Edward Akinlade, Real Estate & Hospitality Industry guru is the Chief Executive Officer of Suru Worldwide Nigeria Limited, he has concluded plans to trek from Lagos to Ibadan. He made this revelations during a Press Briefing at Suru Headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos recently. What were his intentions? He also spoke on the state of Nigerian economy. CYRIACUS NNAJI has the details.
The Chief Executive Officer of Suru Worldwide Ventures, Edward Akinlade, recently called for a press conference to talk about four key issues: The Suru Group, the economy, the effect of the coming election on businesses and his proposed Ibadan walk.
According to Akinlade, Suru Group has been in Nigeria for over 10 years, focusing on two core business areas, which include Real Estate and Hotel.
“In real estate we have done so many development here in Lagos, in hotel we own a number of hotels all around Lagos. They are the Suru Express Hotel and Best Western Hotel. In Homes we have done developments in Ikorodu, Surulere, Ebute-Meta among others. We are one of the first companies that did major terrace construction here in Ikeja GRA where we did 56 terrace houses. We sold part of it, while still owning 30 of them in GRA that we are renting.
“At the moment we are doing 40 flats of one bedroom, two bedroom, three bedroom, that we hope to complete by December this year. So Suru Home at the moment is doing Silicon Mall in Ajao Road, Ikeja. The mall is targeting those in Hitech.”
Akinlade stated that Suru is actually at the front of Real Estate business in Lagos with a total project size in the region of N15billion at the moment in the Real Estate only.
Speaking further he said “In Hotel, we are at every level both affordable level, budget Hotel, middle level Hotel and in Luxury Hotel. In order to provide facility for that we have people dotted all around the organization, providing security, providing maintenance and providing HR.”
He spoke on his proposed journey on foot from Lagos to Ibadan. “The reason I want to walk to Ibadan is for two mean reasons. One, to support the IDPs in Nigeria, the Internally Displaced People. Secondly, to support the families of former super Eagles stars. We have a lot of them here; some of the superstars die and the families are thrown into abject poverty. Or even when the superstar is still alive their families are in penury. This is just to encourage the super Eagles, ‘look you played for us; we will be there for me.’
“So what I did is that we at Suru Group will donate N10million to open an account for those purposes. So as I work to Ibadan, 10 miles each day, Ibadan is about hundred miles, so we will do 10 miles per day for 10 days. We would like the whole of Nigeria to support this walk and behold between last night and this morning a date has been put together, the walk will commence on the 1st of October and it will last for 10 days.
“Of course, we are building the necessary infrastructural support for this walk, I am sure by the time we get to Ibadan, Nigeria will be a new country. Can I walk to Ibadan, I believe I can”
While stating that the Nigeria economy is recuperating well said the Federal Government can rebuild Nigeria through homes. “The Federal Government can decide to build 100,000 units of homes per year in each state of Nigeria. Do you know how much that is, that is 3.6m new homes in every state in Nigeria in a year. For four years, do you know how much that is? What I have just told you will create nothing less than 2million jobs every year for four years. It will transform lives, because when you create one job you are also supporting people behind those people at home.”
He proffered solution on how the government could made issue of homes possible. “The question is always, where is the money? I always say to them, the federal Government of Nigeria has money. They may not know that, they may know that, for example, they went on a roadshow and raised bond, the bond was over-subscribed, they had to return the money to the subscribers, what I am saying is if you bring such amount of money into Nigeria, it is not for recurrent expenditure; that money will be for capital project only. The capital project I am talking about is real estate homes for our people. Don’t forget, we have that Jakande Report, some ten years ago which says 16million, for me now, I reckon we have nothing less than 20-25million shortage of homes in Nigeria, and the bulk of it is in Lagos.
“Look at rents in Lagos, hardly can you find a room and parlor here in Lagos for N100, 000. You would struggle, that is probably a room. So if we build more homes for the people we would reduce this shortage. If every other state is doing 100,000, Lagos should be doing 500,000, it would create jobs, money would get into people’s pockets, we use a mortgage system to pay it back. Federal Government should encourage people like us, and say Suru Homes, we want you to deliver 10,000 units. Here is how we structure it: government will give you the land, we will develop, and then we will split the accommodation, but the total unit will end up in the housing pot, it is ownership that will be different, so it will be a win-win situation. We will make money, the government will make money, and because we are getting the land from Government, the price will be low.
So that is what I see about Nigerian economy in terms of what we need to do, I wish it would form part of the manifesto for the next election, to reduce poverty in Nigeria.
On the effect of the coming election on the housing market, he said “As we age towards election, what will happen is that money will not be available for other things, what I mean is this, most of the people who have money in the bank, will go and withdraw their money, and focus it on election.