Oludayo Obasanjo, one of the sons of the former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has revealed how he manages their Obasanjo Farms, a family business, his relationship with his father and other dynamics……CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>...CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>
Nigeria’s former president owns Obasanjo Farms Nigeria Ltd, which has existed for over 30 years.
Mr Obasanjo is the Executive Director of marketing and development at Obasanjo Farms Nigeria Limited.
In a thought-provoking panel discussion at the ‘My Family, My Business’ summit on Thursday in Lagos State and organised by Business Day, Mr Obasanjo delved into the challenges and triumphs of managing a family business of such magnitude.
He shared a candid perspective on what it’s like to work alongside a first-generation company owner and a two-time Nigerian President.
The agric-entrepreneur said, “When dealing with a first-generation company owner who is also a four-star-general who has ruled a country like Nigeria twice, you don’t always win that battle most of the time; you lose 110 per cent of the time.
”It is primarily a case of his vision, and there is a very significant vision behind the business, which we must follow most of the time. Still, operationally, you have to find a way to smoothen that vision with the advent of tech.”
During his session, Mr Obasanjo revealed some challenges and apprehensions he faces while working alongside his father, who also serves as his business boss. He explained the contrast between failing in one’s business and a family business with a rich history.
He said, “Failure is one thing that scares me the most. I had been doing my business before I joined the family business. I did fail at some point in my own business, and I know what it feels like, but it is different, dying in your business where it is just you and failing in your family business where there are many people.
‘‘And you don’t want to be seen as the one who is responsible for the failure of a family business that has spanned over four decades. I do not think you would grow past that because you would not be able to face your family; you can’t even meet outsiders, especially with people describing you as the one who brought down a thirty to forty-year-old company once it was handed to you.’’
More insight into Obasanjo family businesses
Mr Obasanjo’s panel was one of the notable sessions that featured a crop of young family business executives, including Cosmas Maduka Junior of Coscharis Group, Ezinne Nwazulu (Group Head, Retail & Director, Nepal Energies), and Ope Agbato (Executive Director, Technical and Animal Husbandry Operations, Animal Care Services Konsult).
Regarding family dynamics, Mr Obasanjo said the family has various businesses and siblings heading other companies and siblings in different companies, so ‘‘there is this healthy competition, internally.”
Also, speaking about the intrigues of the family business, the young son of the ex-general revealed that there should be a distinction between family and business as much as there should be harmony between both entities.
“Citing an example, he said, “As I said, I have siblings who are involved in other businesses, and we trade with one or two of them, so they bring certain items we buy from. When it comes to business, if you have seen us argue, someone would wonder if we are still siblings because sometimes it looks like we will get physical with each other.
‘‘Still, at the end of the day, when we finish the argument, we go and have lunch together, so there is understanding; this is because we are trying to protect our businesses and units to get the best. It is nothing personal, and it is just business.’’
He offered advice for success, stressing the significance of having a clear strategy, a well-thought-out plan, and the right team.
Furthermore, Mr Obasanjo called for early and comprehensive education for the younger generation to equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary to sustain and grow family businesses successfully.
Other stakeholders at the event emphasised the importance of family businesses thriving and enduring beyond their founders, recognising their substantial contribution to the national economy.
It was revealed that, with approximately 23.8 million family businesses dispersed throughout the country, they collectively inject an annual $200 billion into the nation’s economy.
To underscore this significance, Jumoke Oduwole, the Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), alongside other industry influencers, has championed the necessity for family businesses to secure long-term success and extend their influence beyond their originators.
Addressing the audience, PEBEC leader, Mrs Oduwole said, “Many businesses have transcended generations, creating numerous job opportunities and playing a pivotal role in driving economic growth in advanced economies worldwide. Examples include global giants like BMW, Nike, and General Electric. In Nigeria, we possess a wealth of entrepreneurial talent, from the Dantata organisation and the Ibru family to the Yinka Folawiyo Group and the Doyin Group, not to mention countless small businesses. They account for approximately 50% of our country’s GDP.”
Mrs Oduwole added, “The 23.8 million family businesses in Nigeria are responsible for millions of jobs and contribute nearly $200 billion to our nation’s economy annually. These figures underscore family businesses’ undeniable significance and profound impact on Nigeria’s economic landscape.
‘‘We must ensure the sustainability of these multi-generational enterprises collectively. With this sustainability, we aspire for more Nikes and BMWs to emerge from our shores, scaling across Africa and on a global stage. That is the vision and a collective effort we must all pursue.”
Idowu Thompson, Group Executive for Private Banking and Wealth Management at First Bank Nigeria, stressed the importance of involving the next generation early in family businesses, emphasising the value of apprenticeship and the need for young family members to gain experiences outside the core family business. He highlighted the need for financial prudence, recognising that these individuals are stewards of the family’s future.
Sam Abu, Senior Partner at PwC Nigeria, illuminated the dominance of private enterprises globally and in Nigeria. He noted that the top 1% of the world’s wealthiest individuals own 43% of global wealth. The top 100 billionaires collectively possess $68 billion in Nigeria, and prominent family businesses boast market capitalisations exceeding $20 billion.
It was noted that only 38 per cent of future generations are actively involved in family businesses, with a mere 28 per cent serving on management boards.
Frank Aigbogun, the publisher of BusinessDay Newspaper, eloquently described family businesses as the lifeblood of many economies, lauding their unique ability to encapsulate values, trust, and a shared vision. These businesses contribute significantly to local and global economies and serve as a testament to the enduring power of family legacies, which form the bedrock of society.
He said, “The My Family Business Summit offers a platform to exchange experiences, knowledge, and insights that have propelled these enterprises to scale and prosper. As we demystify the challenges and opportunities in today’s ever-changing business world, the ultimate aim of this event is to celebrate the traditions that have made family businesses a stable force throughout time.”
‘My Family, My Business’ summit
The event, which explored family businesses’ intricacies, challenges, and potential prospects, featured an array of distinguished panellists and guests from diverse fields, including Amin Nasser (PwC Middle East), Chief Sylverius Okoli (Non-Executive Director, Meristem Securities) and Oyeyemi Oke (1st Fiduciary).
Others are Idowu Thompson (Group Executive, Private Banking and Wealth, First Bank of Nigeria), Toyin Sanni (CEO, Emerging Africa), and Niyi Yusuf (The Nigerian Economic Summit Group).
Notable figures in attendance also included Abiola Adediran (Partner, Genea Family Office), Ayotunde Coker (CEO, Open Access Data Center), Fisayo Bejide (Managing Director, Fortitudinal Asset Managers), Efe Shaire (Co-CEO, Ava Capital Group), and Seun Idowu (Head, Private Trust, ARM Trustees Limited).
Furthermore, the event witnessed the presence of distinguished individuals like Rolake Akinkugbe (Chief Commercial Officer, Mixta Africa ARM Group), Fatima Wali Abdur-Rahman (Chairman, Filmo Real Estate Group), Maiden Alex-Ibru (Chairman, Publisher, and CEO, Guardian Newspapers), Abiola Adekoya (Partner, Genea Family Office), and Barr. Ngozi Ekeoma (Group Managing Director, Nepal Group of Companies).
The summit’s keynote speaker, Martin Roll, an international global business strategist, senior advisor, and mentor to Fortune 500 companies, delivered valuable insights on the discourse of family businesses.
The event revolved around discussions that provided expert insights into family-owned businesses, shedding light on the pivotal factors necessary for their survival and long-term success.…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>