Dr Oyeleke Ajiboye is one of the best brains in the construction sub-sector of Nigeria’s economy. He is a seasoned professional in real estate development and property management field with several years in the industry.
He holds a B.Sc. (Hons) degree in Electrical/Electronics Engineering from the University of Lagos, an MBA from Lincoln University, Oakland California, USA, with a PhD in Housing and Estate Development. He studied International Commercial Law (LLM) at the University of Salford, Manchester, UK and also a post-doctoral research fellow with Monarch Business School, Switzerland in Behavioural Finance.
He is a fellow of Harvard Negotiation Institute, USA, Fellow of Joint Centre for Housing Studies, Harvard University, USA and so on.
He currently serves as the Group Managing Director of Efficacy Group (Comprising Efficacy Construction Company, Leron Concept Limited and Metro Quarry Limited.
He is also the visioner of a newly built hospital in Ikeja, Olan Medical Centre, which was unveiled a few days back with state-of-the-art facilities. He spoke with City People’s Senior Reporter, ISAAC ABIMBADE, on why he had to diversify into other sectors. He also revealed what he did to stay afloat during the recession and how his contemporaries can survive during the economic crisis.
Below are the excerpts of the interview.
You are the visioner of this project (Olan Medical Centre), what was the vision behind it?
Well, it came out of the desire and passion for wellness and ability to be able to get people to have affordable healthcare in Nigeria, without necessarily travelling abroad or spend their fortunes on wellness.
The last time I checked you were a construction man, but now you are the visioner of the newly built hospital, Olan Medical Centre. Are you also a Medical Doctor?
I am not a medical doctor; my PhD is in Environmental Engineering, but I always do a lot of public health engineering works, so I understand some of the things that cause diseases like air-borne disease, waterborne diseases on public health, from Sewage Water, Co2 and all of those things. So that is my speciality. And because of my passion, I have been able to easily identify with Medical Doctors, understanding their challenges: from equipment to bad/fake drugs, poor laboratory results.
Tell us how Efficacy Construction has fared in the last 3 years?
The construction industry is an industry that is volatile to recession; whenever there is recession austerity comes from real estate and construction, and governments start cutting down on projects and contracts. Construction industry fix-in the highest number of families or self-employed in any country: from suppliers to vendors. The people who are not in paid employment that survive under construction are massive. So, once they (government) start cutting it because it is the same people that will say I want to start buying blocks, I want to buy land, I want to buy a house, they can’t do all these things any longer. So, out of these things, one needs to look for a way to stay afloat and constructively design a business that can augment austerity measure. Healthcare is a sector we have identified. Whether we like it or not, people want to stay alive; so there will always be a reason for people to go for check-ups. There will always be a reason why people want to have children. Many women have fertility issues, all these things are there, at Olan Hospital. But beyond that, in our construction industry, we have been able to go into public health. Because in the last 3 years, our focus has been on public health. We have been doing a lot on Sewage treatment plant, water treatment plant and so on. On the water treatment plant, we have done a lot of free tests. You will see people taking bad iron (water) and they don’t know and that can cause cancer, it can prevent fertility and it can also damage pregnancy. So we have been advising the public in our own capacity to do all that.
We have also been educating most of these big companies that transfer their waste into the gutter. Even the big hotels do that; they transfer their kitchen wastes into the gutter without oil treatment and this happens most on the Island.
How can a real estate or construction person cope in a hard economy aside what you have done which is politics and health?
One of the first things we did when the recession started biting hard in 2016 when there was no project, contract, we had to scale down our services. For instance, a large percentage of our income in 2016 supplied. We had to identify companies that were big in construction that we too can start supplying granite. You can imagine. We were receiving from people when we have a project. So, we started looking out for the companies we can start supplying granites to. We understand the market, and we know the price. So we did that. We also had people that wanted to do interior decoration; we had to set up a department that could do that. And that was what gave birth to Sewage Water and all that. Beyond that also, we left our real estate for a while; we were not selling land and we were just building. We had to go back into that because obviously there was no liquidity, people can’t buy houses. People could actually pay little by little for land and when the economy improves they can start building.
Where do you have those landed properties?
We have in Ibeju-Lekki, we have in Abuja. We have in Lagos Mainland, Shagamu, Arepo.
What we have tried not to do is blow it open and then not be able to do it well because we have seen a lot of people who sell land without infrastructures.
So, we pushed one into the market and we provide the necessary infrastructures. We don’t only provide infrastructure, we provide free design so they can start building immediately. There is no beauty in having an estate that is all bush. There is no beauty in that!
What are the advantages Olan Medical Centre has over other hospitals?
One of our advantages is that we have very high technology equipment. All our equipments are 2018/2019 and we have doctors of over 35 years of experience. We have our partners from America that will be coming to our hospital. Another thing we do is that all of our patients will have access to our doctors 24/7. And our price is very affordable. We are cheaper than most of those hospitals who offer much higher. Our registration is free. We don’t charge to get your data.
So the middle-income earners, low-income earners can also come to the hospital?
We are after everybody. In the month of August, we did a free consultation for all our people in Ikeja and its environs. People came and we gave them a free consultation.