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My journey, challenges and successes as a Nigerian businessman – Abdulqadir, MD, MOAHZ Group

By Waliat Musa
23 December 2021   |   7:13 am
Oil magnate Engr (Dr) Ojo Abdulqadir is the founder and president of MOAHZ group of companies – a fusion of Moahz Oil and Gas Ltd, Moahz Engineering & Project Management Ltd, Moahz Investment Limited, Green-Mozaq Classic Limited, and Moahz Multi-Purpose Limited. Dr. Ojo as he is fondly called is a thorough-bred professional and philanthropist. A…

Oil magnate Engr (Dr) Ojo Abdulqadir is the founder and president of MOAHZ group of companies – a fusion of Moahz Oil and Gas Ltd, Moahz Engineering & Project Management Ltd, Moahz Investment Limited, Green-Mozaq Classic Limited, and Moahz Multi-Purpose Limited. Dr. Ojo as he is fondly called is a thorough-bred professional and philanthropist. A proponent for youth inclusion & advancement, he is a renowned technocrat. The European American University (EAU), Panama conferred an honorary doctorate degree on him for his tremendous contributions to the Nigerian petroleum and economic sectors, in this interview, he speaks about his business, his many successes and challenges, his foundation – Ojo Abdulqadir Foundation (TOAF) and other notable issues.

Tell us about your growing up phase?

I am Dr. Ojo Abdulqadir. I am a certified construction engineer by discipline and profession. I am a native of Ila-Orangun in Osun State and I was born in Ibadan area of Oyo State where I grew up; before coming to Lagos. My secondary school was in Oyo State, which is Methodist Boys High School.

I have worked in different organisations since then, before I started my business ten years ago and duly incorporated Moahz Oil & Gas Ltd four years ago.

What has motivated you so far?

My childhood and growth had some inclement tides, but one thing that kept me going was my focus in life. I held firmly this mental picture of creating a legacy that succeeds my physical existence. This mind-set was because I have always looked at where I came from, the family and people around me and referenced their errant ways/mistakes and chose to do & be better for myself and everyone around me. My aspirations were always the propelling forces that steered me into motion through my course in life till date.

With this mind-set, I developed a self-dependent approach and gave up many youthful luxuries to establish myself; I hold this self-reliance consciousness till date. I hardly sought my parents for money or support through my years of evolution, rather I believe in working and earning something for a living. The last time I asked my parents for money for school or to buy a book was in JSS1. From JSS2 I was always struggling for myself. I believe I could do everything on my own, without having to seek help from anybody except from god. That has kept me going.

My journey to financial independence began sometime around JSS 2, when I began to frequent poultry stores in Oyo state for weekend jobs. On weekends, I’d be at the poultry house to pack poultry litter and the owners paid me a stipend that gave me an opportunity to save my earnings really early in life – this was my first exercise of financial literacy. I got my money and throughout the week I’d be smelling of residual stench in the class. You know it is not easy going under the trees in the poultry and packing faeces there but I still wasn’t bothered with what people were saying, what I know is that I have cash and I could take care of myself.

Even kids with affluent and wealthy parents, like some of my friends, then looked up to me to ask for funds. That self-independence and self-reliance actually kept me going. I thank God for who he has made me to be.

You’re well-known in the business world, what does your business empire look like?

Well, MOAHZ is a household name in the Nigerian petroleum industry, gas streaming, procurement and real estate markets.

So how has it been managing all of these businesses together?

To this I’d like to state that I am very good at setting up a team; and I am a team player. What we did was to seek the best; people that can understand my dream, people that can actually bring my dream to reality.

So I sourced for the best to produce the best, that’s what I do majorly. I can’t do it alone, so I am full of ideas, I have an idea, when I have an idea I try to learn about a business very well, it takes time before I venture into a business because in business there are times things will be rosy and there are times things will be slow.

Like I always tell people, there are three stages in business: the first stage is when you start a business and no one is coming, you know it will be hard to have people that will patronise you. And when everything is going on fine there are times you will have challenges and everything will just crash.

If you ask any businessperson, they will restate what they are telling you right now; but by the time they started their business they thought they had scale through already and everything is going on smoothly and all of a sudden everything will just go down.

So, at that moment you’d be shrouded with thoughts of “what should I do”, you either quit or decide to do something else. Another notion that could arise is maybe you should just end it and forget about life because life is not being fair to you, but the ability to continue and to keep on pushing is something I encourage every entrepreneur to have. A resilient spirit knows no limits and that’s a mantra for me when things appear to be going south. The management of the business will tell you, the petroleum sector is very volatile like real estate as well but I have people who are working for me, people who understand the system.

With my success team I have been able to create a solid structure, a structure that functions whether I go to the office or away on business trips, the structure is there. When you are working without the structure you appear as a caricature, and that’s something I try to avoid at all cost.

Having a structure in place is necessary because I am not building a company that will thrive only while I’m alive, I am building a company that will exist for as long as it can exist forever, that’s what we do. This is why we try to diversify quickly within the sector.

How has your company fared so far? In terms of challenges, successes and performance indicators?

I don’t have to blow my own horn. I’d prefer to point to what other notable people/bodies have said about the company. I.e. being Moahz Oil And Gas Limited. Moahz Oil And Gas Limited is four years old now, and that’s the one that deals with the oil and gas sector.

In 2018 we were recognized by the institute of oil and gas research and hydrocarbons studies in West Africa, with an innovation award of excellence in petroleum service station, LPG engineering design, construction & installation. We have the same award in 2019, the same award in 2020.

In 2020, we were recognised by the European Business Assembly (EBA), with an award as the best oil and gas installation & Service Company in West Africa. These are the notable few that I believe have set our record and position in the industry.

How has it been coping with work and your family?

Okay, this is it; my work does not affect my family. I am a father, and I believe my wife can say I am a good husband if you have the time to speak with her.

For the family I give the responsibility to my wife; so she owns the home, while I am away. She controls the kids and everything the family needs, while I focus on the business. We rotate that because we do the same business. When I am at home and I need to take care of the house, I allow her to go take care of the business. It is that simple.

If not business, what will you be doing during your leisure hour?

I am an indoor person, I don’t really go out. So what I do is that I read and study more. I do research. I try to study some of these business tycoons, the business men around the world, how they have been able to scale their business & been able to achieve what they have in life.

What philosophy guides you everyday?

Well, the only thing that keeps me going everyday is realising that everything I have been able to achieve is not because I am the best or because I am better than any other person. What holds me grounded is the fact that God loves me.

The moment I know I have a God I can call upon I keep on going without looking back.

How do you celebrate your birthday every year?

Well, majorly what we do; I am not used to celebrating birthdays, calling for parties and all. Because when I look at my background I know what poverty means. So I hardly waste money because I know people who need money, I’m not the type that goes to parties and sprays money out there.

I am not saying it is bad for people doing that, they are making their money. That is their own work, because if you are an artist and no one is spraying money on you that means you are not making any profits. I am not against them, but as for me I know there are people out there who are in need, so I look for people who are in need and I try to celebrate with them and motivate them that they can also become somebody in life. My birthday has always been focused on celebrating with the needy and giving to the less privileged, and until I started my foundation – The Ojo Abdulqadir Foundation (TOAF).

Whenever it is my birthday, the foundation always has the activities of people we can extend our gifts too. So that’s what we do, like going to the orphanage, looking for people around, giving scholarships to people who are brilliant and their parents cannot possibly afford to train them. This is part of what I do to celebrate my birthday.

When was the foundation founded? And how has your foundation helped lives so far?

The foundation was founded last year, 2020 and we have really gone far. Our outreach has affected different communities within and outside Abuja. My intention while starting out the foundation, was to work with someone who can handle a foundation, because when I started I wanted a balance between the business and the foundation.

I actually sought for an experienced NGO coordinator (non-governmental organisation). And someone who knows me, then I explained my ideas and aspirations for the foundation: this is the idea that I have and this is what I am trying to do. She understood that; and she has been the one heading the foundation, and the foundation has done tremendously well. We’ve held so many activities that offer support to the needy for example this year for my birthday, we plan on going to the IDP camps in the North-Central region of Nigeria, and reaching out to quite a number of people who are genuinely in need.

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