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The Guardian’s special focus and Nigeria’s most impactful and award-winning CEOS in 2021: Part 3

By Guardian Nigeria
29 April 2022   |   5:24 pm
DU RUOGANG: Astute Professional, Repositioning Nigeria As A Regional Hub In Maritime Business, Through Lekki Deep Sea Port Mr. Du Ruogang, the Chief Executive Director/Managing Director of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL), promoters of the Lekki Deep Sea Port, is one of the extraordinary leaders leading the charge to reposition Nigeria as a regional…

DU RUOGANG: Astute Professional, Repositioning Nigeria As A Regional Hub In Maritime Business,
Through Lekki Deep Sea Port

Mr. Du Ruogang, the Chief Executive Director/Managing Director of Lekki Port LFTZ Enterprise Limited (LPLEL), promoters of the Lekki Deep Sea Port, is one of the extraordinary leaders leading the charge to reposition Nigeria as a regional hub in maritime business.

A graduate of the prestigious Tianjin University, China, with a double honours degree in engineering management and industrial design, Mr. Ruogang is an astute professional with robust and proven experience in the maritime industry spanning almost two decades.

Change to this, Du Ruogang joined China Harbour Engineering Co., Ltd. in 2007, engaged in construction management and marketing management in Sri Lanka, and maintained good cooperative relations with the Export Import Bank of China and the China Development Bank. In 2017, he served as the port investment division chief of investment business unit in CHEC head office.

During the span of his career so far, Mr. Ruogang has been able to gain considerable experience in diverse fields of the maritime sector including port investment, financing and operation. For example, in 2016, he led the investment business team to successfully promote the start of operations of Kribi Deep Sea Port, Cameron which was the first overseas port operation project of the CCCC group, parent company of CHEC.

In 2018, he also championed the establishment of China Harbour Investment Pre. Limited, the first professional investment platform company of CCCC, which was officially founded in 2018. Based on his outstanding track records in the company, Mr. Ruogang was selected by CHEC to serve as the Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director, Lekki Port to oversee the process of obtaining a $629m loan facility from China Development Bank, to ensure quality construction of the port facilities and to ensure that Lekki Port commences port operations smoothly and efficiently by December 2022.

Working closely with the Board of Directors of Lekki Port and the Lekki Port shareholders including Lagos State Government, Nigerian Ports Authority and Tolaram, Ruogang has competently steered Lekki Port, which happens to be the first “integrative investment-construction-operations” port project, for CCCC group since his appointment was approved by the Board of Directors meeting in March 2020.

Despite the global COVID-19 pandemic which created challenges for all businesses worldwide, Ruogang rallied the management team and the EPC Contractor to work creatively and ingenuously to be able to overcomes all challenges, thereby meet and in some cases, surpass key performance indicators including fulfilling the conditions precedent for the disbursements to the project by China Development Bank. Also, under his direction of the construction team, the completion status is now at 88%, well on track for the projected start of operations in December 2022.

Without a doubt, Ruogang has brought his wealth of experience to bear on the Lekki Deep Sea Port, which on completion will not only be Nigeria’s deepest sea port but one of the most modern ports in West Africa, offering enormous support to the burgeoning commercial operations across Nigeria and the entire West African region.

Understanding that support from key stakeholders of the project is vital, since he came on board, he has ensured that Lekki Port continues to maintain cordial relationships with the supervising ministry of the project, the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the Lagos State Government which holds 20% of the equity of Lekki Port, the Nigerian Ports Authority (regulatory agency and 5% equity investor), amongst others.

This attention from him has generated enormous support where necessary, especially with regards to the necessary road infrastructure required to ensure efficient cargo evacuation when the port becomes operational. Also, the Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu and His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR, have visited the port site to show support to the project which is lauded to be a game-changer for the Nigerian economy.

The multi-purpose deep sea port situated at the heart of Lagos Free Zone is a $1.6 billion project which has the potential to be a transshipment hub for West Africa. Ruogang’s contribution has not gone unnoticed since he has been at the helm of affairs of Lekki Port with plaudits coming from the Nigerian New Telegraph who honoured him with Most Outstanding Maritime CEO 2021 and awarded Lekki Port the award of Best Greenfield Port Investor of the Year 2021.

In China, he also received awards – he was recognized as one of the top ten outstanding young persons in China’s shipping industry in 2021 as well as the MD of one of the best examples of overseas investment and M & A of enterprise in 2020.

EBI OBARO: Reputable Immigration Consultant, Driven By Passion To Provide Quality Education To Nigerians

Ebi Obaro is a reputable immigration consultant and the brain behind Maple Education Canada Inc., the foremost provider of Canadian Immigration and Education Consulting Services with four branch offices in Nigeria. She is a Certified Canadian Immigration and Education Consultant and remains in good standing with the College of Immigration and Citizenship Consultants (CICC) and the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants (CAPIC).  

With over 20 years of experience working with students and immigrants to Canada, she founded Maple Canadian College (MCC) after careful evaluation of the experiences and needs of Nigerian students in Canada. A graduate of Food Technology from the University of South Bank London, she is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Canadian Business Association.

Her resourcefulness has earned the company laurels within and outside the shore of Nigeria. Notable among of such awards include, Best Partner Canada Award by Navitas in 2010 and 2017; Excellence in Education Award 2017 for most reliable International Education Support provider of the year by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry; as well as North America Agent of the Year 2014/2015 by Navitas.

Inspiration Behind Maple Education Canada Inc.

I had the privilege of migrating to Canada 25 years ago with my family. I am very conscious of how much that experience has shaped my life. This made me passionate about facilitating access to international work and study opportunities for young Nigerians. It is this passion that drove me to register Maple Education Canada Inc., a Canadian Education and Immigration consultancy firm in 2003. 

The objective was to promote Canadian High Schools, Colleges, and Universities in Nigeria. To be able to represent foreign nationals to submit their Canadian visa applications, I had to pass the examination for immigration consultants thereby becoming a Certified Canadian immigration consultant in 2004 and a member of the College of Immigration Citizenship Canada. Today, we represent over 65 Canadian Institutions in Nigeria.  In 2019 Maple Canadian College was opened to ensure our young students remain in Nigeria, gain maturity and responsibility and obtain the Canadian High School diploma (OSSD) a pre-university 10 months pathway program.

Maple Canadian College’s Operations Strategy

Professionalism is at the core of everything we do at Maple Canadian College. Considering our recruitment, for instance, every position in the school is held by experienced people with track records of excellence and verifiable accomplishments. Our enrollment has increased steadily in our three years of existence because we continue to produce excellent results that our parents and students can be proud of.  We have a 100% success rate in securing admissions to international universities for our students and we have won close to $1million (USD) in scholarships.

One thing that has really helped us is our strategic partnership with a Canada-based school, Rosedale Academy. Rosedale provides us with a rich curriculum that is designed in line with the learning and assessment standards of the Ontario Ministry of Education. In order words, students who are studying with us here in Nigeria are getting the exact same educational experience as their peers in Canada. All of our classrooms are equipped with state-of-the-art technology as you would expect to find in a twenty-first century learning environment.

The Nigerian Education System and the way forward

It is regrettable that current investments in the educational sector pale in comparison with the actual investment needs of the sector. The government obviously needs to do a lot more about the over 10 million out-of-school children, dilapidated educational infrastructure, and the frequent ASUU strikes. In terms of government policy, it does not seem like there is a consistent, comprehensive, and evenly enforced set of policies guiding the education industry in Nigeria. I believe that the proliferation of schools with international affiliations in Nigeria is an opportunity that should be harnessed. I would propose that we institute a body of education professionals who would develop a coherent curriculum that adapts these globally recognized ones to our national needs. This will considerably improve the learning and assessment standards in our schools.

NLRC CEO Lanre Gbajabiamila’ Pix

How lottery, sports-betting contribute to “Good Causes”, Nigeria’s infrastructural development, by Gbajabiamila

Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila, Director General/Chief Executive Officer, National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), is a graduate of California State University, USA, where he obtained a B.SC (Hons) degree in Marketing. He also had a certification in Unix Programming from the prestigious ‘Seale Group’, Atlanta Georgia in 1999.

He started his career with Derivion/Metavante Corporation in 1997 as a Senior Analyst and also worked as Senior Consultant in several bluechip companies such as Bearing Point INC, Atlanta where he was a Senior Management Consultant.

Ever since his return to Nigeria he has been very active in the Nigerian gaming industry such as the National Sports Lottery (NSL) where he was the Senior IT Manager on Software Quality Assurance where he pioneered the Essnet Lottery Operating System (ELOS) which effectively managed 5 million lottery transactions weekly.

He was also appointed General Manager/Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Lotteries Board, where he led the Board to become a trail blazing regulator of lottery and related gaming activities in Nigeria. Over the years, he has attended international and local executive management programs along with gaming and regulatory training conferences. He is a member of Institute of Directors and the Ikoyi Club, Lagos. He was a Non-Executive Director in Makklink Limited and Ginger Hospitality Limited

He was appointed and confirmed as Director General of NLRC 2017 and 2018 respectively and brings to the Commission his vast managerial expertise, as well as his extensive local and international business network. He is an avid lover of sports whose favorite pastime includes soccer, tennis, swimming and travelling. 

In his response to his recognition as one of Nigeria’s “Most Impactful and Award-Winning CEOs in 2021, Mr. Lanre Gbajabiamila spoke with The Guardian on the development and growth of Nigerian sports betting and gaming industry, his career passion, NLRC’s contribution to the nation’s economic development, amongst sundry issues. Excerpts ….

NLRC’s strategies to sanitising lottery, sports betting in Nigeria

The Nigerian sports betting and gaming industry has grown exponentially in the last few years and this exceptional growth can be attributed to the large population, especially the number of youths and increased access to smartphones, successful internet penetration, increased access to internet-enabled devices and significant awareness being engendered by National Lottery Regulatory Commission.

One of our strategies has been to block leakages in the system and eliminate discrepancies often observed from the books of some operators; we have put certain machineries in place to ensure transparency. We have opened up the industry and made sure all rules enshrined in its running are followed strictly. Chief among all our strategies to be employed is the Central Monitoring System (CMS).

The acquisition of the CMS would enable the Nigeria Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) and our sister agency, the National Lottery Trust Fund (NLTF) perform maximally in our regulatory functions and provision of lottery “Good Causes” to Nigeria.

It will also undoubtedly entrench transparency and accountability in the industry, thereby making things a lot easier for all stakeholders. The commission has consistently worked on the actualisation of a Central Monitoring System platform to ensure real-time monitoring and promote accountable transparency in the gaming sector.

The Central Monitoring System (CMS) and its impact on NLRC’s operations, revenue generation

As I said earlier concerning our strategies, the Central Monitoring System (CMS) is a big joker for the Commission because it would help us effectively supervise the lottery industry and enforce transparency. The commission has been executing resourceful policies, measures and programmes in the last four years which have all been aimed at improving lottery business in all aspects, with great emphasis on the welfare of its workers, betterment of the stakeholders and higher revenues for the country.

The policies and measures are steadily being nurtured to fruition, following which the nation would witness the big boom in the gaming industry. As we may all be aware, the Lottery Commission was created in 2005 through the Act of the National Assembly to enable the government to properly organise the operation of Lottery business in Nigeria.

The challenge of socio-religious beliefs, misconceptions and development of Lottery, Sports Betting in Nigeria

I think the trend is changing now because of our vigorous campaigns to sensitise the public about the benefits of lottery. Other nations of the world have cashed in on lottery to better the lives of their citizens and we are also harnessing this and making sure they feel the benefits of participating and supporting lottery. 

We are also launching our National Game soon and this will also be a way of giving back to the society as well generate more revenue for the country. We will not however rest on our oars but will continue to let the public know about the benefits of supporting lottery in Nigeria.

How lottery and sports betting have contributed to Good Causes and infrastructural development in Nigeria 

The lottery industry has been a beacon of hope to so many in the society. It has contributed in so many ways to the good of society. In fact, it is part of our civic duty to make sure we give back to society through our “Good Causes” initiative which is championed by our sister agency, the National Lottery Trust Fund.

Socially beneficial causes such as sports sponsorship, refugees’ support, welfare of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), educational support and support for government enlightenment programmes are among the numerous ways profits from lottery are being applied to help lift society from the brink. Medical equipment has been given to hospitals, sports equipment put in schools and even books have been donated to the educational sector to augment whatever government is doing. 

Many have enjoyed scholarships and we are looking to expand this when we become the federal government’s cash cow, second only to the oil sector. The possibilities are huge and in no time Nigerians of all walks of life and status would be enjoying the benefits of lottery.

“Page International Financial, built on dynamism to achieve optimal value”- Akintemi

The financial services sector in Nigeria remains a locus of opportunities for any business looking at impacting lives, driving long term financial value, and willing to put in the work required. Certainly, this is where Page International Financial Services Limited as a company finds its prowess. 

One of the strengths of Page Financials is the ability to adapt and be dynamic enough to make changes to critical business processes and products real-time to ensure that customers and stakeholders derive optimal value regardless of macro factors.

Constantly interacting with customers, the regulator – the Central Bank of Nigeria, the community and partners, has made it possible for Page Financial to be ahead of economic and behavioral changes. Ensuring that necessary product innovations and adequate measures are put in place, while contributing to the government’s effort to maintain a growing financial ecosystem, and strengthen the economy for all. 

Led by Segun Akintemi, a sound professional with about 30 years’ experience in the banking/financial services industry, Page Financials has built resilient systems and developed the right talent to drive the company’s vision – even in the midst of uncertainties. 

“Our focus remains helping our customers move with ease in their journey to financial stability, but of course, the business comes with risks such as changing situations of customers resulting in non-performing loans (NPLs) which require recovery efforts to resolve. 

As a customer-centric organization, gleaning from our years of experience transacting with hundreds of thousands of customers, we have been able to deploy a very strong and robust Risk Management operational framework that minimizes non-performing loans significantly. We believe this is a very vital factor for our day-to-day operations and reduces the resources expended on loan recovery. The success of our solid risk management strategy is evident in how we maintain one of the lowest NPL ratio in the retail finance space in Nigeria. This is from years of understanding our customers and improving our products to suite their lifestyle.  

However, when NPLs unavoidably occur, customer privacy is respected as we initiate a recovery process that enables us work with willing customers to fulfill their obligations without impairing their credit history with the bureaus which can have adverse effects on subsequent financial transactions”, he said.  

According to Akintemi, the government efforts at creating an enabling environment for businesses is gaining traction however, a lot still needs to be done.

“Commendably, Nigeria has been gaining on the world index of Ease of Doing Business, moving from the 170th position in 2015, to 131st in five years. This attests to the fact that governmental efforts in creating an environment for businesses to thrive is gaining some traction albeit there is need to do a lot more especially around provision of infrastructure such as power, access to markets, and of course security. 

A thriving economy would naturally see the rising of more MSMEs fronting various innovative ideas whose output would in turn be re-invested into the economy to drive even more growth, this has to be the perspective of both the government and private sector. This is why we continue to develop viable products for small and medium sized businesses, we understand that to support this sector of the economy is to drive general growth through increased output, creation of jobs and productivity”, he stated.

Akintemi holds a firm belief that micro, small and medium scale enterprises, are a very important part of the economy, and their contributions to economic growth cannot be overstated. 

“As a business, we couldn’t agree less than to create a special product that gives them the rocket when they need to fly and a cushion when they need soft landing. To support MSMEs, we have developed unique products that gives businesses access to funds when they need it and attractive returns on their investments. As a business that has grown organically over the years, we understand the terrain and dynamics and we know that it can be quite overwhelming – especially when you can’t access the funds you need to move your business forward. 

Due to our intervention, structured small and medium enterprises with track record in their sector of operations can access up to N20 million as bridge financing, working capital, invoice discounting, LPO financing or term loans. Access to finance is just one of the ways that we are helping SMSEs navigate the tides of entrepreneurship. 

Our message to MSMEs in Nigeria is simple, we believe in their dreams and we are happy to partner with them to achieve their growth objectives given the required structure and records. As earlier stated, supporting MSMEs is particularly important so us because of the ripple effect their success has on the economy”.

Replying to the business projections of Page Financials, Akintemi pointed out that customers the heart of the business direction and decisions, and the company’s focus remains on creating value for them, the employees, community and other stakeholders, while staying motivated and moving in the right direction regardless of necessary responses to economic and business landscape changes. 

LANRE SMITH: Innovative, Disruptive Expert, Making Food Affordable Through Technology

Mr. Lanre Smith is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer Worldbay Technologies, a company that combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, industry and business process expertise. 

Established 6 years ago, WorldBay Technologies, is one of the few technology-driven firms that has maintained a high level of commitment and dedication amidst the unfavorable business environment. “Like other businesses, Worldbay is not immune from what is happening in Nigeria. What we do here is, we focus on the low-income earners. As we all know, foods prices are becoming more expensive and inflation is hitting hard on the economy, so it does affect our products and our customers,” he stated. 

Speaking further, Smith informed that the mission is of the company is to make food affordable to all the low-income earners. While its vision is to be the number one food subscription service company leveraging on technology in Africa. 

His words, “So, what we do, is to provide a platform that aggregates micro payments for low-income earners to save towards a monthly staple foods subscription. There is a statistic in Nigeria that over 80million people spend more than 100 percent of their monthly income. That means people actually borrow money to eat. We want to be able to allow them to make some savings from their food purchases so they can use that money on other essential needs instead of falling deeper and deeper into debt trap. We are a Social Enterprise and impact forms the core of our business strategy. We want to impact on people’s lives positively falling under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Zero Hunger.”

Mr. Lanre Smith is a graduate of the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine. Also, he is an MBA holder from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, prior to that, he had his secondary education at the Nigerian Military School, Zaria, Kaduna State. 

Driven with passion to deliver quality service, Smith established Grocedy in 2019, an aggrotech product to fight hunger in Africa.” Though what we were doing before Grocedy, was solving problems, we saw f that solving problems in some sectors would not necessarily drive impact. We wanted to be more impact-led, impact-focused and see how we can actively change and improve people’s lives looking at the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). So, we focused on foods, that’s the bottom of the pyramid, the basics when it comes to the hierarchy of needs. And we asked how can we use technology to solve problems with food? We know foods cannot be free and the best thing is to find ways to get it to customers cheaper. One of the ways to do this cheaper is through the use of technology.”

He noted that “through our application of technologies and processes, we were able to buy directly from manufacturers, aggregators and farmers. We eliminate the distributors, wholesalers and retailers in the chain, and do the last-mile distribution to our customers on a monthly basis. By this, our subscribers end up saving money. The processes, procedures and technologies that we have developed, allows us to achieve profitability, while still driving impact.” 

On the challenges and opportunities in the industry, the forward-thinking professional informed that there is need to start focusing energies on possibilities. Explaining that where there are issues affecting business, there also lie the opportunities within the unfavorable economy and trying to solve problems by creating solutions, bridges the gaps. 

On feedbacks and providing top-notch services to its esteemed customers, he stressed that “Worldbay has an efficient feedback mechanism that randomly surveys a hundred customers every week. We have what we call the Net Promoter Score of 8 and above. And that is because without our customers telling us what they want, we don’t have a product.

Generally, what people normally do, is that they create something and try and sell that. We do the opposite. We ask our customers what their problems are, and we create a solution for that particular problem. Therefore, customer feedback is very important. And now we have taken a step further, we are taking feedbacks from the customers to the manufacturers. Based on direct relationship, product launch is made easier as we take it into the market and get feedbacks immediately for that particular product and take it back to the manufacturers for them to either improve it or for them to listen more on what the customers are saying. This helps both ends of the production process.”

VINCENT EBUH: Nigeria’s Pioneer in Indigenous Oil and Gas Services, Africa’s Foremost Champion of Local Content 

Dr. Vincent Osayande Ebuh is a Petroleum Engineering Global Consultant with over 35 years’ experience in the Oil and Gas field. He is the Executive Chairman/CEO of Petrolog Group – an International Oil Service Company providing Drilling, Surface Logging, Geophysical Exploration, Subsea Diving, Subsea Pipe Laying, Engineering Design and Project Management Services. 

Apart from being the Executive Chairman/CEO of Petrolog Limited, Global Oceon Engineers Nigeria Limited, Petrolog De Venezuela and Petrolog Angola, Petrolog International British Isles, George Stevens Resources Houston-Texas, Chairman/Founder of Interstate Data USA Inc. (NEXIT Navigation App) Delaware Corp. U.S.A, Dr. Vincent Ebuh also co-founded Zenith Bank PLC Nigeria.

He is a prolific writer and has published several papers among which include:  Strategic Repositioning of Oil and Gas for More Impactful Contribution, November 2005, on the occasion of the Nigerian Institute of Management Annual International Conference, Abuja, Nigeria; Nigerian Entrepreneurs in the Oil and Gas Industry: Problems, Challenges and Prospects, presented on the occasion of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists’ Technical Meeting.

He equally authored Solutions to the Issue of Perennial Shortages of Petroleum Products in Nigeria, presented to the Deputy President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Senate Committee on Oil and Gas, as well as Addressing The Poor State And Management Of Infrastructure In Nigeria – A Call For Action, presented at the 2020 Corporate Members Forum of the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered). 

Today, through Petrolog Group, the crowning jewel of his companies, he has trained more than 2,000 Nigerian engineers over the past three decades including logging over 2,500 oil wells, worldwide.

In recognition of his remarkable accomplishments, he has received an Honorary Doctorate in Management from Commonwealth University of Belize in 2011 and a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Oil and Gas Industry by the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN) in 2014.  Also in 2016, PETAN honoured him with the Oil Industry Achievement Award as the pioneer of Indigenous Oil and Gas Services Company in Nigeria.

He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM); Member, British Institute of Management, Member, Nigerian Institute of Management, The Entrepreneurship Institute of Houston-Texas; President, Nigeria-Venezuela Chamber of Commerce; Fellow/Honorary Lifetime Member, Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists; Life Alumnus, Stanford Business School U.S.A; Alumnus, Oxford University England; Alumnus, Harvard Graduate School of Business U.S.A and Georgetown University, U.S.A.

He has also received “The Lion of Africa Award” for his outstanding private sector leadership in Africa, Washington DC, USA, 2011.

Dr. Vincent Osayande Ebuh was born a twin in 1947 in Alisimie, Delta State, South-south Nigeria to the family of Ebuh Osaghaie and Emu Iside, who were peasant farmers.

He obtained a Diploma in Industrial Relations from the University of Ibadan in 1974; a Certificate in Business Management University of Colorado, 1982 and a B.Sc from the same school in 1986. He had his M.B.A. Honors 1987 from Century University California.  

Dr. Ebuh completed the Advanced Management Program at Stanford University in 1993, Harvard Graduate School of Business (OPM), 1998, Strategic Leadership Program at Oxford University-England, 2000, and subsequently, a Honorary Doctorate Degree from the Commonwealth University Belize 2011, and the Georgetown University Leadership Program in 2014.

He is especially proud of being one of the first Nigerians to start an Oil and Gas services company in the 1980’s and the first Nigerian to acquire a brand new 100% Nigerian-owned, Nigerian-flagged, DSV Subsea Saturation diving vessel, believed to be the largest of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa. For over 35 years, Dr. Vincent Ebuh has been an advocate of Local Content Development in Nigeria and Africa. 

In his spare time, he enjoys swimming, football and International Affairs. He is married to Eunice O. Ebuh, Chief Executive Officer, Eunik Nigeria Limited – a distribution company for Nigerian Breweries and Guinness. They are blessed with five children. Among them are George O. Ebuh, Managing Director, Petrolog Group and Global Oceon Engineers Nigeria Limited, Vincent O. Ebuh (Jnr.), Executive Director, Interstate Data USA Inc. (NEXIT) and George Stevens Resources Houston-Texas.

JOSH OYEBISI:  Astute Banker, Result-Oriented, Providing Innovative Financial Intermediation Services

One of a few Nigerian business young leaders whose resourcefulness and innovative thinking have set a team apart as models of competence and resourcefulness is Josh oyebisi. 

A graduate of Ladoke Akintola University Ogbomosho, Josh Oyebisi, Chief Executive Officer, Mutual Trust Microfinance Bank Limited, has had an illustrious career spanning twenty years in insurance and banking. He has functioned at various times as Relationship Officer and Profit Centre Manager at Industrial and General Insurance Company Limited, Standard Trust Bank, and Equitorial Trust Bank Limited. He subsequently functioned as Branch Manager in First Atlantic Bank, First Inland Bank, and Fidelity Bank, respectively.

Having joined Fortis MFB PLC in July 2013 as Chief Marketing Officer, he left the firm to start Mutual Trust MFBank in 2016 with others, with very little capital and zero balance sheet which today has a balance sheet in excess of N15BN, posting profit of N430M in year 2021, alone! 

A roundly-trained banker, who has earned professional certificates from reputable academic institutions in Europe and North America, he is a fellow of the Microfinance Association, London, Fellow of the institute of credit administration Nigeria, fellow of the institute of management consultants Nigeria and London as well as Member of the Institute of Directors, amongst other professional affiliations. 

While examining the operations of microfinance banks in Nigeria, Oyebisi noted that “The banking regulator, through various policies and means, has made our work easier. Now there is a collateral register program, the BVN is up and active, credit bureaus are more reliable now than they used to be. Therefore, it is much easier to work within the banking ecosystem to provide great services to clients and actually be able to access clients’ information for proper credit analysis. This is a great headache solved.” 

He added that “Aside this, technology has greatly obviated the need to move around the country, and to develop huge overheads usual to brick and mortar banking. Now at the click of a button either using an app, using the internet, USSD, agency banking, we are able to extend banking services to millions all around the country. I would say that the banking terrain is much better than it was a decade ago and much more suitable for extending banking services to the economically active poor.”

Focused on making Mutual Trust MFB a top financial institution in Nigeria, he explained that “the factors attributable to the banks sustained growth include visioning. We have been able to see what can be, and have grown from a very tiny seed into a great oak tree, and we continue to trust God for greater things. Secondly, is the ability to believe. Hard work, diligence, and tenacity are also important to do well and excel given the economic headwinds on the polity at large.” 

In his words, “We are working towards being one of the top MFBs in Africa and it is indeed possible to set our sights on being one of the top names to mention in microfinance, on the world stage. Our methodology takes cognizance of the need of hundreds of thousands of average Nigerians needs to establish cottage businesses in a bid to empower their households with small trade, thrift, and small farm setups across the agriculture value chain, with structured and term loans, as well as business support to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, and people at the base of the economic pyramid in Nigeria.

Committed to driving Mutual Trust MFBank’s organizational vision with innovative financial intermediation services, the experienced banker has continued to strengthen the company’s corporate governance and drive it is work force towards the bank’s mutually beneficial goals.

An advocate of youth empowerment, Oyebisi advised young Chief Executive Officers and professionals to “Work like prayer doesn’t work, and pray like work doesn’t work.”

Josh Oyebisi was recently awarded an award as the most astute and innovative Chief Executive Officer for business innovativeness and tactical management by the Nigeraia Credit Industry Awards for 2021.

 

ENGR EMEKA NJOKU –FRIGATE GROUP

EMEKA NJOKU: A Pride To The Nigerian Oil and Gas Sector

Engr. Emeka Njoku is the founder and managing director of Frigate Group, an indigenous oil and gas company, and leader in processing spent drilling fluid, as well as the manufacturing of casings and line pipes. Frigate is also a pioneer in the establishment of a manufacturing plant for seamless pipes which upon kick-off will be the only seamless pipe manufacturing plant in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Challenge-driven and performance-oriented, Njoku is an industry-defined engineer with proven track record of commendable business development, coupled with a sustained passion for breaking impossible and impregnable marketplace barriers. Of a fact, Njoku is a pride to the Nigerian oil and gas industry given his pedigree as one who would not compromise on professional ethics, client satisfaction and quality service.

An astute and resourceful engineer with high value for service delivery, professionalism, and optimal business management. He has successfully managed Frigate from an early-stage startup to scaling it to become a leading service provider in the oil and gas space. He continually strives to accomplish even greater feats in his unquenchable quest of leaving enviable records in the good books of professionalism and societal development.

Since inception in 1999, Njoku has continued to lead Frigate Group as a reputable company at the forefront of efficient drilling and environmental Waste Management activities for major oil and gas companies. Central to the operation of the company in this regard is the modernized Low Temperature Thermal Desorption Units, (LTTDU).

The LTTDU is an effective process of remediating wastes. It also incorporates sound environmental practices which are consistent with global standards and in line with the requirements of environmental regulatory agencies in Nigeria.

A member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, COREN and Nigerian Environmental Society,Njoku holds a masters degree in industrial engineering from the University of Nigeria Nsukka which was preceeded by a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University Of Port Harcourt, Choba. 

He is proficient in project management and versatile in Business development and Board leadership.  In the last 22 years, he has led a competent team of over 150 staff comprising over 70 percent engineers and technical personnel with proven equipment capacity which has positioned the company over her competitors.

An alumnus of Harvard Business School, his revolutionary and innovative ideas have led to achievements in the oil and gas industry. Notable among such includes the design and production of Offshore Pneumatic Transfer System presently in use Offshore Bayelsa. It has been deployed so far in the drilling of over eight offshore wells.

Also to his credit is the design and production of an induction-based in-line thermal dryer unit.  This is for fluid processing-while-drilling. The unit processes oil-based mud, drilling cuttings at a rate of over two tons per hour and a small enough footprint to be placed in the drilling location.  A worldwide first of its kind.

His goal for Frigate is to become an international player in the oil and gas service provision.

IDRIS AKANBI __TRIFECTA INTEGRATED SERVICES LTD

IDRIS AKANBI: Creating Value in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas, Power, Infrastructural Development

He is one of the rare breed CEOs, who has continued to weather the storm in achieving remarkable feats despite the various challenges posed by the Nigerian business environment. Engineer Idris Akanbi is the Managing Director/CEO of Trifecta Integrated Services – a fast rising fully integrated Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Maintenance (EPCM) company that has continued to deliver exceptional projects in the power, infrastructure development as well as the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.

The indigenous firm which is made up of young, energetic and purpose-driven Nigerians is led by Akanbi who bagged a first degree in civil engineering from the University of Portsmouth, UK and a Masters in Engineering Project Management from the University of Manchester, UK. 

A Prince2 UK certified Project Engineer, Akanbi has been involved in a number of exciting projects across the country. Notable among such projects is the construction of the new Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja which he supervised from start to finish during a brief spell at CCECC before he established Trifecta. With the establishment of Trifecta, he has continued to deliver time-tested projected for both private and public clientele.

“As a CEO, I believe business growth is majorly about relationship and value creation, where partnership and collaboration are my core values and customer satisfaction, my watch word. I create opportunities for my team and this supports my drive-in achieving set goals. As an organization, we pay utmost attention to creating strong and lasting business relationships. We also ensure that our services create impact on the Nigerian economy as a whole, thereby creating value for our clients”, he said.

From available records, the company has over the years executed projects in the areas of civil and structural engineering, detailed construction drawings, mechanical engineering, welding and fabrication, distribution and transmission services, maintenance and operation of gas turbines, as well as strategic procurement services which meets international safety and quality standards, whilst giving priority to local resources.

“We have been able to establish key technical partnerships with top global organisations such as Mechanical Field Support (MSF) BV, who are specialists in maintenance of heavy duty equipment such as gas turbine and power plant maintenance. These technical partnerships have helped to provide quality and sustainable solutions for our clients”, he added.

He also maintained that the success story of the company is rooted in project management principles like Projects In Controlled Environments (PRINCE 2) methodology, which has helped Trifecta in completing projects successfully within the budget of clients, scope and timeframe.

According to him, “We understand the need to provide the best quality in services and products at a competitive price as quick as possible. Therefore, as a dynamic and innovative company, we continually explore new market opportunities and we are poised to reach quality levels that set new industry standards.”

Speaking further, he explained that the company has continued to promote the Nigerian Content Policy across its operations.

“As a Pan-African company, we believe in the local content initiative, as such, all our core human resources are Nigerians. We ensure our staff regularly partake in various trainings and seminars throughout the year to aid self- development, because we believe that having a skilled workforce will not only increase the company’s productivity, but also impact positively on the Nigerian economy”, he said.

On the future of the company, he informed that the ultimate goal is for Trifecta to become a reference point in the provision of innovative engineering solutions, supply management and leading-edge project management services in Oil and Gas, Power and Infrastructural Development in Nigeria and ultimately across West Africa, while creating subsidiaries in manufacturing and hospitality, as well as providing outreach services to the rural areas in caring for the not too privileged as a core part of its corporate social responsibility.

SAM LOW CHAI: Focused, Innovative, Result-Driven Manager With Global Vision, Contributing To Nigeria’s Economy Through Edmark Group

Sam Low Ban Chai, a Malaysian national, is the Founder/Chairman of Edmark Group of Companies, a multi-million-dollar company with market presence in over 30 countries and is involved in various business interests from manufacturing, exporting, distribution, and real-estate developments. He is an exceptional speaker and motivator, a visionary leader, inventor, mentor for personal development, and philanthropist.

A self-made entrepreneur, who started at a young age of 17, selling shampoos door-to-door; Chai eventually travelled to places unknown, venturing into the biggest mall chain in the Philippines and showcasing his latest kitchen wares in the Middle East and Africa. Finally, he was able to export his own invention namely, the Rolling Ruler and the Super Slicer globally. The Super Slicer became one of the most successful kitchen food processor worldwide, while the Rolling Ruler received a ‘Certificate of Recognition’ in Saudi Arabia for product innovation. 

Through his vision and leadership, Edmark became an official member of Direct Selling Association in United Arab Emirates, Philippines, South Africa, and Malaysia. In 2012, he was awarded the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences (FAMAS) Grand Award for his excellence and contribution to the humanity. Four years after, he released his own book called 4 Pillars of Success based on the basic human values, that is, Gratitude, Abundance, Love and Compassion.

Born with the passion to help humanity and guided by the 4 Pillars, Sam has brought hope and opportunity of entrepreneurship to people in Asia, Middle East, and especially Africa with an effective range of healthy living products distributed through network marketing by a global family of distributors.

When he was asked about what motivated him to bring his business to Nigeria, the visionary manager replied that it is his passion to help humanity. In his words, “sixteen years ago, I was called by an inner voice to go and help the people of Nigeria. I followed the voice and 13 years after, we now have 12 branches across the country. Opening a branch in Nigeria, has also helped spurred the growth of Edmark in the African continent.”  

On the challenges his organization is facing in Nigeria, he noted that “There are two factors that are of great challenge to the growth of our business in the country; which are devaluation of naira and inflation. But despite that, we remain committed in Nigeria to continually contribute in the development and human resources. We are here for a higher purpose that’s why we are able to go beyond the challenges and able to see big opportunities ahead.” 

An astute professional with global vision, Sam Low Chai has positioned Edmark to provide solutions in the Nigerian real estate sector and he described his experience in the sector as quite challenging, being a tough sector, but we are looking into a much bigger picture. As you all know, we are developing the first iconic smart city where it is a one-stop-shop, with shop work live play concept. We have mall for shopping, offices for working, luxury apartments for living, and recreational facilities for playing and We are also looking into agriculture, fin-tech, e-commerce, education, and healthcare facilities.”

Chai, a vision-driven and compassionate CEO, is not just concerned about profit maximization, he has devoted part of his time and resources for philanthropy. He ascribed the achievements of Edmark Group to the company’s corporate values and its management competence and dedication. 

According to him, “We have been able to maneuver through the ups and downs of our journey with the unwavering support, trust and team work of the Management and staff worldwide as well as the collaboration of our distributors. Edmark is what it is today because of our unique culture, our values we call the 4 Pillars of Success (Gratitude, Abundance, Love, and Compassion). We have transformed thousands of lives through our training programme called Edmark Education System (EES). We were able to create a trustworthy brand because we deliver what we promise and we have turned countless problems into opportunities. At Edmark, we just work hard, we never give up.”

Proud of the Group’s increasing impact on Nigeria’s economy, he informed that the organization is well structured and its management is well experienced to create more values in the country. He spoke further, “We have been in business for over 30 years, yet we still have a long journey ahead of us. In the next 20 years or so, we hope to see Edmark Group as one of the driving forces towards nation-building and one of the catalysts to make Nigeria a global, financial and economic hub of Africa. By that time, we believe we will be able to help create more jobs opportunities and be recognized as the ‘top five group of companies in Nigeria’ both in economic impact and social responsibilities. We aim to be a dominant force to develop one of the biggest property development with modern and thriving community equipped with hospitals, universities, housing estates, malls, shops, offices, high rise apartments with 24-hour security and power.”

Focused on raising younger generations of entrepreneurs through his innovations and managerial ingenuity, Sam Low Chai encouraged young foreign entrepreneurs to look beyond the misconceptions about Nigeria and be part of her building process. 

He advised “young foreign investors not listen to all the fake news about Nigeria as being perceived by other foreigners, but instead should have the courage to come and see for themselves. Secondly, they should learn to adapt and be flexible whenever they come into the country. Most importantly, treat people with gratitude, respect, humility, empathy, love, and compassion. Do not look down on Africans, treat everyone as equal as a human being.”

NHIS CEO

Why NHIS’ milestones are strategic, impactful to Nigeria’s health insurance development, by Sambo

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) was established under NHIS Act 35 of the 1999 constitution by the Federal Government of Nigeria with the purpose of providing financial access to healthcare for all Nigerians.

To achieve this mission, it mobilizes financial resources for the strategic purchasing of affordable and quality healthcare for all Nigerians.

NHIS service platforms are created to ensure that every Nigerian has access to quality healthcare services at affordable cost.

The agency is also charged with the duty of limiting the rise in the cost of healthcare services in the country. In addition to this, it endeavours to ensure equitable distribution of healthcare cost among different income groups.

This mechanism is essentially a collaborative arrangement with a risk-sharing perspective to engender resource mobilization and equity.

It also has the responsibility to accredit Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and healthcare providers (hospitals, clinics and pharmacies) to operate under the Scheme. Through social health insurance, a major window of opportunity is opened for Nigerians to have unqualified access to healthcare by payment of a minimal amount. 

In order to achieve these objectives, many programmes have been strategically put in place to cover broader spectrum of the society.

These include the Formal Sector Social Health Insurance Programme which provides health insurance coverage for government employees and workers in the organized private sector.  

Crucially, its flagship service, the recently launched Group Individual and Family Social Health Insurance Programme (GIFSHIP), is tailored to draw enrolment from persons and groups of people who are not under the formal sector programmes.

This includes religious, cultural and even professional associations like churches, mosques and other groups regardless of creed or calling which belong to the informal sector of the economy.

For the teeming young population, NHIS implements the Tertiary Institutions Social Health Insurance Programme (TISHIP) for students in tertiary educational institutions.

In addition, the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) which is a product of the National Health Act providing coverage for vulnerable individuals such as pregnant women, children under the age of five, and the aged in rural areas, is being co-implemented by NHIS.

The current helmsman of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Mohammed Nasir Sambo since his appointment in July 2019 has been repositioned through the implementation of a three-point agenda to achieve its mandate.

Prof. Sambo is by all considerations an academic of proven scholarship who has acquired, over the years, a huge reputation for competence-driven leadership with a fundamental drive for excellence in public service.

A professor of Health Policy and Management, with special interest in Healthcare Financing, the NHIS’ Executive Secretary has made indelible contributions to healthcare development in the country and international environment for decades.

A graduate of the University of Jos, with MBBS degree, he moved swiftly through the academic ladder with calmness, maturity and single-minded disposition. His illustrious career saw him rising from being head of department, Community Medicine, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) to Deputy Dean, Faculty of Medicine in the same institution.

He holds a Fellowship of West African College of Physicians. He was also Best Candidate in the final Fellowship Examination in the critically-acclaimed _West African College of Physicians. A recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award in the foremost institution, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Prof. Sambo was a visiting scholar at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom.

The icing on the cake is his unwavering passion for mentoring in the academia and research with the supervision of fourteen (14) Fellowships programmes, (35) Masters Degrees in Public Health and field of Epidemiology and four (4) PhDs. To his credit are more than Seventy (70) articles in reputable peer review journals nationally, and internationally.

Mention must be made of his leadership roles as Chairman, Visitation Panel to College of Nursing, Kafanchan, Visitation Panel for accreditation of Centre of Excellence, University of Benin as well as member of the Governing Board of Barau Dikko Teaching Hospital, Kaduna.  

With his continuously increasing academic and leadership resume, he received further responsibility when he was appointed the Provost of College of Medicine, Kaduna State University.

A renowned international personality in the Health Sector, he has served as a consultant to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), UFPA, Department for International Development (DFID), GTZ, the British Council and many others. He was Examiner at the West African College of Physicians. In addition, he is an Alumnus of the World Bank Institute on Health Sector Reforms and Sustainable Financing. His career in public service has seen him serve as former Assistant Director/Zonal Coordinator, Northwest Zone, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency.

Apart from being the first Zonal Coordinator, NHIS South West Zone, Lagos, he was also former Assistant General Manager with concurrent responsibility as Head HMO Division, NHIS Corporate Headquarters, Abuja.

His membership of several Ministerial Technical Working Groups (TWGs), that developed several National Health Policies stands as strong evidence for his prominent role in laying the foundation for Health Insurance in Nigeria. Of special significance was his membership of the Ministerial Technical Working Group that developed the National Healthcare Financing Policy, thus setting the stage for Health Insurance in Nigeria.

Prof Sambo also received a Master’s degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU).

Highlights of the initiatives under the present ES/CEO are as follow:

  • Development of a ten-year strategic plan document which implementation is ongoing.
  • Creation of Health Insurance Under One Roof (HIUOR), a mechanism for coordination of health insurance in Nigeria, among states.
  • The establishment of eNHIS for end-to-end automation of health insurance business processes.
  • Implementation of the NHIS Medicine Supply Initiative aimed at ending the out-of-stock syndrome of drugs in hospitals.
  • The implementation of GIFSHIP for extending health insurance to Nigerians who are not covered in existing services. Under GIFSHIP, the NBA has enrolled its members, NYSC members are also accessing healthcare, some political office holders have sponsored the healthcare of their constituents.
  • Establishment of transparent financial management system in line with extant provisions of government.
  • Restoring of industrial harmony through stakeholders’ strategic engagements.
  • Conduct of human resources audit to clear backlog of promotions.
  • Clearing of backlog of unaudited accounts since 2014.
  • Building of institutional and human capacity for Procurement Process

HON. PRINCESS CHINWE NNABUIFE — PROPERTY FINDERS

HON. PRINCESS CHINWE NNABUIFE: Result-Oriented Amazon, Dynamic Real Estate Developer With Patriotic, Philanthropic Vision

She is one of the excelling Chief Executive Officers in the real estate sector who cannot be ignored whenever the roll call of Nigerian women whose professional engagements and exemplary lifestyle have helped in raising the bars of productivity and excellence in the corporate world, within the last 20 years, is being made.

Hon. Princess Chinwe Nnabuife, an outstanding real estate manager with social conscience, was raised in a disciplined Christian home where love, honesty and hard work were inculcated into her life. Despite being born without a silver spoon, these values helped her to live her life with focus and integrity, and subsequently drove her high intellect into prominence. 

Beyond the impact she is making in the corporate world, the trained mass communicator redefining quality in the real estate industry has been described at different times as a social reformer, bridge builder and as a patriotic philanthropist who derives joy in applying her expertise, resources and time for the general good of the public. 

Determined to rise above her humble background and the cultural milieu which limited the achievement of many of the women of her generation in this part of the world, she did not just equipped her mind with quality education, she guided her path with good principles and looked up to genuine achievers as her role models. Today, it is not a surprise that the resourceful Chief Executive Officer, Property Finders Limited and National Financial Secretary, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) has distinguished herself through her diligent application of hard work and her continuous pursuit of excellence, and she has continued to put her name on the lips of those who value her impactful living. She spoke further in this interview with The Guardian.

Decision to become an entrepreneur

I am an indigene of Anambra State from Umunze, Orumba South LGA, I am a trained mass communicator but I am a real estate manager. I came to Abuja in search of Golden Fleece and I found myself in the real estate sector where I have been creating and adding value over the years. My mother was an entrepreneur in Ajegunle, Lagos. She was a farmer and was also into buying and selling at the Boundary Market in Ajegunle, Lagos and I was always going with her to the market. At a time she was managing a restaurant every evening to augment her income. So I learned from her how being your own boss gives you a better opportunity to manage your time.

Coming to Abuja, I realised that there was housing deficit and I was passionate about devising ways to reduce this deficit. At the beginning, people who believe in me were seeking my assistance in helping them to secure properties, acquire land and manage the construction of their properties. Realising that I was making impact through what I was doing, I decided to set up Property Finders Limited. And by the grace of God, it has been 20 years of shared prosperity with the company’s stakeholders in spite of the challenges we have encountered over these years of our corporate journey. Today, I am happy with the level of contributions we have made in this sector through Property Finders.

How Property Finders Limited has raised the bar of excellence in Nigeria’s Real Estate Sector

This company is an indigenous one stop shop real estate organization established in July 2002, this is our 20th year. We render services in all the areas involved in real estate from rentals, live-in, facilities management, construction of buildings, roads and rural electrification, purchase and sales of properties. We also offer documentation and advisory for people who want to acquire properties within and outside Nigeria. Over the years, we have continued to build on our capacity, and our corporate integrity has been one of our selling points.

The challenge of being a mother, entrepreneur, professional in politics

One of the things that have taken me this far is effective time management. I create time for everything I do, and as an entrepreneur and manager, I make sure I always get competent hands with whom I run different aspects of my live. I take my staff as extended members of my family. Before I delved into politics because of my passion for public service, I made sure my children are of certain ages and Property Finders has reached a steadied stage.

A successful female CEO in a patriarchal society 

Quality service delivery knows no gender, so in the Nigerian real estate sector, your competence, commitment and integrity majorly determine what you get. I was brought up in Ajegunle, Lagos and I am a CEO with strong mental strength, I am also a goal-getter. With that background and experience, it is easier for me to play my role in raising the standards in this sector and contributed to reducing housing deficit. Today, there are many female real estate developers and managers who are excelling. 

However, there are instances when male engineers tried to limit the kind of assignments to be handled by their female counterparts, I always do my best to discourage that by offering everybody equal opportunity to display their competence. Different exams were not set for people based on our gender while we were in school, so I believe there is nothing a woman can’t do if she is equipped and given opportunity to excel, be it in the corporate world or in the public service. Hard work, diligence, prompt delivery of projects and integrity have continued to open doors of opportunities for me, I have developed quality residential and commercial properties. I am building a 365unit housing estate for NNPC Cooperative in Port Harcourt, I am also developing a 455unit housing for NPDC in Benin City and Lekki. I am a different person at work because I don’t compromise quality because I want our clients to always have value for their money.

Property finders’ CSR programmes, other personal philanthropic engagements

Property Finders relate well with its host communities, and we do our best to make living more easily for the dwellers. Personally, I have always been concerned about the welfare of the less privileged in our society. For instance, the road that leads to this estate, Sunnyvale Estate, was constructed by this company, it is a 2.5 km road that has one bridge and four culverts. We also did the drainage system. This place was like a forest when I came here in 2010 and I am happy to be among the people that brought development to this area. Also, I have constructed a 4 km road in my village and built a health centre. 

Through my foundation, the Princess Chinwe Nnabuife Development Foundation (PCNDF), I have been giving back to the society. The Foundation empowered over 15,000 orphans, widows and people with disability at Eagle Square, Abuja in 2014. We also empowered several women and youth at Ekulobia, Anambra State, we have carried out empowerment programs for Nigerian Army, Police and Civil Defence officer’s wives and widows. I have been giving scholarships to many orphans, paying their school fees from primary to university level, and relief materials to orphanage homes. Apart from these, I have been organising skill acquisition programs after which seed capital and equipment are provided for the participants. It gives me joy whenever I put smile on people’s faces.

GHALI MUSA DANHODI: Vision-Driven, Committed Professional, Delivering Quality Biomedical Engineering Services Through Danhodi

A man with an uncommon organizational competence who strives to provide service in a better way, Mr. Ghali Musa Danhodil, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Danhodi Engineering Limited, pays attention to details and values quality that is why his company has been redefining productivity through its exceptional service delivery.  

Born in 1968 in Kankarofi Quarters, Kano City, Kano State. Danhodi is a Bio-medical Engineering Specialist, Project Management Specialist and a Laboratory Technologist.  He has over 28 years of experience in Health, Environment, Biomedical Engineering, and Project Management from both the public and private sectors. He is a graduate of the University of Lagos and Kano State  Polytechnic School of Technology Kano; he also holds a Master’s Degree in Project Management from the University of Salford Manchester, Post Graduate Diploma in Hospital Management from the College of Medicine University of Lagos Idi-Araba Lagos, and also attended a program on Effective Project Management at PAN African University Lagos Business School in 2012, since then, he has been involved in Heath/ Environmental Consultancy, Biomedical Engineering, and Project Management. 

With a committed work force that shares the company’s vision, Danhodi has in the last 28 years, managed and delivered many turnkey hospital projects across Nigeria and Africa; among them is the record installation and commissioning of 33 operating theatre suites under 75 days at Mulago Hospital Kampala, Uganda.

Danhodi Engineering Limited is a Bio-medical Engineering, Hospital Design & Architecture, Project Management and Turnkey Medical Equipment Service and Solutions Company partnering with and represent an impressive list of international manufacturers of leading Medical Technology brands that are global leaders in Medical Technology and Solutions. 

Its overall focus is on providing world-class Hospital Design and Architecture, Bio-medical Engineering services, Project Management, Hospital management consultancy, Medical Equipment and solutions to deliver sustainable quality services at an affordable rate to our customers.

With a vast understanding of the peculiarities and challenges of the Nigerian business and healthcare environment, Danhodi Engineering Limited has proffer and delivered advanced medical technology and solutions to Government and private health facilities and projects without compromising standards. Danhodi’s dynamic team has over 26 years of experience in the Nigerian health sector and worked on many projects in both public and private healthcare sectors.

Danhodi Engineering provides top-notch services including hospital design and hospital architecture; hospital Biomedical engineering; hospital room datasheet, patient flow architecture, tailor-made equipment specification lists based on need, technology, budget, and equipment-patient throughput & process flow design; Project management. The other quality services are: Hospital Management consultancy; Medical Equipping Procurement/Tendering; Installation, Commissioning & Testing of all equipment supplied; Long-term Maintenance Contracts (3 to 5-years). 

Danhodi has attended several Biomedical engineering training/courses in Nigeria and abroad and is also the Founder / Trustee of Danhodi Empowerment Foundation, and HLC Consulting Limited. 

LANRE BHADMUS: Visionary Entrepreneur, Strategic Thinker, Innovative Industrialist Par Excellence

He is an exemplary leader, an unparalleled businessman, astute Chief Executive, whose charismatic approach to life and business has taken him up the ladder of success. Mr. Lanre Bhadmus, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Lanre Bhadmus Industries Limited, is a silent achiever, visionary and strategic thinker, whose resilience and doggedness has seen him build a business empire that is still waxing strong after 50 years of existence; a rare feat that can be associated with few indigenous companies in Nigeria.

Established in 1971, Lanre Bhadmus Industries is a leading manufacturer of quality lubricants, car care products, household essentials, hotel amenities as well as personal hygiene products such as sanitizers, shower gel and hand wash. Prominent among its car care product is the Holts brand with product offerings in engine oil, automatic transmission fluid, engine flush and tune up, radiator coolant as well as brake and clutch fluid.

Household products include Easy Life Toilet Cleaner, Nature Fresh Fabric Wash, Lemon and Apple Dish Wash and the Deep Action Cream, as well as multipurpose cleaners, to mention a few. Products for the hospitality industry include shower gel, shampoo and body lotion.

In the past five decades, the company has continued to utilize the latest manufacturing techniques to keep abreast with the ever-evolving technological changes in automotive maintenance, industrial needs, as well as home and hotel cleaning requirements of the modern day. The hallmark of the company is in its ability to maintain the premium quality standard that customers deserve and have become accustomed to.

Bhadmus noted that “We have dedicated ourselves to 50 years of manufacturing excellence, product quality and innovative formulations to provide our customers with a broad range of the highest quality products. Feedback from our customers has also helped us at improving our products and serve our customers better. These, we have consistently done over the years.”

He maintained that “the company aligns with the latest technological developments in manufacturing and continually innovate to meet our customers’ needs. To ensure we live up to this, we operate a state-of-the-art laboratory where every product goes through testing, quality control and assurance. Our ultra-modern manufacturing plant enables us to provide end-to-end operations for all our services.”

For a fact, only few indigenous companies in Nigeria have successfully crossed the 50-year mark. Achieving such feat could have only been orchestrated by individuals with midas touch, discipline and dedication. These are people whose business acumen in achieving desired results have continued to evolve in line with global economic policies and advancement in technology. Clearly, Lanre Bhadmus Industries belongs to this category of highly enduring brand, and even attaining an iconic status.

Commenting on how he has kept the company going in the face of tough economic challenges which has seen a couple of companies relocate outside Nigeria, while others have gone under. The astute an resilient CEO explained that the desire to satisfy customers and consistently meet the standards required by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) have continued to keep the company in check. In his words, “No doubt, there are challenges associated with running businesses, particularly a manufacturing business in Nigeria, however, we remain focused on delivering premium quality products by understanding our customers and their needs. 

We believe this has been key to growing our brands, because we will never compromise on quality. For any organization, 50 years is indeed a milestone. It is an opportunity to reflect, celebrate, and make plans to achieve even greater impact. Currently, we manufacture about 300 products covering car care, household, high performance lubricants, hotel amenities, sanitizers, and also offer contract packaging for various sectors including oil and gas, hospitality and FMCG.”

He stressed that that his company “ensures high production standards which has positioned us as an organization known for manufacturing excellence. Over the years, we have continued to invest in new technology from manufacturing machinery to innovative formulations. Our goal is to consistently meet the standards required by OEMs and to provide high quality products for our customers, who are always our priority. We have equally received immense support from many stakeholders locally and internationally over the years, who have helped us along the journey.”

In recognition of the company’s brand excellence and value, Lanre Bhadmus Industries has received several awards, including the Quality Product Service Award from the Institute of Oil & Gas Research and Hydrocarbon Studies for its Holts Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF). To him, accolades such as this, go a long way in building and growing the brand.

For a CEO that understands the essence of inspirational leadership in motivating the members of staff, Bhadmus applauded his “team members who he described as dedicated in actualizing the vision of the company, some of who have been part of our team since we founded the company. Over the last 50 years, we have so far created job security for Nigerians and we will continue to do so. Our organization also pays attention to youth development by training and employing young people as a core part of our staff.”

How Baobab MFB Is Helping SMEs Unleash Their Potential, by Olanrewaju

Dr. Kazeem AbdulRashid Olanrewaju, the Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director, Baobab Microfinance Bank Nigeria Limited, has in the course of his over 25 years of experience as a financial expert, distinguished himself in core banking areas such as Credit Risk Management, Marketing, Corporate and Public Sector Banking, Group Relationship Management, Credit Risk Management, Policy and Product Development and Formulation and Microfinance Banking.

Prior to joining Baobab Microfinance Bank in 2014, whilst the bank was known as Microcred Nigeria, he was the pioneer Managing Director of Mainstreet Microfinance Bank, where he transformed the fortunes of the bank between 2008 and 2014.

Since joining Baobab MFB as the helmsman at the Nigeria subsidiary of the Pan-African banking group, he has pioneered the expansion programme of the bank, taking it from six branches to over 25 branches, while also increasing its customer base from 20,000 clients to about 140,000 clients.

According to Olanrewaju, “Given the purpose for which the bank was established, we have been strategic in our approach at bridging the financial gap through the provision of real banking services to the underbanked and the unbanked. To achieve this, we have focused on customer satisfaction through efficient and timely delivery of our services. As a matter of fact, our loan approval system takes about four days which cannot be guaranteed by most of our competitors.”

He noted that Baobab MFB “is strategic in staff recruitment and I can say that we have the best staff in the industry. Our products are designed to meet the expectations of our customers and as a result of that, we have successfully groomed businesses that started as SMEs with loan of N200,000 to large scale enterprises who are now doing businesses in the region of N30 – N40million. With technology, we have improved service delivery through digital platforms namely; USSD, debit cards, mobile application, internet banking and agency banking where customers can carry out transactions seamlessly. These has helped us grow at not less than 35 percent year-on-year.”

An ardent reader with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, Olanrewaju bagged his first degree at the Ahmadu Bello University in 1988. This was followed by an MBA in finance from the same institution. He subsequently enrolled at the University of Abuja where he bagged a master’s degree in financial economics.

Not satisfied with the above qualifications, he proceeded to the Walden University, USA where he bagged a doctoral degree in Management finance with specialty in microfinance in July 2018. With presence in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, he emphasized on the issue of insecurity especially on the northern part of the country as one of the challenges faced by the bank. He disclosed that the bank has six branches in Kaduna State, but the spate of insecurity in the state has made it difficult to delivery services to customers.

In his words, “The situation in Kaduna and some parts of the north has not been helpful, nonetheless, our customers are able to carry out transactions through our digital channels. The cost of doing business is another challenge we are faced with. For instance, the cost of diesel which went up from N250 to about N700 is having a negative toll on businesses generally, we have close to 30 branches nationwide and these branches mostly run on generators, because of epileptic power supply. Therefore, while we try to make our services cheap for customers, we end up spending more than we have budgeted.”

A certified Microfinance Banker and a Chartered Accountant, Olanrewaju is an Associate of the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria, Association of Cost and Executive Accountants of Nigeria and Institute of Capital Market Registrars. He has also attended various courses both locally and internationally at renowned institutions including Microfinance Institute Turin, Italy in 2012.

He assured that the bank “will continue to explore opportunities aimed at bringing Nigerians out of poverty in a simplified manner. This will be done through partnerships with international lenders to enable us mobilise resources from areas where there is surplus to feed those SMES who are ready to unleash their potentials. Becoming a commercial bank is a possibility, but that is not the priority now. We have commercial banking license in Madagascar and we are currently working on commercial licenses in Senegal and Ivory Coast.”

JUNAID ABDULLAHI: Experienced, Focused, Astute Manager, Developing, Implementing Sustainable Socio-Economic Interventions In Nigerian Border Communities 

The Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) is a Federal Government interventionist Agency established by an act of Parliament to develop all Border Communities’ amenities through the implementation of planned and sustainable projects. 

As the Executive Secretary of the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Captain Junaid Abdullahi is responsible for the execution of the Agency’s mandate and the policies approved by the Governing Board of the Agency, as well as the day-to-day administration of the affairs of the Agency.

With qualifications in commercial jet and helicopter piloting, Captain Junaid Abdullahi has vast experience in aircraft operations and air transport management. He is an astute manager both in the aviation and business sectors. Within the period of his resumption at BCDA, he has developed the passion for environmental sustainability and climate change and these have reflected in his past activities in the integrated aerial pest control management on trans-border migratory pest in the 16 northern frontline states of Nigeria.

This has given him the privilege to be exposed to the impact and vagaries of poverty as well as environmental degradation occasioned by desertification and climate change implicitly manifested in rural underdevelopment – the plight of border communities in Nigeria.

In his role as the Chief Executive of Nigeria’s Border Communities Development Agency, spanning 21 states and over 3,000 communities, he has consistently and considerably demonstrated exceptional management skills in developing and implementing sustainable development initiatives. 

The sustainable outcomes of the Agency’s socio-economic and infrastructural development activities also demonstrates his sustainable development focus. Since his appointment as the Executive Secretary in the last three years, the Agency has within the first three years of Captain Junaid’s leadership successfully executed 329 Capital Projects and also 369 ZIP/Constituency Projects of the National Assembly in various border communities of the country. These projects are in the areas of the Provision of Classroom Blocks, Furniture; Health Centres, Water and Sanitation; Skills Acquisition Centres, Markets, Food Processing Mills, Roads/Drainages/Erosion Control, Electrification/Solar Street Lights; and Poverty Alleviation; Capacity Building and Empowerment for enhanced rural income generation. The impacts of these have greatly helped to address the issues of social disparity, unemployment and the quick resort to crimes in most of the border communities.

The empowerment programmes and other projects in the agricultural sector particularly in the food processing area have helped to raise the GDP of the rural communities and consequently, a positive rise in national productivity as is being observed over the years in the country. The Executive Secretary believes that the rural economy is very pivotal in the development of the country and therefore the need to ensure proper linkage between the two through a deliberate policy of enhancing skills/entrepreneurial development in the rural areas.

Captain Junaid Abdullahi is a strong advocate for process integration for socio-economic intervention. To him social and economic infrastructural development; effective border security and its management do not only proof the nexus between the two but are really in symbiotic relationship. The border communities play a critical role as the frontier defining the territorial integrity of the country and also the buffer to foreign infiltration of terrorists’ ideologies, weapons, drugs, contrabands etc. which have been the bane of peace in the country. He believes that addressing the infrastructural deficits in the border communities is the only panacea to all these problems. This, he applies in his sustainable social and economic infrastructural development approach to effective border security management in Nigeria. 

Captain Abdullahi loves farming, golfing and polo.

EBELE ENUNWA: Redefining Standards In Nigeria’s Hospitality Industry Through Sundry Foods

That excellence has become the hallmark of his identity is not in doubt, therefore it is not surprising that he is standing out as one of the leading disruptors in the Nigeria’s Hospitality Industry. An innovative CEO, who prefers to work silently and allow his productive ventures speak for him, Ebele Enunwa, Managing Director, Sundry Foods Limited is an experienced manager who has honed his craft and continues to expand his knowledge and reach.

A chartered accountant with experience in investment banking, his training has instilled a profound sense of appreciation for the mechanics and operational dynamics of business processes and human capital capacity. This has made his entrepreneural journey worthwhile and exemplary. In testament to his achievements, the Kilimanjaro Restaurants, among other brands on the stable of Sundry Foods Limited, have helped to redefine standards in the Nigerian hospitality industry.

In this interview with The Guardian on his recognition as one of the “Most Impactful and Award-Winning CEOs That Contributed to Nigeria’s GDP Growth in 2021”, Ebele Enunwa takes us through his career and Sundry Foods Limited’s increasing impact on the nation’s economy, amongst other issues.

A man of promising background

I was born in Ebute Metta, Lagos some 45 years ago, and I attended primary school in Surulere, Lagos, secondary school in Jos and University in Ilorin. I started my career at Deloitte where I did my youth service and went on to qualify as a Chartered Accountant during that time. After youth service, I joined Investment Banking and Trust Company Limited (now called Stanbic IBTC Bank), where I worked in the Financial Control department of the bank and circulated through several other departments before being appointed to start and head the bank’s regional office in Port Harcourt in 2001. 

When I moved to PHC, I saw a huge gap in the hospitality sector in the city and decided to venture into the restaurant space. Sometime in 2007, at the infancy of the company, I took some time to go study hospitality management in the United States. The objective was to ensure I learned how to infuse best global practices into our business to build the right kind of system and offer the right type of services to our customers. In summary, I am a Chartered Accountant and former investment banker who is now a Hospitality professional and a Retailer (I might add).

Entrepreneurship: An interesting journey, a challenging venture

It is been a very challenging but rewarding journey. At varying times, we have faced varying challenges and even today we face different sets of challenges from what we used to face when we started almost two decades ago. My journey was inspired by what I saw as a lack of good quality hospitality services in PHC back then. The entire city was operating on the notion that the only game in town was in ‘oil and gas’ gig. Those were the golden days of Shell, Elf (now Total), Agip (now ENI) and Mobil (now ExxonMobil) with everyone either wanting to work in one of these companies or supply one thing or the other to them. There were no decent (international standard) hotels and only a handful of good restaurants with customers queuing all the way to the main road on festive days. Coming from Lagos, I felt the city deserved better and I set out to plug the gap. My initial interest was in hotels but this required far more capital than I could muster at the time and so I started with restaurants. Two decades later, we are still trying to solve the same problem in many parts of the city and in many other cities outside of Lagos. As population grows, and as urbanization occurs around the country, we continue to chase the dream of bringing good quality food services to people around the country.

Sundry Foods Limited: Hallmark of superior services, innovative solutions, beyond Kilimanjaro Restaurants

We consider ourselves to be an integral part of life and living. There is a lot that goes into preparing a meal – you have to first figure out what you want to eat (and usually you are thinking several things over a period of time – say, a week), then you plan the ingredients that you need to make these meals and then go source for the ingredients. 

Furthermore, you come home to prepare the meals (and you must think about all the steps that go into preparing that meal and how long it takes). The entire process can take a whole day or can spread across several days depending on your availability. We take all these burdens off you and relieve you of valuable time that you can channel into (perhaps) more productive activities. The way to think of it is, if you can make more money with the time you use to plan and prepare your meals then it makes more sense to spend your time in those endeavours that create more value for you while you outsource the job of making your meals to someone else. We are that ‘someone else’ and whether it is a meal in the office while you are at work (canteen management or catering services) or it is a meal in a restaurant (our restaurants) or a quick bite (baked products), Sundry Foods is there for you.

Sundry Foods’ corporate values, steady growth, and corporate integrity

We ascribe this to sound planning and relentless pursuit for complete execution of such plans. We are very goal oriented and so we spend a lot of our time trying to figure out what we can actually achieve given the resources available or resources within reach. Once we set our minds on a goal, we work at it without allowing for any distractions. We know what quality service delivery entails, and we have continued to innovate and drive our committed team of professionals towards delivering this superior quality.

Sundry Foods’ CSR engagements

We partnered with the Rivers State Government to provide economic support for people at the height of the Covid-19 and the lockdown that followed. We executed a CSR campaign through our “Kilimanjaro Cares” scheme where we supported flood victims in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states with cash and kind donations to alleviate the impact of the flood. We also have an internal policy of recruitment of indigenous school leavers into our workforce. Many of them have been well trained, successfully incorporated into our system and are doing very well. We also have initiatives like the Apprenticeship Scheme among others as part of CSR plans. In Sundry Foods, we are constantly exploring opportunities to add value to lives and our communities.

An insight into Sundry Foods’ future plans

The future is bright. We have big dreams and ambitions to explore and exploit the opportunities in Nigeria and open new restaurants, bakeries, and canteens all around the parts of the country where we are under-represented so as to extend our brand of services to the customers in those areas and also impact the communities there too. Today we have over 130 outlets around the country. We have set a goal to double this count over the next 3 years and ultimately to hit and surpass the 500-outlet mark in the near future. 

What young entrepreneurs, CEOs must do to become outstanding 

Perseverance is key to success. There will always be challenges along the way. A successful entrepreneur embraces challenge and does not allow himself to be overwhelmed by them. I wake up every day looking for the next challenge to tackle. I believe the mindset must be right to make things work especially in a country like ours where the odds are stacked very heavily against you and against success.

OFURE IBHAKHOMU: A Dynamic Entrepreneur, Providing Access To Investment Opportunities, Sustaining Competence With Integrity

She is a dynamic Chief Executive Officer, who has continued to demonstrate the ability to lead diverse team of young professionals to higher level of success, in the fast-paced Nigerian real estate sector. Grace Ofure Ibhakhomu’s competence has placed Lifecard International Investment Company Limited on a path of sustainable growth which has brought a relationship of shared prosperity with the company’s stakeholders.

Popularly referred to as the Cash flow Queen, the Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma and Lagos Business School alumnus started her real estate business journey over 16 years ago as a real estate broker for several third-party real estate companies before venturing fully into the market with her company, Lifecard International Investment in 2019. Long before all that, the ambitious and hardworking amazon sold palm oil and thrift clothes, popularly known as okrika on the streets of Edo and Lagos States. This humble background and her desire to be successful were the key igniting factors in her life that have taken her to this enviable height in her entrepreneural journey.  

Focused on becoming one of the most reliable real estate investment companies in the world, Lifecard International Investment Company is a foremost real estate development company providing access to investment opportunities for individuals and institutional investors in Nigeria and diaspora, through collaboration and education.  

In pursuit of its corporate vision, Lifecard has continued to raise the bars of excellence in real estate investment and development through its innovative products and services. These include the Lifecard Co-invest which provides individuals or a group of people the opportunity to commit available capital to reach a collective goal, allowing people have equal right in real estate investment opportunities irrespective of their financial status. 

The second one is land banking which offers land banking/mixed-use opportunities on landed properties, at strategic locations, where investors are guaranteed ROI within a short period, and thirdly property development service through which it develops and manages purpose-built income producing properties that provide opportunities for investors to collect consistent cash distributions and enjoy future capital appreciation on assets. These have been achieved through several housing projects including the Spring Apartments, Prime Stay Estate, and Perfect Residence Estate, amongst others.

As the demand for real estate and housing continues to rebound and grow, Lifecard is expanding its global footprint to meet these demands across the state and internationally, and the integrity-driven firm has taken it upon itself to provide hassle free real estate opportunities and services, enabling customers from all over the world to access properties in Nigeria without fear.   

On the future outlook of the company, Ofure noted that “The stakes are high and Lifecard is a forward-thinking organization and so we look ahead to spot the trends and forces that will shape our business presently and in the future. We see what appears to be obstacles as opportunities, so we knock down barriers to ensure the long-term success of our partners and investors. Yet, in all of these we don’t lose sight of what is most important to us – People.”

The people-focused company has embarked on numerous philanthropic engagements and CSR interventions amongst which is the Nigerian for Nigeria Initiative which is geared towards empowering young Nigerians, who dared to return home to Nigeria, after being away for diverse purposes. 

Her passion for education has led her to create an e-learning platform “Lifecard University”, a self-paced online real estate university whose main objective is to aid investors ascertain the right real estate investment opportunities, and young entrepreneurs’ in starting their real estate business. It has also engaged in several free mentorship and outreach programs through which it impacted young people and the society at large.

INNOCENT AKUVUE: Passionate, Resourceful, World-Class Chemical Engineer

Engr Chief (Sir) Dr. Innocent I. Akuvue’s background reveals that his values were not attained overnight. At primary and secondary levels of schooling, Akavue attended Catholic missionary schools where high standards and morals were inculcated and entrenched in his young mind. Blessed with a quick mind for figures and analysis, he opted to study Chemical Engineering at the Anambra State University of Technology (ASUTECH) now Enugu State University of Technology (ESUT).

He is the brain behind a world-class Nigerian oil and gas servicing company, GGI Group Limited. Passionate, hardworking, focused and resourceful Akuvue has proved that a wholly indigenous Nigerian company can prominently feature in the league of chemical production companies with very high standards.

He brought his diverse engineering experience to bear, when he assembled the engineers in the company and they successfully engineered the design, construction and commissioning of a 100% locally built Sodium Hypochlorite Plant which today produces Sodium Hypochlorite of International Quality. The Plant also serves as blending plant for Oilfield Chemicals.

GGI Group Ltd, like any other company in the country, started like a general supply company and over time, began to develop and chart an upward course and ended up carving a niche for the company. Today, it represents many other companies in USA, EUROPE, UK & China. Key among these companies is Baker Hughes who we work with as Channel Partners in Upstream, Midstream and Downstream.

Engr Dr. Akuvue has also led the company to attain the three key certifications in the industry. These include ISO 9001, 14001 and 45001 being for Quality Management System, Environment Management & Health &Safety Management respectively.

A very well-traveled CEO, Engr Dr Akuvue is the Chairman of GGI Group Ltd and also seats on the chair of many other companies, a Director of NiChem Ventures Ltd (the investment arm of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers), a member of ESUT Governing Council & BOT Member, ESUT Trust Fund, was also on the Board of ESUT college of medicine (ESUCOM) and a member of key committees of ESUT council. 

He is member, BOT, Rivers/Bayelsa Shippers Association; Board Chairman of GMB Microfinance Bank; Chairman, Board of Directors of Polymer Institute of Nigeria (PIN). And was recently elected the Pioneer President General, National Shippers Association of Nigeria, NASAN

In November 2011, he was honored with Doctor of Business Administration (DBA), Honoris Causa by his Alma Mater, Enugu State University of Science & Technology (ESUT). The highly celebrated professional has served two terms of 4 years each as the National President of the University Alumni and also served two terms as President of the Alumni, Port Harcourt Chapter.

Engr. Akuvue has attended several courses in Nigeria and Overseas and participated in several International Conferences, Seminars & Workshops, especially in the Oil & Gas. He is the current Chairman of Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (Rivers/Bayelsa), and a Fellow of the same Society, FNSChE. He is also a member of the Port Harcourt Branch of Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE Exco.

A consummate family man, married to his best friend and confidant, Engr.  Chf Lady Betty Granville Akuvue (Ojiefi Ozo Ochudo), a Petroleum Engineer and an astute Business Manager, and they both have three wonderful children. 

He is a 5th degree Knight (a Noble) of the Catholic Church of the Order of St John International (KSJI). And the Chairman, Stewardship Committee in his Parish in Ph, Mater. He is also a member of Church Warden Association (Ministers of Hospitality) of his Parish.

Akuvue holds a chieftaincy title in Umunokwo in Abo Mbaise, Imo State, as Enyioma In Isiala Umunchi; In Isiala Mbano, also of Imo State, as Omereoha, and from Umuoka, Enugu State as Oyikanwanne.

He also served as President General of his town, Nibo, a position he used to bring enduring PEACE in his community and empowered the youths, among others. He is also Chairman of Nibo Union, PH. He was on 26th December 2014, honored with the Chieftaincy title of OCHUDO NIBO by the Ezeike IV of Nibo. As the Peace Ambassador of Nibo (OCHUDO NIBO), he is determined to live out his chieftaincy title by ensuring that enduring peace is bequeathed the town.

He recently joined the prestigious Ozo Nibo Society as Ozo Ochudo, Ozo Chinenye Aku, Ozo Eziafaamaka etc. And has won several local & International awards, in fact too many to document here (over a 500 awards, and still counting) and Patron/Grand Patron/Life Patron of several Organizations.

OKONJI CHUKWUDI ELVIS: Thoroughbred Manager, Committed To Providing Excellent Logistics Services Through the GPC Brand 

He has continued to bring innovation and inventive judgments to bear as a thoroughbred manager with a flair for deploying creative ideas and cost-effective execution. Chief Okonji Chukwudi Elvis, Chief Executive Officer, GPC Energy and Logistics Limited, is one of the shinning lights in the logistics industry in Nigeria whose contributions deserved to be celebrated.

A truly illustrious and hardworking professional, Chief Chukwudi Elvis Okonji has always exhibited a restless ambition and the same strong character traits that would make him into the man that he is today.  From an early age, Elvis as he is addressed by close friends, started engaging in vocational activities and developed multiple trade skills; skills which he used to support his education, all the way through to the University.  

Having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Calabar in 1998, he went on to pursue a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) Post Graduate degree, which he obtained from the University of Uyo in 2005. Not relenting, he also enrolled for the Senior Management Programme at the Lagos Business School, which he completed in 2008. He has also attended several courses and training programmes both at home and abroad, including a certified course in Leadership from the Cranfield School of Management (United Kingdom) in 2008.

An astute entrepreneur and master of enterprise, he has a vast work experience in different business sectors. He started his career with Midas Merchant Bank in 1999 as a Treasury Marketing Officer. His ambition saw him move in 2001 to Gulf Bank as Credit and Marketing Officer and later to First Atlantic Bank in 2002 as a Team Leader, Credit and Marketing. Perhaps the most defining move in his career was his decision to join Platinum-Habib Bank (which later became Bank PHB PLC) later in 2002, where his passion and drive saw him rise to a Senior Management position before his retirement in 2010 to focus on his business concerns.

Today, he is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of GPC Group of companies – a veritable Institution in the Logistics landscape in Nigeria. He has a great passion for logistics, one that has seen him travel all over the world, studying and researching strategies and techniques to improve the business.

Propelled by a strong desire to raise the bar of productivity in the logistics sector in Nigeria, he left his comfort zone as a banker to delve into the logistics business. According to him, ” It has been my childhood desire to own my own business, but I needed to start my career in pay employment in the banking sector because l was not born with a silver spoon. And during my sojourn in the banking system, I saw the huge untapped opportunities that were available in the logistics sector in Nigeria. 

I did my research and feasibility study and I realized that logistics services could be better offered if proper funding and management structure are put in place. I saw that most of the people that were in the sector were not well educated and most of them were operating as middlemen. Hence, I decided to resign from the banking work and delve into the transport and logistics sector fully in 2010. 

When this company started, there was no money, no capital, we had to go to a friend who gave us trucks on credit. The little money we had was invested in the business and we made sure we pay back within six months, and today, we are more than 10 times the way we were when we started, we started with just five trucks and today we are having about 800 trucks.”

Bold, diligent and industrious, the hardworking Chief Executive Officer has taken GPC Energy and Logistics to an enviable position among the indigenous logistics companies in this country today. Speaking about the impact of the of COVID-19 in the operations of the organization, he said “The good thing that happened to us in that period of Covid-19 was that we at GPC was operating fully, because we are into dry cargo business. We work with the FMCGs. Therefore, during that period we even made more money because we were allowed to move on the roads because we have to distribute food materials to everybody in the country. It was even a better year for us because there was no negative effect on us. We had no casualty on our record because we rendered essential service, so we were doing our business as usual and we give God all the glory.” 

GPC Energy and Logistics Limited is driven by people, values, passion for excellence and dependable business enabler. The fast-growing logistics company has experienced unprecedented levels of success. It is therefore organized and positioned to continuously transform haulage and logistics services in Nigeria and beyond, responsibly.

An integrity driven company whose strategic intent is to facilitate the circular flow of economic activity globally through the provision of “on time and in the right condition” delivery of goods, and personalized logistics services, GPC Energy and Logistics is focused on raising the bar of productivity in the logistics sector and add value to people’s lives through excellent service delivery and continuous creation of employment.

The disciplined and experienced banker driving the GPC Energy and Logistics Limited’s vision commended the government on the policy on importation of trucks. His words; “The government should be commended for its policy regarding the importation of trucks into this country. The duty has been streamlined and it is in tune with the current reality of our automotive industry. This has made it easier for logistics companies like ours to bring in trucks and contribute our quota to the economic growth of this nation.

“Whilst that is commendable, governments at all levels have continued to discourage operators in this sector through multiplication of taxes. There is no proper tax regime for the sector. Government should see the Logistics Sector as a very vital sector in this country, tickets on truck that are being collected by states and local government on federal roads should not be. All the touts used in winning elections should not be brought to the road to collect money as compensation for their efforts. Double taxation should be discouraged. 

Also, our roads should be maintained properly, that is to justify the reason for paying those monies. The extortion on the road by government agencies is excessive and seriously impacting negatively on the nation’s economy. Today, the cost of diesel has added to all these challenges, and the multiplier effect is the continuous rise in the cost of goods in the country. All these are affecting our operations and it is taking tool on the consumers and even the middlemen.

Despite the challenges involved in managing logistics companies in Nigeria, the award-winning Chief Executive Officer is optimistic about the future of GPC Energy and Logistics. Speaking about this, he disclosed that the company is “now running another phase of ten years. In 2021, GPC did a bond of N20billion which was over-subscribed. That means for the next ten years, we will still be working with that N20 billion. Similarly, we plan that in the next 10 years we should be able to do up to 50 billion Naira on bond. 

We have done 20 and we have 30 to go, so you should know that in the next ten years with the help of God who has never left us, GPC will be tripled in size and everything because we have to invest and use that money well and expand our business and turn things around. We shall continue to improve on our operations and strengthen our capacity and our staff competence. In ten years, we must have built a name that has the same brand acceptance like DHL. That is why we are working hard, and with the help of God we shall be where we ought to be. 

On the corporate values that have taken the company thus far, the indefatigable manager stated that “Today, we have established ourselves as a trusted and dedicated partner to an expanding array of long-term relationships in the FMCG, construction, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors. It is the leadership of the organization. We have an excellent leadership, all the executive management team are like a family. We call ourselves the GPC Family. 

At GPC, everybody is a stakeholder, all the staff are stakeholders, the company is not for Elvis Okonji but for everybody. Thus, the competence and dedication of all of us have made this company what is today. We feed here, we take care of our families here and that’s just the brain behind every success story you see here.”

As part of his corporate vision, the foremost logistics company has continued to give back to the society through it is numerous Corporate Social Responsibility programs. “Currently, we are building a state of the heart town halls in some of the environments where we operate. Similarly, we want to continue to ensure that we recruit certain numbers of youths mostly people who finished from the technical colleges, we train them and absolve them into the system and that has become our primary responsibility.”

A man of candour, simplicity and great kindness, he advised young CEOs in Nigeria to be consistent and hardworking, and build personalities that can be trusted by others. ” In life, you have to be consistent In what you are doing, do not allow your integrity to be in doubtful to anybody, integrity is key, let your integrity be your watchdog. As a young CEO, make sure your words are your bond with your clients, bankers, international partners, etc., be very open, tell them the truth and then keep pushing your target, mission and vision and you will there. Also, continue to improve on your professional knowledge and skills.”

Raymond Murphy, CEO, Mouka Limited

“Why Mouka remains a megabrand, adding comfort to nigerian lives, by Murphy

Mr Raymond Murphy is a seasoned CEO with over 30 years of experience developing and growing businesses across growth markets within the manufacturing and FMCG sectors. Before becoming CEO of Mouka, he held several executive management positions at multinational companies such as Gillette, PZ Cussons and Twinings. Raymond’s vast experienced in Africa and Nigeria in particular, has made him to understand the business terrain of the continent.  His position as the CEO is why Mouka still stands out amidst the economy and global pandemic. 

According to Murphy, “The past few years have been challenging for most industries operating against this same economic backdrop, coupled with the pandemic. We have worked very hard in the past 3 to 4 years to stay at the top of our game. We have invested in our people, empowering our trade partners, and building our brand equity consistently year on year.”

To him, “The Mouka people are the engine room of the company. To help them grow and develop to their full potential, we invest in training and developing all levels of staff. We also partner with prestigious institutions such as the Lagos Business School to achieve our learning objectives.” 

He spoke further that, “Secondly, we see our esteemed Business Partners as part of the Mouka family. We continue to work closely with them to build sustainable generational businesses. A number of our Business Partners actually inherited the business from a parent and look forward to handing it over to their children.”

He noted that the Mouka brand equity, the heritage of unrivalled quality built over the past 6 decades, will continue to push above its weight in the marketing space.  And these investments have clearly paid off according to the CEO. 

Raymond brings on board a wealth of knowledge and experience with strong expertise in strategy, sales, operations, route-to-market and marketing, having worked in the consumer goods industry across three different continents, including Africa.  

While speaking on the model put in place to promote and expand the Mouka brand, he stated that Mouka is constantly looking for ways to engage it’s stakeholders, educate consumers on its various products. 

His words: “Mouka is a mega brand that has been at the forefront of adding comfort to the lives of millions of Nigerians since 1959. In the sleep industry, the brand name is synonymous with quality. Over the past 5 years, we have deployed numerous effective consumer and trade focused initiatives to strengthen our position as the market leader. 

From our unrivalled distribution network of over 2,000 branded outlets to our trade and consumer marketing campaigns, Mouka is constantly looking for ways to engage our stakeholders, educate consumers about our products, and make them affordable and accessible. We also do not rest on our oars. We invest significantly in research and development to ensure our brands are exciting and attractive to our consumers, constantly innovating and renovating our product portfolio.”

Speaking on the recent acquisition of Mouka Nigeria by Dolidol – a Moroccan Furniture and Bedding Company, Raymond informed that Dolidol brings impressive research and development capabilities as well as cutting-edge engineering expertise to the table. “Mouka recently announced its change of ownership to Dolidol, the market leader in Francophone Africa based out of Morocco”. 

He disclosed that “In December 2021, after 2 years of negotiations and due diligence, we officially made this smooth transition for sustainable market leadership. Their knowledge of foam science and world-class technicalities is second to none. Combining the technical knowledge of Dolidol and Mouka’s intrinsic knowledge of operating in Nigeria amidst the challenges of the economic backdrop is the recipe for success.”

Raymond added that being the CEO of Mouka has never been a dull moment in the past 6 years. “I experienced many challenges, from the drop in oil prices to unstable exchange rates, inflation, and, currently, the global pandemic. I have experienced both local and global challenges. Notwithstanding, I would say I have been quite successful so far with all humility. I give kudos to the Mouka management team and the entire company for what I have achieved in the past 6 years. I have enjoyed great support from all key stakeholders, the Mouka people, our trade partners, the Mouka board, the government and gentlemen of the media. They enabled me to weather every storm.”

In collaboration with the Mouka management team, we have been resilient while acknowledging that there will be obstacles and challenges along the way in any business or operating environment. In a nutshell, there has never been a dull moment”, he concluded.

Avila CEO Temitope Mayegun

TEMITOPE MAYEGUN: Making Positive Impact, Promoting Safe Natural Skincare, Healthy Food Products in Africa

Temitope Mayegun is the Founder/President, Avila Group, comprising of Avila Naturalle Limited – a leading manufacturer of genuinely NATURAL body care and household brands in Africa, as well as Avila Foods and Supplement, Avila Water & Drinks and Avila Fashion.

According to Mayegun, “Since its inception in 2017, Avila has redefined the Nigerian body care space by promoting the health and safety of Nigerians through the encouragement of the adoption of organic body care solutions. The overall vision of the company is driven by the need to help Nigerians break free from toxic and harmful chemical-based body care products by creating a culture and an enabling environment for natural body care solutions to thrive.”

An alumnus of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.Sc Accounting, she also has other qualifications including International Masters in Business Administration (IMBA), Eaton Business School; Harvard Business School Executive Leadership course in Leading Different and High-Performing Team; and Lagos Business School Leadership Program – “Leading in the 21st Century”.

Grew up, schooled, and married in Lagos, Mayegun was trained to be independent, and she believes that there are no limitations when an individual or group of people are God-led, success-driven and have the will-power. She is passionate about making a positive impact in the world through her unflinching commitment to right the wrongs in the society by promoting the use of safe, healthy, and natural skincare and food products as against the unhealthy alternatives.

In her words, “At Avila, we believe that a body care company is only as good as the quality of its products. This is why we strive to ensure sustainable growth through continuous improvement in all our products to enrich the lives of our customers. Creating skin and hair care products that are 100% natural would not feel right if we did not put all our passion into it. This is our secret to creating products that are not only pleasant but also powerful and effective in enhancing the skin naturally or providing solutions to skin-related challenges.” 

She noted that “providing the best skincare products possible. Thus, Avila products are 100% natural, free of parabens, animal by-products, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfates, mineral oils, colourants, petroleum and chemicals.

While based on purely natural ingredients, our Research and Development team are well-equipped and constantly focused on the future. This allows us to stay ahead of trends, latest development, and competition. We have premium quality products that care for the hair, face, body, mouth, foot etc. There is no exception to those who use our products. We have made it possible to meet the needs of all humanity status (Female, Male and Children). Therefore, we remain the future of body care in Africa.”

Avila is consolidating its growth trajectory with the establishment of other divisions including the Foods & Supplements Division, as well as the Water & Drinks Division. Avila Naturalle Foods and Supplements is a company that provides the highest quality 100% natural, healthy and nutritious food products to Nigerians and Africans at large. The company is committed to enriching lives through natural, healthy, safe, and affordable foods products that are necessary for a better quality of life. The Division has over 100 products across varying categories comprising Healthy Flours, Teas, Supplements, Spices, Cereals, Beverage Food Drinks, 

Avila Water & Drinks Division was birthed in November 2020 and subsequently hit the market with the launch of eight products including Avilan Premium Water, Avilan Blizz Rosselle, Blackseed Iced-Tea Drink, Ginger & Turmeric Iced Tea Drink amongst other healthy drinks for Nigerians’ taste delight. The division is part of the company’s strategic business direction that emphasizes productivity and expansion in line with its commitment to help Nigerians eat right and ultimately lead a healthier lifestyle.

The company also recently hits another remarkable expansion milestone with the launch of its new Fashion brand on February 25, 2022. Avila Fashion is inspired by the need to further ignite the feeling of happiness in people by offering good quality and affordable clothing that will not only meet their needs but also give a sense of class and style. Avila Fashion offers exquisite designs with the modern family in mind. The brand combines bold statement masterpieces with creative touches to give people a variety of unique and elegant ready-to-wear garments. 

For her transformational strides in food and healthcare, Temitope Mayegun has received a number of Awards and Recognitions such as the Best Beauty Brand and Skincare Brand of the Year by La Mode in 2020 and 2021; NYCN 2021 Manufacturer Merit Award Outstanding Performance in Creating Jobs and Promoting the Nation’s Economy and Youth Development; Transparent Achievement of Excellence and Integrity in Leadership Approach 2021 by Transparency Africa; CEO of the Year Award, 2021 by La Mode; Innovation in the Natural Skincare & Food Industries, 2021 by 2021 Simply Green Africa; Youth Empowerment Award by National Youth Council of Nigeria.

Shining Star Group of Schools, where academic excellence meets moral discipline – Ofe Imomoh

 SHINING Star Group of Schools is one of the successful educational institutions in Abuja. Located in Kubwa, the school has stood the test of time, expanding in size and academic activities. Its success story heightened with the efficient management of staff and children during COVID-19 lockdown.

The Executive Director, Ofe Imomoh, noted that beyond adopting e-learning, the school did not abandon workers to fate. “Long before schools were closed, we embarked on research on happenings in the education sector across the world and discovered that e-learning was adopted abroad. 

“We thought of what to do regarding e-learning considering the available resources.  With the announcement that all schools should shutdown indefinitely, we knew it was not wise leaving children unengaged. So, we reached out to our teachers and eventually started e-Learning free of charge initially, but later solicited with parents to pay a token to encourage the teachers and majority of them supported the initiative.”

We made it interesting and engaging for all concerned. I also improved from the entire process, and when school resumed, our staff turnover was remarkably low.  Our staff put in their best. That was indeed one of our success stories during COVID shutdown and our population also increased. We were recognized among the top schools for safe reopening post COVID-19 lockdown following a joint assessment by the Department of Quality Assurance and Bwari zonal office.”

Speaking on the philosophical and ideological concepts of the school, the director noted that the owners, my parents Osi & Victoria Imomoh established the school with the aim to produce excellent scholars with right values and moral orientation. “Shining Star Schools was established to provide educational and moral values that suit our society, and to produce children that will impact Nigeria positively. The values were taken from our mottos ‘Discipline, Knowledge & Service’, ‘Excellence & Vision’ and ‘Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow’.

We believe that it is difficult to achieve greatness or success without discipline or right orientation. Therefore, as we enforce it, we create a safe space that allows our children to ask questions and express themselves in a respectable manner. We also emphasize on giving. Our society today reflects the fact that our society does not prioritize service and giving. So, we teach children right from tender age to give. We created special days every February to visit orphanage homes. We are one of the first schools that started that in FCT.”

Imomoh added that well-articulated curricular, committed teaching and non-teaching staff as well effective teaching strategies have led to producing shining pupils and students who excel in school, in external competitions and in life generally.

Ofe Imomoh had studied Engineering up to Masters level at the University of Birmingham, UK before returning to Nigeria and her passion for youth development prompted her to join the management of the school. “Fortunately, I had the support of the EVC, the right team, a good structure and the right policies in place.”

On what it takes to manage such school with a huge population, the director said: “We exhibit characters we want the children to emulate through trainings and strict adherence to school policies. Most of our ideas come from staff and children. We deliberate a lot at the management level.

 “I listen to every initiative, give teachers sense of belonging to the whole dream of the school and naturally, the children emulate what they see. Even as the director, I am open to change, always learning, always reading. I lead by example by adhering to the policies on ground. We are also very particular about co-curricular activities. We encourage children to harness their talents and soft skills beyond academic activities. We also organize lots of internal games and competitions to enable the children understand the value of healthy competitions. We make them take interest in ICT, drama, visual arts, essay-writing and poetry.”

Ofe Imomoh obtained a Master degree in Mechanical Engineering and Business Management from the prestigious University of Birmingham, U.K. She worked in FMCG firms abroad before returning to Nigeria where she also worked in the Oil & Gas sector. She is very passionate about child education and youth development and pursued her passion by becoming the Executive Director of Shining Star Group of Schools. 

As a seasoned educator, she attained a Post Graduate Diploma in Education in addition to several certifications in education. Ofe’s noteworthy success is in achieving an increase in cultivating children in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths), and has continued to maintain an award-winning standard locally and internationally. 

She has earned recognition for relentless service, and has been awarded by several bodies including NAPTIP, Rotary International and the Girls Guide association of Nigeria.
Her dream is to see Nigeria a united and developed nation, and to continuously contribute to achieving this is by focusing on the improvement of quality education from early years through secondary

OLAMILEKAN ADELANA: A Tireless Innovative Go-getter, Living His Dream Through Zenith Carex

He is a classic example of a Nigerian living his dreams – a dream earned painstakingly, through hard work, dedication to quality service, and excellence. Olamilekan Adelana is the Managing Director/CEO, Zenith Carex International Limited – a logistics company with over two decades of experience in both sea and air freight services, customs clearance, haulage and related logistics services.

Armed with the vision to build a logistics company that would compete favourably with multinationals and likewise outlive many generations after him, Adelana took a leap of faith in the year 2000 and this marked the beginning of his journey into entrepreneurship. He registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission in 2002. Today, the company has built solid relationships with global brands such as the World Health Organisation (WHO), Society for Family Health (SFH), UNFPA, UNHCR, UNWFP.

In addition, the company currently boasts of over 500 employees who are operating from over 70 branches spread across the 36 states and the FCT. He disclosed that he “drew inspiration from the likes of DHL, UPS and Fedex because I saw them living my dream. I had the idea but I didn’t have the money to push the dream, so I spoke with eight people to help raise 250,000 each which would amount to N2million, none of them showed up, but I wasn’t deterred. We started with the delivery of surface mail and over the years we have been able to diversify into core logistics which includes clearing and freight forwarding, warehousing, distribution as well as haulage services.

Speaking further, he explained that the company is an essential service provider given its involvement in the operation of cold-chain storage facilities and distribution of vaccines across the country, thus, the company was actively operational during the lockdown occasioned by COVID-19.

He noted “We couldn’t shutdown our operations during the lockdown period because vaccines had to be distributed across the country. Despite the security issues in the northern part of the country, we still run our offices in places like Maiduguri, Yobe, Kaduna, Zamfara and Katsina. We work for humanity and we thank God for his grace because we have never had any situation that led to loss of lives.”

In addition, the company has continued to help SMEs upscale their services through its e-commerce operations. “We recognise the impact of SMEs in the development of the country, as such, we have expanded our operations to bridge the gap between sellers and buyers through cash-on-delivery services for e-commerce operators. We pick-up from sellers, deliver to the buyers and receive payment on behalf of the sellers. With this, we are able to eliminate the issue of trust between sellers and buyers”, he informed.

An ardent believer in the supremacy of God, Adelana emphasised on the greatness of God in his life. He also made reference to Pastor Ituah Ighodalo whom he described as one of his mentors. He recalled his first encounter with Pastor Ighodalo in 1998 and his ministration on that day is a manifestation of what I have become today. He spoke about greatness and that ministration brought back memories of an affirmation I made about myself when I was in Primary Three. I wrote an essay in which I stated that I would become the Managing Director of my own company when I grow up. That ministration sparked an urge in me to start Zenith Carex and I thank God for his grace so far.”

On future plans for the growth of the country, Adelana informed that plans are in top gear to get the company listed on the Nigerian Exchange in the next two years. He also added that the company is building three warehouses, one of which would be the largest warehouse in West Africa. It will be developed along Lagos – Ibadan Expressway on seven hectares of land.

The other two will be located at Onne, Rivers State and Abuja. The latter is designed to be a cold-room warehouse on one hectare of land. Upon completion, it would be the largest cold-room warehouse in West Africa.