MKO Balogun is a real estate expert. He specializes in Facility Management and has carved a big niche for himself. MKO, as popularly called was born in Ibadan, Oyo state. His real name is Muhammad Kassim Olatunde (MKO).
MKO is the MD/CEO Global Property & Facilities International Ltd, a leading management company.
A few days ago, he celebrated his 50th birthday and he spoke with City People’s Senior Property Reporter, ISAAC ABIMBADE, where he revealed much. Excerpts.
Tell us how you feel at 50.
I feel grateful to God. I feel lucky I’m alive and I’m thankful for what God has done in my life. And I feel challenged with what I can use the remaining part of my life to do.
Are you fulfilled at 50?
Absolutely fulfilled. I can not wish for anything else. God has been wonderful. As I said, life is a journey for everybody, mine has been eventful, wonderful, fulfilling and impactful. I was overwhelmed with prayers, wishess and surprises I got from people on that day.
Have you been able to improve on the facility management awareness level in Nigeria?
Facility management in Nigeria has been my passion since I got into the industry a couple of years ago. Practically, people call me Mr. Facility because they know that’s my passion, that’s what I’m known for, that’s what I do and I advocate it. I support people who are just coming on board, either as individuals, students and even companies.
And interms of making an impact, yes I have done well. I don’t think I have finished what I need to do, I feel like I still have much to do and I would continue to do it. And I also want to serve my people and God. I tell people that, I count myself lucky, there are many people, who have died before they are 50, I have birthday colleagues, who are not alive today. I’m alive. I’m thankful to God.
What has been the challenge in the facility Management sub-sector?
I will categorise them basically as two. Our industry is unstructured, and the fact that it is unstructured, people can’t extract good value from it. For me, that’s a major concern.
That’s one of the things as people in the industry are to try and create a structure for the industry.
What I mean by structure is organisational structure. We have today two professional bodies, but they are outside Nigeria. There are many benefits, for them being here but for Nigerian environment, just as in every environment, you need something to understand the peculiarity of your environment and that is what is lacking in Nigeria. I always give the example of the at a time of crisis in 2008/2009 when the Middle East environment was transformed into a FM with a structured arrangement, and with the formation of Middle East Faculty Management Association and that has transformed the industry in the Middle East.
I also gave example recently, we had a fire incident in Dubai, December 31st 2015, as the one that happened in London and they did not put off their light (electricity supply) because there was a structure in place. They created things that make the environment work and that’s one of the things we are trying to work on in Nigeria today. Let’s create a structure for the industry, so that people can see the value of FM.
The second one is standard, when we speak of the structure, there is a need standard. Globally, there’s been a growth of facility management. In Nigeria today, we are still struggling, we are talking of capacity, standard and peculiarity of Nigeria. So, we hope Nigeria’s environment would make it happen.
For me, these are the two key challenges. Every other things for me falls under the two challenges and they are things that are within our control.
We are now working on so many things. we are working on some Bills at the National Assembly We are also working to get some government agencies involved. We want the National Assembly to make FM a recognisable industry (Facility Management Industry).
How can the government use facility management to boost Nigerian economy?.
I can tell you today that fewer than 10 percent of buildings and infrastructure in Nigeria are currently being managed.What does that tell you?
That means, there’s a huge opportunity for facility management to make impact on the economy. If all government abandoned buildings were put under facility Management Company, people would be employed and that would grow the economy of Nigeria. More people would be trained, we will have more artisans on the job. We are currently working as an industry to set up a technical training centre for facility management in Nigeria and we are also talking to Yaba Tech to see how we can help boost the quality of students who graduate from the school.
Last year, our company’s presence was felt in 26 states in Nigeria in an effort to set up facility management in those States. We are aware that Kano State has responded well and some of the states too. We had a programme in Abuja last year, Borno State government came, they sent a representative and showed commitment to facility management and Lagos State has a structure already and FCT too. So, if every state has a structure and employs people to manage government buildings, government infrastructure, It would provide a huge employment opportunities.
If we can take it from the present level, which is about 10 percent and push it to 40/50 percent. Do you know in the developed economies, facility management is involved in prison management, involved in public schools and water generation? So, there is a huge opportunity, to make positive impact on Nigerian economy. We just impact need to create the right environment and frame work. Today, we don’t have anybody at the national level in charge of the facility management. One of the things we proposed to the National Assembly is to pass into law a Bill settings up of the office of facility management.
If you are to advise govt. on how to improve on the facility management system in Nigeria, what would be your advice?
There are only two things government needs to do, it is to work with us to set up the National Facility Management body and second, to pass our Bills into laws at the National Assembly into laws.