Interviews

‘Why I celebrated 51 elaborately’-Tousomi boss, Olajide Mcdede

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TOUSOMI boss, Olajide Great McDede clocked 51 on Wednesday, October 1, 2014.  And the award-winning freight forwarder threw a lavish bash in that respect.  In an interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Saturday, December 6, 2014, the Lagos-based entrepreneur explained why he celebrated 51 elaborately instead of 50th which was low key.

The leading clearing and forwarding agent spoke on this and many issues, including his new multi-million naira mansion, plans for 2015, challenges in the industry and much more.

How would you assess your business in 2014?

To God be the glory, things have been moving fine in my company.  Every aspect of my business has been doing wonderfully well. It has been a fantastic moment since January till date.  That does not mean there are no challenges along the line.  But we thank God, we have been doing well.  The Lord has been faithful to us at Tousomi.  He has helped us overcome our challenges.

Would you say you’re able to achieve all your targets for the year?

I don’t think it’s possible for any businessman to achieve all his targets for a particular year.  But I thank God that we have been able to meet up to 85 to 90 per cent of our goals.

What do you think you didn’t do well this year that you will make an amend in 2015?

I don’t really see anything I didn’t do the right way. But the truth is that I also know I need to improve on certain aspects of the business.  And by the special grace of God, that will be accomplished in 2015.

What’s your comment on government policies on importation?  Would you say they are favourable to you as a freight forwarder?

You don’t expect all government policies on importation to be favourable to you as a freight forwarder.  We have the ones that are favourable and we have those that are not.  But the most important thing is that we are still in the business.  Not only that, we’re also coping very well.  We thank God for everything.

What of the high tariff on Tokunbo vehicles, how much does it affect your business?

Of course, high tariff on fairly used cars coming from abroad will definitely affect clearing of such cars. In that case, the importers of such cars will be discouraged, and that will affect the clearing agents here in Nigeria and the buyers of those cars.

Has it affected your business that much?

Not really.  I can say it didn’t even affect it at all.  We’re coping.

What’s your advice to government on that?

I will advise that the Federal Government should just soft pedal on it.  That’s necessary because not every Nigerian can afford brand new car because of the price.  So, government should reduce the tariff so that more people will become car owners.  Not only that, more people will also become car dealers and more employment opportunities will be generated.

What do you think the government can do to make freight forwarding better?

If the government can lift ban on the importation of some items, especially those that we can’t produce here in Nigeria, I believe the business will be more profitable.  And the atmosphere for it will be more conducive for those who are already in the business and those willing to come in.  Federal government should just lift ban on some goods and also reduce tariff on some.  It will really help the business to grow.

A couple of days ago, you won another award as the Best Freight Forwarder of the Year, courtesy of City People magazine. How does that make you feel?

It makes me feel great and fulfilled.  I was happy and elated.  I believe it’s a sign that God has blessed my career.  And I give Him all the glory.

What are your plans for 2015?

My major plan is to diversify my business. I want to get to other places in the country.  And by the special grace of God, everything will be accomplished.

On October 1, 2014, we learnt you clocked 50 and it was well celebrated…

(Cuts in) No, by the grace of God, I celebrated 51 not 50.

Okay, how does it feel clocking 51?

It feels great.  It makes me feel good that I added another year.  And by the special grace of God, I will celebrate many more years in prosperity and sound health.

Why did you now throw a lavish bash at 51 and not 50 which is a landmark?

What really happened was that I didn’t celebrate my 50th, it was my wife that marked it for me surprisingly.  Then, when I clocked 51, I decided to celebrate it elaborately to compensate for the 50th birthday which was low key.  I never even planned it that big but to my surprise, everything was beyond my expectation.  I give God all the glory. And I am using this medium to appreciate all those that attended the party.

At 51, what are the things keeping you on?

It’s the grace of God first. Then, hard work, patience and perseverance.

We learnt you moved into a new mansion shortly after the birthday, how true?

That’s not true. But I have completed the house.  Very soon, it will be opened formally. I am looking at the first quarter of next year.

We learnt the mansion is worth N400m, how true is it?

It’s not up to that.  It’s in the neighbourhood of about N300m.

At 51, would you now say God has blessed you marvelously?

Of course, God has been wonderful to me.  And I will forever be grateful to Him.  Without Him in my life and career, I wouldn’t have been who I am today.  And I am sure He will do more for me.

-TADE ASIFAT

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