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Richard Nyong: Living A Life Of Purpose And Influence

Richard Nyong | Image: Kelechi Amadi-Obi

It is just another day in the Lekki Gardens office; the people, beaming with smiles and bustling with enthusiasm in an environment that, to a visitor, is filled with an aura of peace, and dedication. Within a few hours, it becomes obvious why the work environment feels welcoming.

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As soon as Richard Nyong, the founder of the popular Lekki Gardens steps into the environment; his demeanour is more reminiscent of a friend than a boss. He notices the tiniest details and is quick to shower glowing praises on his workers. It is clear that he understands that a compliment a day keeps a gloomy face away.

The Journey To Real Estate
When you hear Richard Nyong, the name Lekki Gardens comes to mind. However, for Richard, it started years before 2012. His journey into real estate officially started in 2010 with engagements in site and servicing.

Within a year and a half, some unscrupulous people have taken advantage of him 7 different times. To protect himself and his company, his strategy and vision were modified and geared towards acquiring assets and protecting regular people interested in real estate from swindlers.

Richard Nyong | Image: Kelechi Amadi-Obi

In seeking these assets, he quickly discovered that most of them were overpriced, hence inspiring him to look into making housing accessible and cheaper. While people thought they were just getting started, his company proceeded to address fundamental housing issues of accessibility.

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This solution led to the creation of Lekki Gardens and has made him the man he is today.

As a successful real estate guru, one wonders how he has gathered his business acumen. The cheerful business guru takes the Guardian Life team into his journey which began at 14, a year after his father died. The money he earned was used to pay his school fees.

He notes that his father laid for him a foundation of kindness which has become an integral part of him and his business. After the death of his dad, his mother easily took on the role, imbibing in him great lessons that have continued to shape his principles till date.

Beyond this, his education is one of the greatest influences in his life. As a graduate of the University of Port Harcourt, he learnt how to navigate through life and he emphasises that the Nigerian educational system helped in shaping and preparing him for the future.

Richard Nyong | Image: Kelechi Amadi-Obi

He says:
“The tenacity needed in life is sometimes not found at home. Education is meant to prepare people for the life that matters, and when education stops being about that, there is a problem. The education I got from Nigeria was enough for me to do that, I went to primary and secondary school in Ajegunle. In Uniport, we were taught and reminded that it was going to be tough when we got out and it is the factual truth.”

“Once you accept that life will not be fair, life becomes fair. University was where we were taught to understand the toughness of life. In both primary, and secondary school, they encouraged us to face difficulties with courage, character and honesty. You need the basics to grow in life; once you get it right and you have the character, you will go very far in life. I understand the basics of finance from Uniport and with this foundation, I have been able to go this far with no Masters or taking any other course.”

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How Success Is Made
Often, it is not about how well the journey started but also how smooth the ride has been. Richard sees the business as a partnership where Lekki Gardens helps the client build wealth, create shelter while they help Lekki Gardens build their business. This ideology of partnership helps them stay on top of their game. Value is imparted and because of the spirit of partnership, the business is beneficial to both parties.

As a business owner, it is clear he is forward-thinking. Important to him is the planning stage where he, together with his team, beats inflation and other issues that might come up along the way by thinking ahead. His constant preparedness and strategic thinking aptly reflect in the way he delivers his business and creates assets for his customers.

Richard Nyong | Image: Kelechi Amadi-Obi

As a high achiever, he aims to make his business known all over Africa, he hopes to have offices in major cities in Africa. With this dream, he wishes to give more access to people, and hopes that he can create a better mortgage system where people can pay over periods of thirty to fifty years.

For Richard, besides hard work and being meticulous, integrity is of utmost importance. Integrity, a virtue which he opines should come before hard work, has helped him keep the business clean and give to people exactly what it is they see.

Therefore, it is not surprising that he has an honorary doctorate from European University in Ghana, a degree that is in recognition of the different feats he has achieved in the real estate industry.

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His tenacity has kept his business relevant by staying true to his goals despite the competition. Speaking on how he has done this, he says:

“I read something about someone talking about the ‘great book’. ‘I read the great book thinking it was about a thousand things. I found out it was about a few important things told in a thousand ways,’ I think even if everything has changed, the truth about what the game requires has not changed. Money will always matter but we have never forgotten real estate is about our clients making money and getting access to affordable housing, the reason everyone is interested is because our clients make more money buying from us than any other place. So it is what made us different from the start and what will always make us different.”

Family and Lifestyle
Not only has he learnt the fundamentals of being a successful entrepreneur, but his family life has also thrived even through the years of building his business.

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Besides every successful man they say, is a woman. Richard’s wife has served as his backbone. He says the most important thing he has done as an adult is meeting his wife. Without her, he will not be where he is today. She has successfully ensured a smooth running of the home and made things easier for him.

“There is a season in your business where you have to give it your all for it to become successful. When I couldn’t be around, she did a fine job with the kids. When the business started taking shape, I had more time to spend with the kids. Business has that gift of needing you first to give to it and it takes you away from family. Then, you need a strong support system. When you have gained the necessary favour for success, the business now supports you to have time for family; that is the balance I have enjoyed.”

As a man who has catered to people by creating job opportunities, he is passionate about women’s empowerment. In Lekki Gardens, he has ensured he maintains an equal employability opportunity for men and women in both operations and executive management.

Richard Nyong | Image: Kelechi Amadi-Obi

He opines the women are talented, intelligent and have integrity; three factors that have influenced the output of the company positively.

Like everyone, he also has his difficult moments. To cater to his mental health, he seeks knowledge about people who have passed through similar situations and made it out stronger. He learns about other countries, what they are going through and how they pulled through.

“I read and when I read I dream. I read a lot.”

A jovial and easy-going person, it is a surprise that Richard prefers a quiet life. He loves to spend quality time with his family. It is evident that the dedication he pays to his work is also reflected in his relationships with his family and employees.

Cracking a joke that sends his employees laughing, he says “I like the quiet life more than anything, and the people I decide to spend it with matters. I like lots of self-time.”

When asked about his fashion taste, he laughs heartily. Richard loves to dress well; this is part of the core interest in his office. Everyone takes time to compliment each other in the office; for him, how you look is so important.

“With me, fashion has a place it stops. When it gets crazy, I say I can’t do this. When it is edgy, I can’t do it, I prefer to stay in my safe zone.”

Apart from fashion, he takes healthy eating and living importantly; the secret to him looking fit.

While life starts at forty for many, for Richard, he aims at retiring at forty which he clocked on Friday. He started the journey, touched lives and still hopes to create wealth for his clients twice as much as he has done.

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