Dr Freeman Osonuga is the MD/CEO of West Africa’s Largest Real Estate Brokerage Firm- Adloyalty Business Network Realty Services.
Osonuga won the West Africa person of the year 2020 and has clinched an unprecedented landmark in the Real Estate Industry.
His exemplary leadership and expertise have led to over 30,000 registered realtors under his real estate firm.
Osonuga is committed and has a deep understanding of the real estate business which placed him ahead of his contemporaries.
He is the author of PRINT MONEY WITH ZERO CAPITAL: Nigeria’s very first & most comprehensive and ultimate guide for success in the real estate brokerage business with an accompanying Professional Real Estate Brokerage Online Course.
He equally doubles as a Medical Doctor and Author.
In this interview with Sunday Vanguard, Dr Osonuga speaks on the potential in the real estate sector.
Can you tell us about your background, early life, parental influence and things that shaped your upbringing?
I had a wonderful childhood experience. I grew up in ijebu ode, Ogun State where we had a communal living lifestyle. Children were free to play when back from school which made all of us living on the street become friends.
I had a great time in my childhood.
Also, I grew up in an underprivileged environment as children, we didn’t know what we like and what we don’t like. It was our parents that decides what we have to enjoy.
I was born without a silver spoon but I had the drive to succeed in my endeavours.
Another thing that contributed to my success is my relationship with God. At an early age, I encountered Jesus Christ. I attended the Pentecostal church where I was taught faith which shaped my mindset as a young person and my life turning point.
I applied the principles and dynamics of prosperity I gathered from the word of God.
The poverty at home was a driving force for me coupled with the inspirational messages I got from the church contributed to the success I have today.
Which denomination shaped your personality?
It’s not about a particular church but the word of God that dwells richly in you. Most Pentecostal churches teach the word and encouraged you to act on it.
In your pursuit as an entrepreneur, do you think your dreams and aspiration have been met?
My dreams and aspirations have been met. The truth is that life is in stages, and men are in sizes- a nugget I heard Bishop David Oyedepo say.
I had to come up with some of my dreams that are now milestones and I am set to achieve even a bigger dream. This is how one stays alive because if all your dreams are achieved & you don’t have new ones, then one is preparing to die.
It was not an easy and automatic thing because Entrepreneurship is not a get-rich-quick scheme, it is a journey you have to put in so much energy, time, and resources among others.
The entrepreneurial journey and building a successful, thriving business isn’t easy. But nothing is impossible with God’s help. All you need is just a little determination, research, education and the desire to succeed.
As a passionate entrepreneur, my biggest ambition was to excel further and help others grow and flourish.
Nigeria’s 33% record unemployment leaves more youths desperate. How do you think the government can solve the issue of unemployment among young people?
Yes, you are right, the unemployment issue we have is like a time bomb and that time bomb is gradually going to detonate.
Actually, we are sitting on a keg of gunpowder and it seems as if the government don’t care. For instance, a pictorial view of some problems that are facing the country:
i. The problem of insecurity involves a lot of youths that are pushing it. From the agitation in the eastern part of the country, the unrest in the Yoruba nation, the southern part, and banditry in the North, we still even have Boko Haram. All of this security situation is not done by the older generation, it’s usually the young and vibrant people that are actually engaged in the upheavals. They are easy prey to the people who take advantage of their idleness.
The unemployment rate has jeopardised young people and it has pushed a lot of them into crime.
What I think the government should do is create more opportunities and also give a lot of stimulus to companies, and private organisations and make sure they are engaged in CSR. They should create vocational programs that would empower young people with relevant skills and with tools they can use to generate income.
ii. The issue of Electricity Supply, if the government can solve the epileptic power supply, most businesses will thrive. We need a robust economy.
iii. Inflation among other issues hindering the growth of SMEs. The government should equally create a conducive atmosphere for businesses to thrive.
iv. A review of our educational curriculum because what they are teaching in Nigerian universities today is outdated. The curriculum needs to be upgraded. After you spent five years and graduated as a Biochemist you cannot even develop a product let alone use the knowledge in a factory.
You abandoned the knowledge acquired and decided to become a fashion designer.
Why can’t we design our curriculum in such a way that all of these skills could be acquired as young people in the University? Some of these courses should be taught in school, you can spend your four years in university studying styling, blogging, and media-buying, so understand that we can have more productivity with our education system and relevant skills are demanded by society.
There is a need to optimise and upgrade our educational system curriculum so that what people learn is what they can use after school.
How would you describe the services Adloyalty Business Network offers?
At Adloyalty Business Network, we are Nigeria’s foremost brokerage firm. What we do in Adloyalty Business Network is that we help smart investors to own homes in Nigeria and to secure profitable properties.
This investment plan covers all income earners. It is not particularly for the rich, we accommodate everyone as long as you are interested in having a home and you approach us As a business organisation we are also into an empowerment scheme. Empowerment is the focal point of our business strategy. We do this to contribute to national development. We tackle the Youth unemployment problem by empowering them to become real estate business owners and sales professionals.
They are trained by our organization and we guide them through the various training processes. Moreso, they are empowered with the tools they need to earn a living through real estate. Also, another arm of our business is our real estate development partners, these are the companies we have business with.
Those we work with are profiled for we carry out an investigation to ensure they are credible people before the properties are then presented to our realtors to market for potential investors.
What are some of the success stories Adloyalty Business Network has recorded in terms of customer satisfaction?
Well, for Adloyalty Business Network we have enjoyed incredible success since we started business in 2017. All of our investors have gotten their properties allocated to them. Those who bought land & houses have been allocated to them.
We have empowered thousands of realtors as well. A lot of ordinary people and unemployed Nigerians have become millionaires through our real estate program. We gave them the opportunity to join the business with zero capital. We didn’t ask them to bring money so when they come, we train them and teach them how to make money through real estate sales and marketing.
We have empowered our Realtors with cars and other benefits such as an all-expense-paid trip abroad, several home appliances, capacity development and many more. Our goal is for our real estate partners to achieve and exceed their sales targets. Across the board, we have given incredible value to all of our partners.
What is the motivation as a medical doctor to delve into Entrepreneurship and Real Estate?
First of all, I would say that life is not about what you decide to become. For example, you know that if a fish wants to run on the ground like a rat, that fish is going to die and if a lion says it’s tired of the jungle & prefers to swim, that lion is going to die.
I didn’t just venture into the sector. While in the university, I was reading a lot of books.
I discovered that there is a way a man is wired, in fact, everybody is wired in a particular way.
There is a book by Tim LaHaye that says “why you act the way you act”. People are naturally different from each other and there is a reason why they are the best way for a man to succeed easily is to align with his strength and move away from his natural weakness.
That’s what I did while I read medicine, I discovered that subjects like entrepreneurship and business strategy excite me, even more than paediatrics or medicine and for me, I knew I will spend more time in the boardroom than in a surgical room. So I began to work towards it. Discovering that skill for me was an eye-opener and that is one of the reasons I decided to go into Real Estate.
I came in as an investor and I saw that there is a vast opportunity because of the housing deficit we have so if every one of us moves into the Real Estate Business, we would still not be able to solve the problem of the housing deficit have in the county.
What are your responsibilities as the CEO/MD of Adloyalty Business Network and your leadership structure in managing the firm?
It’s more of my vision not to micromanage people. I believe that the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. Anyone working for me, I give them room to grow. When recruiting, we seek to discover potential, we harness it by selecting, training and retaining the best talents.
We look for people who are available, dedicated, hardworking, smart and want to build a career for themselves. When I see those people who are equally teachable, then we bring them in and guide them through the process. They would make mistakes, such mistakes which could cost the company millions of naira but I have never fired anyone due to mistakes that cost us millions. If I fire you, then I have lost millions due to the investment made on you would equally be lost.
So, I usually retain them and make sure they don’t just repeat such.
I give people room to grow their leadership skills and develop their management skills and remain on the job because I believe people that grow with you: stay with you.
What’s your outlook for Real Estate in 2022 and beyond?
The real estate industry has navigated significant economic and social shifts since the outbreak of COVID two years ago, and throughout 2022 (and beyond) we will continue to see the flow of its effects.
The outlook for this year is multi-dimensional, this year is the year just after the collapse of the Ikoyi highrise. As a result, we have seen that the government is very strict with regard to approval for builders to start a project. Meaning that there are going to be more delays to start a building project or get it completed as the case may be.
Also, the rising cost of the building materials is due to the devaluation of the naira and skyrocketing inflation.
In recent times, the astronomical increase in the price of diesel also increased the cost of transportation of these materials.
All of this now will add to the cost of building and the challenge now is that each market has a ceiling in price.
What most people would do is if the cost of building increases they increase the selling price of building projects but there is a limit to how far you can increase the price. Therefore, there is a rising cost but there is a ceiling in price and that would continue to reduce the profit margin of investors as a result, we are to expect a little bit of downtime in the market.
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