We ‘re set to bring change through entrepreneurial excellence, says Onwumere
Dr. Augustine Onwumere and his wife, Jayne established one of the world’s first real estate network marketing business model. In this interview, Onwumere spoke on how Property World Africa Network (PWAN Group), which he chairs has redefined real estate practice in the country.
Your organisation is marking 10th anniversary just the same time your wife is celebrating her birthday. How do you feel about the double celebration?
My wife, Dr. Jayne Onwumere, the President of PWAN nation, yearly marks her birthday around the time we observe our convention. PWAN, which is an acronym for Property World Africa Network, is the first real estate network marketing company in the world. We celebrate our convention on March 12 every year; because this company made our first sales on that day in 2012. Now her birthday falls on the March 6 and recently, we started what we call ‘Night of A Thousand Praise.’
We believe that worshipping and thanking God, as a company, is one of the sacrifices we have to give to our God who created us and made PWAN Group possible in Nigeria. PWAN has created a great kingdom of realtors that have put people as number one priority; people safety, people’s deliverance, people’s financial upliftment and breakthroughs, through the real estate platform.
On March 4, we were at Word Assembly, where we started PWAN, to declare our celebration open with ‘Night of A Thousand Praise.’ We are here to celebrate God, thank God and worship God with a lot of music ministers including Ada Ehi, the congratulations crooner. On March 6, we celebrated this beautiful woman, who has worked with me, who has been my help mate in PWAN Group to take the world by storm, empowering over 400,000 people employing over 1,000 workers, opening centres to the tune of over 100 and having real estates in over 200 locations.
Could you explain what the theme One Nation One Network means?
We want the whole world to be unified by the vision of PWAN, using the network of the PWAN Business Owners (PBO) system. Let everybody be involved in the property/land ownership vision of PWAN. Let it be in the mouth of everybody, an emblem on every car and the personality of everybody because it is working. PWAN is changing lives, people are earning incomes by minutes that they could understand how it works like a miracle. It even baffles us that we could create a system whereby people are making living in real estate through the system we created.
What would you say has given PWAN Group the edge over other real estate firms in Nigeria?
First of all, we have removed competition from the outside world by empowering people, delivering people from poverty, hardship, through a learning process and mind-opening lectures. We focused on platform delivery of real estate through seminars. That’s why we are different and we will not stop recruiting people. In this business, we keep telling people of the benefits of partaking in the blessings of Abraham where God said wherever your feet should touch you shall possess.
So, we work with as many people as possible in the working class or the jobless, employed and underemployed, even students. Eleven years ago, my wife and I were broke and had no money to rent an apartment, where we can abode. But today, we can buy any house, anywhere and any day.
There are so many real estate companies; some of those companies make a lot of money in Nigeria. But none of them is making the kind of impact that PWAN is making. PWAN Group had brought hope to many people. We built an organisation where a Ph.D. holder is practically on equal footing with a primary school certificate holder. As long as you can talk even if in your native language, there are so many people that can understand your language and patronise you. So, you can see a Ph.D. holder and a primary school holder sitting together and doing the same business. That’s the industry we run, and the impact is huge and we have changed the face of the industry in 10 years of existence.
How can PWAN be part of the expected change in Nigeria?
We believe that change can come to Nigeria, especially when men who gave themselves to study on how to manage the economy run the system. Nigeria is not ordered that is why if you are going back home after the day’s work and you are looking at houses, whether there is light or no light. But in the next 10 years, if we all must agree that we are going to be change agents through the power of entrepreneurship and decision to be better people. We can make light to be constant in Nigeria just because we have a setup in a global organisation like PWAN.
The government will support us by not taking any singular action of destruction. We don’t have to fight. We have to build this house and salvage this house. I want to believe that we can achieve that like those in other parts of the world that we look up to. We can have all roads tarred and put in place every necessary amenities that makes life easy. Some people may start thinking of becoming the President of Nigeria. I will never go into politics but I will engineer change in Nigeria through entrepreneurship excellence in PWAN Group.
Has PWAN Group any plan to partner with the government to achieve a workable economic system for the country?
Yes, we can’t continue to wait for government. It has come to a stage where the government should come into partnership with performing private companies such as PWAN Group, to help in achieving stability in the economy. Such arrangement will go a long way to provide a functioning platform that can help people become entrepreneurs.
Through our concept, people shall be empowered and they will be in a better position to provide for individual families and their communities. That way the profit of real estate trading and business promotion can yield high income for individual families and communities at large. We look forward to a situation whereby there can be a PWAN centre within every five minutes walk or 10-minute drive in Nigeria starting with Lagos and other states. We are already in 21 states of Nigeria with over 170 centres and other openings. We want to increase and multiply it in geometric progression.
So, what’s next after the first ten yearsof operation?
I don’t think that there is an end to the levels. The level will never end. We are moving into the building of skyscrapers. We have acquired 4, 500 square kilometers of land in the Eko Atlantic City. So, we are starting with a twin towers at Eko Atlantic City, comprising residential and commercial quarters. We started that project in November 2021 and has five years to deliver the project. We have done the soil test.
It is a very capital-intensive project and we are going to do it in partnership with another reputable organisations. There is no wall around us. People must come in and let us do business together. Let us help you to make your homeownership dream a reality, which is our number one vision in the PWAN Group.
What words do you have for your clients?
We appreciate all our clients, especially those who started with us ten years ago. If you go through my phone contacts, you will still see their numbers over 3,000 of them. We gathered them within five months through flier distribution and networking them into this business. It has gone beyond our imagination because we have attended to over 10,000 customers in the past 10 years.
We will deliver all our promises and all estates you bought from us, we will give you titles. We will ensure you get allocation, start building and have a legacy to yourself and your family. This business is not just for my wife and me, but for you and your family, who have invested your hard-earned money, your life into the business of the PWAN Group.
As chairman of a highly successful conglomerate, what are the challenges and attractions of your position?
If not for this convention/anniversary, I will probably be visiting one state after the other, doing my business. I like travelling by commercial flights or be delayed without my consent. I want to get to the airport and use a private jet.
Now, this is not because I want to show off. I just want to do my business with a measure of convenience and in the absence of undue interruption.
As for tight and hectic schedules, I want to say that if Dangote can handle that, I can equally do it. As time goes on, I have been engaging the services of Personal Assistants (PAs) on different levels. I already have four; but it is not enough. I will get to the point where PAs can sign my cheques to make payments for products or services. I still have to look for those kinds of staff. Being busy cries for two kinds of hearts: the heart of being rich, and the heart of being poor. The heart of being rich requires that you have everything you need at your disposal. If life is good, you can sleep under good conditions and good security. But the responsibility is very high towards other people, towards the promise you have made through your services and products, which is what brings income.
You have to meet up with the promises your business or your person is offering people, you have to have the heart that only wealthy people have. What does it mean? You may not be able to sleep eight hours a day, but you can take a holiday after some three or four months of active work. A poor person may not be able to do that. You can travel to any part of the world and have a good sleep. I am in the process of having a passport that can take me to up to 178 countries in the world.
At that level, I can wake up any day and take a holiday. But the heart of being poor, of not being able to feed three times a day, not being able to recharge your phone, not having money to give people, is the worst kind of heart you should never pray to be your portion.