Legacy companies must invest in technology, says Osinbajo

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday in Abuja, said despite the existing business models in most industries today, maintaining relevance will require investment in technology.

“Legacy and history have a powerful pull, but it might be that what the future calls for is even greater and this is why we must be investing in technology,” Osinbajo said when he received a delegation of the Odu’a Investment Company at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday titled ‘Investing in technology is the way of the future, says Osinbajo.’

Starting operations in October 1976, Odu’a Investment Company Limited has interests in integrated textile mills, breweries, commercial banking, insurance, real estate, livestock rearing, fisheries, hospitality, oil and gases, amongst others.

While commending the legacy of the conglomerate and the vision that birthed it, Osinbajo said, “legacy and history have a powerful pull, but it might be that what the future calls for is even greater and this is why we must be investing in technology.”

“look at technology and see how to change and improve the (business) model,” Osinbajo told the company’s chairman, Bimbo Ashiru.

Making a case for proper privatisation and its dividends to the government, Osinbajo said “if the private sector runs businesses, it is far better because it will bring greater dividends.

“The NLNG is making a lot of money because the private sector has a controlling share and is making money for the country.

“There is a need to push the model of using smart and tested people from the private sector to manage enterprises and businesses that government has an interest in.”

Ashiru, who briefed State House correspondents after the meeting, said despite being major shareholders in its enterprise, governors of southwestern states are not meddling with the company’s affairs.

This, he said, had ensured the company’s expansion into a world-class outfit in its 47-year existence.

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He said the company is being run as a conglomerate that is paying due dividends to shareholders; attracting foreign investors in the areas of hospitality, agriculture, real estate, IT, among others.

 He said, “We have six states that are shareholders, they are not running Odu’a. They appoint members of the Board, but Odu’a is being run like a conglomerate, it is a large conglomerate and what we have done is to make Oodua a world class conglomerate, we want to compete with everywhere in the world.

“So, that’s really why we are even here; to let the Vice President know that it’s not a regional thing. It’s a national thing. So, the point is that we are now running as an international entity.

“I commend the Southwest governors. They have no interference, no micro-managing. They gave us free hand to run it. But normally, we still need to refer to them and I’m happy to tell you that we are paying dividends to the shareholders.

Ashiru further explained that the company was exploring international investments and partnerships.

For instance, he disclosed that the Premier Hotel located in Ibadan, Oyo State, one of the well-known businesses of the conglomerate is now going to be in partnership with an international brand.

In the new arrangement, he said the hotel would  be upgraded to a five-star hotel and will increase its rooms from 87 to 120.

He also informed the VP that Lagos State has recently joined Odu’a Investment Company and has been presented its certification as a shareholder.

Members of the delegation included the Group Managing Director; Mr. Adewale Raji, other directors such as Dr. Tola Kasali, Mr Seni Adio, SAN and Adebola Osibogun.

Others were the Managing Director, SWAgCo Limited, Mr. Babajide Arowosafe and Mr. Victor Ayetoro, Head, Branding and Communications at Odu’a.