•Real Estate Player, Otunba TOMORI WILLIAMS On Life @ 50
Guess who celebrates his birthday in few days time? We can save you the stress! It’s actually the birthday of Otunba Tomori William, the CEO of T.Williams Constructions Nigeria Ltd. Otunba Tomori is a big brand in the Nigerian Property sector. He has carved a big niche for himself. He builds houses for people and he also helps people reclaim their properties from Squatters and illegal occupants.
Otunba started work with his mentor, Barrister Anthony Akpovi, as the General Manager of Olotu property. Now, he is the MD/CEO, T Williams Construction Nig. Ltd, the Maintek property and MD Olaleye New Town Development Ltd. He has also done more in property repossession and consultancy.
This gentle looking man, will in few days time celebrates his 50 years at Rita Lori Hotel, Surulere, Lagos. Not only that, he has booked top artistes who will perform on that day.
Otunba Tomori’s 50th birthday will be grand, as he plans to celebrate it with many Lagos big guys who happen to be his friends.
Last week, City People’s ISAAC ABIMBADE, SOLA BAMIDELE and TIMOTHY FOWOMOLA, paid him a courtesy visit at his Surulere office, where he told us his grass to grace story.
The interview focuses on his growing up years, how he hit it big at 38 and what many don’t know about him. Below are excerpts of the interview.
How do you feel attaining this age?
It has nothing to do with me feeling special other than to just give glory to God Almighty because He has been so good, so kind to me.
And I cherish every day of my life. So this is just part of showing appreciation to my Lord. 50 years is nothing but a number, but it’s a number that make us to reflect on where we are coming from, where we are and also look at where we are going.
What comes to your mind when you remember you will be 50 in a matter of days?
Nothing really. It’s only making me look at the possibility of getting old. Most people will say I don’t look my age but honestly I give God the glory for what He has done and for the greater things I know He will do in my life. So, 50 years is just a point of reflection, or what is ahead of me.
How do you intend to celebrate your 50th birthday?
The celebration will be slightly different from what it used to be.
This time around, I hope to bring all of my friends, family and well-wishers together under a single roof to also show appreciation to them and also find means of glorifying God for giving me the opportunity to attain this milestone.
So, we hope to have a little party at a hall in Rita Lori Hotel and there would be a popular musician coming to play for us.
Taking a reflection back into the past, what would you like to change or alter in those years?
I’m a very, very religious person; very spiritual. There’s nothing I wish I could adjust because every man has his cause in life, which is his destiny. Mine, atleast led me to where I am today and I don’t think there’s anything that happened in the past that didn’t actually lead me to the shaping of the present Tomori Williams. I believe the Lord Almighty has destined me to go through some of these things I went through.
So, there won’t be any cause for me thinking I want to change anything in the past because I believe those things I should change, if they had not happened, I won’t be where I am today. Those ups and downs, the good days, the bad days, the good times, the bad times, the happy and ugly side of life. I believe those are what actually made the Tomori Williams of today. So, the best I could do is give glory to God.
My humble background actually shaped me into what I am today. So, I think I should thank God for creating me and bringing me through a humble home.
Can you say you are fulfilled?
The aspect of fulfillment might not come in because I still aspire to attain some greater height. But I will say I give glory to God. I thank Him for what He has done and also, I thank Him for the greater things I know He is going to do. As a person, it’s just a time of appreciation to God and how far I have come.
Any regrets at all?
At all! I reflect every day. Everyday I wake up and I still have this breath in me I reflect. And my reflection is far, far deeper than other people’s reflection. I don’t reflect the way people might think I should. I reflect in this form. If those bad times had not happened, will I be where I am today?
What can you tell some of your friends or well-wishers who may like to hear your grass to grace story?
Well, I was born and brought up in a very humble home. Up till now, I still prefer people calling me ‘Omo Iya Elelubo’ but the truth must be told, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon. I was given birth to at very old age by my mom. She was over 50 when she gave birth to me and that of course, will explain the names Tomori, Tanimo wo, Ayo’Ku. By and large, I didn’t have the luxury of the wealthy home of those days, but my mom never allowed me to lack good things. She tried within her best to make sure I got at least an average lifestyle during my growing up years.
Also, I had to stand fending for myself at a very, very young age because like I said, if your ageing mom is old enough to be your grandmother, you should understand it will get to a point where she would not be able to fend for you any longer. So, right from my University days, have started that art of business. I sell Fine Art Products, Sculptural pieces, paintings, and it actually opened me to the world of independence business practitioners and that actually formed part of the present Tomori Williams; an Independent man that will not look up to anybody for his livelihood, but to God Almighty.
I reflect on those days I had no penny in my pocket, and I had to leave Ebute Metta to go and inspect my Mum’s property in Ikotun, where I had to trek a long distance to make sure I get there.
And sometimes, if you are going to, let’s say you are going to Lagos Island and you are in Ebute Metta, you look at the money with you and you have to break it down. I can trek from here to Oyingbo and take a bus from Oyingbo to Idumota.
At what point did you have your major breakthrough?
To God be the glory, I hit my first million before my 40th birthday. I hit my first major million when I was 38, going to 39.
It’s a job that will keep me reflecting till the rest of my life and that’s the Olaleye’ project. It brought that big smile to my face and I will remain grateful to God Almighty for the opportunity. That actually was the starting point. Since then, the Almighty God has not stopped blessing me.
When people see you, there’s that gentle look in you but your job is a bit rigorous and demanding. How were you able to balance this?
That’s one of the areas that got some people worried. To God be the glory, I have this gentle disposition, gentle look. Maybe by virtue of my birth, I’m an Onikoyi’. My family is known for war. It’s a family that is unrivaled in the Yoruba tradition and sometimes, the Onikoyi element in me will come out and I think that has actually played a lot in my job. When I’m like this I’m the normal Tomori Williams but when I’m on site, you might not even want to give me an interview but we thank God for His mercies.
One thing I will say at this point is my upbringing. Some people will say, look at his glowing body, he looks so young. But I have to give glory to God and to my late mom. I took a lot of local herbs while I was growing up. In those days, we used normal “Agbo”. You’ll first drink it as early as possible, even before tasting anything in the morning. You would drink it and you will use it to bath. You’ll use local sponge, you will use local soap to bath. I think that actually played a lot of roles in my life. In as much as I have travelled far and wide, I’m not an Apostle of Orthodox Medicine. I still believe in African traditional herbs. You know that, most of what we eat now are junks; too much chemicals. Many food that we eat have been injected. To God be the glory I think my upbringing played a lot of roles in my life. I don’t exercise. My job is enough exercise. I do a lot of mental works. I read a lot because of my present field and most of the time, I lead the legal team of my Job.