•Birthday Tribute By GOKE ILESANMI
Variety, the maxim goes, is the spice of life. Variety indeed makes life more interesting, especially when we consider the impacts of the diversity of our mindsets on emotional counterbalance in society. Just imagine how this world would have been if it were occupied by selfish and heartless people alone! Definitely, the rate of depression and attendant suicide would have skyrocketed. But by divine design, there are also very few selfless human beings with the strong passion of making the world a better place for everyone, thus stimulating emotional relief.
One of such rare humanitarians is High Chief Kazeem Olayemi Odeyeyiwa, an astute entrepreneur, passionate philanthropist and MD/CEO of Repton Group. This naturally golden man who attains the golden age of 50 on Thursday, September 16, therefore, deserves a special celebration in reciprocity.
Otunba’s major passion in life is best captured by the blended personal mission and vision statement of his entrepreneurial CV, “To be an entrepreneur and productively and profitably run my own businesses, contribute to macro-economic development through massive job creation and give back to the society and the needy through well-structured corporate social responsibility initiatives and/or community development programmes.”
His strong commitment to this mission is practically confirmed by the fact that Repton Group that he owns and effectively manages has successfully hit an average annual turnover mark of over N30 billion, and also parades profitable subsidiaries such as Kazab Heritage, Success Link, Ibile Motors, Defrost Ventures Limited and Continental Vision. Kazab Heritage, the Group’s trading arm for cement business achieved the landmark of becoming the National Largest Distributor of Lafarge Cement and National Second Largest Distributor of Dangote Cement in Nigeria in 2020. In 2017, the same subsidiary emerged the National Largest Distributor of Lafarge Cement and the National Fourth-Largest Distributor of Dangote Cement in Nigeria.
Otunba’s commendable devotion to his passion has equally facilitated his conferment with the traditional business title of “Babalaje” (i.e. Successful Business Man) of Itori Egba Land, Ogun State in recognition of his exceptional business management acumen. This great philanthropist has also bagged the chieftaincy title of Otunba Bobagunwa of Modakeke, Osun State in appreciation of his outstanding royal support, communal commitment and massive corporate social responsibility. Therefore, for Otunba, the popular maxim that a prophet does not have honour in his hometown does not apply. His exemplary lifestyle, religious devotion and philanthropy have equally earned him the grand religious title of “Baba Adinni” of Ewekoro Central Mosque. Insignificant commitment to communal development, Otunba has sunk boreholes for provision of water for the people of Araromi in Oyo, Amudooba at Modakeke and Ile Agbaje Compound, Iraye, also at Modakeke among other projects.
Otunba’s Unique Selling Points are the multiplicity of his great attributes. This visionary corporate executive, versatile professional accountant and Motivational Human Manager is a highly motivated, efficient and energetic businessman with unique financial, analytical, organisational and creative skills. He is also reputable for a high level of integrity and endowed with a rare passion for constant achievement of results. The hardworking, quality-conscious Otunba is especially skilled in building effective and productive working relationships with his customers and staff alike. You need to be at the yearly staff retreat of Repton Group to better appreciate the elasticity of the corporate life of flexibility and accessibility of this great businessman. His cordial relationships with his staff always impress me whenever I am invited to speak at the yearly staff retreat. Otunba is simply an excellent model of an interactive, influential and charismatic corporate leader.
It is interesting that his special trademarks have a natural explanation that confirms that he is on a divine mission on earth. On its website, Futurescope Astrology, an international organisation that specialises in the interpretation of zodiac (sun) signs and dates with associated attributes says, “For people born on September 16, the zodiac sign is Virgo. Virgos are usually helpful, they are the first to offer themselves to do favours and they are very modest people. They are hardworking, honest and reliable.”
Futurescope Astrology then summarises the natural attributes of Virgos as “hardworking, helpful, patient, reliable, analytical, intelligent, honest, modest, observant and organised”. Anyone that relates with Otunba will totally agree with Futurescope Astrology on the accuracy of its interpretation regarding these special trademarks of Virgos that constitute their Unique Selling Points. These excellent natural attributes also explain Otunba’s outstanding success in paid employment at Lafarge Wapco Plc, Kimberly-Clark Nigeria, A.G. Leventis (Nigeria), etc.
These Virgo attributes, especially hard work and intelligence, naturally offer explanations about Otunba’s great thirst for the multiplicity of quality academic and professional qualifications. For instance, apart from being a holder of an MBA degree from the Business School of the Netherlands and another MBA degree in General Management from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, this encyclopedic corporate pacesetter is also a Certified Information System Auditor. Otunba is a multiple Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria; Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria; Nigerian Institute of Management; Nigerian Institute of Marketing and Institute of Management Consultants of Nigeria. He is equally a Full Member of the Institute of Directors, Nigeria and an alumnus of the Prestigious Lagos Business School, Nigeria.
What’s more, in alignment with the natural Virgo attributes of modesty and kindness, Otunba has decided to celebrate his golden birthday not by throwing a multi-million-naira party but by empowering the underprivileged in the society with sewing machines, grinding machines, motorcycles, generators, barbing kits, hairdryers, etc., at Itori, Modakeke and other places. As a Virgo, Otunba understands the importance of networking to business success and social influence and he is utilising it. His membership of Lagos Island Club, Lagos Country Club, Ikoyi Club, Ikeja Golf Club and Abeokuta Sports Club confirms this rare social attribute. Otunba is also a member of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Business Club of Ikeja and Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry as regards Business Advocacy groups.
The marital scorecard of this great man is excellent. Otunba is an epitome of an exceptional husband and responsible father. According to his lovely and magnificent wife, Alhaja Odeyeyiwa Adesola Mutiat, “My God-given husband, Otunba, is both a loving and exceptional husband and father to me. He is equally a caring father to his children. His care, love, maturity and patience have indeed sustained our marriage for about 20 years now and made it enjoyable and successful. My handsome and caring Otunba is my everything in life.”
This great marital testimony is a strong confirmation of Otunba’s success in marriage. So it is commendable that Otunba’s charity begins at home. While it is right to infer that Otunba’s natural attributes of patience, reliability, honesty, hard work, kindness and modesty largely account for his marital, business and philanthropic success, it is equally necessary to applaud his humble, supportive, industrious, intelligent and hospitable Queen for providing him a conducive marital atmosphere and general support that have made him easily record outstanding success. After all, it is said that behind every successful man is a supportive woman. As a Director at Repton Group, Alhaja’s contributions to the success of the Group are remarkable. These are expected, given that through creativity, integrity, sociability and perseverance, this industrious and visionary businesswoman too has been able to build a thriving business empire as a major distributor of Coca-Cola and Seven Up beverages in the South West.
On a final note, Otunba has practically proven that making extraordinary impacts in life has nothing to do with longevity. At the relatively young but action-packed golden age of 50 years, this special human catalyst has recorded multiplicity of outstanding achievements worthy of a 100-year-old man in personal life, societal development and humanitarian interventions. As this exceptional human being breasts the tape of the age race of 50 on Thursday, September 16, my fervent prayer is that there will be increased showers of God’s mercy, favour and blessings as well as a heavy downpour of His (God’s) protection and provision upon him, his family and business. God will bless him with many more eventful years on earth. Happy birthday, our golden Otunba.
GOKE ILESANMI, CEO, Gokmar Communication Consulting is an International Platinum Columnist, Editorial/Business Management Consultant, Biographer and Professional Public Speaker.