Aare Adetola Emmanuelking is the Founder and Group Managing Director of Adron Homes & Property, a leading real estate company in Nigeria. He is a global thought leader in the field of real estate. He is a man of integrity who believes in the Power of Passion, Perseverance, and dedication to duty. He is committed to helping aspiring land and homeowners worldwide actualize their dream irrespective of their income capabilities, as they need to follow their passion and achieve the Landlord Status beyond their wildest dreams.
Since 7 years ago when the company was established, Adron Homes has covered the entire southwestern states and the core commercial areas of Abuja, Port Harcourt, and selected African State. For Nigerians who also live in the Diaspora, Adron Homes has opened a corporate office in Europe with world-class client service personnel, ready to attend to you.
He recently bagged the Lagos State Man of The Year 2019 and was inducted into the Omoluwa Hall of Fame 2019. He believes that one must never allow the perceptions of others to “impact your own vision of what is possible for the future”
City People Media Team recently stormed his corporate office at Omole Estate in Ogba and had a long interview with this ever jovial CEO who is always brimming with ideas.
Read excerpts of the interview below.
Congratulations on all the landmark achievements you made this year 2019. How has it been?
Oh.. thank you. In fact, one of our media partners came to me recently and told me his brand used to mock us when we first started. He said they used to wonder how Adron Homes would survive with the 500 naira daily payment plan to own a land. He said maybe we think we are selling bread or biscuit.
But the man admitted that he was dazzled and now wanted to come to learn the intricacies of real estate business from us.
He noticed we were consistent. We put up all our updates and how far we have gone with all our housing projects. Two years down the land, we have acquired so much. And when he started seeing our gigantic houses, he said: “hold on!”. Let me come and check you out. During Christmas, he sent a ram to me, he also sent a gigantic hamper to me. This man admitted they used to make jest of Adron Homes that we will soon go off the real estate market.
He said even those people collecting millions do not have such facilities in their estate and us that are collecting merely 500 naira, 1000, is having a basketball court, playing ground for children and first-class facilities in our estates. So, I don’t believe in the follow-follow idea of running a business. You don’t just copy an idea without understanding the inspiration and the depth of brainstorming that birthed such an idea. You will only fail.
Every year, we allocate nothing less than 250 million for adverts. It is because we have landlords and other people already living in our estates. We have concrete things to show. If you are into real estate and you have not grown to the extent of having landlords, already habiting your estate, it will be suicidal for you to copy the same concept and allocating the same budget for adverts.
You see, life is in phases. You should grow. If we, at our own level are allocating 250 million, those who are just growing shouldn’t do more than 50 million naira. This business is more than just advertorial, VGC will never advertise outside their target area where they will get prospective buyers. You don’t have to advertise for the sake of it, because the product speaks for itself. The reason why we advertise is that our model of business deals with the peripheral of a state, so we need people to know, we need to make noise. If my project is inside Magodo, I don’t need much noise. But if we are in Badagry, people need to know where in Badagry.
We open virgin land. We open new towns. So you have to understand why we are doing this. So it’s no use copying us without understanding the concept behind it. You’ll miss the mark entirely.
So in this profession, most people have taken themselves as rivals instead of complementing one another by sharing models that work independently for one another. I love to advise and take advice from my colleagues, why not? People are learning from us and we also need to learn for some people too.
How do you take the competition? Are you bothered that competition is keen?
No no. we are not bothered. It has always been like that in the Corporate world. It is called Corporate Warfare. It happens everywhere. Remember it was CloseUp, who started the Sachet toothpaste. Before you knew it, others too have copied it. It’s normal. But it has helped us to be on top of our game. If we use 2 hours in our Monthly performance report, now we use 4 hours. It has compelled me to buy more books. It has inspired me to research more on what next because eni ta n’wo ki’ wo ran (The one who is being watched must be focused). Now that I know that they are watching me, now I know I have to be on top of my game. It’s really helping us. But I tell you if there is no competitor, we might just be doing our regular thing. We are happy, we are groundbreakers, so I feel happy when I notice others are copying us. I can tell you that. It’s a joy, because if you are not doing well, nobody will copy you. They don’t just copy anybody. So, it’s a pride to us that when we do things, in 2,3 weeks we see the same thing adopted by other companies. For instance, when we started the Cow promo, three weeks later we saw some other real estate companies doing the same thing. So, after all, we have done, the people see the result and said, let’s follow Adron Homes, he’s the one doing cow. This makes Adron homes the custodian and the initiator of the idea, you will know more than the person who just copied and pasted. You will not know the Pros and cons. You may know some, but you will not know the depth of the process as much as the originator.
For example, we have a stage by stage plan for the Cow. We will be distributing about 50 cows to celebrities all over the nation. They may not have that. They just saw our handbill and they copied, but they don’t know other things that we still have.
Now we have testimonials. As we are giving these cows, they are doing the recording of the recipients. We are going on Channels TV and showing all these videos. They may not know of these plans, but after they see the videos, they will want to copy, and the yuletide would have been over by that time.
And this is a pride to us that we have become a model for our contemporaries.
Aside from the concept as it comes, how far is your ideal towards reading?
Nobody that is running this type of business today will not have flair for reading. When I travel, I ensure that I buy books. I keep learning and I carry my excos along too. We have a strategy in the department, we pick a book and we study in a group.
There is a book now by Rev. Tope Popoola titled Leadership is for the dead. It’s a 12 chapter book, so each of us takes 2 chapters to read and discuss. Next year is our “Adron Everywhere” mission. Because we are also a bible believing organization, our major guide is the Bible. The bible makes us understand that except an ear of corn falls to the ground and dies, it will not grow and multiply, that’s the direction of the book Leadership is for the dead. It is so rich and filled with lots of nuggets. So we need to make a lot of sacrifices to be where we want to be. That’s one of the essence of my continuous hunger for more knowledge, for more books and more current information.
Wherever you are going in life, you need to drop something to get to that place. City People at a time were not printing on the current size. At a time, you started printing on the glossy cover. I just heard you have a digital version now, next will be City People TV and so on. So we need to metamorphose to fit into the changing clime.
It was Nokia that said “We didn’t do anything wrong, but we failed”. And absolutely, they didn’t do anything wrong, but what they didn’t was that they did not move with the changing technology as phones were becoming smarter.
I was discussing with someone recently and he told me, in the next 5 to 10 years, you might not be needing a bank personnel or Accounts officer to transfer or withdraw money. You might not need any banking structure to open an account and run it, as everything will be on your phone. This means that banks will be physically off the street. I was using that template to teach my people that a time will come that the game will change and so we need to be on top of it. We should be thinking of how to market, allocate and navigate lands via our mobile phones, and you download your document.
In the next stage, in the next 10 to 15 years in this country, there won’t be cars that will use diesel or petrol anymore. It will be electric cars everywhere. If what it takes to get here is by research, then we can’t stop the reading culture.
This year has been a wonderful year for Adron Homes with many evident achievements in all fronts. You have also won the Lagos State Man of The Year and also got enlisted in the Omoluwabi Hall of Fame. Do you feel fulfilled? Do you think you have reached the peak of your projected achievement?
No. I don’t. Take, for example, we tagged this year a year of Total Dominion. We live each year by its name. 2019 is a year of Total Dominion as a company, and we begin to dominate everywhere. We expanded our businesses, increased our workforce, increase our products. We have entered into west African countries and all of that. To the extent that I was nominated as Lagos State Man of the Year and I won. And you know without Lagos State, there is no Nigeria. The Governor of Lagos State is more like the Vice President of Nigeria. Whoever rules Lagos is like the next in command. I didn’t win Lagos Stateman of the year just as a person, I won because I am the MD/CEO of Adron Homes. That means, truly, we took dominion. So, next year, 2020, is our year of Adron Everywhere, we have milestones; 2021,2022 and so on. We also have 5 years of milestones and vision. Now, if you ask me what is the zenith of your vision? To answer that question, when I obtained my Master’s degree in 2008, when I was leaving the Master’s school in the University of Ibadan, all these ideas were infused in me and I said to myself, “I want to rebuild Nigeria’s housing system. Housing is the identity of any nation, Housing is the identity of any community if we close our eyes as we are here now, and once we open our eyes and we are in the north when we step out, you will know that you are no longer in Lagos. By the virtue of the housing structures, we will know we have left Lagos.
If we all close our eyes and we find ourselves in England, we will know that we are no longer in Lagos, even if we have not seen any white man, but buildings around will speak loudly enough.
If you are in China, you will know by the housing structures, the same for India and so on. What I am saying is simple; Housing defines a continent, a country, a state, and a community.
If you get to the north, the atmosphere is different, the houses are different. They have their own shape of their own houses. So, I want to make it in such a way that when you think about Nigeria, you think of great structure, look at our gatehouses, no real estate company has ever built that massive estate gatehouses like ours, not one.
We begin to redefine the country’s outlook. When you get to Dubai, nobody will tell you this is Dubai. In fact when we were on the airplane the last time I took my family on Vacation. As we were descending in the air, I called my wife’s attention to the night sky and the beautiful scene. “Look at the Dubai,” I told her. The scene is beautiful. But when we got back to Lagos (laughs), we came back in the night. There was darkness everywhere. I said ‘Oh, Nigeria’.
So our vision is to give a new identity of the Nigeria housing sector, so when you think about Nigeria, you will remember tall buildings, estates, beautiful gatehouses, recreation park..that is the Zenith. That was what came to me as a vision when I had my Masters’ Degree in 2008. And I resigned from where I was working. I was working with PHCN, and I resigned. People said something was wrong with for quitting my job at the time when I was supposed to wait for 10 years to get gratuity. I made them realize PHCN was dying and I prayed for them to get their so-called gratuity.
I have no fewer than 3 persons from PHCN working with me here now. So our mission is to expand so much that the Nigerian border will feel the expansion. By the Grace of God, we will go to The Atlantic Ocean and Increase Lagos, increase Rivers because of our housing need.
And for whoever cares to listen; Nigeria’s population is not 200 million, we are nothing less than 400 million. So the potential is there because I have never been counted. I remember the last censor, they came to mark our house. Despite that we waited; myself, my grandmother, and everyone in my house, we waited and nobody came. And I asked some of my colleagues who also attested that they were not counted. So, you can now imagine the multiplying effect.
It was when I started this real estate business that I got to some hamlets, inside the jungle, that they have not even captured their data. Farmers that live in the 50s, 30s in their hamlets that the government doesn’t even know they exist, you see them in the very remote areas. You’ll agree with me that we are more than 200 million. The government must be interested to know its population because it’s a key tool for investment, and in order to plan, budget and allocate resources appropriately. God has blessed us. The population is a blessing. But we don’t know. We have no reason to borrow.
If the government wants money for instance, just let every Nigerian give one naira. If we are 400 million, you can imagine how much they will raise. Let us just pay one naira from today, till the next 30 days and see what will happen. All the money they are borrowing is in this country. We can raise the money in this country. We have the resources. Manpower resources, land bank resources, intellectual resources, we have everything. So, real estate will determine the future of any country, because it dictates the pace of growth and pace of industrialization. Real estate is everything.
We are not going to America and the U.K because we want to see a white man. They are here in Lagos. We are going out to get a picture of the developed world outlook.
Will you be available to help and support the government within the advisory capacity, considering your depth of knowledge and expertise in the real estate sector?
People have asked me this question personally. You, see I am already helping the government with what I am doing presently. If I’m made the governor of any state of the country, I might not even need an adviser, just look at what people are doing, every citizen is my advisers, you don’t need to higher specialist in some areas where you are following a section of people who are fully into the same area and a doing so well. With what I am doing now, I am actually part of the government.
When I get to some of our estates, they welcome me as the Governor and they table their requests, and I work towards ensuring that all the requests are met. So, I’m part of the whole picture of the government. However, if I am being called upon for advice or contribution, why not? But I have been doing that without anyone calling me. So, I’m available, and I am already doing the job.
From the very day you decided to take this journey, has there been any time you felt challenged and wanted to reconsider your area of career?
No, not at all. I have chosen this career and decided this is what I will do forever and leave to generation unborn. But in terms of the challenges, they are enormous. It’s like flying against the wind; government policies, the housing sector policies. The state government policies, the Omo-Onile (landowners) policies, even payment of tax, and the rest; multiple taxations! They are not encouraging for business owners at all.
When we were to establish an office in the U.K, I started enumerating the expenses that I perceived would be incurred, especially all the taxes as we do in Nigeria.
They were looking at me when I started mentioning those things that I thought that I will have to pay taxes on. They said No! we don’t do that here. They made me realize that it’s free to put the signage of my company or brand my car in the U.K. I was surprised.
The analysis was simple. All the marketing strategies that I feel I can use to promote my business will increase my income, so I am paying income tax on the gross income of 10,000 pounds, and my strategy increases my personal income to 50,000 pounds, the government will gain from my increased income tax. It’s that simple!
I was impressed!
Back here in Nigeria, we pay every tax payable, like; car branding, signages, billboards, local government, stage government, everything. And its not encouraging thriving businesses at all. How are we going to break even, even from the little profits, you still pay the income tax. Also, our land system is another big challenge. Our land system must change. Look at the United Arab Emirates for instance, if I was born in that part of the world, I will be a very happy man today. I am a successful man now and I am very happy, but I am stressed here in Nigeria. We do not sleep. I am not sleeping, not because of hard work. I just cant sleep, because a lot of things will pass by. You’ll even employ somebody who’s qualified and very sound, but he’ll be planning on how to divert company’s money.
Many mployee have become a curse to companies. You employ a job seeker and the next think on his mind is how to defraud the company. I have employed Pastors, Bishops as accountant. You know in those days when you hear “deeper life”, it comes with a degree of moral confidence. I gave my life to Christ in the era of Deeper Life, so I can relate with the measure of moral and spiritual purity that is expected of a godly person. No matter the system you put in place in an organization, it still comes down to the human being who operates the system. If the operator is not sincere or faithful, it will still crash. You are just wasting your money to get the best of guys, it will still fail.
So the challenges are enormous, but we are fulfilled when we see our clients, our landlords coming to site and feeling fulfilled, getting our lands and houses. Some of them don’t even believe the mighty structures they see when they get to our various sites. There has never been a case of a prospect getting to any of our sites and losing interest. Instead, they invest ahead what they initially planned. They will end up buying 10, 15, 20 plots and recommending to their colleagues, families and friends. Those have been our driving force. Let me share an experience I had with my friend, when I invited him to witness the groundbreaking of our Buckingham Palace when he saw the gigantic gatehouses, he exclaimed, oh’, Dangote lives here too? And the driver said “Noo, that’s our estate”. He didn’t believe his eyes! So, those testimonials make us happy and gave us the fuel and push to go on, despite the cumbersome challenges. So, we encourage ourselves, no matter what’ happening, lets continue to do what we are called to do.
Where next do you see Adron Homes in 10 Years?
By the grace of God, Nigeria is a great nation blessed with great minds. When, we are celebrating 10 years, as we contribute our own quota in the development of the nation. it can only get better. The present government is doing well. It’s only precept upon precepts. As they are building a structure, successive administration will build on it and the one after will build. It can only get better. The picture of Nigeria in 1990 and the picture of Nigeria in 2000 was not the same. If you look at the picture of year 2000 of Nigeria and year 2019 of Nigeria, you will notice the huge difference. You’ll notice there will be some measure of visible growth. And at Adron Homes as a company, it can only get better.
When are you unveiling Adron Homes Everywhere corporate promo?
By January, we usually have our retreats, all the concerned personnel, that is the group heads will come with their presentation, they’ve all been given their statements of purpose. They will come with their slides to present to the board.
God has really helped us. Honestly, it has been God. We have never borrowed one dime to achieve these projects. And these are projects that run into billions of naira, and yet we have never borrowed a dime. I will always thank my father in the Lord, who’s my mentor, Bishop David Oyedepo. He has been my mentor from 1997 that I have joined the winner’s chapel. He has taught us some hard principles of success in life, like the Law of Purpose. Law of intent. So many things that I have learnt from him. Just like our church usually has Vision for every year, Adron also has a purpose for every year. Every month, we have something to achieve. If we agree that we are buying an estate, we rush into the place, and buy, and start building, just as if we’re just starting. So, it’s been God all the way.