Popular Lagos Lawyer, Kayode Filani, went into real estate with the intention to provide leadership and innovation that would lift the industry to greater heights. That, perhaps, was why he told City People ‘s Assistant Editor, SUNDAY ADIGUN, of the need for a robust mortgage system, backed by government’s zeal to create jobs, shorten unemployment queues and allow anti-corruption agencies to fight the malaise in this interview he granted last week.
You are a lawyer, how did you end up in Real Estate business. Can you tell me about your life as a Real Estate guru?
I give God all the glory. Where I am today is by the grace of God and I won’t take that for granted. It has been God all the way. It is not by my power and I give Him all the glory.
The current situation in the real estate industry for Nigerians both locally and internationally made me to delve into real estate business with a goal to make an impact in the industry by embracing a leadership role in improving it, and to drive efficiency and add value to the sector by identifying the finest and most rewarding that real estate can offer. I started KFA Investment and Property Development Company Limited in 2003 but in 2005 KFA realised her corporate identity and over the years, the firm has emerged as an icon of global recognition in the industry.
Like I said our aim is to make an impact on the real estate industry by embracing a leadership role in improving the current situation in the industry making it more beneficial to all and be a firm of global reputation in the provision of exquisite, residential and commercial property within and outside Nigeria and God has been helping us so far. We’ve been able to retain the patronage of many seasoned clients.
As a professional, what is the state of real estate in our country today?
Just like every sector of the economy, this has been a trying period for most of us in business Generally it’s not peculiar to real estate alone. But things are looking up now. We need a good Mortgage System it has not been really established in Nigeria, unlike what is obtainable in other parts of the world. If Government really tackles Unemployment issues in Nigeria, it would have positive effect in all the sectors of economy. Mortgage is based on established sources of income. We are in a situation where 60% of employable youths are roaming about the street and thinking of saving might be a challenge, but if Government could really focus their attention on unemployment in Nigeria, it would bring positive impact. And we have the means, we have the potential, it’s just the leadership. They should let us know what they are doing. Fighting corruption is good, but it shouldn’t be the only thing any government should concentrate on. Government should allow the agencies that were created to fight corruption do their job, while they concentrate on governance. To me, there has been a lot of attempts to divert the attention of the people from the real issue. When you see corruption, fight it, but see to the needs of the people first. For instance, it’s only in Nigeria that you’ll find hospital that are not working. Doctors are on strike today. Nurses are on strike tomorrow. Something is fundamentally, wrong with this country and its because we do not have love, we have become too tribalistic. We have capable hands everywhere who can manage the affairs of this country well. You don’t put people in positions because you are from the same area. It is time to allow younger generation to be involved in the government. A 70 years old man should go and rest.
Let’s put young and vibrant Nigerians who can manage the resources of this country in power. They are full of ideas, they have the energy, and they have the zeal. Let us allow the younger ones take over the affairs of this country and you will see. It would go a long way. I’m not condemning anybody or any government, but a man that is 70 has nothing to offer again. Let me tell you this with all sense of responsibility the other 80% of people who are over 70 years are managing one ailment or so they won’t have time, they won’t have the strength. That does not mean we don’t have a 70 who is very agile or we do not have younger ones who are sick. But let the Government put those who have the strength, who have the capacity to contribute their ideas to the country’s development.
How can Government assist real estate practitioners?
Government can come in, in many ways. But like I said earlier, if Government could really embrace and improve our mortgage system, it would go a long way and help our economy. If Government can commit to arranging favourable Mortgage financing for people, if Government could help people to develop their properties by helping them to build their required and specified houses and bearing all cost in the development under a solid agreement between Government and the owner. It would go a long way and give relief to people and you will see that Nigerian Economy would be okay and more stabilized.