MD/CEO Hon. Dr. GABRIEL OLUWAFEMI, Tells City People
Femost Homes Ltd is big in real estate. It is one of the leading real estate companies in Lagos with many projects to its credit. Many always don’t believe it whenever they hear that its a 4 year old company, set up by Hon. Dr. Gabriel Oluwafemi, a dynamic young Lagos businessman who has done well for itself. He is not only a real estate player, he is also an active politician, who is a valued member of Lagos APC. He was a Lagos APC House of Assembly aspirant for Kosofe Constituency 1.
But his main focus of business is Real Estate. How has business been, we asked him? “Business has been good. But of course it comes with its own challenges. Most especially when you do business in Nigeria, it does not come easy. Business in Nigeria has to do with the powerful. But we thank God. We have made God our strong pillar. If you make God your strong pillar, doing business in Nigeria, with God’s support, you will do well. I will basically give all the glory to God. It has been God from the beginning, God in the middle, God till the end. God has made the journey easy for us.”
At the time he decided to go into it, what was the attraction? Where was he coming from? “I went into real estate not because I wanted to do Real Estate, but because I have passion for real estate. I once worked with a Real Estate company, a well known real estate company. I worked there for about 7 years, I have studied all the rudiments, everything. And I have studied the fall and the rise of some other real estate companies.”
“I started Femost Homes out of passion, out of, let us also see how we can occupy it, how we can also give hope to those who are homeless in Nigeria, lets see how we can fill up that gap also. That was how Femost Homes came into life. So far so good, God has helped us. We have been able to put smiles on a lot of people’s faces. We are not saying we are perfect. We also have one or two challenges. We are still upcoming. But in our 4 years journey, we give God the glory. We still don’t have one single court case as we speak. It is not because we know how to do it, it is because God is in a journey with us. You know when God is in a journey with you, the journey is smoother. And that is how far we have found outselves.”
At the time, he came into the industry, what was the focus? What was he trying to do? What was the set aim? “I simply looked at the industry and what it has to offer. I am a young guy. I looked at the employment rate in Nigeria. Its on the low side. If I start a company like Femost Homes, I am not the only one that will do it all alone. I will have people coming to work with me. With Femost Homes, automatically I have been able to reduce the unemployment rate issues. That is one of the reasons I came into Real Estate. Another reason is that as far as Lagos State is concerned, we have not served everybody in terms of real estate. It is not everybody that owns a home. Real Estate had started even before we started. But when we came into the business, we have also been able to impact other people’s lives and we are still doing that.” “So, 2 things brought us into Real Estate: To create shelter for people, to make people happy, to make people have a family. Then also to curb the unemployment situation we have in Nigeria”.
We got him to also talk about projects and estates. How has the spread being. “Haa! I am beginning to lose count. In 4 years, we have delivered about 8 estates. We give God the glory that even in some of our estates people are building already. We have video evidence on our social media platform, in terms of delivery. In terms of allocation, we have done very well. Even if nobody thanks us. We can say that. But one of the mistakes real estate people found themselves doing is in the area of allocating. We don’t see any reason why you have your money paid and the allocating will now be a problem. That should be a delight to us since the land is there. So, in terms of project delivery, I can rate ourselves over 80%.
We asked him to tell us about the major estates of Femost Homes. “We started with Orile Igbein, that is along Lagos-Ibadan expressway, opposite Makun City, not far away from Redeemed Camp. We started with that. As we speak, we have sold out. We have 30 buildings there, going on. From there out of over subscribing and the people’s demand, we went to another neighbourhood not far away from that place called Orile Imo. We call that place Community of Wisdom, opposite International Breweries. That place too was sold out with the help of God. And people are building already. After over subscribing again, we went to Pleasant Grove Estate. (Orile Imo Phase 2). Now in Orile Imo, we have about 3 estates, and they are all sold out. We have Arepo. That one is selling as we speak. We have Magodo Phase 1 it is selling as we speak. We did allocation in Magodo Phase 1, last month. It is selling as we speak. We have a new baby that we just gave birth to last week, Kajola (meaning we should all come together and make wealth).”
“That is just behind International Breweries here, at Sagamu, along Lagos-Abeokuta expressway where we have Nestle, Apple & Pears. We have a lot of industrial concerns around that area, at the Sagamu Interchange area. It is just opposite Nestle. We have about 140 acres there. We have started selling. So, that is the newest baby.”
“We have in Ibeju, in Ibeju-Lekki. We have land and estates almost everywhere. And we have buildings that we are doing in Magboro, semi-detached duplexes, selling for as low as N60 million, as we speak.” So, what is his message to his potential first time customers? “The 1st thing I will tell anybody that is yet to get, or that is yet to even subscribe is that there is no way anybody will not want a property. There is no way anybody would not buy land. Please make sure you buy that land when you are alive because if you fail to buy that land when you are alive, they will buy it on your behalf when you die. And that is where you will be buried. So, why not just buy when you are alive, rather than when you die and they buy land on your behalf. So, I advise everybody to come on board. It is an investment. And you can never go wrong with investments. Yes, people often get their fingers burnt in the process of investments but in life when you fail, you won’t say because you have fallen you give up. You have to rise up again. And you keep rising. We just don’t sell land and houses to people. We do community service for people. We have bought transformers for communities. We have brought electricity to that community.”
“The love of the people is what drives us and we would keep doing our best to make sure that in the next 2 years we should be in the global mark, by Gods Grace”.
How does he think the government can help real estate players with their developments and make life easier? “The government is supposed to say ok, this particular portion of land, developers go in there, release documents to us and we would come to an agreement. Not the ones you buy from Government or you buy from families. No. No. I think the new incoming government should let Real Estate add to the GDP of Nigeria. Government should work on how to hasten the processing of Title documents. It should not be taking for ever. The people in Land Ministry should also come out straight. There are some land that we all know is free, but they will put it under acquisition, all because of the money they want to make. So, they should be transparent and open with everybody. They should make Nigeria a place for everybody to enjoy and live in. Government should please look into it.”
We got him to tell us a bit about his growing up years. Where was he born? Where did he grow up? “I was born in Lagos, Kosofe to be precise. Growing up as a child was not an easy task. But we thank God with the help of my wonderful parents-My dad and mum are still alive. And I pray that they will stay to be 100 and above. I was trained in the Christian way. And I think that is what is still speaking for me till tomorrow.”
“I am also into Politics. When I went into Politics then, I remember somebody warned me. He said if you want to know the hidden story of your life, go into politics. But thank God I went into Politics & I could not find one person, to say negative things about me. I was shocked. Even me, I didn’t know I have a good track record, until when I didn’t see anybody say negative things about me. I then said oh, I think to some extent, I have lived a perfect life. I appreciate God, because growing up has been a wonderful journey.”
Has he left Politics now? “No, I am still in Politics. We just had to change the narrative. You can do business and still be into Politics, because we can’t all leave politics for them. Infact for you to be successful in Politics you must have done well in Business, you must have managed people, you must have managed resources. You need experience to succeed in Politics.”
As we move close to the end of the year, what are we to expect from Femost Homes? “We are going to do more projects. Between now and end of the year, we promise to deliver the new born baby we just gave birth to at Kajola, at Sagamu and Epe also to be precise. We have other offers and we are still considering the offers. Before the end of the year, the whole world should get to know about us. And we believe that with the help of City People, the world will get to know about us.
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