Show me a man diligent in his business, and I will show you a man destined for the stars. Nigeria’s star boy of Luxury Real estate – the audacious GMD and CEO of Sujimoto Group, Mr Sijibomi Ogundele, narrated an event that happened on the 4th of September 2022, which changed his life forever.
According to him: “I had just returned from a business meeting and was going through my to-do list for the day, crossing out tasks accomplished and making some notes on functions to work on for the next day, when my phones started buzzing. From WhatsApp to Instagram and private messages, I received over 300 congratulatory messages within 2 hours from friends in Paris, Geneva, Yaoundé, Abidjan, Dakar and even an ex I have not spoken with in almost nine years.
What was this about, you might wonder? The prestigious TF1, dubbed the French CNN and the No.1 TV station in France and many Francophone countries, flew from France to Nigeria to capture the stories of outstanding young entrepreneurs like Sijibomi Ogundele. They are putting the African continent on the world’s map for their impact and audacious business model.
Speaking on this worldwide recognition, the hardworking entrepreneur recalled his experience in France and the lessons those experiences played in shaping the personality he has become. According to Sijibomi; “I was 16 when providence brought me to France, not knowing that 25 years later, the No. 1 French TV Network, would find a one-time souvenir hawker in Nice and the poster boy from Agege slum, who through the help of the Almighty converted the lemon life dealt him into lemonades, by raising the bar for luxury living in Africa and putting Nigeria on the list of the world’s most celebrated and renowned luxury buildings”
a one-time souvenir hawker in Nice and the poster boy from Agege slum, who through the help of the Almighty converted the lemon life dealt him into lemonades, by raising the bar for luxury living in Africa and putting Nigeria on the list of the world’s most celebrated and renowned luxury buildings”
The viral documentary from Sept à Huit, a weekly news and report program broadcast on TF1 and presented by Harry Roselmack, tells the compelling and inspiring story of how Sijibomi Ogundele – the rose that grew from concrete, went from the corners of Agege to dining at the table of prominence.
No one would have thought that this young man, who is worth billions, also did Alabaru for his trader Mum in Africa’s most populous market – Oke-Arin, where he was groomed by enterprising Igbo Traders, which ignited his passion for business, instilling the (D.I.E) philosophy in him. This spirit of diligence, integrity and excellence has formed the core values of the empire he calls home – Sujimoto Group.
Melanie Galla, the efficient reporter from France for TF1, was impressed by what young entrepreneurs were doing, irrespective of the challenges they face daily in Nigeria. She saw a different kind of Nigeria, away from what the media is used to showing us; she saw a Nigeria that is working, sponsored by young, innovative and passionate entrepreneurs like Sijibomi Ogundele.
Speaking about one of his biggest and earliest influences in business, Sijibomi was quick to reference his mother. He says, “When you look at my story, you will realise that I was fortunate to have won an ovarian lottery. I was brought up by a powerful woman, a high school dropout who today is also one of the top 5 distributors for Nestle. I can describe a woman who is a ‘professor’ of entrepreneurship; any time I go to see her, she always has one or two pieces of advice to give. My Mum would always say: ‘Sijibomi, if you cannot hire ten people, hire just 7.’ She will tell me not to struggle to build 100 houses for people if I can afford to build only 20; this is what they call Corporate Integrity in modern business theory. So, having a strong woman like that sets a precedence for excellence and a foundation for prudence. My mother – Adebukola, is the backbone of who we are at Sujimoto because, without her, there would be no Sijibomi, let alone Sujimoto.
Despite his outstanding success within the last couple of years, Sijibomi still keeps a shallow profile in public. A day with him will reveal the seed of humility and humanity that has shaped him into the great entrepreneur he has become. Show me a man who has taken giving back as a lifestyle, and I will show you the entrepreneur Sijibomi Ogundele – a man who sees society as an extension of his responsibility.
For Sijibomi, success is no respecter of race or face; it only answers to hard work, God’s grace, integrity and the spirit of excellence. In building the Lucrezia Tower, he dared architectural complexities by erecting the tallest residential building – a 15-floor high-rise in the most sought-after exclusive address in Lagos – Banana Island. For Sijibomi, if it can be done in Dubai, London or Paris, then it can be replicated in Nigeria. It is a thing of great pride to see my mother’s hard work pay off without forgetting her hand of love on a stubborn entrepreneur who refused to come to terms with impossibility. She worked tirelessly to raise and cater for me with the best. This is the least I can do for her and my country.
Speaking on what this achievement means for him, Sijibomi quickly pointed out that this was not built by his hands alone. He said, ‘This would never have been possible without an extraordinary team who worked tirelessly and the grace of the Almighty. I can’t help but express my sincere gratitude to everyone who has been with me on this journey. This win is an opportunity to send a strong message to our generation, reminding everyone that you don’t need a rich Uncle or powerful Aunty to succeed. Anyone who strictly adheres to the philosophy of Diligence, Integrity, and Excellence (D.I.E) will be able to sell water in the middle of an ocean or ice to an Eskimo.
Sijibomi is 41 years old and Nigeria’s youngest billionaire, GMD of the No.1 Luxury Real Estate Company in Nigeria and the Developer of GiulianoBySujimoto, which is home to Nigerian-American singer – Davido; LucreziaBySujimoto a 15-floor tower, which is set to be the most sophisticated high-rise in Africa; the LeonardoBySujimoto waterfront development – a 25 story luxury tower with exceptional and top-of-the-range facilities and amenities in Banana Island; The Sujimoto Twin Tower – a residence, hospitality and retail enclave never before seen in Nigeria; the QueenAminaBySujimoto, a first-of-its-kind luxury tower located in highbrow Abuja; and the developer of the proposed Sujimoto Tower in Downtown Dubai.