I arrived at the Legend Hotel in Lagos at the early hours of the day for two reasons; one was to get on a Private Jet to Sokoto state and the other was because I needed to inspect our stand at the airport, to be sure the Sujimoto brand is well represented. I was opportune to be on one of the most sophisticated private jets with my Royal Father – the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; (Ọjájá II) enroute Sokoto state for the commissioning of the 3 million metric tonnes BUA Cement Sokoto Line 4. It was an amazing experience. Our Pilot, Captain Eddy, a top level professional, made the trip very smooth and fun. A trip that ordinarily should have taken 3 hours, took just 1 hours. Thanks to the expertise of Mr. Eddy and the power of our Jet Engine flying 45,000 altitude at a temperature of 45 degrees.
Prominent Nigerians flew into Sokoto from different parts of the country. In fact, the organizers hired private planes to convey people from Abuja, Lagos and Kano, and provided private accommodation. I have to give it to the organizing committee for putting up such an impressive and a well-coordinated event. They went the extra mile to ensure every ‘i’ is dotted and crossed every ‘t’ is crossed.
The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – President Muhammadu Buhari was in attendance as the special guest of honour. Before his arrival, about a hundred (100) orderlies were dispatched to Sokoto, as part of security measures to prepare the way for the President and to ensure he had a seamless and productive trip. This was the level of preparedness for the event.
The commissioning of the 3 million metric tonnes BUA Cement Sokoto Line 4 was greatly attended by the CBN Governor who spoke on the importance of reducing the price of cement; top government officials, top Industrialist and Businessmen, High net worth individuals, Policy makers, Royal fathers, Emir of Kano dignitaries, top diplomats such as His Eminence – The Sultan of Sokoto; The Emir of Kano; The Emir of Bichi, The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; Mr Olumide Akpata, President of the Nigeria Bar Association; Mr Segun Awolowo; Dr Taiwo Afolabi; Mr Jubril Adewale Tinubu, the Group CEO of OANDO PLC; Chief Sam Iwuajoku; Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment; Mr Tayo Ayeni, Chairman of Skymit Motors; Senator Mohammed Daggash; Dr Aliyu Modibbo Umar, former Minister of Commerce and of the FCT; Balogun Akin Osuntokun, and everyone who is someone in Nigeria. If you were not in Sokoto, maybe your economic status is below par. If you don’t get it, forget about it.
Speaking at the inauguration of the plant, described as the largest private sector employer of labour in the North-western part of Nigeria, the President pledged that his administration would continue to support serious investors to set up businesses that will take advantage of huge reserves of resources in different parts of the country.
The President recounted that in 1985 as the then Head of State, he was at the same location to commission the 2nd line of the facility. “Today, almost thirty-seven years later, to commission the fourth line is a very special day for me personally. As you all know, one of the key economic pillars of our administration has been to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. This is necessary for job creation and indeed, for our economy and national security.”
Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, the audacious BUA Group Chairmanship is not only an industry giant but has proven that he is an uncommon entrepreneur and philanthropist with no equal. In 6 years, the astute business man has erected 4 plants, which have all been commissioned – 2 in Obu, Edo State and 2 in Sokoto, taking the company’s total production capacity to 17 million metric tonnes.
We were well received in Sokoto by the SSG to the Governor, 6 Commissioners including the commissioner for Youth and Sports – Bashir Gorau. We were taken to the State Residence and given a royal welcome. They served us the primary culinary of the people of Sokoto – Tuwo Shinkafa and other delicious meals, about eight (8) different dishes. My spiritual father, His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto came to visit my Royal father, the Ooni of Ife. Everyone bowed in reverence as he walked in. He was warm and very welcoming as he laughed with everyone.
It was shocking and surprising when His Eminence walked in as regular person. As always when royalty comes together, wisdom is shared. The Ooni and the Sultan spoke about so many things. The Ooni spoke about how the north is an underground ocean of assets of different mineral resources and the Sultan agreed with him and shared a brief story of how he has always encouraged businesses and entrepreneurship.
And just about 11 pm, a huge entourage alongside the Governor of the Caliphate walked in with about 8 commissioners including commissioner of lands who exclaimed upon seeing me. “Ha, look at Sujimoto, I am very happy to see you. I see your projects and staff all around the Airport. You are the kind of young person we need in this country”. To which the Governor responded that he can’t wait for us to start our Sujimoto Industrial City (SIC) project. The Sujimoto Industrial City is a 21st century commercial hub, that will house 2000 families; over 22 Mega factories, religious centers; international standard schools; a 300-bed hospital that will drive medical tourism to Sokoto; a proposed independent power plant of 100megawatts , Industrial and Agricultural University – 1st of its kind in Africa. The commissioners of Finance, Commerce and Investment, took turns to explain their numerous mega projects, set to be executed which will make Sokoto one of the most business friendly states and 2nd on the list of states with ease of doing business.
To the Vice President of Federal republic of Nigeria (Private Sector) My very good friend and brother, pride of our nation – Mr. Kabiru Rabiu, the Group Executive Director of BUA, who was very instrumental to the success of this project. I am very happy to witness this historical event, which is first-of-its-kind in our nation.
The epoch making event was a great occasion for reconnecting with friends and business colleagues. I hopped on Uncle Sam’s private jet with Chief Dele Momodu and other dignitaries. I was glad to see my egbon Wale Tinubu who was so filled with praises and admiration for the work I am doing in the real estate industry.
My journey to Sokoto was an eye opener for me to the possibilities that exist in our great nation. If for anything, this journey has opened my eyes to see that either in Sokoto or under our ṣòkòtò, there are indeed oceans of wealth and resources in Nigeria, and if properly harnessed, will turn most states in the country to little Dubai in Africa. We need to wake up from our slumber and start harnessing the potentials in our great land.
Sijibomi Ogundele is the young, energetic and innovative Group Managing Director of Sujimoto, the No.1 Luxury Real Estate Company in Nigeria and the Developer of GiulianoBySujimoto which is home to Nigerian-American singer, Davido; LucreziaBySujimoto which is set to be the most sophisticated high-rise in Africa, a tower with incredible premium features and facilities; the LeonardoBySujimoto luxury tower with exceptional amenities which is dubbed to be the tallest residential building in Nigeria; the QueenAminaBySujimoto, a first-of-its kind luxury tower located in highbrow Abuja; and the developer of the proposed Sujimoto Tower in Downtown Dubai, Cape Town and Johannesburg.