Lifting my family and a lot of others from the blights of poverty to the extremes of wealth has been my holy grail from the moment I grew to the consciousness of what my parents went through to keep our little family going.
As a male child growing up in a typical African setting, I knew that sooner or later, the baton to fend for the family would be passed on to us by our father. So to brace up for the task ahead, I had a childhood vision of creating wealth that would save us from ourselves – the type that would take me from my small town,Ekpoma, in Edo State, south-south Nigeria, to the cosmopolitan city of Lagos, the melting pot of all Nigerians and Vegas of Africa, then across the whole world .
Even though I could not exactly decipher where this imaginary wealth creating solution would spring from, I knew I would have to look beyond my college certificate if I was to break myself and a lot of families from the shackles and manacles of poverty. I was uncomfortable with my father complaining profusely of not being paid each time my mum asked for money to meet the family needs. I was also uncomfortable with mum always running to dad for every penny as if being a man offered him express access to money.
This plunged me into asking myself some thought-provoking questions. The most profound among them was, ‘since daddy is always complaining of not being paid, it, therefore, means that there is someone out there who pays daddy and who is wittingly or unwittingly responsible for how we fared at home as well as the general air of merriment or despondency that blew in our house’.
What made it all too bizarre to me was that dad was a proud graduate of one of the ivy-league first-generation universities in the country – a feat that earned him much respect within our little community.
On one of those good evenings, after dinner was served, I was called to clear the table, after which my father asked me how I was faring in school. Lo and behold, I broke the hair-rising news that I was no longer interested in being a Medical Doctor, my father’s bequeathed dream to me.
In a state of utter bewilderment, he asked me what I wanted to do with my life, and I told him I wanted to build and own a company or be at the top management of a company,employ so many people, teach people how they can run and own their companies as well. I wanted to create jobs, reduce poverty and pay be people like how my father was paid, even better and the rest, as they say, is history.
Well, I ventured into several businesses whilst growing up even whilst in school. But I love real estate . It is the best form of investment known to mankind and the purest form of Entrepreneurship. Though I have always loved to setup a Real Estate business and own properties earlier, I lost a lot of money and was burnt severally whilst trying to do that. Being an empath, I wanted to help others in my shoes or who could fall prey tomorrow to solve this need and help Humanity through my knowledge acquired, expertise and experience gained . Thus, I ventured on this journey to Create customer centric business, support the government to solve the social-economic problems through popular impact-driven business ideas and strategies, generate revenue and grow wealth.Today, I am not just an Enterpreneur, I am a government licensed Business Management Consultant and the Chief consultant at Oberaifo Udoh Consults.Giving back to the society by mentoring other young Enterpreneurs.
My sojourn into the world of real estate has been a watershed for Humanity as so many others who have crossed this path with me and had opportunity to turn their lives around. But what gave me direction and navigated my decision, even in my early years in the industry, is that I was not just looking for a business that would meet my needs. I wanted to make a lasting impression. I was passionate about leaving a legacy and building something that would outlive me such that at some point I could look back and see millions of people who have benefitted from my efforts, lifted from poverty and who have also helped others. THAT IS WHAT GIVES ME FULFILMENT.With Vines Realty, we are getting closer to that dream by the day .
I was mesmerised by the stories of global brands like Coca-Cola, DHL, Ford, KFC, McDonald’s, and other mega entities who started as greenhorns some donkey years ago but are still dominating the space and are continuously yielding billions of dollars per annum to the families of their founders. I was determined to join that league. I was committed to building transgenerational wealth.
To set the ball rolling, I embarked on a fact-finding mission of reading any literature that told the stories of these entities, as the internet was concentrated in the hands of very few at the time. I read magazines, newspaper columns, and books. I visited my school library regularly to read inspiring books, especially the hugely-inspiring Guinness book of world records. All these shaped my perception of not just the business circle but every sphere of humanity as I accessed some information I still refer to today.
Interestingly, the overarching characteristics I discovered in all these men were:
1 They were big dreamers
2 They discovered a problem and provided a solution
3 They persevered amid challenges
4 They were sticklers for hard work and integrity
5 They had an eagle-like focus
6 They were team players
7 And above all, they had a rock-solid faith
Dreaming big: if solving human problems, helping people to create wealth is a lofty dream, creating a transgenerational one is a loftier dream. The depth and lifespan of any worthy course, wittingly or unwittingly, depend on how far the progenitor can see it. By studying acclaimed brands, I realised that building a business that would outlive you was beyond having a sustainable product.
Even though I did not clearly understand how I would help people acquire this theoretical wealth and reduce poverty, I had a mental image of the difference it would make in so many peoples lives as well as my family’s circumstances. It would also aid other families whose breadwinners, like my father, depended on someone to pay them before responsibilities were met. This desire pushed me to search for a verdant pasture to prospect. Then, I thought of something that fascinated me most, even as a child, and I could only see one resounding image – Buildings. I remembered that, as a schoolboy, I littered my notebooks with drawings of architectural masterpieces as I was good in fine arts. I remembered living with my parents sometime in an uncompleted building whilst we strolled out to our neighbours beautiful to peep through their windows to watch wrestlemania , whereby sometimes we were unlucky and they closed the windows on sighting us .
I dreamt of having state of the art edifices scattered in different parts of the globe for residential and commercial purposes. This was a mountainous dream for a boy who was never sure when his father’s paymaster would pay him to save them from the next round of rent.
I also thought about how I can do a business that can turn lives around, change communities and assist the government to solve problems across Africa. Having studied the Africa Unions Agenda 2063 to support Nigeria and Africa`s growth and stability, I was personally drawn towards the following 9 sustainable development goals which would later form the basis of our core values and principle, viz :
-Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions .
-Good Health & Well Being
-Decent Work & Economic Growth
-Industry , Innovation AND Infrastructure
-Sustainable cities and communities
Discovering Problems and proffering solutions: I discovered that every renowned business proprietor discovered a unique problem that was arching for a solution and somehow found a way to provide that priced solution. Reasons why after their demise, the solutions they provided still suffice for humanity, and their brands still ring the bell in our stock houses. This pushed me to probe for the problems that my dream of owning buildings could solve for people. Well, it was not far-fetched; the rising rate of poverty, unemployment was enough coupled with the housing deficit in Nigerian cities and the country’s surging population were already enough problems to tackle.
Perseverance amid challenges: I had never clearly understood my father’s admonition on courage in our family’s early morning devotions until I started researching transgenerational entities. I discovered that their founders often encountered situations that were enough to bury their dreams, but they persevered. Nelson Mandela remains a prime example. The lessons I drew from these noblemen were much needed to handle the trepidation of wandering into the already-troubled Nigerian business clime, but thanks to those whose audacity has become my reference point.
Hard work and integrity: I discovered severally that hard work and integrity were not only their professional mantra but an undocumented rule of engagement for anyone who cared to commit to their vision. They were the quirks for striking that precious balance between their ambition and morality. They were hopeful enough to aspire yet sane enough to do so within the ambit of probity. It taught me not to cut corners and that it is only through hard work, determination, commitment, and pragmatism that I will be able to teleport my desires from the realms of vision to the realm of reality.
An eagle-like focus: I remember with nostalgia how my elementary science teacher fondly defined ‘focus’ as – ‘face one thing until you succeed’. We did not always agree with her definition. Still, it was one of those pep-talk definitions she used to drive home the point that she was more interested in seeing us succeed in life than just passing exams in school.
By studying landmark brands, I discovered their founders focused on their pursuits. More remarkably, most of them started their journey to the top at a young age but did not allow youthful exuberance nor the vicissitudes of life to sway them from their pursuit. Instead, they stayed on course and jettisoned all distractions as they set out to write their own chapter of history.
Team players: As a child, one thing I could never trade for another in my make-shift wardrobe was my pair of white-coloured all-star converse – a gift a family friend,whose daughter lived in Germany, sent to me when dad wrote to him about my stellar performance in the common entrance examination that fetched me admission into my prestigious secondary school. The arrival of my shoe was also my first encounter with the global logistics giant, DHL, as I can recall the winsome smile from the delivery man as he handed over my parcel. DHL is a brand that embodies a team spirit I admire, as seen in its founders – Adrain Daisey, Larry Hillblom, and Robert Lynn. Coupled with the fact that I was quite a multi-talented kid who through life struggles , developed a lot of talents , excelled in sports(especially football) as well as music(as I learnt to play the keyboard quite early. Thus I joined Pepsi Football Club ,and other clubs who wanted me as at then and during this sojourn I represented my Local government, my state (Edo), at various competitions and capacities , and was once selected amongst a team of young players to represent Nigeria in Belgium even though I never made the trip due to family financial challenges . The team spirit eschewed by these experiences prompted me to scout for like-minded people whom I could share the burden of my vision with, and today we are rightly on the journey to chronicling our own brand success story.
Having rock-solid faith: It is often said that Rome was not built in a day, and this saying is seen in the travails of Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC. His dream to build a global food chain with outlets in major cities of the world started during the Great Depression. What made his story even more absurd was that his famed recipe for preparing chicken was rejected 1009 times by various restaurants, but Colonel finally pulled off his big break at the age of 65th.
This is the kind of faith and tenacity of purpose anyone who intends to build transgenerational wealth must possess. You must be able to block off dissent voices that will often come as point-blank rejections. Most times, you may make mistakes just like I still do, but the good thing is that it is always a learning curve, and in no time, the result will be too glaring for all to see.
And like our Daddi – the pet name we invented for our father – usually observed: if you consistently do what others did to succeed, you will be the next successful one and vice versa. These celebrated men of untold riches, and the steps they took to achieve what they did, have become the models for tailoring our modus operandi in Vines Realty Afrique Limited, as well as my other business concerns. Apparently, we are still far from our apogee. Still, I am certain that we are progressively on course to etching the progeny of my childhood vision of eradicating poverty, reducing unemployment and creating wealth in the annals of history.
Oberaifo Udoh ,
Oberaifo Udoh Consults, Business Management Consultant https://www.vanguardngr.com/2022/05/oberaifo-udoh-building-trans-generational-wealth-with-vines-realty/
Vines Realty, Managing Director.