Mr. Bamidele Onalaja, the MD/CEO of Revolutionplus Property is a man that can be described as Enigmatic. He is a man whose success story continues to inspire those who have been priviledged to cross his path and listen to him speak. After a very difficult period in his life that saw him engage in all manner of odd jobs to survive, Bamidele Onalaja, from the very scratch, started his property firm and with the help of his wife built his company into one of the biggest and most flourishing property companies in the industry today. Let us tell you about his wife. Her name is Mrs. Tolulope Onalaja, she is the extremely beautiful, elegant and brilliant wife of Mr. Bamidele. She has been said to be the major driving force behind the massive successes that Revolutionplus has achieved within it’s five years of operations in the industry. Smart, very extroverted and blessed with an incredible business acumen that sometimes defies logic, Mrs. Tolulope Onalaja, the Executive Director Revolutionplus Properties is without a doubt, one of the prominent women making things happen in the Real Estate sector. And that explains why she is the apple of her husband’s eye. Ask around in the Real Estate industry and they will tell you that Bamidele Onalaja does not joke with his pretty wife. She is the rock behind Revolutionplus and he is extremely proud of her. Along with her husband, they have executed massive projects, with their various attractive looking estates spread all over the Lagos landscape and beyond.
At the recently held 5th City People Real Estate Awards, where Revolutionplus Properties picked the Most Reputable Real Estate Company of the Year award and Mr. Onalaja himself won the Real Estate Personality of the Year award, the ever cheerful and passion-driven Onalaja dazzled everyone with his well-cut, glittering black suit and strong presence. And although he came without his wife who is presently out of town, he was there with a large entourage of his senior staff.
City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL (08037209290) spent a little while speaking with the dapper looking CEO who opened up on the invaluable contributions of his wife to the success story of the company and how he plans to make Revolutionplus Properties the number one property brand in the land.
Tell us, sir, how do you feel receiving this award here tonight?
Thank you so very much. About the award, I feel so elated. For me, every award is a challenge for you to work even harder and do much more. So, at Revolution Plus Property, we have been challenged to do much more. I received the Real Estate Personality of the Year Award and also Revolution Plus Property received the biggest award here tonight, so it’s a challenge for us to do much more. We are happy and we’re assuring our clients all over the world that we’ll continue to make them happy.
One of the things that have shocked many about Revolution Plus is the fact that it has done incredibly well within a short while, what will you describe as the magic behind your success?
Okay, truth is, the magic is God and nothing else. I tell people, in five years we’ve been able to do this much so it has to be God. And our core values too, integrity, hard work and trust have also helped us a great deal. We believe so much in integrity. We work with our clients with utmost sincerity and they love us and they love to work with us. With integrity and trust, you can achieve anything, that is what we are doing. And also, we believe so much in partnership with the various people that we’re working with and that has been working for us.
You will agree with me that your sector is one that keeps experiencing the influx of new brands, new names crop up every passing day, how do you cope with competition?
Yes, you are very correct, but I tell people that I don’t compete. What happens is that I create a niche, an avenue like a river, for me to flow. Yes, there is competition but I don’t look at the competition. If I looked at the competition I wouldn’t have ventured into this sector five years ago. And because I close my eyes to competition, I and my wife and management of Revolution Plus just go-ahead to do what we have been called to do. That’s why I don’t see competition. And the competition also is good. I can remember vividly when we came into the business, we changed the face of Real Estate in Ibeju-Lekki area. We changed it totally. When we came in, the real estate sector wasn’t doing so much in terms of branding and integrity. They will just buy land, they won’t fence, they won’t do roads, they won’t do anything. But when Revolution Plus came in, we started fencing, we do roads, we do infrastructure. That challenged others that if these guys can do it, why can’t we? So, people started moving towards Revolution Plus. We are a game-changer and God has been our strength.
I have noticed that you make deliberate and conscious efforts to make your packages as affordable as possible even to the lowest class, what is the motivation behind this?
Yes, what we preach in Revolution Plus is affordable housing and, like you said, it’s conscious. We do it consciously. The reason is that we have over 18 million deficit of houses in Nigeria right now and it’s not everybody that can afford 10 million, 20 million naira homes. So, with 750,000, what we’re telling you is come and own a home, at least own a land. When you have 20,000 or 50,000 naira you buy blocks. If you have 100,000 you fence it and gradually, before you know it you become a landlord of your own. So, we’re gradually reducing the housing deficit in Nigeria and that’s what we’re working towards. We’re working extra hard to ensure that our properties are affordable, compared to that of other real estate companies. And I guess that’s why people are happy and comfortable to work with us.
Many who know your story, I’m sure, would be wondering, how did he turn things around within such a short time, did you have a blueprint of where you were headed?
The blueprint is God and the holy spirit, and like I said, our core values, integrity and trust, have been making things work out for us. And I also have a very strong wife who has been behind me all through these years. She’s the brain behind Revolution Plus, I’m talking about Mrs. Tolulope Onalaja. She’s the brain behind the company. She pushed me into every landmark achievement I have achieved in life and without her, I would not have been able to achieve anything at all. She and God have been my strength. And I tell people, we have not done anything yet, we’re still jogging. By the time we’re ten years, we would have taken over the whole real estate sector and provide affordable housing for everybody, so our target, our blueprint for the next five years so that we can do so much more. So, we’re still jogging, by the time we start running, the whole world will know. But we thank God for how far we have gone, it’s been God alone who’s our strength and our strategist and we’ll continue to give glory to God every day.
With all that you have achieved, sir, what has life taught you?
It has taught me a lot, life has taught me so much. I was once a truck boy selling Coca-Cola on the streets of Lagos. After my University, I had an opportunity to work somewhere and I was earning 20,000 naira per month and now, today, I’m a big-time entrepreneur, an employer of labour who pays people millions at the end of every month and also making people happy. Life has taught me to be humble. Humility is my watchword. It’s also important that you’re good to people you don’t know. Let me give you an example, just this week, somebody walked into my office with a letter of gratitude, saying I sent him to the University and I don’t even know him. He said I sent him to the University of Abuja. He was a deaf candidate. It was my wife and staff that were reminding me, saying, ‘MD, have you forgotten, you gave him money last two years now? They said he needed money for school fees back then and he was deaf. I now remembered him faintly. He wrote everything he needed to say on paper and I said show me proof that you are a student and you genuinely need help and he brought out a letter clearly stating school fees demand from the University of Abuja and I thought it was a scam. That was two years ago. Now, he brought me his NYSC certificate that he has graduated. He was happy. I was shocked. I don’t know him from anywhere. And I was like like, wow, dear Lord Jesus. So, it’s a life of impact that the Lord has called me into and I will continue to live that way.
It’s not every time that you find people whom God has blessed like he has blessed you who still stay humble, how have you been able to stay this way?
Well, I think my background is a factor. Like I said, I’ve done all sorts of things in this Lagos. I was a truck boy and I still have a scar on my thigh to show for it when a bottle cut into my leg in the process. I’ve been through a whole lot in this Lagos before I went to the University and did my Masters and God has been helping me. So, if you work so hard and you get your money through the right means, not through any illegitimate means, and you’re a Christian, I’m a born again Christian, spirit-filled, you will be humble. Even the bible says God resists the proud, He gives grace to the humble. When humility comes, God, himself will uplift you and that’s my strategy.
What should we expect to see from Revolution Plus in the next five years or so?
Expect bigger things from Revolution Plus. We’re getting bigger and doing big and mighty things. Within the next five years, you’ll see Revolution Plus in every state of the federation. Right now, we’re in Abuja, we have two branches in Lagos, we’re in Ibadan, we’re in Dallas, Texas, we’re moving Port-Harcourt and Abeokuta. The idea is to have at least five branches of Revolution Plus in each geographical location of Nigeria and to reduce the housing deficit from 18 million to at least 10 or 5 million so that every Nigerian must have a home, that’s our focus.