How I succeeded as an entrepreneur – Ojo Abdulqadir

Tell us about your childhood.

I am a certified construction engineer by discipline and profession. I am originally from Ila-Orangun in Osun State and I was born in Ibadan, Oyo State where I grew up; before coming to Lagos. My high school was in Oyo State, which is the Methodist High School for Boys.

My primary school was at the time in Olaogun. I graduated from the University of Ilorin in 2004, while I had my master’s in 2009. I have worked in different organizations since then, before setting up my company 10 years ago and forming Moahz Oil & Gas LTD four years ago.

What has motivated you so far?

My childhood and my growth saw unfavorable tides, but one thing that kept me going was my focus in life. I firmly held this mental image of creating an inheritance that succeeds my physical existence. This mindset was due to the fact that I always looked at where I came from, the family and the people around me and referred to their mistakes / mistakes and chose to do and to to be better for myself and for everyone around me. My aspirations have always been the driving forces that have driven me to move throughout my journey in life to this day.

With this mindset, I developed an autonomous approach and gave up many luxuries of youth to establish myself. I keep this awareness of autonomy to this day. I hardly looked for money or support from my parents during my growing years, I rather believe in work and in earning something for a living. The last time I asked my parents for money for school or to buy a book, it was in JSS1.

Since JSS2, I have always fought for myself. I believe that I could do everything on my own, without having to ask for help from anyone except God. It allowed me to continue.

My journey to financial independence began around JSS 2, when I started frequenting poultry shops in Oyo State for weekend jobs. On weekends I went to the poultry to pack the poultry litter and the owners paid me a stipend that gave me the opportunity to save my income very early in life – it was my first exercise in financial literacy . I had my money back and throughout the week I would smell the residual stench in the classroom. You know, it’s not easy to go under trees to poultry houses and wrap dung in there, but I still wasn’t bothered by what people were saying. What I do know is I have cash and could take care of myself.

Even wealthy kids and well-off parents like some of my friends turned to me for funds then. This independence and autonomy allowed me to continue. I thank God for who He made me be.

You are well known in the business world. What does your business look like?

Well, Moahz is a household name in the Nigerian oil industry, gas streaming, OEM purchases, and real estate markets.

So how did she manage all of these businesses together?

To that, I would like to say that I am very good at building a team and that I am a team player. What we have done is seek the best; people who can understand my dream, people who can actually make my dream come true. So I looked for the best to produce the best, that’s what I mainly do. I can’t do it alone, so I’m full of ideas. When I have an idea, I try to find out about a company. It takes a while before I venture into a business, because in business there are times when things are rosy and there are times when things are slow.

As I always tell people, there are three stages in a business: the first stage is when you start a business and no one is coming, you know it will be difficult to have people dating you. And when everything is going well, there are times when you will have challenges and everything will fall apart. If you ask any businessman, he will tell you what you are saying right now; but by the time they started the business they thought they had already grown and everything went well and all of a sudden it all fell apart.

So at that point you would be surrounded by thoughts of “what should I do?” Either stop or you decide to do something else. Another notion that might arise is maybe that you should just end it and forget about life because life is not right for you. But the ability to keep going and keep pushing is something I encourage every entrepreneur to have. A resilient mind knows no bounds and that’s a mantra for me. When things seem to be going wrong, company management will tell you.

The oil industry is also very volatile like real estate, but I have people who work for me, people who understand the system.

With my successful team, I was able to create a solid structure; a structure that works either I go to the office or on a business trip, the structure is there. When you work without structure, you come across as a caricature, and that’s something I try to avoid at all costs.

Having a structure in place is necessary because I am not building a business that will only thrive with my life. I’m building a business that will exist as long as it can exist forever, that’s what we do. This is why we are trying to diversify quickly within the sector.

How has your business been doing so far in terms of challenges, success and performance indicators?

I don’t have to brag. I would prefer to highlight what other notable people / organizations have said about the company. ie Moahz Oil and Gas Limited. Moahz Oil and Gas Limited is four years old now, and it’s the one that deals with the oil and gas industry.

In 2018, we were recognized by the Institute for Oil and Gas Research and Hydrocarbon Studies in West Africa, with an award for excellence in innovation in oil service stations, technical design, construction and installation of LPG. We have the same price in 2019, the same price in 2020.

In 2020, we were recognized by the European Business Assembly (EBA), with the award for the best oil and gas installation and services company in West Africa. These are the few notables who I believe set our record and our position in the industry.

How did you experience work and your family?

Okay, that’s it. My work does not affect my family. I am a father and I believe my wife can say that I am a good husband if you have time to talk to him.

For the family, I entrust the responsibility to my wife; so she owns the house while I’m away. She controls the kids and everything the family needs, while I focus on the business. We rotate because we are doing the same business. When I’m at home and need to take care of the house, I allow him to go and take care of business. It’s as simple as that.

If it’s not business, what do you do in your spare time?

I am an indoor person. I’m not really going out. So what I do is read and study more. I’m doing some research. I’m trying to study some of these business moguls, businessmen all over the world, how they were able to grow their businesses and achieve what they have in life.

What philosophy guides you on a daily basis?

Well the only thing that keeps me going every day is realizing that all I have been able to accomplish is not because I am the best or because I am better than any other anybody. What keeps me rooted is the fact that God loves me.

As soon as I know I have a God to whom I can call upon, I continue without looking back.

How to celebrate your birthday every year?

Well, mainly what we do; I’m not used to celebrating birthdays, calling parties and everything. Because when I look at my journey, I know what poverty means. So I hardly waste any money because I know people who need the money. I’m not the type to go to parties and waste money.

I’m not saying it’s bad for people to do this. They are making their money. It is their own job because if you are an artist and nobody pays you money, it means you are not making any profit. I’m not against them, but as for me, I know that there are people who are in need, so I look for people who are in need and I try to celebrate with them and motivate them to that they can also become someone in life. My birthday has always been celebrated with the needy and giving to the less privileged until I started my foundation – The Ojo Abdulqadir Foundation (TOAF).

Whenever it is my birthday, the foundation always has the activities of people to which we can also extend our gifts. So that’s what we do, like going to the orphanage, looking for people around, giving scholarships to people who are brilliant and their parents can’t afford to train them.

It’s part of what I do to celebrate my birthday.

When did the foundation start and how has it helped lives so far?

The foundation was founded last year, 2020 and we’ve really come a long way. Our awareness reached different communities inside and outside Abuja. My intention in starting the foundation was to work with someone who can manage a foundation, because when I started I wanted a balance between the business and the foundation.

In fact, I looked for an experienced NGO coordinator and someone who knows me. Then I explained my ideas and aspirations for the foundation: this is the idea I have and this is what I try to do. She understood it; and she ran the foundation, and the foundation did just fine. We have organized so many activities that provide support to the needy. For example, this year on my birthday, we are planning to go to the IDP camps with the north-central region of Nigeria and reach a number of people who are really in need.

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