Chief Sikiru Atobatele is the Balogun of Egbaland and he’s the next high ranking Chief to the Alake of Egbaland. He is also a successful businessman. He is the Chairman of a big construction company called SIKTOBS Nigeria Limited, with many projects in Lagos, Ogun and Abeokuta, under its belt.
Chief Atobatele is also a big socialite. He is one of the most respected socialites in Abeokuta. He has also distinguished himself among his peers. Two weeks ago, he was at the 1st Ogun City People Entrepreneurship Awards in Abeokuta, where he spoke about his life as Balogun of Egbaland and also about his construction company. Read on.
You are one of the biggest construction players in Abeokuta. Can you share a little more about this with us sir?
You know, it’s people who rate someone’s performance. You can’t rate yourself. All I know is that, in the construction sector we are trying our best.
For the benefit of those who don’t really know what you do in particular, can you tell us your area of concentration?
Building of houses, construction of roads. Those are the major areas we specialise on.
How did construction business start for you?
That’s a long story. You know that I went to technical school and when I started working, I worked with DLP Nigeria Limited, but I discovered that place would not be my last, so I decided to start my own company and that was about 40 years ago.
What is the name of your company?
Siktobs Nigeria Limited. We are in Lagos, Abuja, Ogun State.
What can you say about the sector?
The past regime tried its best, only that they patronised more of foreign contractors than the indigenous contractors but we proved to them that we are also capable.
How did you become the Balogun of Egbaland?
The Balogun title is our birth right in my own compound in Abeokuta. I’m from Igbehin and there was a particular time when the stool was vacant and they had to call me to fill up the vaccum 10 years ago.
Tell us the role of Balogun; a post you ocupy in Egbaland?
Balogun is a warrior. I’m like Prime Minister and the next person to Alake of Egbaland. I’m the traditional Prime Minister.
What are the challenges like?
You just have to take things easy. You should handle things with ease, and put everything in the hands of God for guidance.
Can you tell us what has helped you attain all that you have become today?
First, you have to be open-minded, that’s the most important thing. Don’t try to cheat others because it’s always good to lay good example for the coming generation. Leave a good legacy for your children. If you allow all that to guide you, you won’t have problem in life.
What can you say about the new trend in the real estate sector where companies sell land. Would you like to also venture into this?
I don’t like involving myself in land selling because many of those who do have dubious character. So, I wouldn’t want to go into it.
How do you think it can be done in a proper way?
You do it in a proper way. You go through government; you involve government and all these won’t happen.
Real Estate is a good business. If you involve government in what you do, you won’t have problem. And you should avoid selling a land to 4 or 5 persons. If you are faithful with it, you won’t have problem.
Tell us your relationship with your friend, Afo Guarantor. We understand both of you co-run the company.
Very cordial. We have a cordial relationship. We work hand in hand. I’m the Chairman, he is a director in the company.
Can you tell us more about your background sir?
I’m from Atobatele family in Abeokuta here. My name is Sikiru Atobatele. I was born in Lagos State. I schooled in Lagos. I went to technical school in Aba. I specialise in construction.
Did you actually study construction related courses in school?
When you have passion for any job, whether you studied it or not, you will surely excel.