaders who are inherently motivated to leave the world a better place than they found it.
Collins believed that, “Compassionate management and compassionate leadership is about taking the time to put yourself in another person’s shoes and that better results can be achieved when leaders pave the way for employee’s growth. Each member of the Evaluate team is innovative, goal-driven, efficient and proactive, and is trained to ensure feasible solutions to the requests of each individual client.”
Collins frequently speaks at industry events and conferences, highlighting the value of marketing and the importance of customer-centric innovation. He is also a consultant, coach, teacher and trainer. He has voyaged broadly and attended many local and international courses and conferences.
If there’s any-one who knows his onus, it’s Collins Oforgu. His resume is impressive and intimidating all at once.
LAURIN HAINY: Empowering SMEs, Driving Financial Inclusion Through Digital Banking
Laurin Hainy is the CEO and Co-founder of FairMoney, the leading Credit-led digital bank offering a range of financial services across large emerging Markets such as Nigeria and India. Funded by Tiger Global and Flourish Ventures, Fairmoney has acquired over 5million happy users, 2.3million bank accounts, and disbursed over N117 million loans since inception.
A financial expert of Nigerian-German origin, Laurin holds an M.A. in Finance from Sciences Po. He also graduated with an LL.B. in International and European Law, focusing on commercial law, from The Hague University of Applied Sciences.
Prior to the establishment of FairMoney, Laurin was the CEO, Le Studio VC – a startup studio and venture capital firm focusing on early-stage startups. he has a successful track record in investing, building and exiting early-stage companies. Through Le Studio VC, he has built a portfolio of fifteen early-stage companies across Europe and has co-created multiple companies in a venture building format.
According to him, FairMoney was built on a vision to make credit available to those excluded by traditional financial institutions, reduce reliance on cash and further drive financial inclusion for emerging markets.
He noted that in 2017, FairMoney set out as a micro lending app which was a key service needed by the larger masses, as access to small loans was a hassle for them. For four years the company kept perfecting its model to meet the needs of users. Today, FairMoney has grown as a company and evolved into a full-fledged credit-led digital bank.
“We pride ourselves as the number one credit-led digital bank in Nigeria offering our customers 100 free transactions monthly, free debit cards, discounts on bill payments, deposits and seamless loan services”, he added.
As a technology-driven enterprise, FairMoney has been active in its quest to close the financial inclusion gap by making it easier for Nigerians to have access to credit facilities, especially the MSMEs who cannot afford to obtain loans from the commercial banks. To this end, FairMoney has made available a seamless lending process for SMEs, as well as for personal use.
Laurin spoke further “Currently, we have loan offers where businesses can access short term 15-day loans with no interest charged. With such offers and other incentives, we constantly enable small business owners to thrive despite the odds against them.
We equally understand that we operate in a market with a high loan default rate, so we have kept to a standard that maintains ethical lending practices, especially with loan recollections. This has helped us to follow due process in recollecting loans and dealing with our customers.”
A member of the World Economic Forum’s global shaper community and Member, Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), Lagos Chapter, Laurin Hainy maintained that FairMoney would continue to explore all the possible avenues to actualize its vision of becoming the leading mobile bank for emerging markets.
He believed that “in the next decade, a digital bank will be among the top five banks in Nigeria and we want to be that bank. We will also continue to expand our services within emerging markets to ensure we bring more people closer to the financial system.”
MKO BALOGUN: A Proficient, Resourceful Expert, Serial Award-Winning CEO, Pioneering Strategic Innovation in Nigeria’s FM Industry
Born in Ibadan, Oyo State, South-west, Nigeria, Muhammad Kassim Olatunde Balogun (popularly called MKO was one of the pioneering students at Wesley College of Science, Ibadan in 1988. He later had a B.Eng. (Hons) from the Federal University of Technology Owerri, Imo State in 1995. MKO’s educational pursuit continued at the prestigious Lagos Business School of Pan Atlantic University for his Executive MBA where he graduated in 2006. He started his Ph.D. degree in Entrepreneurship in 2012 at Walden University, USA and same year, he was honoured among other Nigerians in Dubai, UAE with a Ph.D in Management by Commonwealth University, Belize.
His work experience has taken him round various organisations, industry sectors, functions and he always leave indelible marks of achievement on his trail, everywhere he has been, the experiences prepared him for his entrepreneurial sojourn and focus on facilities management. Between 1984 and 1989, he was Executive Assistance, Public Relations Officer, Registrar, and Political Assistant. From 1995 to 2001, he joined CFAO (initially) as a Youth Corp Member and rose to be the Technical Adviser, Northern Region where he won the prestigious Peugeot Automobile Nigeria PAN Technical Adviser of the Year 2000 and twice Manager of the Year in the company in 1999 and 2000.
He was at UACN (formerly, General Motors) in 2001 as Production Manager, later Marketing Manager, and After-Sales Manager. As Production Manager, the plant was voted as one of the best managed assembly plans in the world and as Marketing Manager expanded the sales network of the company across Nigeria winning the Best Manager Award in 2003.
In 2004, he was the AGM Armoured Vehicle Services at Bemil Security Services, in charge of marketing, production of armoured vehicles; shoes; coffins; etc, maintenance of vehicles and buildings. In 2005, he was at Leventis Motors Nigeria where he worked to introduce Mercedes Benz B-Class and Volkswagen Trucks to the market. He was back in UACN in where he was Mr. Biggs’ Project Manager, and later Facilities Manager, where he reduced the cost of Mr. Biggs set-up by more than 25%.
In 2007, he joined UBA PLC as Mechanical Services Manager and later Facilities Manager and Project Manager. At UBA Plc, MKO has to his credit the transformation of UBA House. He proceeded to MM2 as facilities Manager in 2008 where he set the tone for proper FM of the terminal and reduced the cost of running the terminal by more than 12%.
In 2008, MKO left paid employment in order to focus and grow his enterprise, Domme FM Ltd – a company he started with his project colleagues from the MBA as an MBA project.
Today, MKO is the Managing Director/CEO, Global Property & Facilities International Ltd, and was MD of WSP FMC Nigeria – a position he took after the merger of Domme FM Ltd with WSP FMC Nigeria Ltd in 2012. As MD/CEO, MKO has grown the business from a local Nigerian company to an organisation spreading across Africa with operations across five African Countries.
He has also grown and stabilise the business since 2012, taking the company through mergers and rebranding. He is a member of the board of directors of Premier Paints PLC and Chairman of the strategy committee of the board. MKO volunteered as a lecturer for the Masters in Facilities Management Program at the Department of Estate Management, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Lagos when the program commenced in 2009 until he was appointed as an Adjunct Lecturer in 2014. He continues to lecture on the program till date, introducing several innovation to improving the knowledge and skills of students through the guest lecturer series; practical projects; visit to existing buildings to enable the students see FM in real terms.
MKO is a recipient of many awards amongst which are the Nigerian Top Leaders International Magazine 2013 Global Lifetime Achievement International Gold; Corporate & Media Africa Communications 2012 Meritorious Diamond Award for National Development; Leadership Award by Unified Nigerian Youth Forum, 2018; Award of Service to the Nation by Congress of Nigerian Youth, 2018; Award of Excellence, University of Lagos, in recognition of leadership position in the FM Industry in Nigeria. 2017; AI Acquisition International, UK Excellence Award – CEO of the Year Award 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021; Facility Management; Real Estate Excellence Award; Best CEO FM of the Year 2018, 2020, 2021, 2022; African Leadership Excellence Award, FM Personality of Year 2018, amongst several others.
MKO said his passion and driving principle in life is “to be the best in whatever I do, no matter where I find myself, I strive to follow through and do everything possible ethically, to be the best, no cutting of corners. That has also been the drive as an expert and helmsman of a leading and strategic organisation in the nation’s Real Estate Services sector, the level of professionalism and astuteness involved in handling GPFI Group’s business operations in connection with re-positioning Nigeria to the path of wealth creation and economic growth.”
He noted that “As a business, from the beginning, our object is to create value across all the various stakeholders – shareholders, clients, employees, communities where we operate. You can only create value if you position and operate your business with the highest level of professionalism and best practice. Everything we have done from the 1st day of the business is to position ourself to be able to achieve that – create value for all stakeholders.
Our focus is on developing systems, business processes, aligning with international best practices, education and development, support for our employees, our partners, connect with our clients, our community through various initiatives, to expanding across Africa with brand Nigeria – which is unusual in our sector more dominated by foreign companies.
We have also focused on development of global partnerships to leverage their expertise and experiences available to others to our business and that has really helped us. We creating new solutions and using technology to deliver and drive FM delivery.
With all humility, we have contributed to the growth of the Nigerian economy and created wealth for people connected to the business. GPFI has always focused on technology and innovation –the first to introduce robot in cleaning since 2012 and one of the pioneers on use of technology to manage, deliver and monitor FM services in Nigeria.”
Consistent improved human capacity, essential to meet changing needs, demands of businesses” – Adesina
Olufemi Adesina is a Financial, Marketing and Management professional with over 23 years of extensive and diverse experience in Finance, Private Equity, Banking, Audit & Assurance, Venture Capital, Marketing, Marketing Communication, Sales and Administration.
His career started with KPMG, then the business group of a new generation bank, and afterwards the Financial Control and Strategic Planning group of the bank. He was the pioneer Managing Director, Fluffy Funds Limited – a Venture Capital & Private equity firm and has done extensive, strategic business development drive in Togo, Republique Du Benin and Ghana for a Spanish Trading and Manufacturing group.
Over the years, Adesina has concurrently sat on the boards of 28 business corporations which affords him great wealth of experience and exposures to prosperous and challenging times in business. He has commenced and concluded many audit and assurance exercises with the BIG FOUR audit firms, either as a member of staff or chairman/member of the board audit and risk committee.
He consults for a number of firms, with core competence in Funding, Resource Optimization, Strategic Expansion and Corporate Restructuring. He is a Fellow of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria and the Certified Institute of Purchasing & Supply of Nigeria. He holds a Masters Degree in Business Administration, from Kensington University, California and Pre-Affiliate qualifications from The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). He sits on the board of some quoted companies, including LivingTrust Mortgage Bank PLC.
Speaking about his career passion, Adesina said “It is the innate, burning desire to avoid wastages and improve efficiency in the deployment of resources.”
According to him, “Businesses have good budgets on paper, the delivery of these budgets within the limit of resources assigned to them is another thing entirely. Good thoughts should be translated into good budgets on paper and actually delivered within the allocated resources.
The only thing that is sure to happen in most budget presentation is the ‘expense’ part of it – salaries get paid, cars will be bought, but income might not be made if not closely monitored until delivery. Initial capital can be placed out, but an efficient performance management system must match subsequent outflows to inflow. This way, the business does not just survive, but prospers.”
As one of the leading and strategic holding companies of a diverse conglomerate in the economy, he described as impeccable the level of professionalism and astuteness involved in handling the Group’s business operations. This he explained are part of the contribution to put Nigeria to the path of wealth creation and economic growth.
In his words, “Wealth creation and economic growth borders on the income and resources available within an economy, per capita, this further borders on the GDP per capita. Ultimately, this is dependent on the productive capacity per capita and the enabling infrastructure within the economy. We have created an efficient system of value creation within our group by building capacity and utilizing it optimally.
We have four named subsidiaries involved in different sectors of the Nigerian economy, two are very closely related. EM Towers builds, maintains and services Telecom infrastructure and facilities for TELCOs. Mapplefield Energy Resources trades in the downstream space. CrystalWall Properties recently acquired a massive residential space in Abeokuta, with existing estates in Ibadan and Lagos, while Standard and Mutual Limited is in the business of construction.”
Based on his experience in the last few years in the nation’s business environment, Adesina noted that the Group has innovation at the core of its operations. He stressed that “Our world has gone through some sudden changes in the last 2-3 years. This has necessitated extreme fluidity in our approach to dealing with everyone involved in every phase of our business. We never operated a bureaucratic system, but the system and structure are completely flattened now in order to enhance communication/control and give almost ‘an instant’ feedback, without compromising the quality of the service provided.”
As an expert, his views on investments, creative solutions, impact of government policies and how opportunities can be harnessed are hinged on “continuous, increasing and well-focused Investment as a MUST for any economy. It is truer for an economy as ours. A saying in the hood goes ‘’Scared money, don’t make no money’’. If you keep your beautiful seed to yourself because you don’t want to lose it. It abides alone and probably decays.
This does not however imply that money should be hurriedly hurled off, without careful, scientific considerations. Investments must be handled with all diligence. However, Government is a potent force that can make or mar any business or investment. We have had lots of changes in our national policies on agriculture and other sectors that has improved the capacity in these sectors. However, it is still a known fact that the ease and cost of doing business in Nigeria is worse than a lot of our African brothers.
A safe, competitive environment should be created to enable the best and most suited establishments win deals and contracts, purely based on their displayed and measurable capacity to deliver.”
Concerning the challenges of human capital and local content development in Nigeria and possible solutions, the award-winning financial expert was sad that “most people do not possess the skills set displayed on their CV and those that are given opportunities do not have capacities to scale-up on the job.
Businesses are driven by people, no matter the level of technological innovations, smart people are needed to coordinate and manage all other resources. When human capacity is not consistently improved to meet the changing needs and demands of businesses, it leaves a terrible gap.”
“We are well positioned to execute projects in the Upstream and Downstream Sectors” – Uwangue,
Jerry Uwangue is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of J&G Engineering and Construction Services Limited – one of Nigeria’s fastest growing and most dynamic operator in the Oil and Gas Sector with operations cutting across engineering, construction, procurement, maintenance, marine services, personnel outsourcing and project management.
With a mind-set that innovatively challenges the norm which earned him a glittering career in the energy sector, Uwangue embarked on an entrepreneurial quest to pursue the vision that birthed J&G Engineering and Construction Services in 2009. He knew the journey would not be all rosy, but with dedication to quality service delivery, hard work and upholding the virtues of integrity, he has been able to build a solid reputation in the industry which has earned the company strategic partnerships with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), International Oil Companies (IOCs), as well as indigenous players in the industry.
According to him, “entrepreneurship is a risky venture where success is never assured. However, he is driven by the need to achieve success where others have failed which is expressed in the search for new and better solutions, and the ability to deliver these solutions through his company.
With the drive to pursue our vision and achieve excellence, we have today become one of the most equipped oil and gas services provider with highly skilled and experienced manpower. Our technical partnership with OEMs has also helped us to expand our scope to include Fabrication & Surface Coating services.
We have the right people, working environment, motivation and the expertise that help us to consistently deliver highly cost-effective engineering solutions, using the latest technology, cutting edge industry process, sophisticated software and modern in-house processes to execute our clients’ project in the upstream and downstream sectors of the Nigerian oil and gas industry.”
Reacting to the signing of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) which lingered for over a decade, Uwangue applauded the move describing it as an open door of opportunities for indigenous firms given the recent divestments by IOCs from onshore and shallow-water oil blocks.
In his words, “There is a huge expectation for indigenous companies to gain significant entrance into meaningful petroleum operations. As a leading indigenous EPCM (Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Maintenance) company, with wide range of experience within the oil, gas and power sectors of the Nigerian economy, we are positioned with resource allocation preparation, relevant permits, licenses and of course the development of a highly skilled team.”
In its commitment to promoting local content, J&G Engineering and Construction Services Limited has incorporated the local content initiative into its corporate business strategy in its bid to contribute its fair share to the sustainable development of Nigeria in general and project host communities in particular.
Uwangue commended the management of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) since inception “for creating value across the energy sector, creating jobs and building capacity. The pioneer Executive Secretary of the Board, Ernest Nwapa once revealed that Nigeria recorded an estimated capital flight of about $380 billion between 1956 when oil was discovered and time the Act was initiated in 2006. However, the situation has changed since the signing into law of the Nigerian Content Bill, in April 2010.”
Analysing the current challenges affecting the industry, the J&G boss explained that oil dependency has become a curse owing to the inability of successive administrations to diversify the economy, which in turn has brought about some challenges in the sector. He pointed out the Niger-Delta crisis and advised government to sustain its efforts to resolving the problems with the continuation of the Amnesty Program, which has seen most of the Niger Delta youths rehabilitated and sent outside the country for training and capacity building.
Equally, he wanted government to pay more attention to the issues of underfunding which can be tackled using models like the PSC terms and Modified Carried Agreement (MCA) with MOCs to provide permanent solutions.
He added that “Typically, the process of contract award in the Nigerian oil and gas upstream sector is tedious and lengthy. The duration of contract award between initiation and eventual execution of the agreement could take as much as 36 months in some cases. This could affect the project economics of contracts. With regard to this, MOCs should kick-start contract award process well in advance of commencement of project to ensure that all regulatory and contractual approval processes are complied with before actual project execution.
Having executed a number of high-profile projects with perfection in the Oil Industry with a clientele that keeps growing, Uwangue informed that the goal of J&G Engineering is to provide optimal engineering solutions to its clients through well-structured, strategic channels to enable the company respond effectively and efficiently as it aims to expand its portfolio in the years ahead.”
ENGR. IFIOK IME UDOEKPO: A True Visionary With A Passion For Excellence
Focused, intelligent, hard-working and blessed with ingenuity to achieve uncommon feats, Engr. Ifiok Ime Udoekpo, CEO, Juesco Nigeria Limited is a versatile and enterprising manager who has shown the stuff he is made of through business initiatives and visionary leadership that has changed the face of Oil Servicing Companies in the country.
Talking about what Juesco offers its clients and the community as whole, Udoekpo said as one of the indigenous Oil Servicing Companies in Nigeria, Juesco specializes in Pumping Services, Early Production Facility (EPF), Production/Well Testing, Well Head Maintenance/Installation,Pipeline Welding, Pipeline Pigging, Tank Fabrication, Platform/Rig Maintenance, Engineering Procurement & Construction (EPC), Nitrogen Purging, Wellbore Cleaning and Engineering Consultancy Services, adding that the company is also vastly experienced and continuously delivering value to companies within the up, down and midstream sectors of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry.
He listed the company’s competence in handling and delivering various jobs in the areas of Pump Installation, Maintenance and Flare Scrubber Export, Early Production Facilities Services, Provision of Crude Oil Storage Tanks, Provision of Miscellaneous Pumping Services, Facility Maintenance and Upgrade, Fabrication and Installation of Flame Arrestor and Gas Metering System, Fabrication and Installation of Pig Launchers and Pig Receivers, Pipeline/Flowline Construction and Installation, Fabrication Construction and Installation, General Rig and Platform Maintenance and Equipment Hiring.
He affirmed that “At Juesco, quality service delivery at the lowest cost is a priority for us because we care about our clients’ profit maximization, we also provide enormous corporate social service to the host community by training their youths and empowering them to be usefully engaged.”
On the impact of COVID-19 on the organization, Udoekpo – a true symbol of integrity – said his resilience to making things work; trusting in God as well as being deliberate in managing the company’s reserve well are some of the factors that pulled them through.
A service-oriented patriot, Udoekpo has received numerous awards and recognitions in recognition his outstanding performance over the years, amongst are Award of Excellence by Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Award of Excellent Performance by The Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Possibility Ministry, Award of Excellence by African Oil and Gas Research Institute.
He therefore, charged upcoming administrators and emerging leaders who would like to make a mark in their calling to be focused, diligent and hardworking, adding that they need to be transparent and be truthful in all their dealings and absolutely believe in themselves.
How Ladgroup’s bridging the gap in Nigerian oil space, creating value for economic growth by Ogirri
A silent achiever and a man whose personality exudes confidence and excellence evident in the remarkable feats he has recorded in his personal and professional calling, Robert Ogirri, Managing Director, Ladgroup Limited, is an embodiment of resourcefulness. A man who has truly distinguished himself as an exceptional leader with uncommon entrepreneurial acumen.
Narrating the story behind the establishment of Ladgroup Limited, Ogirri said Ladgroup was founded by Prince (Dr.) Babatunde Onafowokan in 1972 as a trading company focusing on the export of commodities such as ginger, gum arabic, cocoa and sheanuts but later grew to become Nigeria’s largest exporter of cocoa, importer of frozen fish from Argentina, and the first indigenous company to import rice from Thailand.
He added that in 2015, Ladgroup commissioned a best in class 27,000MT/annum oil mill extraction factory and further bought an edible oil refinery of 21,000MT/annum capacity which was funded by NeximBank in support of agricultural commodity processing expansion in Nigeria. In June 2019, FAFIN (Funds for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria) invested into the Company thus becoming majority shareholders.
He maintained that “Ladgroup is the number one player in industrial processing of sheanuts in Nigeria. Our processing factory is the first in Nigeria and one of the largest in West Africa. We are also the market leader in the procurement of sheanuts in the country. The factory has commenced operation and established an efficient supply chain, procurement of raw material and organizational capacity structure that has enabled us to grow.”
On what made Ladgroup stand out as an organization, Ogirri stressed “We have always strived for excellence and committed to ensuring that we deliver the best. We drive a people that as a culture put the customer first, in terms of value, exhibit the character and values of excellence, committed to raising the bars of performance which essentially shows in how we deal with our customers because the greatest asset in our organization is our people, so we are a integrity conscious organization with top-notch customer service.”
He disclosed that “Very soon, the company will go into fractionation and production of shea oil. With a deficit of 3million tones per annum in terms of oil consumption in Nigeria, we are also looking at diversifying into the whole oil space. We have a plant deliberately designed to do palm kernel, soyabean, groundnut. Interestingly, in terms of shea butter itself, the opportunities are enormous for refined shea butter, shea oil, shea stearin and packaged product. We have already entered the retail market and commenced sales of our packaged product in the modern trade and also in the traditional market space”
A Fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Management and Institute of Management Consultant, Ogirri enjoined upcoming professionals to always make use of the 3As principle which has helped to shape him to who he has become today. These include: Accountability, Adaptability and Aggressiveness.
He advised “upcoming professionals to be accountable and need to continually develop themselves. They must also be Adaptable because we have a complex society, therefore, it might be hard to ride the way through if one is not adaptable which means you must understand situations that would come unexpectedly and the implications it portends – you must be proactive. Aggressiveness means to relentlessly pursue opportunities and never give up. To meet a target, you should be at the forefront of delivering it. These have been my guiding principles which have shaped me.”
A service-oriented patriot, Ogirri has received numerous awards and recognitions in recognition of his outstanding performance over the years. Nonetheless, he takes more pleasure in Team Awards where being part of Teams that have achieved outstanding results whether in setting up of factories or setting up plants across West Africa or in the area of turning around business. These, he said gives him joy and will appreciate what has been achieved through other people rather than individual awards.
“By the grace of God, my over 27 years of work experience is enriched with a lot of achievements” he enthused.
LIFEPAGE is on course to develop 1,000,000 homes across Africa by 2041” – Oladipupo Clement
LIFEPAGE is a real estate company that provides investment opportunities for the creation and retention of wealth, primarily through Real Estate. It is an organization that believes the catalyst to building a reliable brand lies in the ability to deliver on promise. The company will attain a decade of business operations in May, 2022.
As one of a world class group of companies with interest in diverse sectors, Oladipupo Clement, LIFEPAGE’s Chief Executive Officer, said the company’s business operations is well in sync with re-positioning Nigeria to the path of wealth creation and economic growth.
According to Oladipupo, the company was “built to endure. We did not start this business with the intention of simply taking care of our family and being fine. Life isn’t just about money; it is also about making an impact. Therefore, we built the company with the goal of making a difference in the world’ in mind. I can say categorically that in the Nigerian real estate space, LIFEPAGE is still one of the most structured, and we are getting better every day.
He spoke further “Our processes are there to ensure we achieve our main agenda to develop 1,000,000 homes across Africa by 2041 – we understand that once the problem of housing deficit is solved, the majority would have a safe haven for cover in the form of shelter, we will have fewer miscreants on the streets, and we will enjoy a certain level of peace.
In this environment, the unemployment rate is also a source of concern. As a result, job creation has an effect on the GDP of the economy, and once one is gainfully employed, basic needs are met at the minimum – automatically positioning the Nation on a growth pedestal. Our value delivery chain extends beyond just our team or customers to include every stakeholder in the picture including investors, suppliers, communities, and others. As we always say; if it’s not creating or retaining wealth, then it’s not LIFEPAGE”, he added.
He noted that as an expert, part of the innovative approach employed in running LIFEPAGE has impacted positively both on the company and the industry in general. He noted that “We incorporate educational selling strategy into our system. This is paramount to us. We take it upon ourselves to ensure our customers thoroughly understand what they are venturing into. We don’t sell real estate – we sell the benefits that real estate provides, which is why we place such a premium on training and financial education. The feedback has been amazing.”
Concerning the challenges connected to the Real EstatesSpace in Nigeria, Oladipupo said “Different real estate players in Nigeria face unique challenges, just like every other industry. According to Roy T. Bennett, life is about accepting challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savoring the journey. The scarcity of long-term, low-cost funds is a major challenge. Access to funds, for example, will allow us to build high-quality, affordable homes for more Nigerians. Another issue is property documentation. To obtain clean titles that can be processed and delivered quickly, a developer’s plot must be created.
He noted that “the prospects for real estate business in an emerging economy like Nigeria with a massive market have numerous opportunities for new new players. The opportunities are huge, and I personally believe Nigeria’s real estate market is still largely untapped. All of the real estate developers and players in this sector are only scratching the surface. We haven’t even begun yet.
According to a PWC report for 2019/2020, the value of dead capital in Nigeria’s real estate lands market is over 900 billion dollars. If the sector has maximized its potentials, 900 billion will not be trapped and unused. In that space, there is an ecosystem in which you can participate as a broker, developer, investor, or regulator. The interesting thing is that there is still a lot of room for people to do things differently than they have always done them.
The real estate sector, like other industries, requires a lot of disruptions, and we’ve seen quite a few of these in the last decade, but I see a lot more coming to play with technology. There is a lot going on in the real estate market, but it hasn’t quite reached its potential. However, the challenges faced in the Nigerian real estate industry are unique, so our solutions must be homegrown and localized.
Again, the potential is quite large, and with the market size, demand is also extremely high, which spells huge potential, and let me add that the types of houses people look for speak less of space and more of functionality.
In recognition of his outstanding performance in and outside the industry, as an award-winning CEO, Oladipupo has received many awards some of which include the 2017 Outstanding Integrity Real Estate Company of The Year by Pan-African International Recognition Awards (PAIR); 2018 Merit Award of Excellence by The League of African Development Students; 2018 National Outstanding Leadership Award by The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS); 2020 Recognition Award for Outstanding Support By REDAN; 2021 Special Gold Award for Outstanding Leadership Recognition and Inspirational Excellence by Chartered Institute of Public Resources Management and Politics – Ghana
“Luckybay Homes – A brainchild of absolute passion”-Lucky Ujomu
Young, dynamic, innovative and blessed with a large heart to drive his passion for philanthropic deeds for the needy in the society, Lucky Ujomu, CEO, Luckybay Homes, represents the next generation of business-minded Nigerian youths making the country proud. His company has successfully delivered on promises made to clients and some more. His dream to provide premium homes at affordable rates for as many as possible is yielding fruits to the applause of many pleased new homeowners. He shares the story of his passion. Excerpts:
The Luckybay Homes Story
Luckybay Homes Limited is a brainchild of absolute passion, years of Real Estate experience and utmost dedication. It no news that we live in a time where uncommon thinking reigns supreme and the housing needs of Nigerians keep growing. Luckybay homes was established to first combat the housing deficit in Nigeria, create sustainable housing, using quality building materials in the best and most serene environment, for pocket friendly prices. The factors that have contributed to the Growth of Luckybay Homes will include our passion, integrity, transparency, resilience, amazing construction team of professionals, and the fact that we spare no cost at making sure that we build sustainable housing with quality materials.
Luckybay Homes Limited is a value-driven organization, and the fact that we have been in business for more than a decade speaks volume in itself. With Luckybay Homes, our clients are guaranteed value for money, longevity, and quality. Since inception, we have never had a collapse of structure or customer complains concerning their purchase. We build real estate that appreciates in value and that at the core of our operations. Client’s investment not only creates comfort but also serves as an investment opportunity.
The basic need of any society is shelter, and Luckybay Homes has built close to a thousand units of shelter for Nigerians. The construction of real estate also serves as an investment opportunity for citizens thereby increasing the country’s GDP through taxation. We have also provided the Nigerian community especially young Nigerians, with thousands of employment opportunities since its inception. These are some of the values for clients and community.
A company driven by exceptional qualities
To Standout as an administrator and organization, you need to master three skills especially in the Real Estate Business. Firstly, Technical Skill, this implies an understanding of and proficiency in the real estate business from the construction aspect to the sales, Secondly, Human skill. For a business sector like real estate, human skills, that is the executive ability to work effectively as a group member and to build cooperative effort within a team of different personalities, languages and even nationalities. Thirdly, Conceptual skill which is the ability to see the enterprise as a whole, recognizing how the various function of the organization depend on one another and how to manage them, the learning of these three skills [Technical skill, Human skills, Conceptual skill] make me stand out as an administrator and an organization.
Success in the face of challenges
The COVID-19 period was a very trying time for every business and every sector, a lot of businesses collapsed and a lot of businesses thrived, Nigerians lost their employment during that period and some Nigerians found a new path. The real estate business was one of the sectors that suffered immensely, because of the hands-on nature of the job. The innovation that pulled me through was switching real estate sale completely digital and the internet played a big role. The need to explore the internet for the growth of businesses became very evident during the COVID period, and this innovation helped Luckybay Homes stay afloat amidst uncertainties, but this was only possible because we had built a network of trust and integrity overtime, so clients were sure of the value they were getting buying from Luckybay Homes. We at Luckybay basically embraced the business side of the internet because it is here to stay.
A company of the future
The projection for Luckybay Homes is to make the organization a continental brand by being Nigeria’s and biggest real estate and construction firm by 2030 with thirty thousand housing units, in 25 out of the 36 Nigerian states, with plans to setup offices in other African countries, and to have created more than 7000 employment opportunities for young Nigerians.
“MeritAbode remains the best choice for home buyers” – Oludotun Oseni
With a strong business background and a degree in Economics, Oludotun Oseni, became a serial entrepreneur with multi track record of taking creative ideas and turning them into successful products and services that change lives, and provide job opportunities. He is the CEO of MeritAbode, a leading Nigerian real estate company that thrives on professionalism, quality service delivery and integrity.
An astute CEO, who prefers to work silently and allow his projects speak volume, Oludotun brought the experience garnered in a wide variety of industry verticals and markets to provide a creative solution in a country that desperately needs low-cost quality houses.
With a vision to be the most trusted property development and housing solutions provider in Africa, Merit Abode has over the years built a reputation for itself as a company tending to the real estate needs of Nigerians and Africans at large.
On how the journey has been since he started MeritAbode, Oludotun, described it as a fascinating experience which involves a deliberate process of building a team of like minds which has helped the company to provide quality houses that are premised on tested and trusted values towards meeting customers’ ever-evolving needs.\
He said, “One of the things I learnt earlier in life is that you cannot solve problems with the same level of thinking that created them. I already knew where I was going before starting MeritAbode over ten years ago. I observed that there was a large vacuum to be filled in the real estate sector and that was all the drive and motivation that I needed. Real Estate offers a direct correlation between the effort and rewards. The more you put into your career, the more you can expect out of it. I wasn’t moved by the challenges that surrounded me at the time and here I am today. I am grateful for the growth and the opportunity to put smiles on the faces of people.”
MeritAbode’s phenomenal growth, significant strength
The resilience and sustainable performance and growth of Meritabode over the past years is largely attributed to need to ensure more and more Nigerians own properties at the best of deals. Our purpose is to build communities and fuel great real estate innovations in Africa.
At Meritabode, we hold ourselves to the highest standards in real estate. Our team continually provides superior client satisfaction by combining imaginative architecture, cutting edge design, innovative technology and immaculate craftsmanship. We are dedicated to providing the latest trends, building techniques, using only the finest quality materials and products for exceptional homes. We have made many dream homes a reality and will continue to provide an endless amount of many more.
Addressing the housing crisis in Nigeria
We are taking intelligent steps in tackling the housing crisis in the economy by exploring viable suburban communities within close proximities to commercial city centrals and ensuring the availability of affordable residential homes of the highest standards to Nigerians.
We thoughtfully and carefully selected the communities for our Emerald Garden City estates since its introduction in 2012, we have sold out over 5 phases across all communities. Our Emerald Garden City estates include: Emerald Garden City, Simawa, Phases 1, 2, 3, 4 and 4B; Emerald Garden City, Mowe Ofada, Phases 1 and 3; Emerald Garden City Agbowa Ikorodu and Imota, Ikorodu; Emerald Garden City, Agbara; and Emerald Garden City, Ibeju Lekki, Phases 1, 2 and 3.
We provide a range of development options to home seekers looking to buy into any of our Emerald Garden city estates and our Sapphire Court housing project in Mowe Ofada. Buyers are availed with options ranging from 300sqm to 600sqm land sizes, 1 to 4-bedroom bungalows, apartments, duplexes and terrace houses for which we construct fully and deliver the keys to buyers within as little as 12 months.
All our estates are duly registered in their respective states and all have valid title documentations to ensure the security of buyers and investors. Our development provides great opportunities for Investors to have great returns on their investments.
The only way we can get the housing deficit sorted is by providing good quality houses at affordable rates. Much is needed to be done in this regard with special attention to even the tiniest details in structure, planning and design for real estate. There are on-going projects of varying scale at MeritAbode to address this deficit; one is our Emerald Wellness City project in Arepo.
We create an environment that reflects our clients’ businesses – Awonowo,
Michael Awonowo is an astute architect whose passion for designing workplaces towards improving productivity and efficiency has seen him deliver projects for top brands and multinationals in less than five years of starting Micdee Designs Limited.
A graduate of Covenant University where he bagged a bachelor and master degrees in Architecture, Awonowo leads a team of young and talented Nigerians who are helping organisations proffer solutions in creating beautiful and functional spaces that allow individuals and teams to work better.
Describing how the journey has been since May 2017 when the company came into existence, Awonowo explained that the company has been able to create a niche for itself and this has paved way for the company to build relationships with both local and international companies.
According to Awonowo, “We are in an industry where opportunities do not come cheaply especially for young firms like ours, but we have been able to devise an approach that focused on improving workplace productivity for businesses. Our approach to work has distinguished us from competitors because most companies approach it from a beautification standpoint, while we approach every project from an economic standpoint.”
He added “For instance, if a client presents a budget of N50million, we go the extra mile to understand what the client intends to achieve with the budget and we have come to understand that most times, the brief presented originally is not the brief you get to work with. So when they share their goals with us and we brainstorm with them, they trust us to deliver a good job because we don’t just beautify the workplace, we deliver brand environmental designs. What this means is that the moment you walk into an organization, the environment speaks about the brand. We create an environment that reflects our clients’ businesses.”
By deploying unorthodox methods to change the concept of work space designs, Micdee has delivered exceptional projects for major brands which includes Piggyvest, UAC, SoftCom, Sterling Bank, Mutual Benefits, PWC, KPMG, Eyowo, mPharma, Stanbic IBTC, Enyata and the United Nations World Food Project among others.
Given the nature of work done by architects, often times it is said that architects think like artists, however, the Micdee boss has a differing opinion. He pointed out that “we try not to think like artists from the start of a project because art is objective, you can either like it or not, but you can’t do that in business. Business needs to make sense to everybody, so we try not to think like artists, we think like economists, strategists and consultants. When we understand what the goals are, then we can think like artists for our creative team to get to work.”
On what makes him tick as a CEO, Awonowo explained that having the right team has kept him going in his quest to make Micdee a global brand. He said, “Everything about a business starts with the people who make up the organization. If the employees are satisfied, it makes work easy for the CEO. It means you can trust them to perform their duties without supervision.”
Speaking further, he disclosed that Micdee is expanding its operations to cater for people at the lower end of the economic chain. We are starting a research centre which will be known as Micdee Labs. What we intend to achieve through this initiative is to provide solutions to problems faced by the average Nigerians by helping them to become more productive.”
How NBC’s 70 years operations have evolved, impacted Nigeria’s socio-economic growth by Seguin
Matthieu Seguin, Managing Director, Nigerian Bottling Company Limited (NBC), is a quintessential professional, CEO, board member, inspirational and esteemed leader with almost three decades of experience across both developed and developing markets in Western Europe, Central & Eastern Europe, the Middle East. He was appointed the Managing Director, Nigerian Operations of the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company (CCHBC) in October 2019.
Seguin has a strong track record of transformational leadership. Prior to his appointment as MD of NBC, he was the Managing Director, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland & Northern Ireland, for about four years. In Ireland & Northern Island, he repositioned the business for growth. The same feat he has replicated in NBC since his return to Nigeria in 2019. Steadily, he has positioned NBC on a growth trajectory and a major contributor to the CCHBC growth agenda.
It is said that everything rises and falls on leadership. Seguin understands this well and has evolved a leadership philosophy that focuses on simplification, agility, undivided focus on strategy and people development. For him, the most important decision a leader takes revolves around people; getting the right quality of people, equipping them with relevant skills and capabilities and motivating them to realize their aspirations. Perhaps, this is the magic wand that has kept Seguin’s NBC, the soft drinks giant and bottler of Coca-Cola brands, on an unassailable pedestal.
He displays an unparalleled knack for creating shared value for stakeholders in the value chain and has demonstrated this clearly in his previous leadership positions. His best moment is when he is in trade with customers and consumers, receiving feedback and understanding how best to support their growth. Seguin joined CCHBC in 2009 as the Group International Customer Director. From 2011 to 2016, he was the Country Commercial Director for Nigeria. Prior to that, Matthieu held different FMCG commercial leadership roles across Europe, Middle East & Africa.
Seguin is a strong advocate for creating the right partnerships for the growth of commerce and industry as a means to boost socio-economic growth. Propelled by this passion, he is currently the Second Vice President of the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) Governing Council; First Vice President, Association of Food, Beverage and Tobacco Employers (AFBTE), and Chairman, Food and Beverages Recycling Alliance (FBRA).
He has a keen interest in sustainability and has taken ownership of mainstreaming sustainability in every aspect of NBC’s operations, ranging from sustainable manufacturing and reduction in carbon footprint, community partnerships, diversity and inclusion and ethics.
He explained that “one thing I am fiercely passionate about is driving open and inclusive leadership. A key priority for me when I came on board as the Managing Director of NBC, was to ensure that the vision and the state of the business was clear to everyone in the organization. For a business to sustain its success, two-way feedback is also essential, therefore we ensure that we continually track our performance with all employees and collect feedback from across the business”.
In his words, “At NBC, we believe that our business is only as sustainable as the communities in which we do business. In the last 10 years, the Coca-Cola System has invested over 9 billion naira in lifting the living standards of communities across Nigeria. A few examples: since 2017, through our Youth Empowered program, we have trained over 23,000 youths on entrepreneurship and employability skills.
Between 2015 to 2020, the “5by20 program” of the Coca-Cola System in Nigeria, has provided over 38,000 women with opportunities to own, manage and grow their businesses. We also support community development, as seen with water supply and improvement projects we implemented in Kano State in partnership with the State Water Board which delivered potable water to over 1 million residents in Kano State”.
An Alumnus of INSEAD, IMD & EM Normandie, his purposeful, unique leadership style has seen him lead NBC to record remarkable achievements and year-on-year growth.
He was excited about “the incredible impact that NBC has had on socio-economic growth in Nigeria as a proud contributor to the growth of nation’s economy over the last 70 years of growing and evolving our operations with the country. Today, we have 8 world-class manufacturing plants across Nigeria supported with distribution centers, over 200,000 customers, 1,000 suppliers and 3,000 full-time employees. 90% of our suppliers are Nigerian SMEs who earn a living from doing business with us.
For example, from 2007 till date, we have invested $1.7 billion in Nigeria, for the expansion of our production capacity, creation of jobs for Nigerian youths across the value chain and more. In the last five years, we supported the creation of 58,000 jobs in our value chain, aside many other jobs we have outsourced”.
With some of the most recognizable, iconic and respected brands in the world as part of NBC’s business, Seguin stressed that “the trust the public has in the Coca-Cola system in Nigeria is not taken lightly. For us in the Coca-Cola system in Nigeria, we hold ourselves to the highest quality standards. In many instances, our self-assigned standards are even higher than the regulatory requirements. Undoubtedly, it costs more to deliver high standards, however the trust and commitment it would engender from customers and consumers will pay off in the long term.”
How innovation, resourcefulness, quality, restored Neimeth’s profitability by Azoji
One of the leading captains of industry who impacted the national economy in 2021, is Pharm. Matthew Azoji, Managing Director/CEO, Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals PLC. Despite the daunting economic challenges of 2021, Pharm. Azoji returned a stronger Neimeth in turnover, profitability and capital gains for shareholders.
Through his rare innovative managerial acumen, Azoji weathered the storm of the economic vagaries of the 2021 business year to build a unique record of success in Neimeth’s operations. This, he achieved through revenue growth, profit sustainability and capital gains for shareholders.
A pharmacist with over 25 years’ demonstrable leadership experience at senior level in the public health and pharmaceutical sectors of Nigeria, Pharm. Azoji holds a First Class honours degree in Pharmacy and an M. Phil. in Pharmacy Administration both from Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife. Equally, he obtained an M.Sc in Public Health from University of London, United Kingdom and an MBA in Marketing from Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu.
He also is an alumnus of Lagos Business School (LBS), Pan Atlantic University Lagos, having been a member of the Advanced Management Programme (AMP) of the school and holds certificate in Pharmaceutical Policy Analysis and Pharmacoeconomics from Utrecht University, The Netherlands; a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre.
He has attended several other local and international trainings/workshops on diverse subjects in public health, leadership, business governance, strategic management, financial management, procurement supply chain management (PSM), sales and marketing as well as participated in a World Health Organization (WHO) Technical Briefing Seminar (TBS) which included training on its Prequalification System; all of which significantly enhanced his technical and leadership skills over the years. He is currently working on his Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme.
He is a Fellow of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (FPSN), Fellow West African Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (FPCPharm) and Fellow, Nigerian Academy of Pharmacy (FNAPharm). He is also a member of many other professional bodies including the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP), Institute of Directors (M.IoD), Nigerian Association of Industrial Pharmacists (NAIP), Nigerian Institute of Management and National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN).In the past three years as the Chief Executive Officer, Neimeth has been on the upward trajectory. The driving force of this accomplishment is innovation and qualitative service which he says drives his passion to achieve. He has reversed a trend of weak turnover and loss regime to one of growth and profitability.
Between 2018/2019 and 2019/2020, Neimeth recorded growth in both turnover and profit after ten years of lull. In the 2019/2020 business year, the company paid dividend to shareholders after over a decade of non-dividend payment, emerging from an era of constant losses.
On the strength of this, Azoji was in 2019 given the BusinessDay/Nigerian Stock Exchange Top 25 CEOs Award in recognition of the Stellar performance of Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals Plc on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. In reaction to the positive developments in the company namely the consistency in value creation for shareholders, Neimeth was also in 2021 given the Nigerian Investor Value Award (NIVA) as the Best Performing Stock ((Healthcare) in the Nigerian capital market on account of the value it created for shareholders through capital gains.
Neimeth, a leading and innovative healthcare provider out of Africa has shown consistent improvement in creating values for investors in Nigeria’s capital market through the performance of the company’s shares on the Stock Exchange.
Following the performance of the company, managers of the Nigerian Exchange System nominated her for The Listed Company of the Year Award alongside blue chip companies such as FBN Holdings and Airtel Africa Plc.
The Neimeth Ark has continued to soar high – an investors choice in the Nigerian capital market, shareholders at its 2021 Annual General Meeting acclaimed the executive management of the company led by Azoji as the Moses of this Corporate giant.
Neimeth International Pharmaceuticals PLC came into existence as the result of the Management-buy-out of the 60 percent equity of Pfizer Inc; New York’s holding in Pfizer Products PLC. The Company had already been operating in Nigeria for 40 years manufacturing, marketing and distributing pharmaceutical and veterinary products under the Pfizer brand including tablets, capsules, ointments, creams, powders, injectables, and oral liquid forms.
During those first 40 years, the Company that would become Neimeth established Nigeria’s first pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Aba, Abia State which was however destroyed during the Nigerian Civil War. Despite that sad experience, not long after the war in 1976, the Company established the most modern pharmaceutical plant in the West African sub-region at Oregun, Lagos – a sign of its commitment to industrialization and provision of quality medicines in Nigeria.
Today, Neimeth is focused on manufacturing essential family medicines, having become a trusted name in that area. The Company supplies its products to the Nigerian and West African markets. With a corporate vision ” To be the most innovative healthcare provider out of Africa”, the company plans to expand its business to the entire African market. The company prides itself on innovation which is the touchstone of its business with a lot of emphasis on the healthcare needs of Nigeria and Africa.
He spoke further that “It is not the only area where Neimeth has been making breakthroughs. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a long-term medical condition that predominantly affects black patients. We have locally developed medical formulations for Hypertension, directly addressing the specific needs of the black population. We’re building on that too, aiming to do much more in that area,”
In the words of the resourceful and result-driven CEO, “Our core focus is innovation and quality medicines and that has won us the trust of the average Nigerian family and Africa as a whole. One of the ways we focus on innovation is we pay attention to medicines that meet the core healthcare needs of Nigerians and Africans.”
He noted that Neimeth “cooperates with universities and research institutions looking for ways to bring the outcomes of their research to market. One illness, sickle cell disorder, is a major problem in Nigeria that affects 6 percent of the population, many of them children. Working with a Nigerian University researcher who developed evidence that a seed grown in Nigeria can produce materials that will effectively control sickle cell disease, Neimeth went further to adopt and commercialize this product. It is now effectively being used to control sickle cell disease, after its certification by NAFDAC. That’s just one very good outcome of Neimeth’s innovative approach.”
ALHAJI USMAN MOHAMMED: Astute Entrepreneur, Promoting Business Standards, Fostering Global Collaboration and Wealth Creation
Alhaji Usman Mohammed is a reputable, seasoned businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, who has established a series of successful businesses in key sectors of the Nigerian economy. He has over two decades worth of experience in the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry. In a bid to diversify his business interests he has also acquired significant experience in terms of doing business in the real estate, logistics, construction, and engineering sectors in Nigeria.
As an individual, Alhaji Usman Mohammed has always been passionate about knowledge acquisition and operating in accordance with international standards. This led him to pursue a degree in Business Administration from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. Similarly, he has acquired various skill sets from various trainings and workshops over the years, both locally and internationally. In addition, he is an alumnus of the CWC School of Energy.
Widely recognized as a key player in the Nigerian business landscape with a focus on international collaborations, he was recently appointed as the Chairman of Board, Franco-Nigeria Chamber of Commerce & Industry. He has also been elected as a member of the board of directors of several multinational entities operating in Nigeria, such as Daewoo Nigeria Limited, EIFFEL Nigeria Ltd-EIFFAGE Group. In recognition of his outstanding academic and professional standing, demonstrated commitment to creating, maintaining, extending, promoting the highest world standards of management, consulting, ethics, competence and client service. He is a Fellow of the renowned Institute of Management Consultants.
Alhaji Mohammed is a patriotic Nigerian that is keen on utilizing investments as a vehicle to be an active contributor to the development of Nigeria with a focus on employment generation, implementation of local content legislation, innovation, fostering global collaboration and wealth creation.
Currently, he is the Founder/CEO, New Energy Service Company Limited (NESSCO) which is a 100% indigenous engineering, procurement, facility management, construction, oil and gas servicing and an ISO9001 and BS OHSAS 18001:2007 certified company in Nigeria. While NESSCO was incorporated in 2003 as a lifting operations and maintenance provider, it has grown into an engineering, procurement, construction (EPC) and facility management company able to support complex oil & gas and infrastructure projects.
In recognition of the global challenges facing the international energy industry and in response to the energy transition, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic; NESSCO recently embarked on a rebranding exercise aimed at solidifying its existing businesses and diversifying into the broader renewable and clean energy space.
NESSCO’s paramount consideration as a business is to run its business in a manner that is sustainable taking into consideration our environment, social and governance factors. To this end, we always strive to maintain a good relationship with our host communities and support various NGOs in our areas of operation.
Several awards have been received by NESSCO under the stewardship of Alhaji Usman Mohammed. These include: Award in recognition of immense contribution towards the Spotlight Nigeria 2019 presented to New Energy Services Company Limited by the Friends of Nigeria (Europe); African Prize for Leadership Excellence 2018 celebrating Alhaji Usman Mohammed as the Oil and Gas Personality Leadership Prize Winner of the year 2018 from the African Institute for Leadership Excellence.
Others are: Excellence Award presented to New Energy Services Company Limited as the Global Best World Class Quality Marine Vessels and Offshore Construction Services Company of the Year 2017; Award from the Franco Nigerian Chamber of Commerce and Industry presented to Alhaji Usman Mohammed recognizing New Energy Services Company Limited as the most supportive company of the Year in 2016. Innovation Award of Oil and Gas Excellence in Crane, Marine Vessel Supply and Facility Management Services in 2016 by the Institute for Government Research Leadership Technology. Award of Recognition by the Rotary Club of Ikoyi Metropolitan being the highest contributor to projects in the year 2010.
NESSCO and its other affiliated entities spearheaded by Alhaji Usman Mohammed are a major employer of labour with a diverse and inclusive work force. The company also has branches across Nigeria and a world class facility in Port Harcourt.
NESSCO strives to be the foremost Nigerian provider of bespoke EPC and Facility Management services to energy companies, oil & gas, and infrastructure developers with decades of experience in providing lifting solutions, efficient maintenance services and project management to both local and international clients in Africa.
Our services include: Lifting Operations, Certification & Maintenance; Engineering, Procurement, Construction & Maintenance; IMR, Testing & Installation of Hoists, Winches & Valves; World-Class Maintenance Workshop & Construction yard; Asset Integrity & Management; End-to-End Procurement Solutions; Other Engineering Support Services.
NOAH IBRAHIM – Transforming the future of Africa Through Green Building
Noah Ibrahim is a prime example of an enterprising young African rising up to addressing real economic issues. A beneficial combination of genius, hard work and dedication to bring a technological revolution in real estate, Ibrahim has taken Nigeria’s real estate industry one step ahead into the future by building estates that run on clean and renewable energy.
Switching over to renewable energy is progressively becoming the way forward for the world and Ibrahim is setting the pace for Nigeria and Africa to run along with the rest of the world.
Ibrahim started his impactful career as a property consultant with Palton Morgan and managed over 50 properties under Sellerand Realty, a real estate sales and property management company he founded before Novarick Homes.
In 2018, he started Novarick Homes, a real estate development company headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. It quickly became one of the fastest-growing real estate companies in Nigeria.
But that was not all he envisioned; he planned to redefine the narrative in the industry.
Opportunity out of Adversity
Driven by the need to tackle the problem of electricity supply gave Novarick Homes and Properties a unique entry into the real estate industry in a fashion shaped for the future.
Novarick Homes brought the concept of green real estate to the mainstream in Nigeria, with the development of four major housing projects; Ruby Apartment, Earls Court, Wazobia Courts, and Nova Gardens, leveraging solar energy as alternative power sources. The company has also adopted the use of 3D house printing technology in constructing mass affordable houses and contributing her quota in solving Nigeria’s housing deficit.
For five years now, Ibrahim has successfully increased the choices available to home owners and residents in the marketplace. Investing in real estate has been simplified considerably and the room for inclusion of the low end of the market has continued to widen.
“Sustainability aligns with our vision and corporate brand. It is key to the future of our business. Beyond moral and ethical considerations, as a forward-looking real estate firm, we believe that there are tangible economic reasons why sustainable buildings are a good investment for the future. Green buildings drive better business outcomes, maximizes asset value, and ensure occupant satisfaction while reducing environmental impact,” Ibrahim said.
The 30 year-old entrepreneur holds a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University and oversees the four subsidiary companies of Novarick Homes; Novarick Agro-allied, Novarick Construction, Novarick Energy, and Softworks, a tech company that provides a platform for unemployed Nigerians to secure freelance jobs from clients across Africa.
An unabashed philanthropist, Ibrahim received a certification of appreciation in 2021 from FeedTheKids.ng for providing and distributing over 40,000 lunch packs to less privileged children. He has also won numerous awards. In 2021 he received the Prestigious Africa’s Patriotic Personality Award and a Development Mandate Service Award, by the League of African Development Students (LEADS Africa). He was appointed Youth Ambassador of the West African Youth Council in 2021 and was listed among the top 10 Nigerian CEOs for the year. He was also featured on the 7th Magazine Edition of Forbes 30 under 30.
For Ibrahim, the journey into success has no arrival hall. His definition of success is the ability to solve problems with the resources at hand.
OLUKAYODE OLUSANYA: Audacious, Innovative, Strategic Serial Entrepreneur, Creating Values For National Economic Growth
Olukayode Olusanya holds an MSc Financial Economics from the University of Leicester, and attended the prestigious Lagos Business School for Public Private Partnerships.
He is a well experienced Financial/Corporate market expert and a Captain of industry in the Nigerian real estate space. He is the Founder and Chief Executive of The Oak Holdings which includes The Oak Capital; a Venture Capital/ PE in the Investment Management space; Oak Homes; a real estate development company, The Oak Asset Management and recently The Oak Digital Bank.
The Oak Holdings multi-asset strategy combines different types of assets, including equities, fixed income securities, private/mutual funds, indexing, and money market instruments among others to create a more nimble, broadly diversified portfolio for its proprietary investment objectives.
Oak Homes is a leading real estate development company with its primary business in Lagos, Nigeria but it has recently made foray into the United Kingdom and the United States. Oak Homes is manned by an innovative and creative team with combined experience spanning more than four decades.
The Oak Capital is a venture capital firm with a bias for supporting underserved start-up founders creating lasting solutions to problems in the African continent by leveraging the use of technology to promote growth of their businesses.
The Oak Capital seeks to back audacious, young entrepreneurs who are solving critical problems across different sectors in Africa, by providing pre-seed and seed stage funding. He is a serial entrepreneur and sits on the boards of several companies. He has over 15years Banking experience and more than 5years core Investment Management experience in the Real Estate sector.
PETER COLE CHIORI: Seasoned Professional, Making Giant Strides In The Maritime Sector
Peter Cole Chiori, Chief Executive Officer, Ocean Glory Commodities Limited, is a Nigerian maritime professional, who has through hard work, diligence and integrity, built a business empire with interests in maritime logistics, commodities trading, agriculture, and entertainment.
At a very young age, Chiori ventured into farming as a way of supporting his parents given his position as the first child of the family. That went on to mark the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey which has led to the establishment of other companies like Ocean Global Impex Services Limited, Ocean Trans & Trading Limited, and Korregreen Farms Limited.
A graduate of Lagos State University (LASU) with a B.Sc in Public Administration, his interest in the Shipping Industry took him to Ladoke Akintola University (LAUTECH), where he obtained an M.Sc in Maritime Transport Technology. He also holds another Master’s Degree in Business Management from Rochville University, USA.
Having worked in a number of reputable shipping companies where he was solely responsible for the daily running of the shipping and freight forwarding departments, he has been able to bring his experience to bear by ensuring that strategic planning and tactical execution are applied in the management of complex shipping processes. This, in turn, has delivered new generation solutions.
According to Chiori, he “ventured into the maritime industry in 2006 with focus on shipping, freight forwarding, cargo handling, vessels chartering, warehousing, customs brokerage and exportation of cash crops. Over the years, we have been able to harness the expertise of professionals on our management team to achieve excellent service delivery. This has earned us a trail of satisfied clients, a high profile in the maritime industry, enviable international business partnerships and relationships, certifications, accreditations and awards. Also, our ability to diversify into other businesses has equally helped us to thrive over the years.”
On the challenges faced in the Maritime Industry, Chiori expressed dissatisfaction with the state of the access road to the ports which has become a constant pain for importers and exporters as it contributes to the delay of vessels at the port, which ultimately results in the payment of huge demurrage. He also emphasised on the need for terminal operators at the port to improve their operations which to some extent would help remove some bottlenecks and reduce delays experienced at the port.
He noted that although the electronic call-up system initiated by the Nigerian Ports Authority has been helpful thus far, however inadequate planning to accommodate current realities is the reason why the Apapa Port is congested and that has continued to have a negative impact on the access road. He expressed hope that once the Lekki Deep Seaport comes up, there will be an improvement.
A member of the Lagos Pilotage Districts Berthing Committee of Nigeria, Chiori disclosed that his interest in the agricultural sector is a strategic move which has afforded him the opportunity to contribute to the global food chain.
In his words, “In business, you must grow and this depends on the ability to identify challenges and proffer solutions. We went into crop exportation because we saw the need to be a part of the global food supply network and in doing that, we are also adding value to the Nigerian economy. Aside that, plans are in top gear for us to go into manufacturing with some of these cash crops because it will fetch us more revenue. For instance, if a kilogram of cashew nuts sells for $100, exporting a finished product would give us $500.”
A recipient of the US State of Georgia House of Representatives Business Award in 2021, Peter Chiori seats on the board of Achievas Entertainment – a company which has been responsible for hosting some of the biggest concerts in Nigeria. These include Olamide’s Live In Concert (OLIC) and Davido’s 30 Billion Concert.
AISHA DAHIR-UMAR: An Indubitably Savvy Amazon, Providing Pragmatic and Innovative Solutions for Nigeria’s Pensions Administration
Mrs. Aisha Dahir-Umar is the Director-General of the National Pension Commission (PenCom), which is the regulator and supervisor of all pension matters in Nigeria.
She is a pioneer career staff of PenCom, who joined as a Deputy General Manager in 2004 and was subsequently promoted to the General Manager position. She served as Head of several departments including Management services, Corporate Responsibility & Servicom and Human Capital Management.
In April 2017, she was appointed Acting Director-General of PenCom. She continued to serve in that role until her eventual appointment as substantive Director-General by The President and subsequent confirmation by the Senate in October 2020.
An Alumnus of the prestigious Harvard Business School, Aisha Dahir-Umar graduated with a B.A. (Hons) English and Master of Public Administration Degrees from the Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU) Zaria. Her sterling working career in both the public and private sectors began in 1984 as a News Editor at the Nigeria Television Authority. She also worked at Signal Investment & Trust Company, Peoples Bank of Nigeria, the National Electric Power Authority and Bureau of Public Enterprises, where she held Senior Managerial positions in various Departments.
Since her assumption of leadership, pension fund assets have been sustained on the growth trajectory, increasing from N6.15 in 2016 to N13.42 Trillion as at December 2021, while the number of registered pension contributors also grew from 7.41 million to 9.52 million over the same period.
Under her leadership, PenCom has attained significant milestones in its diligent implementation of the Pension Reform Act (PRA) 2014 through the conclusion of several critical initiatives. There was a renewed impetus to address the challenges of outstanding pension liabilities of the Federal Government. These concerted efforts culminated in a Presidential approval for the payment of outstanding pension liabilities of the Federal Government under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) in July 2021. This enabled payment of accrued pension rights for retirees of treasury-funded Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that were yet to be paid their retirement benefits, as well as the back log of death benefits claims due to beneficiaries of deceased employees.
Furthermore, the approval also enabled the maiden payment of the 2.5 percent differential in the rate of employer pension contribution for FGN retirees and employees, which resulted from the upward review of contribution rates in the PRA 2014.
She also ensured the strengthening of initiatives towards the strategic focus of expanding coverage of the CPS to under-served sectors, with the launch of the Micro Pension Plan (MPP) by President Muhammadu Buhari in March 2019. This was a major step towards the promotion of financial inclusion for employees of organizations with less than three employees, self-employed persons and workers in the informal sector.
Under her, the Commission embarked on the in-house development of Computer Applications for critical pension industry processes. This approach saved considerable resources and also expanded the technical capacity of PenCom’s Human resources. Consequently, the Enhanced Contributor Registration System (ECRS) was deployed in June 2019. The ECRS enabled the unique identification of contributors registered on the Commission’s database, which is a critical requirement for RSA transfers.
In November 2020, PenCom launched the Retirement Savings Account (RSA) Transfer System (RTS). The system is an in-house developed computer Application that enables a pension contributor or retiree to switch from one Pension Fund Administrator to another. The activation of the RSA transfer provision was a major milestone in the implementation of the CPS that has been on the drawing board since the advent of the Pension Reform.
As a pragmatic response to the challenges engendered by the COVID-19 Pandemic, PenCom, under Aisha Dahir-Umar’s leadership, achieved another technological innovation with the in-house development of an online Enrolment Application, which has capabilities to register, verify and enroll prospective retirees of Treasury-Funded Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
By the deployment of this new application, mass gathering of people has been avoided while enhancing convenience for prospective retirees through a seamless enrolment process. In September 2021, the maiden Online Enrolment commenced, thus replacing the annual physical enrolment exercise.
She also implemented the maiden Pension Enhancement for CPS retirees in December 2017. Through this initiative, the monthly pensions of most retirees on the programmed withdrawal were enhanced, based on significant incomes earned from investment.
Due to her conscientious leadership, Aisha Dahir-Umar has consolidated the reputation of PenCom as an effective Regulatory Agency in Nigeria. This culminated in several Awards and recognitions by Civil Society Organisations, Media and other stakeholders.
KENNEDY NNADI: Driven by Passion to Make Home Ownership A Stress-Free Affair
Dr. Kennedy Nnadi is a man with many aspirations and beliefs that lines up with his nation-building ideologies. He is the Managing Director and CEO of Pennek Nigeria Limited, one of the foremost real estate development companies in Nigeria.
A member of the Nigerian Institute of Management and Chartered Institute of Auctioneers of Nigeria, he is an alumnus of the Harvard Business School, Lagos Business School of the Pan-Atlantic University, Strathmore University and Federal University of Technology Owerri where he bagged a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) in Soil Science.
Having invested in a number of businesses, he was exposed to the opportunities in the real estate market by an uncle who is a quantity surveyor. He said, “The need for affordable and qualitative housing has always been a serious concern for most Nigerians and I was inspired by my uncle to invest in the industry, because I believe I can make a difference by adding value through excellent customer service. I repackaged the “Lekki price” and made housing a lot more affordable.
For me, going into the real estate business is not all about the money, I am driven by the need to add value and contribute my quota to nation-building by bring life to underdeveloped areas.”
According to him, the company has been strategic in its method of helping people become house owners. Pennek is in partnership with some mortgage banks who sponsor customers by helping with upfront payment on properties, while the customer pays with interest over a period of time. In addition, Pennek is the first real estate company in Nigeria to offer insurance on properties sold.
We specialize in massive housing developments across the country. Our current developments include: The Estate” at Lekki Scheme 2, which boasts of about 300 units of housing. We also have “The Annex” at Sangotedo which boasts of over 150 units of housing developments and “Pennek Court” in Abuja which will have close to a hundred units. These are just the current developments going on, not counting those sold out or the developments we are undertaking in the nearest future.”
Commenting on the challenges of home financing in Nigeria, he lamented the non-availability of fair and attractive mortgage plans in Nigeria when compared with other nations.
In his word, “In most advanced countries, 90% of people or home owners pay for houses through mortgage, but that is not the same case in Nigeria. This has caused the amount or percentage of home owners to drastically reduce compared to other countries. We also have the issues of cost of development and income, high cost of land, high interest rates, etc. From my perspective, the major way forward is for mortgage banks to develop fair policies that’ll make it easier and encourage prospective home owners to partner with them.”
ROBERT TAIWO: An Innovator Par Excellence, Raising the Bar of Transformational Human Resource in Africa
Robert Taiwo believes that “innovation occurs at the margins of society when nobody is watching and in times of creative destruction, new solutions solve age-old problems, with winners and losers emerging from the detritus.”
A Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (UK), with a first degree in Law and an MBA from Warwick Business School, he found it hard to envision he would one day drive transformation across Africa, having spent 20 years prior working in Europe, across Investment Banking and International Consulting domains, achieving numerous accolades along the way.
For four years, Taiwo has led Phillips Consulting (PCL) – the prominent Nigerian business solutions company started 30 years ago by the visionary Chairman, Mr. Foluso Phillips.
PCL’s portfolio spans: Strategy, Human Resources Management, Technology, Fintech, Training, Digital Learning, Recruitment, and more recently, Business Operations. “Our philosophy is different. We call it people-focused delivery. We work collaboratively with clients and their teams to execute lasting results that transcend a report. We focus on outcomes,” stated Taiwo.
As an advisor to several CEOs and boards, he believes that culture and purpose should dominate the leadership agenda in the new normal.
In his words, “Culture is a core enabler of transformation and is critical in a noisy, competitive world where leaders must empower employees to explore and pivot quickly.”
Despite the fear of failure, the willingness to think differently is a hallmark of his career and something he learned from his parents. His father was an economist, and his mother was a businesswoman. He is, therefore, passionate about start-ups in Africa, those he noted are “ripping up the playbook; $ 4.6 billion in foreign investment poured into African start-ups in 2021, with 35% flowing into Nigeria. They are thinking global, unbundling traditional structures and empowering teams who operate with agility and autonomy.”
PRINCE OMOHA: Defined By Professionalism and Astuteness In Driving Growth Across Sectors
He is a silent achiever whose simplicity, humility and hard work has no doubt contributed to his geometric rise to success. Not just that, his high level of professionalism in getting things done on time without compromising on quality speaks volume of his increasing passion to inspire the world. Prince Omoha Nduka John well known as Prince Omoha is a Nigerian real estate investor, serial entrepreneur and philanthropist. An alumnus of Ebonyi State University, where he bagged a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, he is the founder and CEO of Prince Luxury Group (PLG); a privately owned conglomerate investment company, committed to changing lives and developing Nigeria, Africa and the world with interest in key sectors of the economy.
He founded PLG in 2015 as a private limited liability company and since then, the company has expanded into a group of fully fledged diversified business sectors, including and not limited to real estate, logistics, construction, agri-business and stocks investment. The company presently operates in two countries namely, Nigeria and Hong Kong with its headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria.
Prince Omoha also doubles as the Chairman of the fastest growing Nigeria luxury real estate firm, PLG Properties Limited and PLG Construction Limited. PLG Properties Limited operates as the lead brand for Prince Luxury Group and remains one of the leading luxury real estate companies in Nigeria, known for developing luxurious modern residential and commercial buildings.
His ability to see opportunities in every challenge has distinguished him as a rare breed who ride the tides despite daunting economic challenges and industry dips, by remaining relentlessly focused as much on the end goal, as also on constructive thinking. This rare breed entrepreneur also chairs one of the leading and fast rising logistics company in Hong Kong known as GOGOX which was diversified and incorporated in Nigeria as GOGOX Express Limited.
GOGOX Nigeria is a share ride logistics services which focuses on providing extensive logistics services, transportation of freight and goods in urban areas and other delivery services through innovative modern technology. Another subsidiary of the company is PLG Stock Investments Limited, a resource based firm adding value in Nigeria and the African continent through reinvestment in stocks with particular interest in Nigeria, China and U.S.A
In a bid to actualize his dream of inspiring a positive change, the resource-driven CEO has been making meaningful impact in the Nigerian environment through life-transforming corporate social responsibility programs focused on education and capacity building. In 2018, he founded The Prince Omoha Foundation (POF), a pan-African philanthropic organization, which currently empowers 72 young men and women entrepreneurs across the 36 states of Nigeria with a non-refundable seed capital of 250,000 naira per participant annually with plans to extend the program to 100 small scale entrepreneurs in 2022, conforming with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Agenda 2030, as well as the POF Corporate Social Responsibility.
The Prince Omoha Foundation is increasingly sharing its unique prosperity and ability to identify, mentor, train, and fund young entrepreneurs across Nigeria and Africa. Prince Omoha’s businesses and foundation are inspired by his economic philosophy of Pan Africanism Investment, which positions the private sector, and most importantly entrepreneurs, as the bridge catalyst and economy pilots for the social and economic development of the African continent.
In fact, his most distinctive trademark is his ability to bridge cultural differences with his charisma, thus, inspiring people to come together under a common vision. Integrity, transparency, fairness and dedication constitute the backbone of all his business relationships and transactions. Prince Omoha is a recipient of several awards including but not limited to Real Estate Entrepreneur of the Year (2018), Real Estate Investor of the Year (2019) in recognition of his business leadership and philanthropic activities, Nigerian Youngest Philanthropist of the Year (2020), a recipient of Distinguished Fellow Honour of the Year (Ghana Hall of Fame) 2021. The African Young Entrepreneur and Humanitarian Personality Award. (AVA) (2021). He is also a nominee of Forbes Africa 30 Under 30 Class of 2021 and 2022.
OBINNA AZONOBI: People-Oriented Leader with Unrivaled Experience in Real Estate
Obinna Azonobi is a proficient Real Estate Expert and Business Executive with experience in retail, logistics, manufacturing and information technology. He is the CEO of Realtypros Investment Global Limited- a leading Real estate company with headquarters in Lagos and operations in Anambra and Owerri.
Obinna has earned a reputation as a truly accomplished and highly respected professional in the real estate sector given his diverse experience and the application of technology as an enabler for economic development.
Distinguished by his innovativeness and sustained by his competence and integrity, he established Realtypros Investment out of his passion and desire to simplify real estate investment and make a significant reduction in the housing deficit in Nigeria.
Speaking on his personal background and career passion, Obinna said in his younger age he has “always loved to solve problems. I identified real estate as one way I can achieve this. It was my passion to contribute a huge quota in addressing the housing deficit in Nigeria.”
He explained that “Realtypros has embarked on over 11 major housing projects. Realtypros is known for innovation and pacesetting. With professional excellence, commitment, intellectual strength and discipline as our core values, we have successfully positioned ourselves as a brand that represents excellence, innovation, integrity and unrivalled customer service. Our focus has always been to ensure that customers are satisfied and get value from their investment.”
Apart from holding a Mechanical Engineering degree at Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo state, Obinna is an Alumnus of London Academy Business School, UK.
A man who hardly backs down from any challenge, the same engaging qualities have propelled him from a mere entrepreneur to becoming a writer, coach and teacher with two insightful books; It Begins with You and Enter the Business and one of the most innovative and ambitious business leaders of his generation.
Obinna Azonobi was installed as the Charter President of Rotary Club of Lekki- Novare in 2021. He is deeply passionate about Nigeria and believes that the missing ingredient in the country is good leadership. In line with this, Obinna is on a mission to change the world by empowering youths with the right mindset and skill-set that will make them exceptional and successful leaders.
Ronchess, a global brand, providing local solutions, creating opportunities, building foundation for Nigeria’s economic growth” – Ukuevo
Ronchess Group is a group of companies with businesses that span across two continents. The Group comprises of Ronchess Global Resources PLC – a Lagos-based Traffic Solution, Construction and Procurement company and Ronchess International, LLC – a New York-based Real Estate Development, Private Equity and Venture Capital Firm. Ronchess is a leading provider of traffic solution, construction and procurement services in Nigeria.
Founded in 2008 by Jackson Ukuevo, the Managing Director, who currently oversees more than 600 employees, the company has grown to become a leading solution provider in the country. Ronchess provides services in Traffic Solution, Construction and Procurement, with several years of experience and proficiency in mechanized road marking, design and installation of road signs, installation of traffic lights, and installation of intelligent traffic data and transport systems.
The company also offers excellent services in road construction, private, commercial and municipal buildings construction, clear view fence and parameter fence construction – providing full support for every project from design and planning to procurement and construction.
Ronchess is a socially-responsible company with passion for community engagement and positive social contributions and this attribute has earned the organisation several recognitions and appreciations from stakeholders including clients, employees, and host communities.
The Group Founder/CEO, Jackson Ukuevo is a passionate leader with an outstanding track record of successful business management. An inspiring and motivational leader with exceptional interpersonal skills, ability to deliver on complex multi-billion-naira projects and a deep commitment to human capital development. His success as a business tycoon is exemplified in how effectively he has been able to actualize and systematically execute the vision of Ronchess Group. He has successfully elevated performance improvement at Ronchess while at the same time delivering remarkable growth for over a decade.
He is a professional with an impeccable ability to build and leverage relationships across all spectrums and, as a Chief Executive Officer with extensive international exposure, his network and business relationships span across the globe.
With over thirteen years’ proven experience in the Construction Industry, Ukuevo has provided the overall strategic, tactical, operational and cultural direction of Ronchess Group of Companies – an indigenous organisation that pioneered and revolutionized Road Marking and Traffic Lights designs in Nigeria. Equally, he continuously provides insights, advice, recommendations and technical information to leaders at both the State and the Federal analyses Government level.
Led by the highly innovative and dynamic CEO, Ronchess Group has worked with other construction leaders to achieve project success, such as Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, Arab Contractors Nigeria Ltd, A.I.L Infrastructures Limited, amongst others.
The Group has managed and delivered a portfolio of 75+ construction and transformation projects across various states in Nigeria, such as bridge construction, road construction/reconstruction, resurfacing and reconstruction of parking lots, lane marking, thermoplastic markings and junction improvements valued at over billions of naira. It has also developed state of the art best practices and internal policies to mitigate downside risk and strengthening the business continuity.
According to Ukuevo, one of the key unique organisational traits attributable to the success of Ronchess is the ability to identify new market opportunities, driving business developments to new frontiers and forecasting business trends. Similarly, he pointed out that “the development and maintenance of high level client relationships and project stakeholders which has enabled the Group manage its operational and economic activities including, planning, budgeting, forecasting, accounting, and general financial reconciliation.
Furthermore, Ronchess developed innovative and transformational ideas that produce meaningful results, and handles high level, multi-billion-naira transactions and projects that produce results not only for its clients, but also to the society at large.
By providing high-level transactional advice on new and existing ventures and partnerships, the company negotiated complex contract terms and closes deals involving multi-layer stakeholders, while ensuring a win-win outcome and satisfactory resolutions for all stakeholders. It also developed and executed intercontinental business diversification strategies, and establishes effective global supply chain networks across the emerging and the developed markets.”
After his Higher Diploma in Business Administration from Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State, the highly resourceful and result-driven business expert had a Certificate in Mastering Negotiations from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA, USA, and another Certification on Negotiation from Harvard Law School, Cambridge, MA, USA. He is a Member of the Institute of Directors (IoD)
Concerning his passion for entrepreneurship, Ukuevo described it as “basically my instinct. It is what drives me to have a vision. As an entrepreneur, your instincts should be able to ignite your vision to achieve set goals.”
He connected this attribute to the professionalism involved in his company’s enviable record in project delivery. “We are a service provider to organizations in both public and private sectors. Due to the fact that there are so much infrastructural deficits in Nigeria, we have been able to carve a niche by adding value and giving back to the society. In the process, we proffer solutions to the public sector on what should be done and how best it should be done. When a project is given to us, we create opportunities by spreading the wealth through job creation to benefit the host community.”
He added that Ronchess Global Resources PLC’ innovative strategies “is an in-house strategy that has placed us ahead of competition. It is our secret ingredient which cannot be made available to the public, just as every company protect theirs. We develop innovative ideas and we do not compromise on quality and we deliver on time. We also offer a cost-effective approach and we give guarantee on our projects. We achieve all of these by planning ahead which enables us to acquire materials ahead of time due to the relationships we have established with our vendors.
For instance, in Kaduna State, we are the only and first indigenous construction company that has worked on a 500metre dual road and we delivered the project within six days with guarantee. There may be popular brands in the industry, but we believe that if given the same opportunities with these brands we would surpass their records because we are committed to building lasting infrastructures as the new face of the Construction Industry in Nigeria.”
Regarding human capital and local content development in the nation’s Construction Sector, he stressed that “For a fact, we are an international brand because we have what it takes to compete on the global stage. We are turning the tides around in the construction industry. Innovatively, we changed the road marking and traffic lighting system in the country and it is because of Ronchess that every other company started road marking in the country. Similarly, we are encouraging young Nigerians to get into the road marking business. As a matter of fact, some of our competitors have sent their workers to us for training in road marking.
Most of the young guys that are into road marking today gained the experience at Ronchess but we do not see them as competition, we are happy to contribute to their growth because I believe the sky is big enough to occupy us, but there is need for government at both federal and state levels to keep encouraging indigenous firms by giving us a level playing field with the multinationals”.
He noted that “As an organization, we have made use of every opportunity effectively which is evident in our works. Recently, one of our subsidiaries called Ronchess Gas was the only company that won contracts in both onshore and offshore categories from ExxonMobil. If we were not given the opportunity to compete with the popular brands no one would have known what we are capable of doing.
Currently, we are building two bridges in Kaduna with seven world-class roads. These are projects that hitherto would have gone to the ‘big names’, but we have showed that we can surpass those big names in terms of quality. Sometime ago, we completed a road project from design to delivery in just two months and it went viral because no one believed it was done by an indigenous company given the quality of the road!
Last year, we completed a junction improvement in eleven1 days and another in nine days. As we keep improving, we are also empowering the youths by expanding their horizon through on-the-job skill acquisition.”
AMANDA UJU UDECHUKWU: Reliable, Resilient, Result-Oriented Amazon, Driving the ‘RARE’ Philosophy at Roxbury Homes
A spirited entrepreneur, who studied Insurance and Actuarial Science from the University of Lagos, with an exemplary career within the Real Estate business, spanning through 8 years since May 2014 till present at SDD Properties and its subsidiary Roxbury Leisure Homes, across Lagos, Nigeria.
A one-time Actress and Model for the most beautiful girl in Nigeria, Skye Bank amongst many others. Asides Beauty, she has the brains. She has channeled her rare energy into passion for Real Estate and managerial skills, achieving numerous promotions into roles of progressive responsibility.
As the Executive Director, she has worked her way up through hard work and through ranks across numerous departments and operations. As a net result, bring all round capacity and experience within the Roxbury Leisure Homes Real Estate Brand and Management, as well as the ability to identify and implement improvements that enhance productivity, engage employees and transform customer experience.
The mission statement to the staff of Roxbury Leisure Homes is “endeavor be RARE, which means to be Reliable, Authentic, Resilient and Efficient’, and that is reflected by and excellent track record of service improvements and incremental revenue generation in every role occupied till date.
A team player with key responsibilities to drive Roxbury Homes’ success, Amada created business plans for the attainment of goals and objective set by the board of directors. She also supervises head of departments and building effective team of leaders by providing guidance and coaching to subordinate managers. She is actively involved in the success of various philanthropic works alongside fellow company Executives, CEO/Partner Amb. Chief Emmanuel Udechukwu
Her awards and recognitions include: Amazon of Societal Development by the West African Student Union Parliament; African Patriotic Personality of the Year by the ASUP; while the African Youth for Peace Assembly awarded her the Icon of Peace and African Personality Amazon of the Year.
OLAMIDE AFOLABI: On A Mission To Digitize Micro Transactions In Africa
He is brilliant, resourceful and focused, a Nigerian pride who is using technology to positively impact the society one step at a time. His humble nature also sets him apart as a young CEO who believes that leadership rests on the ability of a leader to learn from every failure in creating enabling paths for others to follow, Mr. Olamide Afolabi is the CEO of Touch And Pay (TAP) Technologies Limited; the company that has transformed the Lagos State BRT system through the Cowry Card.
A graduate of Mechanical Engineering from Ladoke Akintola University, Afolabi is leading a team of young and tech-savvy Nigerians who are keen on revolutionizing the Nigerian transport sector. While at the university, he was the manager for Google Developers at LAUTECH and also a Microsoft student partner.
His passion to create solutions that would make life easy, led him to start a company called Sanwo which means ‘to Pay’. The company created closed payment groups for university students through a mobile application which was launched in a number of schools, including LAUTECH, Babcock University and Obafemi Awolowo University. The application allowed students to carry out transactions with merchants on campus.
Having done a great job with the Sanwo app, Afolabi and his partner, Michael Oluwole got into a partnership with Access Bank and they were responsible for creating in-house solutions for some subsidiaries of the bank using Near Field Communication (NFC) solutions. Their diligence and resourcefulness in beating deadlines paved way for a new relationship which birthed the establishment of TAP.
According to him, “Our work at Access Bank was well applauded and we were introduced to a client who needed an indigenous firm that can build a revenue assurance system. Unknown to us, the client turned out to be the Lagos Bus Services. They told us what they wanted and we kicked-off with a pilot phase which worked well. Along the line, we were contacted by Lagos Ferry Services (LAGFERRY) and we did same for them.
When COVID-19 struck and Lagos State Government decided to reopen the economy, we were contacted to create a solution that would help with contact tracing and we got the approval to create a card that would cater for transport needs in Lagos, so we created the Cowry Card which has since become the only acceptable means of payment to commute in the BRT buses.”
Commenting on the issue of customers not getting actual funds they paid for on their cards, Afolabi berated the activities of unscrupulous agents who were in the habit of cheating customers when approached to top-up their cards.
In his words, “The technology behind the system is semi-automated because the Lagos State Government wants it to empower people who would serve as agents and to also encourage those who are not tech-savvy to use the card. We are aware that some of these agents were involved in sharp practises by not crediting customers the exact amount they paid for, but people blame it on the technology. What we have done to mitigate the situation is by sending text messages to customers acknowledging the top-up value. Very soon, we would also introduce paper receipts.”
On the technology side, he explained that the company is perfecting the system to ensure that customers have no issues with the cards. According to him, TAP processes around three million transactions monthly and the company would not relent in providing excellent services at all times.
With a vision to digitize and process micro transactions in Africa, Afolabi explained that the success recorded by TAP in the transport sector has provided the structure needed to digitize micro transactions for small businesses.
He noted that “Currently, there are over five million merchants in Nigeria who cannot have access to POS machines because their daily transactions are very small and this is why trillions of naira are still being withdrawn via ATMs every year. By tuning along the cashless policy, we want to block the gap by processing transactions for these micro businesses such that transactions between N10 – N2000 can be done on a contactless interface by just tapping to pay with verification through OTPs.”
He added that TAP is focused on dominating the commercial transport sector at the moment by extending its services to tricycles, taxis and buses with guarantee to receive value same day and subsequently extend its operations to other businesses.
CHIEF DR. CHUKWUMA IFEANYI ODII: A Quintessential Entrepreneur Per Excellence, Versatile Businessman of International Repute, Highly Unique Philanthropist
Chief Dr. Chukwuma Ifeanyi Odii President/CEO – Ultimus Holdings Chairman/Founder – Orient Global Group Co-Founder – Ebele and Anyichuks Foundation Dr. Ifeanyi Chukwuma Odii is a businessman and philanthropist with vast experience spanning over 21 years in building and managing businesses across various sectors. He has successfully expanded his investment portfolios in various industries. Industries such as; manufacturing, logistics, construction, real estate, healthcare, and retail trading within Nigeria and across Sub-Sharan Africa.
He is the Founder/Chairman, Orient Global Group with subsidiary companies; Orient Global Manufacturing, Orient Haulage & Logistics, and Purity Agro-Allied Ltd. He is also the President/CEO, Ultimus Holdings with subsidiary companies; Ultimus Construction, Ultimus Properties, and Ultimus Global Integrated (owners of The Classroom by Ultimus, Viarmor Healthcare Ltd.), and investment portfolios that cut across sectors like – manufacturing, logistics, construction, real estate, healthcare, trade, and services, Dr. Ifeanyi has successfully grown these businesses outside the shores of Nigeria to Sub-Sharan Africa.
He is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School where he underwent a Chief Executive Programme and also has a B.Sc. in Business Administration from the National Open University of Nigeria. He was conferred with a Doctor of Science Degree in Strategic Business Management & Corporate Governance by the European American University in the Republic of Panama. He is also a member of Governing Council of the Lagos State University and sits on the Board of Prosperis Holdings.
He has over the years honed his skills in Leadership, Management, and Business Strategy. Through the Ebele and Anyichuks Foundation, which he founded and named after himself and his wife; he has over the years built over 100 homes for the indigents in rural areas, 6 churches, 3 Floors of Primary and secondary school, provided scholarships to over 1,000 students home and abroad, provided yearly medical screening and support through his foundation.
His great love of sports led him to establish the Anyichuks Unity Cup, a yearly sports tournament held in his hometown to encourage, empower youths and promote sports at the grass-root level. Asides from his passion for his businesses and his love for his family, he enjoys; reading, swimming, keeping fit and golfing course as he is an ardent member of several golf clubs in Lagos.
His Business Investment Portfolio includes: • Orient Global Group • Ultimus Holdings • Parla Di Lusso by Ultimus • Viarmor by Ultimus • Ultimus Construction • The Classroom by Ultimus
“Why Victoria Creek Gardens is fanatical about quality service delivery by Orwu
Michael Amadi Orwu is the Chief Executive Officer, Victoria Creek Gardens (VCG) – an urban real estate development, investment and portfolio management firm with a vision of changing and dominating the real estate space in Nigeria, an establishment that put its clients as top priority and always provides deserved personalized attention and exceptional services to its clients. With strict code of ethics, VCG pride itself in its tradition of Integrity, Transparency, Innovation, Professionalism and Customer experience.
The Victoria Creek Gardens Estate dream
VCG was born out of passion for Real Estate, service to humanity and the desire to complement government efforts in providing sustainable shelter for residents and investors. Nigeria has a housing gap of about 22 million housing units to be filled within the next ten years. This to us is a business opportunity and also a social responsibility to provide one of the basic human rights especially for the people of Rivers State and Nigeria at large. And to fill this gap, the private sector must play a leading role. Our growth has been sustained by viable team spirit in our workforce, good management with excellent and innovative ideas besides financial capacity and the application of best management practices.
The VCG value offers
VCG is a masterpiece with an endless array of features tailored to meet the needs of our valued clients and community. Our value offering is also to change the dynamics of residential settlement within Rivers State, by situating our properties in prime locations that have value access to social infrastructure and services whilst opening the economies of the communities that surround our properties. We guarantee steady power supply with availability of amenities, recreation, educational and healthcare facilities among others and above all we have created a unique selling proposition “Oasis in The Gardens”.
Exceptional qualities of VCG
Innovation – from the ground up we were intentional in designing and developing efficient housing that is both premium and affordable. The architectural designs of our buildings were conceptualized to reduce cost and maintain high quality in finishing and structure by implementing cutting edge technology that reduces the traditional cost of development, ensuring even higher quality output.
Our focus on landscaping and green initiatives has ensured that our homes would need less power for heating and cooling as the design from the ground up allows the adaptation of nature and the ambient environment. We are fanatical about quality and so our emphasis on project management ensures that we deliver good quality buildings at record time. Purchase order financing which we provide prospective buyers also provides an opportunity for the underserved in the industry to become homeowners. Our integrity as an organization and our social corporate responsibility strategy all creates the compliance that our entire organization operates on.
Innovations in the face of challenges
We defy the apparent harsh economic environment through the application of prudent management of resources and Ingenious management practices besides the application of excellent and innovative ideas, collaboration and teamwork.
Recognitions and accolades
I was recognized as an Icon of Peace & Social Transformation by African Youth for Peace Assembly (AYPA); Recognized as one of the “40 Under 40 CEOs in Nigeria”, by the Young Entrepreneur International Summit Team; I was conferred an award of Excellence in Real Estate Development by Abuja International Housing Show (AIHS); Recognized as a major voluntary sponsor of various high-profile events conducted by Port Harcourt Club Golf Section 1928 and Port Harcourt Polo Club to name a few. Lastly, recognized by orphanages and homes for the vulnerable members of the society for his philanthropic magnanimity and generosity and by various communities in Port Harcourt for awarding educational Scholarships to indigenes and residents; amongst others.
ADETOLA NOLA: Innovatively Changing the Landscape In Real Estate Development
He is unarguably one of the youngest change agents in the Nigerian real estate sector, Mr. Adetola Nola is the Chief Executive Officer of Veritasi Homes and Properties Limited. A strategist and purpose-driven entrepreneur, Nola began his entrepreneurial journey at an early age and it is without doubt that the lessons learnt in the various businesses he got his hands in has contributed to his list of achievements in the real estate sector.
An alumnus of the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University where he bagged a B.Sc Chemical Engineering, his passion for continuous learning has also seen him attend several capacity development courses. These include Strategic Leadership courses at the London Metropolitan University, as well as Finance and Management Courses at the London School of Business and Finance.
Hitherto at Grenadines Homes, where he honed his skills and knowledge in the real estate industry, Nola worked on various projects from design to sales and marketing while in the services of the company. However, his drive to explore opportunities and also empower others, led to the establishment of Veritasi Homes – a company that is innovatively changing the landscape in real estate development, despite being relatively young.
To him, “nothing is impossible except you allow yourself to be intimidated or fail to be innovative in your approach. Although, we are a young team, we are strategic in our approach. We have studied what others are doing and we have leveraged on that to offer customer-focused services. This has helped us compete favourably in the industry.”
Committed to offering consummate real estate solutions in a bid to deliver luxurious and affordable housing to all Nigerians within and outside the shores of the country, the resourceful CEO has led Veritasi Homes to develop luxury properties along the corridors of Ikoyi and Lekki. The quality of these developments also speaks volume about the vision of the company to be a leading brand in the real estate sector.
In his words, “Happy customers motivate me to do more. We value our customers and we are always delighted to exceed their expectations. Currently, we are working on a number of projects in Lagos which include an industrial and residential city at Lekki FZE. Our head office is coming up in Ikoyi and it could be the smartest office in Lagos.”
For Nola, building businesses means building economies. His vision to raise 200 successful African Entrepreneurs who will, in turn, create employment by 2025 has led to the creation of a training program for SMEs called, Learn Business with Nola (LBN). LBN is specially organized to tackle the problems of start-up entrepreneurs with less than two years of experience in business. Unlike other training/mentoring schemes, the peculiarity of LBN is its follow-up and mentorship process.
Nola is a member of Class 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 – an ECOWAS Youth Ambassador and a Nominee at The Future Awards, 2020 edition. He is also the Founder, Nola Travels, Eystone Limited, Noah & Nola Incorporated, Pineapples Luxury Retail Store, Couture 89, amongst others.
OPE BABALOLA: Facilitating Trade With Cutting-Edge ICT At Webb Fontaine
Ope Babalola is the Managing Director, Webb Fontaine Nigeria – a renowned international ICT firm that uses artificial intelligence to facilitate trade across many countries and strengthen economies using artificial intelligence.
As part of a forward-looking modernization effort, the Federal Government of Nigeria contracted Webb Fontaine in 2006 to improve the revenue collection processes and infrastructure of the Nigeria Customs Service. At the time, most of Nigeria’s agency and regulatory business processes were manual and time-consuming.
After starting with UNCTAD’s Asycuda, Webb Fontaine was able to help design a homegrown platform for Nigeria Customs Service called Nigeria Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS), which has evolved into an upgraded version called NICIS II. This has led to an automated fast track for qualified importers and smart fraud detection to prevent government revenue loss. In conjunction with Nigeria Customs Service officers, Webb Fontaine Group’s team of experienced technology experts, trade facilitation experts and engineers/developers were able to build a versatile, multilevel environment that automated Nigeria’s Import and export trade.
As a result, Nigeria has made significant progress in its aim to modernize and simplify trade. Turnaround time for trade documentation has dropped from 3 weeks to an approximate 3-4 days in the clearance process. In line with recent trends, NCS announced an increase in revenue collection from N1.5 trillion in 2020 to N2.2 trillion in 2021. The N1.5 trillion generated in 2020 was during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, testament to the power and transformation of NCS automation efforts. Declarations processed have also increased 40% between 2020 and 2021.
Babalola, a Chartered Accountant, attended Kings College, Lagos, and earned degrees in Accounting and Management from the University of Lagos and University of Leicester, UK respectively. He started his working career at HSBC Bank in London, and at the London Stock Exchange, and is a co-Founder of the Africa-Southeast Asia Chamber of Commerce in Singapore. He also has vast pan-African business experience spanning Cote D’ Ivoire, Ghana, Rwanda, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and others. He remains passionate about the need for African businesses to operate on a global scale with global standards, and about the need for more cooperation and collaboration between African business leaders. This includes the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
For several years he trained, mentored, and guided access to finance for small and medium businesses in Ghana under a UNDP initiative. Many successful companies and captains of industry in that country benefited from these facilities. In addition to that he was a director with a groundbreaking business incubator that helped many young Ghanaian entrepreneurs grow their technology-based ideas into successful businesses. He also serves on the Conservation and Environmental Services Committee of the Nigeria Conservation Foundation.
As MD of Webb Fontaine Nigeria since 2019, he has been involved with several upgrades in the country’s trading environment in an unsung mode.
On the Customs-led Trade Platform, traders and agents can now apply for Form M (for importation forex), Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), NAFDAC e-License (to regulate food and drug importation), SON Product Certificate and SONCAP Certificate, marine insurance certificates and several others.
IT and telecommunication infrastructure in all Customs stations across Nigeria continue to be upgraded to the highest international standards to match the requirements of automated and modernized trade. Webb Fontaine Nigeria deployed and maintains the widest Government telecommunications private network in West Africa.
In the past few years, the company has won awards and accolades in their field, including Nigeria Technology Awards in several categories. Recently, Webb Fontaine Nigeria was awarded a Certificate of Merit by the World Customs Organization for exceptional service to the international customs community.
Webb Fontaine is currently developing several additional improvements as part of their partnership with the Nigeria Customs Service. One area is in tackling informal trade from Benin and other land borders ahead of full border reopening. Another is to provide assistance to the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) to collect duties and improve government revenues in that area. Additionally, the illegal importation of certain categories of goods continues to be a problem, and the company is involved in the automation of many of these processes.
The company is presently exploring opportunities to support Nigerian Ports Authority in their bid to improve ports operations, with their Webb Ports Community System currently in use in Benin Republic. They continue to examine ways to improve Trade Facilitation in Nigeria and elsewhere.
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