Sijibomi Ogundele is the CEO and Managing Director of Sujimoto, a construction and hospitality company committed to changing the face of real estate not only in Nigeria but in the whole of Africa. With offices in Dubai, Paris, Accra, Madrid and Nigeria, Sujimoto boasts of a whooping net worth sum of over $400 million dollars.
Sijibomi Ogundele: Early Beginning Before Sujimoto
Sijibomi Ogundele’s early beginning before Sujimoto is characterized by an unmatched drive for success. He was born on the 8th of April 1981 in Agege, a down town region of Lagos State, Nigeria. He would recall in an interview that among the 47 houses in his neighbourhood while growing up, only 2 had a power generating set. This reality taught him a lesson he ran with early in life. He learned that before he could be successful, he had to change his environment and the people that surrounded him. This lesson learned would take him almost round the world as he has been to Japan, Dubai, France and a whole lot of African countries. No wonder why he speaks 7 languages. Ogundele speaks fluent French, Spanish , English, Hausa, Yoruba, a little bit of Japanese and Arabic.
Young Sijibomi Ogundele gives his mum credit for inspiring him early in life. Unlike his dad, a technocrat who believes in the 9-5 system for survival, his mum inspired him to be his own boss and to start his own company immediately after graduating from the university. As early as 8 years old, young Ogundele had embarked on bike business popularly called the Okada business in Nigeria. He would recall that while following his mum to Arin market, his entrepreneurial journey was influenced by the hustling Igbos he saw in that market. He also mentioned the fact that those old men and women who rode bicycles around the market to get people’s daily contribution money, a form of cooperative called ajo in Nigeria introduced him to savings at an early age. He used his savings to start the Okada business which grew from one Okada (bike) to 6 Okadas by the time he was 13 years old.
His dad who did not believe in entrepreneurship killed his Okada business because its expansion had made his house an Okada centre. Ending this business did not put out the fire in young Ogundele’s entrepreneurial spirit as he forged ahead to be a distinctive business man particularly standing out in the luxury real estate and hospitality business.
The Beginning of Sujimotos Construction
Sijibomi Ogundele, a graduate of Law from Anglia Ruskin university, England university started his career as a venture capitalist in France who later bought a property his friends thought was exorbitant. Refurbished it and sold it for double the price in two months to a friend from Qatar. This move opened his eyes to the opportunities embedded in the real estate business which made him make up his mind to return to is home country Nigeria to concentrate on this industry. His exposure from travelling to Japan, Paris and Dubai is evident in the jaw dropping projects he has completed and those still in progress.
He believes that Dubai can be replicated in Africa. The story of Dubai, a geographical area that once suffered desertification with camels as means of transportation has now turned to a luxurious city of marbles and outstanding architectural infrastructure inspired Ogundele who believes same can be replicated in his country Nigeria and all over Africa. He believes that in the nearest future, Sujomoto construction Ltd will make the top 5 list of real estate company in the world based on its tenacious capacity and endless efforts to journey beyond the limits of architecture and set new strides and foot prints beyond the boundaries of real estate.
Projects and Vision
Talking about vision, Sijibomi Ogundele is quoted as saying-
“My vision was simple: to redefine luxury living by exceeding all expectations. My simple philosophy was to create sugar, after which ants will come. I have been in real estate since 1998 when I lived in the South of France as a common agent with no license. Back then, I brokered a lot of deals in project management and financing, but my first major break was in 2011 when I bought an apartment in Paris and decided to remodel it. My friends thought I was crazy and ostentatious but after I was done renovating, I sold it in less than two months to a friend from Qatar for double the price. This investment flip in such a short time reignited my interest in real estate and changed my career path forever.”
It is known for first of its kind luxurious projects in Nigeria. For instance, the Lorezo project which is the tallest residential building in Ikoyi, Lagos an highbrow area, home to the wealthiest people in Nigeria.
The first project Sujimotos embarked upon was the Lincoln Avenue project that comprised of 16 town houses of 4 bedroom apartments. Thereafter, he embarked on the Medici project inspired by the Medici family of the 13th century in Florence whose influence on Italy’s architecture echoed into contemporary times.
With the vision to revolutionize the African luxury Real Estate industry with Nigeria as a starting point, Sijibomi Ogundele has engaged in mouth watering and never seen projects on the shores of Africa.
The latest project he dubbed Lucrezia will be the most sophisticated building in Africa. At the time of writing, almost every unit has been sold out. The brilliant marketing strategy for this project of getting a brand new Mercedes S-Class when you own a unit of Lucrezia by Sujimoto is a first of it’s kind concept and brilliant strategy. This ongoing project in Banana Island, home to the wealthiest people in Nigeria boasts to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Arrondissement in Paris, the St. John’s Wood in London, Emirates Hills in Dubai and Upper East Side in New York. It will comprise of penthouse buildings with world class features, a first of it’s kind in Africa. This project should be completed by the first quarter of 2022.
2030 has been projected for Sujimoto Construction to have built about 100 luxurious apartments- hotels, malls and plaza inclusive and with an overall net worth of about 3 billion dollars.
19 Quotes of Sijibomi Ogundele
1. A short message can transform a mindset, just the way a piece of advice can change a life.
2. I became a billionaire at a young age because I prepared myself for it. Hard work and strong conviction are required. This is the basis of my confidence and it motivates me to dream bigger than my environment.
3. It’s not compulsory to give back but it is my obligation.
4. Leadership is not born, it is made.
5. One cannot afford to leave today’s investment decision for tomorrow’s uncertainty.
6.You must have the eye of a Warren Buffet, and see the intrinsic value in others.
7. Changing the global rule when it comes to customer service and satisfaction and going the extra mile with a fierce customer centric approach is Sujimoto’s biggest secret.
8. Build a brand based on credibility where your word should be your bond.
9. In order to achieve your goals, you need to be willing to lose friends, girlfriends and even family members.
10. You must be willing to be misunderstood.
11. You must be prepared to hear a lot of No’s.
12. Entrepreneurship is the toughest game ever introduced to mankind
13. Giving is the ancient law of success
14. I love my competitors and critics. They are the reason why I am here today. They motivate me to do more. When I think about them, it wakes me up every morning and pushes me everyday.
15. When you negotiate for greatness, you are paying the full price for mediocrity
16. No nobility in poverty
17. Our destiny is in our own hands and not the hands of the government
18. The deadliest virus in this generation is the entitlement attitude
19. 1+1= 11