Deacon Bamidele Onalaja is the MD/CEO of RevolutionPlus Property Development Company, one of the leading real estate companies in Nigeria. He floated the property company 5 years ago to provide affordable homes for Nigerians, both at home and in the diaspora.
On Tuesday 21st May, 2019 this real estate guru will be celebrating his 45th birthday in grandstyle. But the celebration has been shifted to 26th May, 2019. We can confirm that the prestigious Oriental Hotel in Lekki, Lagos has been fully booked for the celebration Top artistes have been billed to perform.
Few days back, City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE and Head of Real Estate Desk ISAAC ABIMBADE, paid him a courtesy visit at his Lekki office. He told us why he had to celebrate this his 45th birthday and why he didn’t celebrate his 40th. He revealed a lot of shocking details of what he has gone through in life to be where he is today. For instance, he revealed how he served as a CocaCola Truck Boy. How he sold Computers & very many other things to break even.
He told us about his new new foundation, Chris Bamidele Onalaja Foundation and a whole lot about the story of his life. He also spoke about why RevolutionPlus Property Company recently expanded to Ibadan. Below are excerpts of the interview.
How has it been since you set up RevolutionPlus Property Company?
It is been very challenging. I remember how I would wake up in the middle of the night and I would start crying, because for over 6 months to a year, nothing was happening. We needed money to start the company because I left my previous banking job broke. But I had made up my mind I won’t go for any paid employment again, that I want to be an enterpreneur. I want to provide affordable homes for people. There was a particular land they showed us in Mowe but we were told we must provide 5 million naira to start. So, there was a particular day my wife said, let’s go and see one of her Uncles in Lagos maybe he would help us to buy. It was a very thick bush then but the Uncle believed in the project. That area today is our Royal Heaven Estate in Mowe. That is our first estate. The man bought one hectare of land. He paid for documentation and everything. That money gave birth to our company, RevolutionPlus property.
At a particular time, we wanted to expand but there was no money. We needed 10 million naira to extend to Lekki-Ibeju axis. We approached 2 banks but they denied us, despite the fact we have been doing transactions with them. Though, our Turn-Over wasn’t that much then, but we were consistent. We requested for just 5 million naira. But because we were determined to start the Ibeju-Lekki project, we gave out our cars to money lenders. My wife and I trekked for 2 weeks. There was no car to move around. And that was how we started Ibeju Lekki property. And since then, cash flow has been consistent and more money came in. We are now extending and doing business in a bigger volume. From that one project in Ibeju Lekki, we now have over 15 projects in around Ibeju Lekki, and Lekki itself.
We just launched Ibadan housing estate 2 weeks back. We are thinking of other two projects.
Why did you expand to Ibadan?
It’s because we have been getting calls from friends in the diaspora to extend to Ibadan. Some of them would say don’t you have land in Ibadan? The ones they said they have in Ibadan aren’t trustworthy? So, it was based on demand. We went to Ibadan for expansion and also demand. We also went there to provide affordable homes, because that is our focus. And ever since we opened Ibadan the response has been good. We are becoming known in Ibadan now.
Why did you decide to celebrate your birthday this big and what comes to your mind whenever you remember your birthday is coming up in few days time?
One of the reasons I decided to mark this birthday was because, when I was 40, I didn’t have money to celebrate it. When I was 40, I was broke. 40 is a landmark for any young man. Even though you don’t celebrate it big, you can still celebrate it with your friends, family, go to church and do a small party for God to have kept you alive. But God has given the opportunity now to be able to celebrate it. God has been so good to me. I feel good, I feel grateful and to be able to do more.
When you were young, were you told you would become this big and influential?
I can remember being told I would become somebody influential or big.
In my final year in school, my younger brother invited me to Christ Embassy. I met Pastor Chris and I can say today that Pastor Chris made me who I am (apart from God). Because of his messages, his teachings. My Pastor’s message is different from every other Pastors.
I went into housing to provide affordable house to people. I also wanted to live comfortably and make money but God just blew it beyond my imagination.
I am a Deacon in the Ministry. I am a leader in the church. One of the things that help my wife and I is our corporate exposure. I was an ex-Banker. I worked in a real estate sector for 13 years. My wife worked for about 10 years. All those corporate exposure helped us. And I thank God that the expansion anointing is working in my business.
People are suffering. I went through a lot while growing up. As a young boy I could remember there won’t be food at home to eat. I know what my father went through in a rented apartment, and I don’t want people to go through such ordeal.
We just launched Chris Bamidele Onalaja Foundation, which gives scholarship to vulnerable people in the society. We have been going to hospitals to help people. During the opening of our Ibadan regional office, we gave 2 scholarships to two children, from secondary level to University levels, from the Chris Bamidele Onalaja Foundation. Because I have been through a lot in the past. I have done a bricklayers job to survive.