Within Lagos social scene right now, Chief Moshood Muhamad Jamiu Abiodun is one of the rich Lagos Celebrity men we hardly talk about. He is very quiet. But ask if Turaki Estate Chairman is rich, you will be surprised to see many rich men affirming that he quite wealthy.
The Oluomo Adeen Ilugun Oke Ona Egba, Oluomo Adeen Mokola Oke Ona Egba, Baba Adinni Ibaragunland, Turaki Adeen Kunfayakun Worldwide runs a chain of businesses that have made him very popular.
What is his success story like? How did he build his business empire? What has brought him this far and what has life taught him? City People’s Assistant Society Editor, ABIOLA ORISILE, had an exclusive interview with him where he spoke on how he started making is millions in his 20s.
How come you live a quiet life despite your wealth?
I’m sure, a simple person who takes life like nothing. Life, to me, is nothing. Once I’m eating and taking care of my family, life is okay. I’m not praying to God to be like Dangote, but if God says it’s in my destiny to be richer than Dangote, then I’d accept it. But I’m not going to wake up one day and pray that let me be like Dangote. But if it’s in my destiny, He (God) knows what’s not going to affect me and shorten the life I’m going to live, then He should go ahead. But if the wealth is going to affect my personal life, my relationship with people, I don’t want that kind of wealth. I don’t want the kind of wealth that would make me not to serve my Almighty Allah, that will not make me observe my five times prayer in a day, I don’t want that kind of wealth. I want wealth that would make me have a good relationship with Almighty God.
You are highly religious despite your wealth, is that not true?
I’m a devoted and practicing Muslim. Not a Muslim who will pray and go to herbalist tomorrow. I don’t believe in vision. My wife knows me, my security people know. When you say you see a vision for me, I will tell them to beat you. I hate it. If I want to find out about things, I’d pray to God and He will show the things to me. I’m too close to God. I don’t have anything that I’m doing than praying to God. I don’t have any source of money.
I studied abroad, I have a tourism company abroad. I’m also an European citizen to the core. I’m using a red passport. I invested over there, I have the money. My wife asked me to divert some of my cash to real estate and she is a good wife and I did and I did not regret it.
How is it like coming from abroad to Nigeria. How easy was it for you to shift base?
I will tell you the truth, it’s not easy. I love to travel abroad every two months, but my wife made me stay because he loves me and wants to see me always. This is why I have a security aide because there is no security in Nigeria. That’s why I wrote to the government to give me some security guards because I wanted to invest in Nigeria. Once your business is legit, you can ask for security. They came to my house to investigate me and gave me the security guards.
How have you been doing it every day, waking up to pray for four hours?
It’s part of my culture. I was born and bred a Muslim at Mokola, Abeokuta. I’m the Oluomo of Ilugun. My grandmother brought me up that way. If I didn’t pray that time, I’d be flogged. So, I’m used to the system. My mum always tell me that Ola Tolorun ba see fun yan lo ma pe, (literally means only God-given wealth lasts). There is even a verse in the Quran that says so. That’s why you see some people, they have money today, tomorrow it’s gone.
How come that it is now we are hearing of the Turakis?
That should be because I’ve not been to Nigeria. There are some people who are richer than me in Nigeria. They live abroad doing a legit business and nobody knows them. But now, we are in a world of social media and people know who you are. There are some people who are richer than Dangote and they are silent about their status, go to but social media to expose people and their status.
You are a very shy person. How come people know you even when you were abroad?
One thing about me is that I don’t forget my background. If I start telling you how I grew up, we would not leave here.
Were you born with a silver spoon?
The story you are trying to going into is a very deep one. My grandfather was a rich man in his days in their village. He was like a king during his time. I grew up on my own with the help of Almighty Allah and my mum. And my supportive wife.
What was the first thing you did to make money?
In 1995, when I finished my primary school in BBHS. I went to Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta and after that, I went Nigerian Institute of Travel and Management Studies. And I got a job at a travel agency at Tafawa Balewa Square after the completion of my course. At the office, I started as a Ticketing Officer and lifted to supervisor and from that to a manager who was making millions. I knew all the customers then and I had the intention to study abroad. I bought a car at the age of 23. Even while there, I was into serious ticketing for many rich people.
Are you the only child of your parents?
No. I’m the firstborn of my parents and my mom gave birth to me at the age of 15. But my grandmother trained me. On August 4, 2000, I left for abroad where I furthered my education. A friend of mine told me about some recruitment firms in Saudi Arabia recruiting medical doctors for them and he gave me the contract.
I’ve been recruiting for them for the past nine yards. And the real estate has been on since 2014 in Lagos.
Can you tell us where your land is?
In Bako Estate, we have 20 acres, Arigbede 50acres and very close to a property mart, we have 10 acres. We just started developing recently. And it’s not on loan because I hate loans. The Quran says a Muslim should work like he wants to buy tomorrow. I don’t take gifts too.
Why do you think it’s good to stay with just one wife?
One thing about me is that I’m a jealous guy and one thing I don’t want, don’t do it to someone else. If I had a side chick, my wealth is not for my family again. I love private life, so I don’t like a polygamous life.
What makes your real estate company different from others out there?
We are not just about building, we give quality service. We also don’t just build, we make sure the houses are up to standard. Another thing is that real estate is about passion. One of our unique selling points is that I don’t put pressure on people about payment because I have other means of making money. I also have a short let home too.
How did you get the name?
The name Turaki means a leader and I’m the firstborn of my parents. My mum just decided to call me Turaki meaning the leader. And I told her to call me Olori Aje and not Olori Ebi (laughs).
How did you get the name Dangote?
That’s for my Olori. I remember last year Ramadan because I always go to Karba with the kids because I so much believe in prayers and almsgiving. So, we went to the mall and we were about leaving and we were in the car and my wife was praying that God would make me richer than Dangote and since then God has been doing it.
How long have you been married?
We’ve been married for seven years now.
What’s your special message to her?
My special message is that she will live long, I wish her many years on earth because she is one wife doing the job of 4 wives. That’s why I said I don’t need another wife. She takes care of the bills in the house and I pay her at the end of the month. I tell people not to query your wife on how she spends the money in the house. If not, after each calculation, you may have extra.
Your wife said she was waiting on the lord for many years, what is the story behind that?
Well, it is a long story. I remember when I met her, she said If I was looking for a child, she doesn’t have any to give me. I am only sharing this story to motivate waiting for mothers. She told me a lot and I told her that if I am a God’s friend and He has only one child, God would help me give her. The rest is history now.
Do you just sell lands or build too?
We sell land and we build too or you can follow our structure too. I’m the kind of person who likes buying houses because I don’t like stress but my wife is the one who makes me build houses.
Do you have special payment plans?
Yes, we do. We have a six-month payment plan.
How did you acquire the knowledge of Quran?
One thing is that when you tell me something, I don’t forget. And after school then, I went to the mosque. And every morning I read the Quran because it’s only God who can help and protect man. I’m too close to God.
You love to celebrate birthdays.
Not my birthday, but my family members’. I don’t like parties but Hajiah Aisha loves it. She loves carrying people along. I prefer calling Alfas for them to just pray also love to help, but I don’t like much visibility, or throwing my weight about, that’s why I did not create any foundation.
Can you say it’s almsgiving that brought you this far?
The Quran says that before you say I already knew it. “Give and make people laugh and see how GOD will bless you”.
Is it because you are so versed in that you don’t believe in visions?
Most of Alfas I deal with are scholars and they don’t do engage in it and I don’t believe it either. I don’t like Jalabis. I am not against those who embrace it, but my personal belief is that God answers prayers when you talk to Him. That is why I have been praying every day 4 hours after Subui for over 20 years now. I recite special Quranic verses.
What can you say is the secret of your success?
One thing is that I consulted with one rich man in Greece. He’s 85 years old and asked him what’s the secret of his wealth and he said, stay with your wife and you will surely achieve everything you want. And the man has been controlling wealth for the past 60 years. He said with one wife, you can acquire everything you want and also have God.
How do you manage everything you are into, seeing that you are into so many businesses?
One thing is that my wife is a very good wife. She is involved with everything I’m doing. She is a good helper. And I see her as an equal, not a subordinate.