Mrs Tolulope Onalaja is the beautiful wife of the GMD of RevolutionPlus, Dr Bamidele Onalaja. She is also the Executive Director of the company. Her core focus is marketing and she has done a lot to build the company into the big brand it is today, in just 8 years. Below, she tells City People the story of the company.
RevolutionPlus is 8, how does it make you feel?
First of all, I’m very grateful to God RevolutionPlus Property is 8. We give glory to God because we can’t do anything without Him. It takes God’s grace to be a successful businessman in Nigeria. It’s not about I went to Harvard University.
How big is the company now compared to the little company it was 8 years ago?
It started as a joke. I said it at the management meeting we had today. I said I heard MD saying when he was about 34/35 years of age that when he would be forty he would not want to work any longer for anybody. Lo and behold, we didn’t even know he would start this business when he was forty. We aren’t there yet because our dreams are big. And we don’t relent because we believe there is still much ground to be covered. But we thank God for this. A lot of people say with just 8 years you are this big, what would you now become if the company clocks 15 or 20!
A lot of people are still sceptical about your recent innovation which allows people to get their land within 48 hours of payment? Can you please clarify this?
One thing in life is when you face challenges, it makes you stronger. For one to be great in life one must go through challenges, because challenges make you better if you can turn things around. For me, despite all the brouhaha, the issue has brought us this far. We never thought we could do the 48 hours of land allocation. Sometimes when you aren’t challenged you can’t innovate. Just like the innovation, we carried out during the Covid-19.
I’m happy because RevolutionPlus has been known for innovation in this real estate business. We started as the first real estate company to fence its estates. And since we had this challenge a lot of companies have been allocating and what that has done is that it has changed the dynamics because RevolutionPlus is giving me land instantly once I pay in full. Why am I buying from you if you can’t give me my land instantly? Before you know it everybody will also copy that initiative. We have sold out the Victory Park estate. This is one of the estates we started with instant allocation. We sold it out in just one month. People are still trooping in to buy other estates. Immediately we changed to instant allocation, and all the people that paid before started getting their survey. We had to change the process because we thought nothing was impossible.
All the estates are already laid out. We have someone like a manager whose job is to bring out clients’ names on the plot which has already been laid out. Our surveyors, engineers and the office work in synergy to achieve results. And it’s working perfectly. We have had a lot of clients praising us for this idea because they thought it was not going to work. And I know it will influence other real estate companies so that we can change the narrative.
What is your plan for your 8th anniversary?
This is going to be like a media parley. Last year we had an elaborate anniversary because 7 is a significant number; a number of perfection. The next big party will be the 10th year anniversary.
This year, we just want Nigerians to know more about RevolutionPlus; especially what the company has done. If we don’t tell our story, nobody will know. The few things we posted online tell people about the company, and now a lot of people say, so you guys have done this much in 8 years and we didn’t know? For instance, RevolutionPlus has been able to do 48 housing estates in the last 8 years. And over 95,000 Nigerians are now landlords, through RevolutionPlus Property.
We have also done a lot of CSR in the last 8 years. We have built different schools. One in Maryland Wasimi, donated to Lagos State Government. One was recently donated in Makoko and another one in Ikorodu, fully funded by RevolutionPlus. Teachers in that school are on the payroll of the RevolutionPlus. We are building a massive hospital in Amuwo Odofin. We have been giving back to society in many ways.
In terms of staffing; direct payrolls are over 300 people. While indirect is in thousands. You don’t just talk down on a company you don’t know much about. At times when we face challenges, we don’t want to bother our clients. At times we run losses on a number of these estates. Sometimes we buy land 3 times and we would just conclude that in business you make losses.
On the issue of delayed allocation, I talked about several reasons why allocations are delayed. There are several reasons why you can have a delay in allocation. This issue is sacrosanct with the business. In government, I have letters of allocation of property we bought 10 -15 years ago, which hasn’t been allocated and they haven’t even communicated to us when they will. And no real estate company can say they don’t have the issue of delayed allocation because it comes with the business. Sometimes when you buy land you realise probably there’s a court case on it, how do you tell your customers who have already bought the land? So in that instance, we would resolve it without letting them know. Because if we raise it, it may trigger up agitations. So what we do is try and resolve the issue and deliver a trouble-free land to them and they won’t know all these. They will say I have fully paid since last year I haven’t been allocated. We have some estates where we had those issues and we have resolved them. Our clients didn’t know all these things. Some of them bought land for #1 million and we have spent #3 million on a plot to resolve crises that may arise. We would not tell them all these.
Sometimes clients are also to be blamed. When you buy land, you have been told you will pay a statutory fee. It’s like that everywhere, even in the US. Your title money can’t be part of your property money. In fact, in the US, you will be asked to go to the Title company to get it done.
We are committed to serving our clients well. All those who subscribe will get their land within the next few months. Everybody will get their land this year. We have been allocating batch by batch. We assure everyone whoever is yet to get their land will get theirs this year.