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Private sector-driven approach is crucial to address social problems like housing – Oladeji

Private sector-driven approach is crucial to address social problems like housing – Oladeji

Adeoye Oladeji is the founder of FineBricks Properties & Investment Limited, with almost a decade of real estate expertise. He is also a seasoned professional with a diverse background in oil and gas, hospitality, and telecom. In this interview, he stressed the importance of embedding professionalism into product design in delivering real estate products and services for clients and customers. Excerpts by Seyi John Salau:

Read also: How to meet your financial goals through real estate investment, by Eyewumi

What is your motivating factor in the built environment?

Over the years, I have cut my teeth in several sectors of the economy but have come to narrow down on the real estate sector for strategic reasons. Looking at the base of Abraham’s Maslow hierarchy is physiological needs (housing, feeding, food, water); the current plight of over 88.4m million Nigerians. Sadly, no government in the world can provide and cater to all social needs; hence the need for a private-sector-driven approach to solve these social problems. As a private sector player, I have a dream that every Nigerian – irrespective of their gender, tribe, race, or culture – should have a decent home over their head; this – and more – is what is influencing my involvement; beyond the profit of course.

As the founder of FineBricks Properties & Investment Limited, what are the distinctive game-changing products you are bringing to the table?

We are targeting specific market segments within the industry. To serve them effectively, we are doing a lot of market research and understanding customer psychographics. All of this is aimed at increasing positive user experience and providing unparalleled value-for money engagements. In developing products, therefore, we look at trends and introduce innovation, visual reality, and 4D animation/designs to deliver compelling value propositions. This is aside our avowed commitment to: excellence, value-for-money engagement, professionalism, and integrity.

The Nigerian real estate sector still has more gaps to be closed in terms of housing units, what is your team doing to close some of these gaps?

According to available reports, the housing deficit in Nigeria is currently at 22 million. The government cannot – even if it has all the funds to – provide all of this. We are embarking on several constructions strategically – like I mentioned earlier – to reduce the housing deficit. This no doubt is a drop in the ocean. A recent study of the housing situation in Nigeria put the existing housing stock at 23 per 1000 inhabitants. About N21 trillion will be required to finance the deficit. So the government has to be intentional about releasing funds to the private sector to help reduce the current housing deficit.

Read also: ‘Dubai is leveraging blockchain technology to transform the real estate industry’ -Ali

Currently you are participating in the Corporate Governance Structures for Sustainability Program (CGSS); what is the significance of this to your firm and real estate in general?

According to available statistics, five out of every 10 businesses fail in their first year; another three fail in their second year. Only one or two make it to their 10th year. How many indigenous brands are up to a century? Maybe a handful! Yet, littered everywhere in Europe are brands that have been there through thick and thin: IBM, Coke, etc. A missing link here – in my humble opinion inter alia – is the absence of systems, structures, and processes. Ditto lack of corporate governance. I want to build a brand that outlives me, a brand that defies all odds of business failure, a brand that will be studied in business school; hence I have surrounded myself with a diversified, efficient, effective, and competent team that can handle affairs in my absence. Closely related to this is also the need to be ‘accountable’; hence we have seasoned, experienced, and involved individuals who serve on our board in an advisory capacity. My intent in attending the CGSS program is a passion to continually invest in myself, pass on the knowledge to my team, and be abreast of trends/knowledge on business sustainability, and corporate governance.

Are you looking at other markets beyond Lagos and Nigeria?

As a forward-thinking organisation, growth – like change – is critical. We are looking at expanding into other markets beyond Lagos & Nigeria; it is part of our medium-term plan. However, this growth must be premised on building requisite partnerships, capacity, competence, and an enviable track record.

Going through your website, it says you have a genuine burden to reduce the housing deficit in Nigeria by targeting specific market segments and providing value-for-money engagements to all and sundry. How true is this statement?

Our country needs help but to measure growth, there must be a laser focus. As a brand – for now we have chosen the real estate sector of the economy. Via our business model, we have decided to help people either own lands or own properties. We have delivered over 200 housing units and 1000 landed properties. In the coming years, we plan to do more with support from our financial partners. Our product designs appeal to certain segments of the market taking into consideration their preferences, likes, and bias. Our prices are also affordable compared to our competitors.

Read also: The benefits of diasporan real estate investment in Nigeria

Now, professionalism seems to be what the industry is lacking at the moment. How are you ensuring this is enforced towards the delivery of premium user experience to all clients?

Professionalism like service excellence, and trust for us is culture-related more than mere corporate values. Throughout the length of the customer’s journey: pre, during, and post, we ensure that we follow through on our promise of value. From our office ambiance, reception, responses, tone of emails, resolution of queries/complaints, etc. We also leverage feedback from surveys and questionnaires to ensure that we identify customers’ pain points and take practical steps to resolve them. For our employees, we prioritize training and human capacity development because we agree strongly with the school of thought that ‘your organization cannot be better than the quality of your team’. Dressing professionally is an etiquette that cannot be violated. Our construction follows a statutory algorithm; there is approval for every building plan and strict compliance with every necessary authority. Our engineers also ensure that we do not cut corners when it comes to the quality of building materials. We adopt the principle of ‘do it right the first time’.

Being the present President Elect of the Rotary Club of Lekki Central, how has this shaped your service to humanity?

The Rotary Club has a motto ‘He profits most who serves best’. The billionaires of this world from Bill Gates to Warren Buffet to our own Folorunsho Alakija have all – having reached the peak of their careers – decided to give back to society in some ways. I tend to toe the line as well. Assuming the role of president-elect at the Rotary Club of Lekki Central has significantly influenced my dedication to humanitarian service. It’s both an honour and a responsibility that drives my commitment to making a positive impact, promoting community development, and leading initiatives that uplift humanity. It also provides an opportunity to consistently raise my leadership lid. At present, I support – and will continue to – several students, care for the older generation, and empower youth with genuine intentions to work, among other efforts. The private sector involvement in meeting social needs will complement ongoing efforts by the government at different levels to reduce the inequality gap. Additionally, I plan to establish a foundation soon.

Read also: Real estate firm pays dividends to shareholders

Finally, can you share some of the projects you have led that clearly highlight all these accolades?

We have several projects worth celebrating. They include: Over the past seven years in real estate, I’ve accomplished the construction and delivery of over 200 housing units and 1000 landed properties. Currently, our available offerings include Sherwood Court, a luxurious mini estate in Sangotedo with 12 housing units, and Ivana Court, a classic 12-unit 2BR apartment project in Thomas Estate, Ajah. Additionally, we have ongoing developments such as Ile-ola (Land of Wealth) phases 1, 2, and 3, OMOLUABI, and the soon-to-launched De-MAJESTIC featuring 5 units of 4-bedroom duplexes. We equally had a groundbreaking event in November 2022 in Sangotedo Ajah (Vintage Estate). The estate is near major landmarks like Lagos Business School, Fara Park, and Lufasi Nature Park amongst others. Amidst pomp and pageantry, FineBricks did a handover ceremony of a completed and furnished 3 Bedroom duplex. The event had company representatives, captains of industry, consultants, proxy of the client, Excos of the estate community, amongst others.