Oil magnate Engr (Dr) Ojo Abdulqadir is the President at MOAHZ Group – a Consolidation of MOAHZ Oil and Gas, MOAHZ Engineering & Project Management, MOAHZ investment, Green Mozaq Classic limited, and MOAHZ Multi-Purpose Integrated service. He is a thorough-bred professional and philanthropist. Recently, the European American University (EAU), Panama conferred Honourary Doctorate Degree on him for his tremendous contributions to the Oil & Gas Sector, In this interview, he speaks about his business, his many successes and challenges faced so far, his foundation – Ojo AbdulQadir Foundation (TOAF) and other sundry issues.
Tell us about your growing up phase?
My name is Ojo Abdulqadri. I am an engineer by profession. I am from Olaogun in Osun state. I was born in Oyo state where I grew up; Ibadan to be precise before I came to Lagos. My secondary school was in Oyo state, which is Methodist Boys high school.
My primary school was back then in Olaogun. I graduated from the University of Ilorin way back 2004, while I had my Master degree in 2009. I have worked in different organisations since then, before I started my business two years ago.
What has motivated you so far?
Growing up wasn’t that easy, but one thing that kept me going was my focus in life, because I have always looked at where I came from, the family and people around me, so I have always wanted to do better for myself. I always want to be better, and I always want to have that name, and I always want to have a legacy. That has been my dream; I always aspire to be a better person in future.
So, I was self-dependent, I have this self-reliance up till now. I hardly go to my parents for money for anything, rather I believe in working and earning something for a living. The last time I asked my parents for money for school or to buy a book was in JSS1. From JSS2 I was always struggling for myself. I believe I could do everything on my own, without having to seek help from anybody except from God. That kept me going.
I started going to some of these poultries stores in Oyo State to pack liters. So, weekend I will be at the poultries to pack liters and they will pay. I get my money and throughout the week I will be smelling in the class. You know it is not easy going under the trees in the poultry and you are packing faeces there but I still wasn’t bothered with what people were saying, what I know is that I have cash and I could take care of myself.
Even those who were in my school then that their parents were well-known, like some of my friends then looked up to me to ask for funds. That self-independence and self-reliance actually kept me going. Then I thank God for who he has made me to be.
You’re well-known in the business world, what does your business empire look like?
Well, we are into Oil and Gas, gas streaming and also into real estate.
So how has it been managing all of these businesses together?
Well, I am very good at setting up a team; and I am a team player. So what we did was to seek the best; people that can understand my dream, people that can actually bring my dream to reality.
So I sourced for the best to produce the best, that’s what I do majorly. I can’t do it alone, so I am full of ideas, I have an idea, when I have an idea I try to learn about a business very well, it takes time before I venture into a business because in business there are times things will be rosy and there are times things will be slow.
Like I always tell people, there are three stages in business: the first stage is when you start a business and no one is coming, you know it will be hard to have people that will patronise you. And when everything is going on fine there are times you will have challenges and everything will just crash. If you ask every business man they will tell you what I am saying; but by the time they started their business they thought they had scale through already and everything is going on smoothly and all of a sudden everything will just go down.
So, at that moment you just thought of what should I do, you either quit or forget to do something else. Or another thing that will come to your mind is maybe you should just end it or forget about life because life is not being fair to you. But the ability to continue and you keep on pushing, you keep pushing, you keep pushing, and then you get to the road, that is it. And the management of the business will tell you, the oil and gas is very volatile like real estate as well.
I have people who are working for me, people who understand the system. So, the structure is there either I go to the office or I did not go, the structure is there. So when you are working without the structure you are funny, and that’s what I try to do. Having a structure in place is necessary because I am not only building a company that will exist only when I am alive, so I am building a company that will exist for as long as it can exist forever, that’s what we do. So we try to diversify quickly within the sector.
How has your company fared so far? In terms of challenges, successes and performance indicators?
I don’t have to say that myself. I will only point to what other people have said about the company, that is MOAHZ Oil and Gas Limited. MOAHZ Oil and Gas Limited is four years old now, and that’s the one that deals with the Oil and Gas sector.
And I can tell you in 2018 we were recognized by the Institute of Oil and Gas and Hydrocarbons in West Africa, where we have the award for engineering as the best company. We have the same award in 2019, the same award in 2020.
In 2020, we were recognised by the European American University (EAU), where we were given an award as the best Oil and Gas Company in installation in West Africa. So I believe that has said our record and position in the industry.
How has it been coping with work and your family?
Okay, this is it, my work does not affect my family. I am a father, and I believe my wife can say I am a good husband if you have the time to speak with her.
For the family I give the responsibility to my wife; so she owns the home, while I am away. She controls the kids and everything the family needs, while I focus on the business. We rotate that because we do the same business. When I am at home and I need to take care of the house, I allow her to go take care of the business. It is that simple.
If not business, what will you be doing during your leisure hour?
I am an indoor person, I don’t really go out. So what I do is that I read and study more. I do research. I try to study some of these business tycoons, the business men around the world, how they have been able to scale through to achieve how they have been able to achieve what they have been able to achieve in life.
What philosophy guides you everyday?
Well, the only thing that keeps me going everyday is realising that everything I have been able to achieve is not because I am the best or because I am better than any other person, or God loves me ‘factor’.
The moment I know I have a God I can call upon I keep on going without looking back.
How do you celebrate your birthday every year?
Well, majorly what we do; I am not used to celebrating birthdays, calling for parties and all. Because when I look at my background I know what poverty means. So I hardly waste money because I know people who need money, I’m not the type that goes to parties and sprays money out there.
I am not saying it is bad for people doing that, they are making their money. That is their own work, because if you are an artist and no one is spraying money on you that means you are not making any profits. So I am not against them, but as for me I know there are people out there who are in need, so I look for people who are in need and I try to celebrate with them and motivate them that they can also become somebody in life.
So my birthday has always been celebrating with the needy and giving to the less privileged, and until I started my foundation, that’s The Ojo AbdulQadir Foundation (TOAF). So, whenever it is my birthday the foundation always has the activities of people we can extend our gifts too.
So that’s what we do, like going to the orphanage, looking for people around, giving scholarships to people who are brilliant and their parents cannot possibly afford to train them. This is part of what I do to celebrate my birthday.
When was the foundation founded? And how has your foundation helped lives so far?
The foundation was founded last year, 2020. We have really gone far. We have gone to different communities. What I did was when I started the foundation I looked for someone who can, because when I started I wanted a balance between the business and the foundation.
So I actually look for someone who has been in an NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) for years all her life. And some who knows, then I explain: this is the idea that I have and this is what I am trying to do. She understood that; and she has been the one heading the foundation, and the foundation has really gone far. We had so many activities. Like this year for my birthday we plan on going to the IDP camps and all, and reaching out to quite a number of people who are genuinely in need.