By Theodore Opara
Management of JAC Motors Nigeria, has revealed that it owes its success in the Nigerian auto world largely to the astute pedigree of the Chairman, Toyota Nigeria Limited and Founder, Elizade Group of Companies, Chief Michael Ade Ojo.The JAC boss made the startling revelation, while presenting a surprise birthday gift to the auto guru who turned 80 years recently.At a surprise birthday bash and gift presentation in the morning of Chief Ade Ojo’s 80th birthday, Managing Director of JAC Elizade Autoland, Mr Demola Ade Ojo revealed that “everyone acknowledges the fact that the name Elizade has opened doors for JAC in Nigeria. Daddy, it’s your reputation that has really made us to sell this brand in Nigeria. We know that you love the brand and you likened it to what Toyota was about 40 years ago when it started in Nigeria.We are not ashamed to say that we wouldn’t have been what we are now, but for your pedigree and marketing skills”.
He added that JAC has become a respected Nigerian brand today owing to the good name that Elizade group has maintained over the years.Presenting the gift, he said: “You’ve seen the T6 and you loved it. We thought about what we would give you as a present on your 80th birthday and we came up with the JAC T6 model.We want to thank you and also appeal that you continue to wield your influence to ensure we get to our dream land”Humbled by the revelation and shocking T6 JAC pickup birthday gift, Chief Ade Ojo prayed for the company and predicted that with hard work, it could even overtake Toyota as number one auto brand in Nigeria.He said: “I am happy with what you have achieved so far, but you can achieve more; the secret is hard work. You have to take a cue from the brands that are ahead of you and strategise on a healthy competition that will take you to the top. If you believe, it is achievable”he said.
Going down memory lane, he reminded the JAC handlers that “It was my personal decision to bring the JAC brand to Nigeria. I didn’t mind the negative perception of Chinese brands, at the moment. When the representatives of the manufacturer came here, I immediately knew the brand would do very well in the country” Ade.Ojo said.Immediately after the gift presentation, Ade Ojo shared his wishes with a select journalists and gave privileged information on the principles that made him one of the most notable auto brand icons in Africa if not the world.
Wishes for JAC brands
On his vision for JAC brands Ade Ojo said “To continue to be the number one auto company in Nigeria and make the JAC brand to become the number two or even overtake Toyota. I want to see a healthy rivalry between the two automobile brands that are connected to me in Nigeria.”
Early experience as a businessman
“It was not funny. I wore my first shoes at age 15 and that was because I was enrolling in college and could not be admitted bare footed. I promised myself that knowing where I am coming from, I would never go back there. So, when I entered into business, I had to deny myself so many things in order to ensure that my business did not crumble. For instance, if there was an article that would not bring me money and I could not afford it five times without it affecting my business, I won’t buy it. This I did in order to ensure the stability and continuity of the business and I’ve achieved that.My first-time experience in the first class cabin of an aircraft was one of my saddest days in life. The seats were too big for what I was used to. They were bringing wine and all sorts of things and I could not consume half of them. I felt this was a waste of money. I denied myself flying in the first class cabin for five years because of that experience. I went back to my economy class.It was when I started seeing many people I could literally buy with money coming out of the first class cabin during the flight and greeting me with respect that I felt there was a need to return to the first class cabin.”