THE board and management of Odu’a Investment Company Limited have assured all stakeholders of the company of their determination to make the conglomerate a going concern for the benefit of the current and future generations.
This is even as Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, said the practice of federalism before and immediately after Nigeria’s independence made the creation of the businesses that formed the bulk of Odu’a conglomerate possible.
Dr Segun Aina, Group Chairman of Odu’a Investment Company, gave the assurance at the 45th anniversary celebration of the holding company in Lagos on Friday.
Speaking at the event with the theme, ‘From Regional Player to Global Powerhouse’, Aina lauded the visionary leadership of the defunct Western Region government led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo that gave birth to many of the companies in the Group.
He said, “As we commend the visionaries, I also acknowledge the services of all former Governors of Owner States, former Chairpersons and Directors, management and staff of the company, its subsidiaries and associated companies from inception to date.”
The chairman added, “despite the challenges encountered over the years, the company has remained resilient thus making it possible to still have the organisation standing at this moment.
“Today we look at our past with learning eyes, to cnsure mistakes of the past are used as learning points while moving the company to higher heights to accomplish its objectives. By reflecting on the past and its achievements and our status today, we believe the future is not as daunting as it seems and our hopes are renewed as we are assured of the support of all stakeholders.”
Explicating the plans of the conglomerate for the future, he said, “Odu’a Investment Company Ltd is being transformed into a lean non-operating investment holding company to enhance transparency, focus on investment management and sustainability, traverse a path of maximum impact, and leverage on the models we have seen succeed in similar institutions across the globe.
“We have redefined our vision to one that captures our ambition appropriately, which is, ‘To be a world-class conglomerate’ and a mission ‘To deliver sustainable returns for all stakeholders; enhancing the legacy for future generations’.”
Aina said as part of efforts to actualise the board’s vision, the Group had created new subsidiaries such as South West Agricultural Company (SWAGCO Ltd), and South West Innovation and Technology (SWIT).
He added, “We also participated in the 2020 Federal Government Marginal Field Bidding process and was successfully awarded a field with one other partner, and an operating company — BITA Exploration & Production Ltd SPV incorporated to drive it.”
Speaking in a similar vein, Group Managing Director of the company, Mr Adewale Raji, said the 45th anniversary celebration was carefully crafted to not just commemorate how far the company had come since its incorporation but to paint a picture of its future.
He said, “We will mention some of the changes we have made over the last few years and encourage all attendees, well-wishers and stakeholders to participate in shaping the future of the organization. We are imbued with a vision to be a World-Class Conglomerate and driven by a collective mission and strategy to enhance this legacy for future generations. We will take this opportunity to present some of our new businesses, including SWAGCO (our agriculture investment vehicle), SWIT (our innovation and technology investment business) and BITA (the marginal oil field that we plan to operate with some other partners). Our journey from here as an organization is one of a million possibilities.”
The Guest Lecturer, Dr Dotun Sulaiman, challenged the leadership of Odu’a Investment to adopt modern investment strategy to increase the relevance of the conglomerate. Dr Sulaiman said the Group had not been proactive enough in making some investment decisions that would have improved the company’s performance and the lot of the stakeholders.
The lecturer counselled that rather than making huge investments in certain sectors, the company should consider diversifying its investments. He also called on the company’s handlers to consider turning the conglomerate into a sovereign wealth fund. Chief Adebanjo, while giving a goodwill message at the event, said with the adoption of federalism, the Western Region was able to take the leading position in the country, adding that the region was a trail blazer.
The Afenifere leader added that with the abandonment of federalism, the subnationals had become hampered and they could not fully actualise their potential. He lamented the absence of the governors at the event, saying it was indicative of their lack of understanding of the heritage handed to them.
In her goodwill message, Dr Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu, daughter of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, congratulated the company for achieving the milestone. She said the Western Region government led by Chief Awolowo established a number of businesses to raise funds to finance the hugely ambitious programmes of Action Group for the benefit of the citizenry.
She said, “Their motto was, ‘Freedom for all and life more abundant’. They knew from the start that they would face monumental challenges of raising adequate finance to fulfil their promises to the electorate. But, by dint of hard work, selfless service, as well as creative problem-solving skills, they succeeded as we can all testify today.”
She expressed gladness that the Board and Management of Odu’a had started piloting the Company towards rebirth and regeneration.
She said, “To the Governors, Board of Directors, Management and all stakeholders of Odua Investment Company, I say congratulations once again, as we all celebrate this milestone. May we celebrate many more, and may we continue to add value to this, our common patrimony, in Jesus’ name.”
The event was attended by the cream of Nigeria’s business and political elites.