Aare Adetola Olaonipekun EmmanuelKing is a big player in the Real Estate sector. He is the GMD of Adron Homes & Properties. He was our Guest recently on our City People TV Instagram Live Chat during which he revealed how ADRON Homes coped with the 3 months lockdown. For ADRON Homes, the GMD says business has been good. It is an interesting interview.
How has ADRON Homes coped with the Covid-19 Lockdown since March?
The lockdown affected all the sectors of society. At Adron, we are into Real Estate business and whatever affects Real Estate business, generally speaking, affects everybody because it is a global pandemic.
However, an individual’s extra-mile approach helped. When we saw that the centre point of everything about this pandemic did not look good, we took some key decisions. I can tell you that Housing seems to be the best vaccine right now. It is the vaccine we know until any other new thing comes up. Right now, it is Stay at Home. There is a 10 pm curfew now. That gave us the impetus to look inwards and think of what to do. We doubled our efforts. We started creating products, more products that will be affordable to Nigerians. For us, it has been an awesome experience.
What were you able to come up with?
We came out with a product called VIDCO, the reverse spelling of COVID. VIDCO Homes come in Bungalows, Terrace houses and Detached homes. For as low as N7 million, you will have a shell house and you can finish it up and move in. A lot of clients are already requesting this particular product. We have it almost in all our estates at Atan, Otta, Shimawa (at the back of Redeemed) we have it in Ibadan in all our estates in Ibadan and Abuja, we have it in Ikorodu, at Imota. We also have it in Badagry.
How many outlets do you have now on ground?
Right now, all the ones we have on ground are gone. People subscribed to them we have embarked on another 50 already. More are still coming on a daily basis.
In total, how many estates does ADRON Homes have?
In ADRON Homes, for now, we have over 30 estates. We just added about 6. On Saturday and Sunday, I was in Osogbo. Being the Grand Patron of PCRC, during COVID-19, I went around giving palliatives to Police. We discovered that our presence is needed in Osogbo, Akure and Ado-Ekiti. I just completed another trip yesterday. So, by this Saturday, we are starting 3 estates. One will be located before getting to Osogbo, a little bit after Ede, we have a project there. We have Buckingham Parks & Gardens, now in Osogbo, about 1-minute drive to get into the metropolis. After Ede, we have a big estate sitting on 800 acres in Osogbo, along Ilesha road, Miami Parks & Gardens in Osogbo. We also have Paris Parks & Gardens, just as you are about leaving Osogbo on the road to Ikirun. There is a massive estate over 1,200 acres of land for the 1st Phase.
We are also establishing 3 estates in Ondo State, the Sunshine State. We are having Manchester Parks & Garden in the ancient town of Ondo. In Akure, we are having Toronto Parks & Gardens and in Owo we are having Amsterderm Park & Gardens.
These are lovely estates that are conceptualised in a way to look like what name will are calling them right now. For instance, if you go to Manhattan Park & Gardens in Abuja, on Nassarawa road, you will see some similarities about the Manhattan city in New York. We have a look-alike statue of Liberty. We just labelled it that way so that people can feel like ok, though, I am not in Paris, but they can see what they will see if they go to Paris in these estates.
What are the lessons that we can learn from the COVID-19 Lockdown?
I will categorise the lessons into 2 groups majorly. The 1st lesson is that you have to be Globally compliant. When this thing first happened and they started saying Stay at home, stay safe, what we experienced was that where is home in Nigeria? Where is home? I think 12 years ago I first heard the concept of 1 Million Boys during Jonathan reign during fuel scarcity period. Then, there was the guys were going round and there was upheaval in town.
As an expert and a professional, I kept asking: who are these 1 Million Boys? They said they were homeless people, homeless boys, sleeping under the bridge, sleeping there. In 2020, they came out again and they said they were now 100 Million Boys. All over the world, it has never happened anywhere that people could not sleep because they said some people were hungry. Nowhere, no country or continent has experienced that, except Nigeria.
We have a huge housing deficit. There are official figures but the street information is that we have over 100 million housing deficit as against the 18 million we used to hear about. So, No 1, when we say Stay at home, there was no food, no electricity, there was no palliative. So, we can’t just copy what the Western World was doing. So, the 1st thing our Government needs to look at is that, we must be Globally compliant.
When they say work from home, it is easy in the Western world because most people abroad work from home. In my journey around the world, I see people working from home. Some of my friends have home offices. Almost every home has a home office. So, when the Government told them to work from home it made sense to them abroad. They can relate to that. But, here in Nigeria, when you say work from home, it is difficult to achieve. I can tell you that some businesses are dead. A few days ago, I went to the Estate Plaza of the estate where I live, I saw that many shops there were closed, the owners have moved out. Almost half of the businesses are dead.
No 2. We have to be indigenously compliant. We need to look inwards. What is the African solution to this? Dr. Raymond Dokpesi gave us a clue that this thing looks like Malaria. He was treated with Malaria drugs while in isolation. That should reset our minds to what we should focus on. We have a lot of trado-medical practitioners, highly accredited ones. The likes of Yemkem, the late Oko Oloyun. I remember reading an article where the Imperial Majesty, the Ooni of Ife, was saying that there was a solution to this. So, let’s look inwards. We don’t need to look outside for the solution. We need to get a solution in our own way. We have a clue that this thing looks like Malaria. So, we have a clue. Let’s look inwards and indigenously, let’s find a solution to it.
Everybody is talking about the New Normal now. So, what’s the New Normal for Real Estate?
There are so many things that are coming up. We can do business online. We can communicate and market our products online. As at now, it is only half of the strength of our staff that are coming to the office because of social distancing. I can tell you that we are still doing very well. Financially, as an organisation, we are doing very well because we can market online. Now, we work longer time. Sometimes as at 1 am, some of my staffers are still at work because they are working from home.
So, the New Normal for us in Real Estate is that those things that need contents, physical content we can now do them through Online Marketing, Online business.
What we have realised is that whatever the pandemic brings, whatever illness, or diseases, Covid-19 brings, Home is at the centre of healing. To us now, Home is the new vaccine. Stay at Home. Stay Safe.
Are you saying Covid-19 has brought Real Estate into minds of Nigerians?
Absolutely Yes. 100%. Absolutely, because people are now beginning to think of where they live. Where they live really goes a long way in staying alive. I am using this opportunity to talk to my colleagues to really begin to showcase their products. This is the real-time to showcase their products, and make Home purchases, home buying to be very, very convenient and make home affordable for Nigerians because of the economic hardship in the country.