‘It Is New Dawn for Togo under President Faure Gnassingbé’
A SPECIAL WORLD INDUSTRIES LEADERS REPORT
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Vouloir, c'est pouvoir. Is a very popular saying in french, which when Translated in English means ‘To want is to be able," it might also be stated as "Where there's a will, there's a way."
Ever since we at CERUTTI MEDIA posted the promo of Togo being one of Africa’s new tourist destination, several callers popped in to ask, and many via email of why will small TOGO be held in high esteem?
In our usual way, we will rather put in lunch table of the expert to satisfy what our readers probing questions and this week we have the pleasure of putting forward the man called Czar of French lifestyle, Jimi Sadare, the CEO of Sapphire Investment Ltd, who is in no small way an expert in Francophone world and big time player in the thriving Togo market
Sadare’s romance with Togo is like a fairy tale that began in what was meant to be a punishment for some kind of misdemeanor. That is how Jimi Sadare’s first ever trip to Togo in 1978 was perceived by his parents. There was no going to be a summer holiday in Europe for him that year. He would later journey to the UK and the US for education and work, returning to Nigeria many years after.
That is not all, a round two historic trips occurred it was another incident that connects with the 1978 trip which is the fortuitous meeting with the lady who later became his wife 15 years later. Incidentally, the lady is Togolese. So, it would appear as if some kind of external circumstances had Jimi’s fate wired around Togo.
Sure anytime in Togo there is no dull moment for him as there is a big, thriving community of Nigerians especially the Igbos in Lome. They are in a place called Hedrenewe. Their main business is conducted out of the Asiyeye market which is different from the big market in the town called the Assegame market. The Asiyeye market has a reputation anchored on second-hand clothing. The presence of Igbo’s,in that vicinity, we were told, had led to a hike in the cost of accommodation. The average Togolese being content with their way of life and living knew nothing about charging renet per annum or for two years as the case is in Nigeria. Rents were charged, at most, a six month period, otherwise it was mostly a monthly affair. With the coming of the Igbos, however, accommodation in Asiyeye or Hedrenawe or environs are now contracted in the Nigerian style for a long period of time.
In this exclusive session, Mr. Sadare tells all about the new Togo, enjoy it
Q Can you tell us of your business
Where does one start, ok let me say on moving back to Nigeria. 23 years ago, Jimi Sadare registered sapphire investment Limited and over the years our subsidiaries had been carved out to handle the company’s involvement in Tourism Hospitality, Entertainment and Interior designs promoting francophone lifestyle and encouraging a healthy working relationship between Anglophone and Francophone countries.
A lot has been said of your late dad, what key lesson you can say you got from him
.My late father, Dr. M.A. SADARE, was one of Nigerias Pioneer, Private Dental Practitioners and Former Chairman of the Nigerian Cricket Association,Vice Chairman of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, who represented Nigeria in many international tournaments, was a very principled man of great style.
Lessons Learnt from him:
1. Desire to love and assist
2. Sense of purpose
3. Hard work
4. Not listening to idle words that distract
5. Keep trying till you get it right.
Q How was your sojourn abroad
Life in the U.K was quite an experience because I recollect when leaving for studies compared to the normal summer holidays we were privileged to go on, my late father sat me down and gave me lots of advice on how to run my life.I remember vividly how he said it would be pointless for me to go abroad and not cultivate the English manners, style and pattern of living which is what I did and has been my trademark in my professional and private dealings.
When I was younger. I thought my Father was God because he always got everything right. When he passed on. It dawned on me that I actually had God Almighty to thank for giving me such a wonderful Dad and relayed that all my hopes, desires, pains, tears should be brought to HIM who has answers to all. My faith in him and the patience he exhibited is what I always try to apply into my daily existence
Q Why are you popularly called Czar of French and why are you attached to Togo?
I really don’t know why they call me that. I just found out that by some ‘calculation’ from God I had been attached to Togo from 1977/78 summer Holidays where I was sent to with my Aunt and cousins as a sort of punishment for not doing well in my fourth year term exams so there was no UK trip that year. Little did I know that it was just vintage God doing his thing.
We stayed at a beautiful hotel overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Hotel Tropicana (Baguida) I had no business or ties there till I met my wife 15 years later who happened to be a Princess from the Zankli Royal house of Aneho Togo.
After our wedding, we decided to spend our Honeymoon in Togo and I guess fate just started running its course in my life.
.Q: IS Togo truly the Little France of Africa?
I recollect that when I first visited in 1978. The Hotel SARAKAWA was not built then but there were lots of positive and good memories that stuck to me. There were lots of 5 Star Hotels along the coastline one could go to relax and enjoy oneself while being lodged at another. Our Hotel Tropicana back then had a fantastic night club and evening buffet dinners by the pool side was a delight .
The beautiful, well stocked and laid out shops boutiques, grocery shops that lined both sides of the boulevard ,manned by expatriates, gave the impression that one was in Europe what with all necessary important essentials to attract investors and keep business running smoothly e.g. Power, water, gas, transportation etc.
Buffet breakfast at the Hotel also gave me my first and only encounter with so many different types of Bread and pastry I have ever seen in my life.
These were the factors that left me in no doubt of Togo being the little Paris of Africa.
Q You are one of the foremost Tourist promoters of Togo in Nigeria, why is Togo the new bride in tourism destination?.
When we decided to promote French lifestyle in Nigeria, the only country we approached for support was Togo through its then Ambassador to Nigeria.
His Excellency Kodjo Sagbo –
He was quite thrilled at our concept and also the unity it would bring to both countries so he accepted to be our special guest of honor at our Maiden Edition of Franco-phony Night which featured Top Togo quartet,Carat Boys and was held on the 1st of February 2004 at the then Club. 11:45 Awolowo Road Ikoyi With lots of Members of the Diplomatic Corp,Captain of Industries,Lovers of World music in attendance.
That point marked the beginning of our working relationship with the country in developing Culture,Trade,Hospitality and Entertainment
Q: What has Togo got to offer first time visitors
Since the young, dynamic and focused Faure Gnassingbé took over from his late father, a lot was not expected from him performance wise coupled with sanctions that had been put in place and also the countries relationship with its former colonial masters, the Germans which had been severed.
All that is a thing of a past now as the Boyish looking American trained President has rekindled the relationship with the Germans and the E.U. and it has reflected by all the Massive projects that have been embarked upon and completed by his Government. Roads have been built on six lanes each to International standards from Hilacondji to Aflao borders ,Major roads within the capital ,Roads linking the South to the North which is the seat of Power, the new port which is undergoing construction and a host of other Top projects
Q Why is The Togo President so well loved by his people
These achievements have mellowed the hitherto views held towards the President and his government, now viewed as a focused leader who has the love and genuine interest of his people and country at heart
During Effrakatas recent trip to the just concluded Ekpe-Ekpe Festival of the South of Togo, many high-rise buildings on the major high streets of the capital Lome undergoing construction were noticed and this tells us that the time is just ripe for investors to move in and collaborate with the new lease of life Togo has been injected with.
One can relate the same to Ghana, some years back till they got to where they are today.
Sadare says there is a great deal to learn and cultivate about other cultures, lifestyle and ways of living that will be beneficial to us as a Nation and a People.
As the saying goes “No man is an Island”
Q: WE hear that you are already planning for your next big event, PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE OF IT
our sister company, Effrakata Entertainment in conjunction with our Togolese partners are hosting a V.I.P. Valentine Celebration Ball, featuring Top International francophone Afro-Zouk Artists and our own lady of style and Elegance, Jennifer Eliogu (Actress/Musician) with a Top Nigerian Fashion Designer Showcasing 2015 collections at an evening of love in Lome Togo. 14th February 2015.
By popular requests, the Effrakata tours have since been extended to include trips to, Senegal,Gambia,Benin Republic. These destinations are accessible and made possible via Air travel by the Award winning,Lome-Togo based Asky Airlines which has a large network of routes on the African continent.
*Jimi Sadare can be contacted @ www.Effrakatatours. Org