Tunde Adeyemo

Chief Executive Officer
Real Estate

His name is Babatunde Murtala Adeyemo, popularly called Pelican. The 39 years old journalist is a native of Ibadan, Oyo State Capital, who started his education career in 1983 at Etunrenren Primary School, Ikorodu before proceeding for his secondary education at Government College, Ikorodu, Lagos State.

He didn’t stop there, he got admitted into a Cooperative College where he obtained a Diploma in Cooperative Studies, before going for his Degree at University of Lagos in 1998 where he bagged his first degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management, and thereafter capped it with a Masters Degree from the same institution in 2010.

A proactive journalist, Adeyemo did not put his egg in one basket, hence, his resolved to look beyond journalism practice; he therefore ventured into what he termed Property-Journalism, and actively engaged in real estate entrepreneurship. As at today he is the Chief Executive Officer of Pelican Valley Nig. Ltd, a registered company with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), with the headquarters located in Abeokuta, Ogun State Capital

Speaking with Penpushing, he explained that to him, Journalism is a calling while real estate is his passion, but quickly explained how he has been able to cope with the two jobs, inspite of the volume of works the two entails

‘I need to make a clarification here; I practice journalism and real estate simultaneously. As I speak, I still report for Murhi International Television (MITV). So Journalism is a calling while real estate is my passion’ he stated.

‘One thing you can’t take away from the management of MITV is that, they allow staff development and also permit workers who are creative to ventilate their creativity so far it won’t affect official duties and delivery. At this point, I must thank the Chairman, Murhi Group, Alhaji Busari Gbadeyanka for his magnanimity, I will forever be grateful to him’,Adeyemo said.

He spoke further that, he was of the opinion that, journalists must have a second contact, to be financially independent; putting into mind, the poor enumeration for the practitioners, stressing that being proactive will discourage brown envelope practice

‘Secondly, due to poor remuneration of journalists in Nigeria, I am of the opinion that Nigerian journalists must have a second address so that they can be financially independent and stop running after “brown envelops” which would eventually water down objectivity and balancing in reportage’.

Adeyemo said, his choice of company’s name and trade mark was born out of the uniqueness of estate terrain of the establishment, recalling that when he started, it was a difficult terrain which he transformed into attraction centre and has become a reference point in the Ogun State’s real estate sector.

According to him, ’Pelican is a powerful bird that signifies vigour and energy to defy all odds to deliver in a critical situation. That is why our estate’s pay-off line is ‘where unusual homes happen’.

He, however, narrated the journey to the birth of the company, recalling that he initially thought of going into haulage business, adding that after a business in the haulage, one thing led to another and had to jettisoned the business

‘Actually I wanted to assist a brother who was so dear to my heart with an haulage business so I eventually bought two cars for him at the rate of N1.6m to start the suppose joint business but we later discovered after about four months that no substantial income was coming in, so we decided to liquidate the business’.

‘But my greatest surprise, the same Tokunbo cars we bought for N800,000 each were being priced for N200,000 each after just about four months of use. So , I felt pained by the development and decided to collect just one out of the two cars and start looking for land owners who I could subtitle the car with, so that I could just say “this is what I achieve with the N1.6m I wasted on the haulage business’.

‘That was what took me to Pelican. So, I eventually got someone who agreed to subtitle the car for just two plots of land, and I later start acquiring more and little by little. So , I could say I started the business 6 years ago with a car worth about N300,000 after which my late father’s best friend , Alhaji T.I Bello assisted me with N500,000 to further kick-start the business. On this note , I would like to say a big thank you to my godfather who has adopted me to be one of his sons, Alhaji T.I Bello, for being a dependable father and a God sent to my family. I will forever be grateful to him’.

He also spoke about packages associated with the company, stressing that the service scheme focused more on creativity, plot allotments and also build unusual home for clients, and providing quality services.

‘What we do in Pelican-Valley is a sort of a site and service scheme with emphasis on creativity, because our entry into the real estate sector was motivated by my passion for unusual homes and also my humble background’.

‘So, at Pelican-Valley, we do service plot allotments and also build unusual homes for our clients. Our clients are usually foreign based Nigerians who appreciate the aesthetics of nature and know the values of our world class terrace, serene and green environment. Though, we also have something in the burner for the middle income clients but Pelican-Valley is a very mini estate for the top notch. We are not really after quantity but quality

He also spoke about his background while growing up, stating that his humble beginning remained great lesson for him which today had made him stronger and help in facing squarely any challenges that come his way

‘My humble beginning was my greatest teacher. My late dad (may his soul rest in peace) used to say a Yoruba proverb which goes “iya ko je e oni ogbon, tani teacher o”. This translates to mean “you didn’t suffer, yet you said you are wise, then who is your teacher?”

On his estate business, the father of two said, it has exposed him to the fact that one need to be extremely patient and exhibit maturity for business to grow, adding that a good businessman should not be in a hurry to make profits

‘What I have learnt about real estate business is that, as an entrepreneur you have to be extremely patient and nurture the business to grow, not in a hurry to get rich quickly. This is what most real estate promoters in Nigeria don’t do’, he pointed out.

‘For Example, it took me about three and half years to get a Certificate of Occupancy of some of our lands, then about two years to prepare our terrace, making about five years before we commenced sales. How many real estate practitioners would wait or be patient that long before selling? Some would even use buyers’ monies to pay land owners (omo onile) Real estate business requires patience and time, not desperation.

He used the opportunity to advised businessmen to be cautious of loan, stating that, servicing such loans, may end as herculean task, hence, you see many running helter skelter, but end up in going bankrupt

‘Let me tell you my experience. There was a period several years ago I approached a bank for loan but at the point of disbursing the loan, the bank MD called me into his office and offered me a candid and honest advice that I will never forget in my life. The man told me in confidence that I would not break even or have a peace of mind if I got a commercial bank loan for a real estate business. The bank MD told me he had to tell me the truth simply because of his relationship with my link person’.

‘Real estate market is not like rice and beans that customers troop in to buy in the market. You can invest millions and not get any return in years, then what now becomes of the interests and servicing of the bank loan you have got to repay? That is why we see so much desperation on the part of most operators of real estate business in Nigeria of late’.

‘They can even ask you to contribute one naira everyday or buy a plot and get this and that. It’s all about desperation. May God help us all. Real estate business needs patience and consistency; you start little if you don’t want to secure a killer loan. There was a period I used an old model Mazda car for 9 years, changing the engine 3 times’.

When asked to advise the youths and aspiring generations, the Pelican boss said they should note that any business that they cannot start small may not last, hence, need for them not to think of walking before crawling.

‘My advice for the youths and young entrepreneurs is, any business you cannot start small is not a business. Start small, buy your time and let it grow naturally. Also as a youth, we tend to do things that are not in tandem with our natural calling. Try to identify what your calling is and pursue it’.

‘Using myself as an example, God helped me to discover that my destiny and spirit forbid cheating people and to the best of my ability and knowledge, I don’t cheat because cheating doesn’t favour me. So, as youths, we need to discover ourselves and also our passion.

On moral decadence in the society, he lamented that youths are too much in a hurry to make ends meet, stating that majority of them are not ready to serve, rather they want people to serve them, through all crook of manners, a development he said need urgent attention to address.

‘Most of our youths don’t want to serve and if you don’t serve people, no one would serve you too. That’s the fact. Most people don’t believe when I tell them that I worked as a barber to finance myself through university education in UNILAG’.

‘And getting to UNILAG, I also learnt from the entrepreneurial strategies of our then Vice Chancellor, late Professor Jelili Omotola, who pioneered the establishment of UNILAG Ventures. Then, my school was the first university in Nigeria to pay her workforce before the arrival of the federal government’s monthly subversion to the school. Such drive by the late VC is a source of inspiration. Our youths should always look up to outstanding personalities’ ways of lives – their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats’.

‘For example, I learnt some great lessons from my late dad, may God grant him Aljana Fridaus. My Dad was suddenly sent on a compulsory retirement from the Lagos State Civil Service without any offence. He had spent over twenty seven years in service without having a house of his own simply because of the luxury enjoyed then by senior civil servants. But the whole family was thrown off balance due to the sudden retirement which eventually led us to stay in an uncompleted building without windows, doors, water or light for over one decade’.

‘We thank God we were not in the era of “Badoo” then. So such bitter experience taught me a great lesson and propelled me to buy my first land at the age of 26 even when I was earning N19, 000 as salary. I also started preparing for my retirement right from my first day of being gainfully employed. All these propelled and accelerated the birth of Pelican-Valley and yet, we still combine it with journalism’.

Adeyemo spoke on what the community should expect from the company as payback, stating that, the management was socially responsible to the immediate environment, making efforts to make the immediate environment more green, accessible and illuminating and also planning a public motorised borehole for the community

Hear him, ’Pelican-Valley is not there yet. In fact, most of our estates are mini ones because we don’t want to bite more than we can chew. However, we are socially responsible to our immediate environment, for example we are making efforts to make our immediate environment more green, accessible and illuminating. We are also planning a public motorised borehole for our immediate community.

He declared that, he has no regret venturing into the estate business, just as he pointed out that real estate sector should serve as a veritable tool to fly the economy of the country

‘I think real estate sector should serve as a veritable tool to fly any economy because Real Estate Sector offers a great potential source of growth for Nigeria. Until now, the understanding of its composition and growth has been somewhat limited to its required use in Nigerian national accounts’.

He said, development is a general word that encompasses all aspects of human life, segments and disciplines, which give direction to the state of an economy, stressing that real estate sector remained one of most profitable ventures of every economy worldwide.

‘Globally, real estate sector is one of the most profitable ventures of every economy and one of the indices of measuring economic growth of a society. It is a sector that mirrors the economic viability and sustainability of an economy and its poverty level’.

‘Though there was no accurate data about housing shortage in Nigeria. It was however estimated that the shortage has risen to over 17 million (Ebie, 2005). Successive government over the year have attempted to resolve these shortages with various policies but rather than reducing, the shortage kept increasing year in year out’,Adeyemo said.

‘The Federal housing agencies located in each state of the federation, were statutorily created to execute public housing programmes for each state of the federation based on the formulated housing policies.

‘Specifically they are to undertake the development of estates by acquiring, developing, holding, managing, selling, leasing or letting any property movable or un movable in their respective state; provide a home ownership, saving scheme in respect of any housing estate or building owned, constructed and managed by them with a view to enabling members of the public purchase or build their own houses; provide sites and services scheme for residential, commercial and industrial purposes for the people of their respective states, construct and maintain modern dwelling houses at reasonable costs for sales to members of the public, undertake the construction of offices, commercial and industrial buildings for letting out to members of the public among other things, engage in other investment activities and opportunities as may be determined by the respective state governments.

‘ If there has been effective implementation of housing policies, all these would have significantly benefited the masses and above all contributed to the growth of the nation’s economy as a result of profit made from sales and rents. Unfortunately however, our hyper growth in population, political ininstability and inconsistencies at the federal level overtime could not allow effective housing delivery.

In concluding, Adeyemo said he has several effective solutions to all these problems but declared that those ideas remains his intellectual property and thus would not be made public