When it comes to playing big in real estate and technology services in Nigeria, Prince Olusegun Aderemi readily comes to mind.
He has carved a niche for himself in both sectors as his achievements speak volume for him. As a charismatic and goal-getting individual, he has travelled to the United Kingdom (UK) to learn the rudiments of using sophisticated equipment to fix vehicles via (alignment and wheel balancing.
He came back and started the first technologically-driven car servicing company in Nigeria. A positive impact of his operation is evident as a survey carried out by the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), has shown significant reduction in car crashes in Nigeria.
Apart from being a guru in the two sectors, Prince Aderemi has his eyes on the throne at Aromoko-Ekiti. According to him, his father was the Atayero I of Aramoko-Ekiti and he would like to take after him, as the Atayero II.
In this exclusive interview with City People’s Reporter, FEMI FABUNMI, he speaks on his ambition among other sundry issues.
You recently erected an edifice at Aramoko-Ekiti, please tell us what informed the choice of Ekiti State?
I am from Aromoko-Ekiti. By virtue of my position, (a Prince) in the community and owing to the fact I am a direct descendant of Oduduwa, I have always known that home is the best. These are my reasons for siting that house at Aramoko in Ekiti State.
As a big player in the real estate industry, who also runs other businesses, how do you juggle them for optimal performance?
The real estate is always there, while I have other businesses, one of which is in the Oil & Gas sector. My automatic fix business is well known in the country, I am in partnership with Total, Mobil etc.
I also have social responsibility that I carry out. This is where my passion lies, I have a big passion for real estate too because it is what my fore-fathers did. They were actively involved in buying and selling of land.
Did you inherit the real estate business from your forefathers?
Not really, I mean that they were royal fathers and by virtue of their positions, they had many landed property for use and for sale. They were more or less involved in real estate.
At what point did you pick up interest in real estate?
I had travelled to the US and UK and I got involved in buying dilapidated structures. We bought and renovated or rebuilt, so that grew my involvement in real estate even when I returned to Nigeria.
Do you have plans to replicate such in Nigeria?
Well, I would love to, but unfortunately Nigeria is not ripe for that. The standard of our system hasn’t risen to that level. Moreso, availability of land is a factor. In Nigeria, we have vast land still unused and you will agree with me that it is cheaper to build a house than buy a structure and renovate.
What distinguishes your company (Semilore Investment) from every other real estate company?
Our prices are very affordable. Our documents are original. We also use standard materials to build.
Who are your target customers?
We have housing deficit in Nigeria, but I can tell you categorically that the high class and middle class are our targets. Though, we have packages for the low class too. Put succintly, everyone is included.
Away from real estate now, tell us what Quick Fix is all about?
It is a borrowed concept from England and having seen the way vulcanisers spoil patrons vehicles especially tyres, sometimes they injured their hands in the process of fixing and working on a car. This actually made me to seek a technological way of doing it. I went back to United Kingdom and approached a company for help and training, I came back with the equipment. I formed partnership with Total, before I started, I also involved the FRSC and they conducted a survey supplying us the rate of accidents on the road.
After a few months of operation, I went back to the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) to conduct another survey and that time round, accident rate had reduced. At Auto-Fit, our vehicle alignment and wheel balancing operations are second to none because we use technology to carry out services on vehicles.
How popular is AUTOFIT in the country?
It is very popular. We are operational in many parts of the country.
Tell us about your philanthropic gesture?
It starts from my community, I’m involved in creating employment opportunities for people; taking the youth off the street. Moreso, I often visited the less privileged and donated gift items and cash. Thus, contributing my widow’s mite, which is my little way of giving back to the society.
You are involved in a royal tussle at Aramoko-Ekiti, please fill us in on why you want to become the King of Aramoko?
I am a direct descendant of Oduduwa. My father was the Atayero 1 of Aramoko-Ekiti. It is a legacy and heritage that should be sustained. The ultimate goal of any Prince is to sustain such a legacy, so, I think, I am still on the right track. The matter is in court and so I am expected not to speak on it.
Is that why you stopped dressing as a King?
I haven’t stopped dressing as one. Any time I am in Aramoko, I have to dress in my regalia because I am not expected to dress anyhow.
What would you bring to the table, if you are made the King of Aromoko Ekiti?
I will bring development, happiness and job creation to the people.
What is the link between you and the people of Aramoko-Ekiti?
We are well connected. I work in Lagos, but based in Aromoko-Ekiti.
Do you have any plans to build an estate in your home town, Aramoko?
Yes, I have great plans to do that, already Atayero Estate has got approval from the Lagos State Government. We shall be kicking off construction any moment from now. An estate in Aramoko-Ekiti is also being planned. Very soon, the project will definitely kick-off.
What is the relationship between you and Senator Babafemi Ojudu?
Senator Ojudu is a brother and a friend, we have come a very long way. His children are mine. We are hoping and praying he comes home to contest Governorship poll in Ekiti State, come 2018.
Do you have any plan to venture into politics?
By virtue of my position, I am not Partisan. I belong to the royalty and I am not supposed to mix the two, one has to give way for the other.