Chief Austin Chukwudi Oguejiofor, (Onwa Enugwu Ukwu n’Umunri, Okutalukwe Aguleri) is the CEO of FIRST ROTECH GROUP OF COMPANIES LTD, ROTECH ENERGY SERVICES LTD, ETC. He is a native of Enugwu Ukwu in Anambra State. Chief Oguejiofor is one of the big names in real estate business in the country. He spoke with journalists about his life, business and Anambra Real Estate Person of the Year Award which he won recently. Excerpts:
WHAT WERE THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT SHAPED YOUR THOUGHT INTO BECOMING AN ENTREPRENEUR?
A. Generally, I came from a Community you had big names like Chief R.O Nkwocha, Ide Enugwu Ukwu n’Umunri, and so many of them. I knew that entering into the business world would give me the latitude to help my family, myself and humanity at Large, because I love philanthropy. I enjoy investment and I love to give as God provides, and by the Grace of God, I have tried in that area.
SHARE WITH US YOUR INITIAL EXPERIENCE IN BUSINESS?
A. I was born into a very humble family. I did all manner of odd jobs to survive as a youth after my school, because as I said earlier, I was not born with silver spoon. My entry into the business world was marred with a lot of challenges. I started off as an electronic repair mechanic. I have always wanted my independence. I have never liked to work for anybody.
But my relocation to Abuja in 2008 or thereabout made me to discover new line of business in Real Estate which was booming in those days in Abuja. Abuja at that time was a developing City, and a lot of people were coming in to settle in Africa’s fastest growing city. So I took advantage of it. It was quite a challenging experience at the initial stage, but by dint of hard work and God’s Grace, we pulled through, and today we are one of the biggest players in the Real Estate business in Abuja, and now Anambra State, where we have answered the Clarion call of His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano, (Akpokuedike) to come home and invest. His Akuluo Uno message captivated us, and we are here today.
HOW DID YOU GO INTO CONSTRUCTION AND REAL ESTATE?
A. As I said, when you come into an area, you need to discover the real needs and wants of the people. You tackle it. When I entered Abuja, it was a big problem for government to house and accommodate hundreds of thousands of people; as well as provide office spaces for new entrepreneurs entering the city. We thought of a way we could be of help and we took a dive into the business of real estate. As you know, when you are developing estates, you must provide infrastructures, like roads, drainages, etc. It happened that we came into the construction industry to provide services to our real estate company, and then later expand to work for other interest groups like Government, etc who will need our services.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE WITH NKWELLE LUXURY ESTATE (THE FIRST ANAMBRA SMART CITY)?
A. We want to provide a safe, luxury, comfortable living arena for ndi Anambra, and Ndi Igbo in general where they can work, play and live with their families. It is modelled after government residential area, but in a bid to compliment Onitsha GRA that is already filled up. The target is to provide the basic necessities of life so that anybody coming into the Estate will have value for his or her money.
TELL US THOSE ACHIEVEMENTS OF YOURS IN THE REAL ESTATE BUSINESS THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD?
A. Well, I am proud of many accomplishments we have recorded in the Real Estate business. We have satisfied a lot of our customers by ensuring that we give them value for their money. But my investment in Anambra State today gives me a lot of joy as I have answered the Akuluo Uno call of His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano (Akpokuedike). The Anambra Place Luxury Estate, Nkwelle GRA gives me a lot of joy, and I am very happy as well as proud that a lot of our people are diligently investing there and acquiring properties that will give them peace of mind.
RECENTLY YOU WON THE ANAMBRA REAL ESTATE PERSON OF THE YEAR AWARD, HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE RECOGNISED IN YOUR HOME STATE?
A. Well, when you are celebrated for what you have done as a businessman or philanthropist, it should be considered as a challenge to do more. So, while appreciating the organizations that nominated me for this award, I am only going to strive to do more, thank you.