Ahead of Buildmacex Nigeria 2023, Ayo Olugbade said exhibitions help grow the Nigerian building sector
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Images by Buildace Magazine
In our past interview with Ayo Olugbade, the Managing Director of Atlantic Exhibition who said he can add to the economy of Nigeria by creating values, we discussed and analyzed lots of topics, especially how exhibitions help grow our building sector. Exhibition is one of the powerful tools that have been used over the years to help grow the Nigerian building sector and the country’s economy generally. Thanks to an organization like Atlantic Exhibition, a company that has exclusively impacted the economy of Nigeria through its series of inclusive exhibitions. Exhibitions make a significant contribution to most of the global business sectors. The more global a business sector can become, the more important the role of exhibitions in introducing vendors to buyers and ensuring that industry players remain in contact with industry developments. That’s why exhibitions tend to be a celebration of success with successful companies exhibiting and these attract successful visitors in the capacity of companies and individuals.
Exhibitions do much more than just trade shows and the introduction of one person to another. If you are in Nigeria, of course you will agree with me that exhibition like Buildmacex Nigeria is a global ‘meetings place’ a gathering of stakeholders in the global building sector that provide a highly cost efficient environment in which every senior management and serious business minded individuals can meet with other senior management and serious business minded individuals to discuss partnerships and joint ventures, to maintain and deepen business relationships and to identify new business opportunities that drive growth.
Exhibitions as center of connection has various kind of benefits, like brand promotion, sales, B2B, closing of deals, professional seminars, educative information, introduction of new technology and materials, sharing of new ideas with top governmental representatives for decision making that will impact the society etc. exhibition is the core to providing the return on investment for exhibitors, visitors and in most cases provides the measurement criteria for determining business and economic success, it also make a valuable contribution to the economy by providing employment in the process of organizing the events, like venue, stand/booth design and build, hotels, ushers, security etc.
BUILDMACEX NIGERIA 2023
Building, Construction and Machinery Exhibition 2023
8th Edition | 21st – 23rd March 2023
– CLOSE DEAL
Building, Construction, and Machinery Exhibition (Buildmacex), is an international exhibition and conference platform focused on transforming the building and construction industry in West Africa. It is organized to drive and support acceleration changes in every aspect of architectural design, building, and construction through the application of technologies in West Africa.
– BRAND IMAGE
– DISCOVER & LEARN
Ayodeji Paul Olugbade hailed from Iyawe, Ekiti South-West, Ekiti State, Nigeria. He had his primary and Secondary Education in Ekiti State. He proceeded to the University of Ilorin where he bagged his Diploma in Accounting and then further his education overseas, in the Republic of Northern Cyprus where he bagged his BSc in International Trade and Business.
He started his career as a sales person with an international company, Meridyen International, an International Exhibition Organizers. He was later promoted to the position of Project Director of the West African Region and since then he has been managing exhibitions for the company precisely in Nigeria. Under him as Project Director, the company recorded huge success with a couple of exhibitions in Nigeria since 2010 started with Lagos Built, Lagos Fashion Show and also Turkish Export Products. At a point, he was given the right to establish an endless partnership with the organization, the right which permitted him to register his own company as their partner on the soil of Africa. And that is how the partnership gave birth to Atlantic Exhibition, a company that originated from the experience he gathered from the Meridyen International, a company that organizes a minimum of 45 exhibitions in a year; he was only responsible for the African Project.
Ayodeji Olugbade started the Atlantic Exhibition in 2013 and has been very successful till date. The company has held a couple of exhibitions since it started, which includes Buildmacex Nigeria [Building, Construction and Machinery Exhibitions], Lagos Fashion Show, Cosmetic Exhibition, Agrofex-Agro Food and Omex. Sometime the company tags some of the events together to be an International Trade Fair [Inter-Trade] Atlantic Exhibition; a four years old company with at least a minimum of 30 staffs both permanent and consistent contract staffs, based on integrity, trust and competence, has built her capacity across the border of Nigeria by taking Inter-Trade to three other African countries which includes; Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. In addition to the business of exhibition worldwide, the company also partner with both local and international other organizers in the areas of event management by helping them to build their exhibition boots in the capacity of up to 3000 square meters at once with Shells Skin and deeply experience in customizing specialized boots and supplying of all other necessary accessories needed to organize exhibitions.
Buildmacex Nigeria is one of the most flag bearer events of Atlantic Exhibition, the company chose building sector because Nigeria is still a developing country in the areas of infrastructures and real estate, holding exhibitions in the sector will enhance and support the growth of Nigerian building sector and the professional bodies within, it is an event where manufacturers of building materials and general construction equipment from all over the world comes to showcase their products and connect to the large market of Nigeria to network for business opportunities. The Atlantic Exhibition is not just bringing exhibitors from other parts of the world to Nigeria but also encouraging them to tap into the largest market in Africa and thus establish here for the purpose of economic development. By that assurance, some of the foreign investors were able to establish here in Nigeria which plumps them employing staff locally and also inflow with local production, the company also supports other investor’s forum as part of her services. In a brief interview with Buildace Magagzine, Ayodeji Olugbade said he believes he can add to the economy of Nigeria by creating values.
Enjoy the interview!
What inspired your drive for the exhibition industry?
My field is international trade and business, I love to interact, analyze and also to illustrate. I love marketing because it is a means of making things known from one person to the other and the importance of you getting those things but it has gone beyond that alone. I also see it as a passion because I love to do this and be established in Nigeria which is my country. I presently live overseas but operate locally, I spent couple of years out there and I see reasons why my country needs to be developed like western countries, we are capable and have all the resources, so it is just for us to get things right and I believe that we all need to contribute to this change if we are going to realize it. So I looked at what I could offer from my table? I was working for an international company in this industry and I told them I would like to have my part in Nigeria, looking at that also I believe I can add to the economy of this country.
My employees are off the street, and I pulled in foreign investors like the Turkish to also come and operate in Nigeria that is why I believe in this drive. Our business is not limited as much as we get the support we need, we are growing, expanding and creating rooms for more other projects. It is building and construction, we now build modern structures in Nigeria unlike we are used to some couple of years back. It is now up to the international standard, that is why we are bringing in the equipment and machineries, many people are patronizing our events to get those equipment and all the new technology in the building industry. These are the things that inspire me.
What is the best way to address construction issues in Nigeria?
Well! One of the best ways is to tackle the issue of funding, construction in Nigeria without funding is a set back because it causes delay and affects the quality of the projects we put out. In a situation where you want to embark on a project and there is no adequate or sufficient fund available you will be influenced to manage the resources at hand. That is number one, and I want to relate it to the situation where a common service man has no access to loan or fund from the government or financial institutions in Nigeria it will be difficult for such man to be able to put down a perfect structure up to the standard that we should have, I am talking about build. That is one area that needs to be addressed. The government also needs to put things in proper place in the area of construction, sometimes we believe we have award contracts out but without good supervision of those contracts to ensure that it is being carried out properly it will become waste of resources, so whatever project that the government is embarking on if its road construction or building projects they have to make sure it is well channeled from A to Z and work towards good maintenance plan for the projects. We have been able to do our best by exposing new technology to Nigerians in the building industry but funding is now the issue and I think the government and the financial institutions in the country should encourage that.
How can we establish more construction companies in Nigeria?
Thank you very much! Like I said, everything is all about funds. A common Nigerian man even with all his experience need fund to establish his own company, one thing I also believe that is so very few in our country is man power but today there are things that technology can put in place perfectly than man power, man can handle planning and supervision well but cannot do everything because major perfections are done with technology, so without adequate equipment more construction companies cannot be established in Nigeria. But if we want to encourage investors there should be a system in place that provides adequate funds to local professionals for their own establishment once they go out for their training and they are certified. That will help us locally and even when foreigners come to Nigeria there should be local partnership, there should be a quarter that is being controlled by a local partner with at least a fair percentage of profit sharing and a measure for staffing of such establishments where some Nigerians should be of these numbers and others of foreigners. So with that, we will be able to learn more from them how they do things perfectly.
The most important thing is our sincerity, we Nigerians must be very sincere to ourselves and respect ourselves, respect in the sense that we believe in ourselves and also learn how to deliver quality. Some Nigerians look at how to maximize profit instead of delivering quality products, this is what discourages people from local products and pushes them to patronize foreign products instead. These are the areas I think are still affecting us, if not, we are capable and skilled.
How do we expand the market of construction in Nigeria?
Certainly by what we are doing! Organizing exhibitions, because that is the only way samples of construction products and ideas can be showcased. When you go online you see things you might not get to see physically, but that equipment would have been brought down and ensure that people can test and feel the products through exhibition. Another thing is the custom; we need stable regulations from our custom offices. If there is no change or regulation, that area will discourage importation. Yes we talk about made in Nigeria products but without us encouraging local production there will be no made in Nigeria because it is not just a one day thing without importing the necessary machinery and other materials needed by the local producers to start with.
It is not all companies that produce the entire part of their equipment; some are still supplied to them from overseas, so there is no way things will not be imported and assembled here. I think if we can encourage that, it will spread the economy and even companies that are well established will prefer to come in and establish in Nigeria so that is the area I believe we can do it. And whenever we are having exhibitions we want people to turn up when we do publicity, if you don’t see you will not be enlightened on newer technology, people need to know the importance of attending exhibitions and seminars so that they could learn more.
In a time of recession how do you make profit in the business of exhibition?
Thank you very much for this question! That is a very serious aspect for us. Initially I can say in the past, the word recession was not common in Nigeria but in the last two years it is almost the most used word in this country, now we all know what recession is all about. At that time it really affect us because people were not willing to attend events because they know that there wasn’t fund to patronize the exhibitors, so it discouraged not only visitors coming to our event but also the exhibitors, especially our international exhibitors when they come because most of their products are in foreign currencies so inflation affects both parties. And we planned ahead, especially a year before the event, we would have started investing lots into the event and in the long run when you look at things sometimes we don’t make profit. But because it is not only the profit we look at but the establishment of the project and the focus on how it will also contribute to the economy, for that we won’t say it is a loss generally because we achieve one thing for the other.
What is your assessment of architecture in Nigeria?
I want to give kudos to that sector, the professional body of architecture in Nigeria. They are up to the task and they are actuary the one bringing new building designs to Nigeria, we have people that are professionals, they have gone out to learn more and they are back into the country, so they should be allowed to do their job so that they could use their vast experience to help develop our environments, the Town Planning system of requesting for architectural design of every building makes the architecture profession more relevant. But it shouldn’t be limited to submitting designs alone; there should be a proper follow up to be sure that such designs are done by professionals. The architects design buildings but they are not also the engineers, they should imbibe a good working relationship with other professionals in the industry. There is a difference between designing a building and building it, so everything works hand in hand and that is why we were able to bring all the professional bodies together in our event because we are talking about building. Without the Quantity Surveyors the architects will not be able to access the land, without also the Structure Engineers the building will not be able to do and the Artisans will definitely take up what the architects have done. So there is no way they won’t work together to ensure the job is perfectly done.
How can we control the high cost of building in Nigeria?
It is by controlling recession and inflation. When it comes to building materials, sand and granite are cheap because you can get them here locally unlike marbles and cement. That is why we are doing our best to make sure that more of those things can be produced locally, so that when the investors also come and see that things are moving in Nigeria and the market is good they will prefer to come and be producing here locally and when there is no importation heavy bills or things like that, the high cost of building in Nigeria will go down because it is the high cost of building materials that make housing to be expensive.
How would you rate the interior designers in Nigeria?
See! Most of us that grew up in the village will respect the interior designers and appreciate the profession. It is not building a house that matters, it is the finishing and that is the job of interior designers. These people are not only so good at beautifying houses alone, they also help you manage your space, when they take a look at your room they know how they can design it and put things in place and there will still be enough space left for you. Without the interior designer’s concept you might not really enjoy your building, so people should not just focus on building and think they don’t have enough money to make it beautiful. It is not just all about beauty but about putting the right things in the right place.
Apart from that, interior designers also determine the maintenance of the building. Naturally, it is like you are using a car, if the car is dirty the way you will care for it is different from other things you have, you want your car to be clean and neat and you will want to maintain that. So interior designers are very important, they are improving and upgrading themselves in Nigeria, we have the privilege of such a profession in this country but most of the problems these people are having is lack of customers. They need to be patronized and the only way that can happen is if the economy is put in good condition that would make people earn enough to patronize them.
What should we be expecting from this year’s Buildmacex?
We have done our best and we have been selling Nigerian products again to the Nigerians and the international bodies to let them know that this country is a promising market place for their products. In fact it is still a virgin market that is yet to be exploited in the business of construction, so we have been promoting this year Buildmacex and we have received good response. Recession was a shock and now it is no more a shock, and the government is also trying on their side to put things in place. So we are ready even if the Western world is also ready and set to amend their prices in order to penetrate into the Nigerian market. We have a good population and it is not by accident, our population is a plus on our side if we are industrially oriented.
Thank you very much for your time sir!
By the Editorial Team of Buildace Magazine