Mr. David is a refined property developer. The young man has carved a big niche for himself in the area of providing quality houses. His real estate experience in the US encouraged him to take quality and standard as his watchwords in the Nigeria’s housing industry. He is a quiet man, but has developed many housing estates in Osapa London, Lekki, where he resides.
Recently, he spoke with City People’s Senior Property Reporter, ISAAC ABIMBADE. Enjoy.
Who is the man behind USA Customize Homes?
I am the Chairman and CEO of USA Customize Homes. My name is Mr. David Ekeodo, better known as ‘David Good Man’. I have lived in the US for more than 35 years. Having been in the construction sub-sector in the US, I found it very interesting to come to Nigeria’s construction industry. I struggled to raise the capital base for me to join my colleagues in the industry.
This is basically trying to showcase what I can do, after going round and I saw what other people have done. Most of them are not interested in quality production. They are interested in building houses with low quality materials and cutting corners. I decided that I need to carve a niche in the business by making a difference. Places where I can use about 10 bags of cement to do a particular work, I will use about 15 bags, just to provide better quality in the casting system and as well as use the quality materials; right cables and right building materials, regardless of how expensive they are.
How did you come about USA Customize Homes?
I want to bring in quality housing production. I have experience in quality housing production in the US. That’s what I have decided to do. You can go in and see the interior of the houses I built, and see what my idea is all about. I assured any of my patrons, who buy my building that it would stand the test of the time. I don’t use salt water to cast, I buy portable water and I take much precautionary measures, especially when it comes to plumbing materials to avoid any future linkages. I used Dulux paint, highest quality paint in Nigeria.
How long have you been in the industry?
I have been in the market for a very long time, over 10 years now, just observing what people are doing, playing some roles/parts in the industry by selling land, assisting people in building, until I was able to raise the capital for me to get into the industry.
How do you compare Nigeria’s real estate with that of the US?
There is no much difference about the real estate sector in Nigeria and that of the US. US is an advanced country. The most important thing in the US is that, they have a law that really enforces quality production of their building materials, but here, the laws are there, but there must be more emphasis by the state government or federal government to go round and make sure most of my colleagues in this industry will continue to maintain the good production, so that the buildings can stand the test of the time.
What are the things/laws you want Nigerian government to improve on to make the housing sector better?
The agency that is responsible for housing and urban development should put more emphasis on moving round, making sure that those who are in the construction industry meet up with what the law that guides the housing industry in the country stipulates.
How did you come into the sector because you briefly told us you lived in the US for over 35 years?
I went to school in the US, I graduated and I had my Bachelor degree and I also had my Master’s. I worked in the financial industry in the US because I studied Marketing and Finance. I worked partially in the housing industry in the USA. I came back to Nigeria and I tried to get into the Oil industry haulage, hauling PMS and so on. I didn’t find that very interesting so, I got into the housing industry to build and sometimes get engaged in selling properties. From there, I started building houses after I have raised capital.
Tell us some of the challenges you have faced in the course of this business?
There are really no challenges as I am concerned, because I have already known what to do, structural wise, concrete mixing wise, knowing fully well that you have to do your best. My experience in the US has made an impact on me.
Where are you from?
I am from Enugu State. I went to Kings College, Onitsha and I also went to Primary School in Enugu.
Tell us your growing up years?
I am just as any other average Nigerian. I was born here, but not in a wealthy family, but we are okay.
How does recession affect your business?
Basically, recession! I don’t think there’s recession in the housing industry because there is incredible use of funds that most politicians have taken away from government treasury and they are looking for an avenue to recycle the funds. Mostly, when the buildings are done, you see some clientele or agents of buyers. They would come in and buy the buildings, neither live in it or give it out on rent. I don’t think there’s much recession in the housing industry because buildings are been sold everyday, especially in Osapa area. Let me say this, I have been here for 15 years. I am one of the pioneers of this Osapa London. I was the first settler here and erected the first building in a jungle, where there’s no road to come in. I used Canoe to come in. I wasn’t afraid when I came in and I decided to settle at Lekki.
Who are these people who sold the place?
Eletu family, we have Prince Kazeem Eletu, we have Demola, we have Mudashiru and we also have Baba Oloye. These are the 4 king makers. They are my friends, family and Ibrahim Eletu Odibo was the person who actually encouraged me to come here. He showed me a place that was completely unhabitable for any human being. So, I decided to settle here and he was so surprised that I would buy a swamp. And when Prince Kazeem Eletu came back from England, he had been a wonderful and incredible human being. Coming back from England with English orientation, has made a positive impact on him. He was the architect of developing the roads, building the drainages in Osapa that have made life comfortable and crime free place to live.