Dr Bamidele Onalaja is the MD of RevolutionPlus Property Development Company and the current Chairman of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, (REDAN).
The Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) is the principal agency and umbrella body of the organised private sector (Public & Private) responsible in Nigeria, having been conferred with official recognition by the Federal Government of Nigeria since November 2002.
A few weeks ago, Lagos State Chapter of the association (REDAN) had its maiden real estate awards at Oriental Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos.
This young and dynamic man who is the chairman of the association, had his first degree in Economics and a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA, Marketing) from the Lagos State University (LASU) He proceeded to the University of Lagos (UNILAG) where he had his advanced Diploma in Project management and became a member of the project management institute (PMI) in the United States of America. In 2004, he joined Agbara Estates Ltd as the marketing manager to pioneer the sale of the “Vivas Home Project” within the estate and other phases of development which recorded monumental success. Thereafter he joined Refuge Home Savings and Loan Ltd (Mortgage Bankers) as the head of projects and business development, where he pioneered the department and guided the bank into acquiring land properties.
Few months back he emerged the Real Estate Developers Association Of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter (REDAN) Chairman. In his last 4 months in office as the Chairman, he’s done a lot. He spoke with City People Senior Reporter, ISAAC ABIMBADE (08155107955) about his plans for the REDAN. Below are excerpts.
Congratulations sir! You are the first Chairman to have successfully hosted key players in your sector to a successful award. How do you feel sir?
Thank you so much. Bamidele Onalaja is my name. I’m the Chairman of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Lagos Chapter, (REDAN).
Many people have been asking why we organise this award? Like you know, the pandemic has affected a lot of people, a lot of sectors and a lot of companies but some real estate developers have distinguished themselves. And we also have some old term developers. We just called them together and honoured them.
We also have the Executive Governor of Lagos state here being represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr Kadri Hamzat. We have a Commissioner for Housing, Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development. The Special Adviser to Governor on Housing. The Permanent Secretary Land Bureau, Mr Bode Agoro, and all his entourage from land came. We have the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi. He came here to honour us. He was a member of REDAN before he became the Ooni Of Ife. He came to identify with his people. So we have a successful programme and we have so many people being honoured. It was a successful programme. And this can only be the beginning. REDAN Lagos is going to work closely with the government to make sure that all real estate developers obey the law in their conduct.
Like I always say, we don’t have oil in Lagos, but the land is our oil here in Lagos. If it’s properly regulated everybody would be happy.
How were you able to unite and appease some of the giants in your sector to attend this event?
All of over the year, my strategy has been teamwork. I don’t take glory for anything. So when we got inaugurated in August, I shared responsibility to everyone, even to the secretary. Lagos REDAN excos are just the best. They supported me. They worked closely with me. Dr Lolade is the Chairman of the award tonight and she did so well. And I also thank the committee members. I’m just an adviser. We wrote to some of them to attend this event and I also called some of them personally. And because of my pedigree, they respected me. I brought some of them to join REDAN and they know I’m a very humble person. I work closely with everybody. I have no enemy. Everybody is happy with me.
How do you intend to work with Lagos State governor? What are the things you have done in the last few months as the Chairman and what are your other plans?
We are already working with the governor.
When we assumed office, we paid a courtesy visit to the Special Adviser to the governor on Housing Mrs Toke Benson-Awoyinka. We highlighted our points. She told us the expectation of the government towards real estate and housing. LASRERA is a regulatory authority in Lagos State. We also met with Permanent Secretary of Land Mr Bode Agoro and we said we want synergy between the government and the operator and he gave us his words. He said the government will work with us closely, that they have been waiting for us to come up with this initiative. Because it is better government works with the unified body than the individual. The unified body will make the job easier for the government.
We are going to do Joint Venture with the government. The government is going to give us land across the Lagos State. REDAN wants to build 100 homes in each Local Government across Lagos State. From next year, we are going to be more closer to the government. We are going to build habitable houses everybody can live in. We are happy the governor is so supportive. We had a meeting with him a few days ago. He’s built REDAN. The land is oil in Lagos and he believes that if he works closely with the builders their jobs will be easier and everybody will be happy.
Where are you taking REDAN to in a few years time sir? What is the big picture you have?
REDAN is a tenure-based organisation. Let’s say 2 to 3 years I will be out and another person will come in but I want to lay a foundation because there’s not been Lagos REDAN. This is the first Lagos REDAN executives. So I want to lay a foundation so that anybody that comes in will have a structure to follow.