From nothing to something: How real estate guru in Ogun struggle to pay N25,000 school fees
Broken home build me to become who I am, says Oluwashina Olajide a real estate guru
FROM GRASS TO GRACE: Meet Oluwashina Olajide, a real estate guru that suffer to gather money to go to school
Oluwashina Olajide, the Chief Executive Officer of Olageospatial Global Investment Company (OGIC), a leading real estate company in Ogun and Anambra states recently with spoke with Akin Alade of Global excellence on how he suffered before he was able to pay N25,000 school fees of Enugu University of Science and Technology and how broken home has made him aim big in life. He described his business life as a grass to grace story in this interview. EXCERPT;
Can you tell us a brief about your educational background?
I can say I am a master holder; I studied geography at Azikwe University in Anambra. I did survey and geometrics at Enugu University of Science and Technology. I attended Government College in Ekiti and I went to comfort nursery and primary school in Ondo state.
Are you born with a silver spoon and how was your growing up like?
I was not born with any spoon at all; I have been through a lot in life. I am a product of broken family and early in life, my parents were not together and that really affect my growing up a lot. Payment of school fees then was hell and there are times I couldn’t afford to pay school fees even when I went to boarding school. I could remember one of those days that my name was called that Fashina has not pay school fess since I have been in that school. Because I could not pay the school fees, I left the school and I could not write my WAEC there, but I proceed because I have a uncle I look up to who was in Obafemi Awolowo University then. I made up my mind even when I was sent out of school that I must have education by all means. My persistent led me to Lagos where I was doing menial work to make sure that I get enough money that I would be able to do GCE. Because I have passion for education, I worked at a video renter just to raise money.
How has your experience sharpen who you become who you are?
I think my experiences really prepare me for the worst and that is why I was able to study hard and become who I am today. I always read till late in the night. Due to the background that I have, I believe personal development matter a lot and that has really assisted me in shaping my thinking and become who I am. It was not easy, but what help me is determination and courage; I always believe that I would rather die going forward than going back and that really help me in becoming the best of me. I always believe that with education, you can change your destiny and become a better person. A lot of books I read also sharpen my thinking and there are lot of proverbs that keep me going. I also have a lot of music that encourage me to become the best of me; I listened to a lot of music that can sharpen my future. I encourage myself that for the fact that I was born a poor man does not mean I should end up a poor man, but if you get to a level that you can take decision by yourself, at that time you need a decision that can take you out of poverty.
Why do you go to the east for your tertiary education even when you don’t have anything?
I am a Yoruba man and I have lived all my life in southwest, and I believe that if I want to be great, there is nothing that should limit me in life. I believe that for me to achieve my dream, I need a future concentration where nobody knows who I am and that I why I went to the East for my tertiary education so that there will not be distraction. If I wear one cloth, there is no one that would be concern about that because they don’t know I grow up and I would be able to focus on my education.
Why do you venture into real estate even when you study survey in school?
Like I said, self-training is the best training; someone that struggle to pay school fess and do other things will want to justify the money and the stress he is going through. Surveyor deal on land matters and I remember one of the things that build me is that immediately I got admission, I was curious to know how I will end. I was more concern about what the future hold for me and from year two I begin to meet with people that are far ahead of me and I deal with successful surveyors we have in the country during those time. It was through my investigation that I discovered that many of these surveyors engage in land matters and selling of lands and taking it further by being a construction company to help in constructing building. Those professional backgrounds give me avenue to know that is what I will do and this is what I will not do. And I think this thing really helped in all I have become. Before I know what was happening, I started growing gradually; my first company was opened when I was in school and I did that just because I saw someone I called one of my mentors making it big with his SSCE certificate. He was the one that told me that I can’t wait to become a graduate before I start doing something with my life and exploring the gift God gave me. He was the one that told me that he want me to have a vision to be better than him and from that day I begin to think that it is not only about measuring land and during survey, you can do better. Also one thing that help me is that my wife is a civil engineer and I am a surveyor and she was one of the few that encourage me that the real estate idea can work.
At what age do you make your first million?
I think I made my first million at 27-year-old. I started controlling million since 25, because that time, I have investment running into several millions of naira, but, it was in a gradual process. Where I can say I made proceed of one million naira in my investment was when I was 27. It does not really drive me crazy because I have known my worth before that time.
What is your wife involvement in the business?
My wife is just an advisory from the professional point of view; because she is a federal civil servant and she work with federal ministry of works. She just advises me when the need arises; the company has civil engineers that are on its payroll.
How do you meet her and what attracted you to her?
My meeting her was divine, because I met my wife when I was in final year and that time she came to serve in Enugu. At that time, I was still in school, but just because I have started working in school, I have learnt everything about survey profession. I was also opportune to be the one that use to do the services of road leveling, among others for FERMA then and because my wife was a civil engineer, she was always attach to me. I was always surprise when I see her that as small as she is, she has completed her education and she is already serving. Because she was from Ogun state and I was also from Ogun state, that drive the intention that I propose I want to date her, but she refused even though I was lucky to have her number. It was four years after, I have graduated and served that I saw her number in one of the books I used when I was working with FERMA. Although, that time, I have moved from Enugu to Anambra, I made a call to her and we talked; it was during our discussion that I discovered that she was just posted to Anambra the following day and the rest is history. And god will help us, we gave birth to a twin and the marriage is over four years.
What are the challenges you have encountered in the real estate business?
I think my upbringing and the stuff I am made off does not make me see any challenges again, because I always tell people that I am somebody that move from nothing to something first before going to move to become somebody. I am somebody that is build up inside and I believe that with adequate knowledge about what you are doing, you can achieve success. The only little link the youth of nowadays have is that success is SSS; service, sacrifice lead to success. I have a mindset of always accept things the way they are and you can always find solution out of any problem. I believe challenges are temporary and you can always get out of it. I don’t face challenges or situation; I believe whatever happen in a man, e should move forward.
Your happiest moment and the day you can never forget?
My happiest moment was the day I gained admission into Enugu University of science and technology. I can forget it because it looks impossible; 25,000 school fees was like 25 million naira then. It was almost impossible, I have to get from uncles, borrowed from friends, church and everywhere and it was not yet completed. But, God has been so good to me because even the head of students’ affair then doubt if I would be able to cope, but God assisted me to become who I am. I insisted that I would rather die here than to quit. With all my borrowing, I could not raise the N25,000, it was a man that helped me with the remaining N2,500 and I almost got mad because of I was really happy that I was able to pay the money.
What is OGIC all about?
We coined it from Olageospatial global investment company and from our vision statement we said it all that we at OGIC, we envisioned to be a business empire whereby everybody can connect and invest to achieve venture. And that is the most important thing to us; OGIC is a company for everybody because it is a purpose driven company and one of the area will also think we should start from is the real estate. If you look from our vision, we are into many areas. Like the real estate, we believe in class and taste and we believe in making good things affordable. We believe in creating a payment structure that would convenient for the people to build and have a roof over their head.
Where do you have properties?
We are in two States which is Anambra and Ogun state. We have nothing less than six locations in Ogun state such as; Obada-Oko, Isiun, Sagamu, Itori, Sabo. While in Anambra, we have at Awka, Onitsha, Iniwan, among others.
What is your unique selling point?
Our unique selling point is simplicity in class; our selling point is that we are bringing people of goodwill, professionals and we are trying to create an estate where there is security, proper management, ease of buying land and ease of infrastructural development and building.
How do you want the government assist the real estate sector?
Government does not business in doing business; what government has to do is management and create ease of doing business. It is only private sector that will drive development and where we need government is to make loan available; ease of doing business and ease of land acquisition so that those land can be released for developers to bring development to the state. They also have to create more enable infrastructure so that the people can drive with ease to the locations of some of these real estates.