Mr Kehinde Alex Bankole is a seasoned developer, who has carved a niche for himself in the real estate sector. He has built for many corporate bodies and individuals. Mr Kehinde is the founder and Chairman of KAB Construction, a real estate company that has executed many outstanding construction projects. This young and brilliant man studied Architecture at Polytechnic before he moved to the University of Ilorin. He has built for state governments, handled many school projects, both secondary and tertiary institutions. Mr. Bankole handles 70 percent of Lekki Gardens project as we speak. Last week, he spoke with City People’s Senior Reporter, ISAAC ABIMBADE, about his 10 years experience in the built sector. Enjoy the piece.
Can we get to know you?
My name is Alex Kehinde Bankole.
What do you do?
Yes, I am a developer. I am an Estate Developer.
How far have you gone in the business?
We have been in the business in the last 10 years and to the glory of God, God has been wonderful. I started my career as a Banker with Oceanic Bank, as a Youth Corps member. I resigned after working with them till 2010. That was when I resigned and started my construction firm, Dexcole Construction Company. Dexcole is just a combination of my names.
What did you study in school?
I studied Architecture at Polytechnic, but I studied Physics at the University of Ilorin. That is my educational background.
How did your love for real estate start?
My love for real estate was born out of the fact that, I feel we should develop our country structurally and infrastructurally because when you look closely at the developed countries we all rush to, you will see that the only difference is the infrastructure in the those country. If we are able to put infrastructure in place in Nigeria, Nigeria would be a better place to live because we have the best weather, efficient manpower, and Nigerians are so hardworking. I have not seen a people as hardworking as Nigerians. As I told you earlier, we have the best weather. You know what it takes if it is hot in America or when it rains? So, the best way to go about it is to stay back here and develop the country infrastructurally, and you will observe that Nigeria is gradually turning to London.
Talking about projects, tell us some of the projects you have done?
To the glory of God, we have been able to do one or two things. As a developer, I have developed for private individuals, corporate organisations, state governments across Nigeria. Besides, I have even gone international to develop for Globacom in Ghana. Back home in Nigeria, we have done much. We have developed for Osun State government, we built for Oyo State government and in Lagos, we have done construction works for individuals. We are one of the leading contractors at Lekki Gardens. As we all know, Lekki Gardens is No.1 real estate player in Nigeria, I can even say in Africa.
Did you say you handle 70 percent of Lekki Gardens Project?
Yes we do, KAB Construction is handling 70 per cent of Lekki Gardens project as I speak to you.
You are a young developer and you have done so well for yourself. How did it all start for you? And what is your backbone?
God is my backbone and I strive to make a difference and the desire to effect a change drives me through. If you know the MD of Lekki Gardens, you will see that he is equally a very young man. He is a young man, who is very intelligent, brilliant and endowed. He is a person who believes in giving a young man a chance to showcase what he or she has.
Can you comment on the recent collapse of buildings there?
I would not comment on that because the matter is in court. But I can tell you that, Lekki Gardens is not the only biggest real estate company in Nigeria, but it is the best brand. It’s the only brand in the history of Nigeria that has succeeded in giving people value for their money. It is the only estate company that will deliver your house as at when due. Nobody would have believed that you can get a house at a price as low as N8 million at the Lekki, Ajah axis. People think if you don’t have N200/300 million, you can’t get house(s), there, but when Lekki Gardens came on board, it made it possible for people who earn as low as N30,000 per month to own a house in Lekki.
Talking about your company, what year was it established?
The company was Dexcole, which actually gave birth to KAB Construction. We were getting bigger and that was why we decided to rebrand. We have been around for almost 10 years and by God’s grace, we hope to be in a bigger way and make the desired change in infrastructure and also bring to reality the developmental changes everybody wants to see. I have dabbled into many federal projects, I have taken over so many roads, built some roads and encouraged federal government to concess roads to people. Look at Lekki Ajah axis road, it was given out and people picked it up that road is being maintained and people are happy.
The same thing with Ikoyi-Lekki bridge. I’m appealing to the federal government, to give us back our roads, we will build them. Our people will pay. People want better things and when you give them the best, they will pay.
Tell us briefly about the newly constructed ultra-modern shopping complex at Idumota by Chief Ajaga and developed by you?
That project is sitting on about 3 plots of land . It is a project Alhaji Babatunde Ajaga initiated 3 years ago. He bought the property from the owner . He called me and said that he had a project and he asked me what I could do. He believed in our ability and capacity to build without issues and here we are today.
Aside Lekki Gardens, what other projects have you done?
We have done Mr. Biggs outlet in Osun, we have worked for MTN in Lagos State, MTN in Osun State, we have done some projects for Globalcom in Oyo State, project for Olabisi Onabanjo University, (Ogun State), project for Federal University, Oye (Ekiti State), Federal University Akure and so many private secondary schools in Lagos.
You also told us how you got a car gift, how did that happen?
We designed a beautiful structure for a very well-to-do businessman and when he got back, because he was actually away for 2 months and he couldn’t believe we could complete the project within 2 months. We actually promised him 3 months, but we delivered it in less than 3-months. He could not believe and said a young man like you should be encouraged. And we were only given 30 per cent of the money and we finished it before he came back from abroad!.
He gave us our 100 per cent with additional. The following day, he just called me and said he was driving to my place, that he wanted to see me and he brought the car for me as a gift when he got to my house.
Tell us about your growing up?
I am from Kwara State, from Ekan Meje local government area of Kwara State. We are actually Ekiti people in Kwara State. If there was a proper boundary adjustment, we are supposed to be in Ekiti State and not in Kwara State. I had my primary School at Gbagada in Lagos and I had my secondary education at Oro Grammar School in Kwara State. My HND was at Federal Polytechnic Ado Ekiti, and first degree at University of Ilorin.
How was growing up like?
My growing up was funny; you know when you come from a polygamous home of 6 wives. I actually lost my dad at childhood, I lost my dad when I was in JS2, my first day in the class.
I was working for a bus as a conductor in Lagos just to make ends meat and see myself out of school and to the glory of God, we are here today. Growing up was rough.
Tell us about your parents!
My dad was the late Otunba James Bankole, but my mom is very much alive, Mrs Comfort Bankole. My father was an auto dealer and he was generous to the core. My mother is a trader, she deals in local fabrics, she is from Ekiti State and I’m also married with a beautiful daughter