Special Report :MEET THE AFRICAN BILLIONAIRE CALLED RAZAK OKOYA & HIS SIXTEEN MANUFACTURING COMPANIES........ How Sir Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu Inspired him also revealed
"Money is like manure. If you let it pile up without usage,it just smells. But if you spread it around, you can encourage things to happen "- Hanna Anderson
By Chief Mike Cerutti Osagie , in Lagos.
Aare of Lagos, Chief Razak Akanni Okoya ,who recently celebrated his landmark 82nd birthday is no doubt one of Africa's distinguished billionaire industrialist, philanthropist and a case book study
Though he began from a very humble background, he is today the Chairman of one of the continents most celebrated industrial brands called Eleganza group of companies, which has a market spanning Western Africa and reputed to have giving birth to sixteen different manufacturing subsidiaries
Chief Okoya is not your conventional flamboyant or intellectual billionaire; he is pragmatic, simple and very philosophical in his views about life
In one of his life changing quotes as researched by this writer, Chief Okoya postulates..
" I am one that keep to myself. I do not look at other people. I am content with myself. I do not look for cheap money and do not compare myself to others
" Whenever people start comparing themselves to others,they get into trouble and I tell them,comparing of your money and possession with that of others can be very dangerous to your health / happiness and can get you into debts"
* Early Life
With a tailor for a father, Razaq spent most of his after-school hours learning the trade. He would run errands for his father, helping him get supplies and mending some clothes. They made on-demand clothing, bicycle seat covers and other clothing accessories for sale.
With this apprentice lifestyle, Razaq became an expert tailor before he finished his primary education. While many thought that Razaq chose to become a tailor because his father was one, the industrialist explained later in an interview that the choice came after much thought and considerations.
He had considered becoming a lawyer or a teacher, but also wanted to become wealthy. He also observed the society around him and saw that some of the wealthiest people were businessmen.
In his words
"While in school, I could see my teacher in worn out and often shabby clothes and at the same time, I could see well-dressed businessmen at Dosunmu Street, the then heart of business in Lagos... With state of the art cars and beautiful home,it was a inspiration for any young man,” he recalled.
* How Late Sir Lois Ojukwu Inspired him to want to be billionaire
Chief Razak Okoya has never denied his humble background and the fact that his father was a tailor and as a young boy he was used to
Following his father out on visits to clients in Ikoyi
One day he was lucky to meet the man called Chief Louis Odumegwu Ojukwu, the father of Chief Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu,reputed to be one of Nigeria's earliest billionaire's
* Who is Louis Ojukwu?
For the records, Sir Louis Phillip Odumegwu Ojukwu, OBE, was a Nigerian business tycoon from the Ojukwu family of Nwakanwa quarters Obiuno Umudim Nnewi. Sir Louis, was the founder of Ojukwu Transport, Ojukwu Stores and Ojukwu Textiles. At his peak, he was the first and founding president of The Nigerian Stock Exchange as well as president of The African Continental Bank. He was also either chairman or on the board of directors of some of Nigeria's most profitable companies such as Shell Oil Nigeria Limited, Guinness Nig. Ltd, Nigerian National Shipping Lines, Nigerian Cement Factory, Nigerian Coal Corporation, Costain West Africa Ltd, John Holt, Nigerian Marketing Board amongst others. He won a parliamentary seat during the nation's first republic
His success in life and business so motivated the young Okoya and there and then decide that he wanted to become a businessman.
He was already 17 years old before he finished primary school, and did not want to waste any more time on formal education.
* Business start off as a merchant
Okoya was only17, an age where he could hardly be called a business ‘man’, and having saved up £20 (twenty pounds) from mending shirts and trousers in his father’s shop and he decided to start a small scale trading business.
Very few traders had access to manufacturers at this time and so they had to go through middlemen, but Razaq stumbled upon a product catalogue of a manufacturer based in Japan that produced tailoring materials such as buttons, ribbons, zip fasteners, etc and decided to place a direct order. When he totaled the figures, he discovered that it would cost him £70, meaning that he needed an additional £50.
With his father’s permission, his mother loaned him the amount interest-free and he placed the order. The products barely landed before they were sold out, as it did not take traders much time to realise that they were of better quality than the ones already in the market.
The quick turnovers gave Razaq the financing he needed to expand the business and increase the orders. With lots of profits coming in, he completed his first house at Surulere by the age of 19, and by the age of 21, he had three more houses in the same location.
* The Birth of Eleganza
After success in business, he was still ambitious to do more and by 1972, he established what could be described as cottage industries to produce ladies' shoes and sandals, as well as, imitation jewelry, which soon became popularly known as 'Eleganza Jewelry'. That success was to give birth to the now-famous Eleganza Industries Limited declared open on 7th Jan 2020
Though Chief Okoya is founder and chairman of the fast growing industry, his adorable and hardworking wife, Folashade Noimat Okoa,the charitable lady is the MD/CEO of the Group
And till date,Eleganza remains one of the Continents leading conglomerate in the manufacturing industry and luxury goods business
* Enter Eleganza' 16 manufacturing subsidiaries
It is not a statement of Flattery's to describe Chief Okoya as a man who came,saw and conquered... He is the totality of what the legendary writer, William Shakespeare was saying about Greatness : " Some men are born great, others achieved greatness and some have greatness bestowed on them"
The Eleganza's 16 manufacturing brands attest to that comment on greatness
Aside his RAO properties company, he is also into the manufacturing of the following products
• Chairs manufacturing
•Tables/ school tables
•Party Chivalry chairs
•Long bar stool
•Cooling boxes and food warmers
•Lady sanitary pads
• Beauty soap
• Liquid dish wash
•Shoes / Slippers
•Travel luggage set
• Baby cosmetics &
• Readable plastic cups
As we conclude this special report, it is good to remind all that one of the most important things you can do in life for yourself is to keep your perspective and be thankful for whatever you have
For as billionaire investor and sage of Omaha, Sir Warren Buffet once said in a big stage conference " Do not pay too much attention to fame,power or money. Some day you will meet a more successful person who cares for non of these,and then you will know how poor you are "
Chief Okoya has no doubt worked hard with focus and meticulous attention to all details and is today firmly seated at the pinnacle of his trade
Many happy returns 2022 to the Aare of Lagos, long life and peace in the year's ahead
©Cerutti, the word smith of this article is a professional writer, cum humanitarian, speaker /A Brand . Image & Reputation ( B.I.R) advisor
He can be contacted via:
Tel : +234 7042631895
( corporate or WhatsApp)