By Evelyn Onyibe
One of Nigeria’s foremost entrepreneurs, Chief Rasaq Akanni Okoya, the Aare of Lagos and Chairman of Eleganza Industrial City Limited has just turned 78.
In this interview, he talked about among his life, reasons for his success in business and also compares today’s business environment with what obtained when he started his business ventures many decades ago.
Congratulation as you mark 78. What has changed about you, as you mark this day?
Thank you so much and compliment of the season. Nothing has really changed about me, except the fact that am still working – which I sincerely believe is what has kept me strong and fit and this has also kept me going.
When you take stock of your great achievement in business, what would you say is the unique formula that aided your phenomenal success in business?
I give God the glory for giving me the determination, foresight and focus. I am a very determined person. I hate to fail in whatsoever goal I set to achieve. Insha Allah I thank God that it has always been possible. That’s why even at 78 years I still love to work as it gives me pleasure.
How would you access the environment for success today, compared to when you started?
When we started, there were lots of business opportunities in Nigeria at that time compared to today, where there are too many business competitions. The mindset of the youths of nowadays is to make quick money. In my time, young individuals were encouraged in setting their goals and achieving it, but now so many products have flooded the Nigerian markets, which make it very difficult for the Local industries to succeed.
Many companies are feeling the pain of the economic policies of government. As a matter of fact, many have closed down. What has kept the Eleganza operating and what cutback did you have to make to survive?
One of the major challenges is the issue of power to run the industries, but we are committed to remain in business with the passion to keep our aims and objectives to offer over 2, 000 Nigerian youths employment.
Once upon a time, Eleganza had a myriad of products, but today there is a sharp drop, and popularity seems to have waned. Has the competition taken a chunk of your market?
The Eleganza of today is stronger and more stable than the yesteryears. Today we have more range of products from chairs, coolers, luggage, diapers, lady sanitary, beauty soaps, laundry soaps, and multi-purpose soaps, pet bottles plus caps, pre-form bottles, shoes, hair threads, disposable/reusable plates and cups, waste disposal containers (dust-bin) and stainless water tank. They are produced locally in our new Eleganza Industrial City layout located at KM68 Epe-Ibeju Lekki Expressway, Ibeju, Lagos on 35 hectares of land. We also have real estate investment in prime commercial areas and luxury residential estate in Lagos State.