Hon. Moshoood Adegoke Salvador did what many considered unthinkable when his company Dock Management Nigeria Limited won the bid for Eric Moore Towers, Lagos, a few years back.
In this interview with Remi Adefulu, Salvador who is aspiring to represent Lagos West Senatorial District on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) reveals his strategies for success. Excerpts:
How would you describe yourself?
I’m somebody that believes so much in spending my time on work or studying rather than going to social gatherings or parties. People say I’m a loner, but for me, I’m not the kind of person that talks about people, I talk about issues. Being a loner doesn’t mean I’m always alone, it means I don’t so much associate with individuals or people. For me, I associate myself with peoples interests. Anything that will develop humanity that is what I associate myself with. That’s the way I can describe my person. I relate with people’s interests, positive interests that will benefit the generality of the people.
Tell us briefly about your virtues
That’s what gives me concern about our society. And that is part of what made me the way I am. The society is full of deceit and people without morals and that is why it is very difficult for me to associate with individuals, I deal with issues. I deal with positive interests and I associate my self with anything good for Yoruba land, anything good for the nation and anything good for my state. This is the truth about me,because deception and lying is just the order of the day. I hate lies and I don’t believe I need to lie since I don’t have anything to hide from you. I have trained my children in that line too. We don’t joke with lies, we don’t play with lies, and it is an abomination in my house. So, I don’t joke with it. I can avoid making statements once I know such statements can aggravate the situation instead of lying. That’s why I have found it very difficult to relate with so many people, because of their love for money, deceit and lies. For me, all that reduces the moral standard of a society and that is one of the reasons I took it upon myself to preach, educate, and send messages across to improve the moral standard in our country.
Can you give us an idea of how you started your business?
For me, business is an in-born thing. I remember when I was very small and even in primary school, I liked to buy hens, raise them to have chickens and sell them for profit. When I got to the secondary school, I didn’t do the chicken stuff.
There are some species of ducks that lay eggs. They don’t lay eggs in the nest. They lay eggs on the floor at midnight and you pack them in the morning. I bought some of these ducks. They call them Titan ducks. From Isale Eko, I brought them into my father’s compound, so they laid eggs and I put the eggs in bags and sold them. It’s not because I like money, it was not because I needed money to pay my school fees. It wasn’t because I needed money to buy clothes. No! I just love doing something that brings money and that was the way I began my journey into business right from my school days. and I put the eggs in bags and sold
But my credo is no matter what, as a young chap if you work a little and make little money to buy anything for yourself, you will appreciate it more than the gold your parents bought for you. So, I always saved my money, went to Kajola market and bought Ankara or simple clothes. If my father bought me lace material, I would not cherish that lace as much as I cherish that Ankara. I made sure it didn’t tear and neither did I misuse it because I bought it from my own little labour. By the time I got to the university, I was selling shirts, trousers, etc but not imported ones as we had a London-trained tailor at Mushin who made them. Then I used to visit Balogun in Lagos and bought quality fabrics and gave them to the tailor to sow. Subsequently, I packaged them and sold them. So, anytime, I look left and right, I see people owing me money. That seems to be my joy and at all times I’m happy that I had something to fall back on as an undergraduate then and my father even encouraged me.
So, immediately I graduated, I started working with Epic Nigeria Limited selling fire extinguishers. I came across how these fire extinguishers were being put together and I established my own company which I called MASALVA (Moshood Adegoke Ajibola Salvador and Company). I started producing fire extinguishers and my first client came immediately because I started small then. I also came across several companies and it was a milestone. I was able to move a little bit higher on the ladder of my career until I got to National Oil, where I had another opportunity to supply them water. Other windows of opportunity came my way.
At what point did you decide to be a politician?
I ventured into politics around this period and I was in the House of Representatives. There, I was exposed to so many opportunities and I registered with the Ministry of Transport, and incorporated Dock Management Nigeria Limited, a company that has been handling maritime operations since then.
At what point did you make your first million in business?
A very long time ago. It’s been about 26 years ago and that was when I went for Hajj. That was in 1988. That was the time I bought my first Mercedes Benz car.
How were you able to expand your business ?
I was determined, dedicated and I had the grace of God. Once you’re upright, just try as much as possible to be as perfect as you can and consider others too. Don’t engage in any shady deal and you will get there. So, once you start small, you sense this cool urge to diversify. Once you can diversify, easily you will discover opportunities. I don’t stay on one spot at all. It’s not in my character. Once I see an opportunity, I start to develop it. With that very opportunity, some other opportunities would come in handy. For me, I believe there are too many opportunities in Nigeria and I tell people, don’t close your eyes to any business. I cannot do it all. I have license for mining, I have license for this and that, and can’t do it all.
If you try to do everything, you will make all the money and die and that is the end. So, why can’t you encourage others to go into other ventures, which is what I’m trying to do. Expanding your business horizon depends on how frugal you are. How you can manage your resources.
If you don’t, you will earn about N50 million today and if you spend everything carelessly, you’ll be unable to avail your self of new opportunities. You’ll not have enough capital and you will be back to square one. I was able to achieve the financial strength I have today, because I used the little I had to get the best for myself in terms of good negotiations. I’m not greedy and I have financial liberty, which boosts my financial strength and capabilities as an investor . So that’s it.
What are the challenges you have faced in the course of doing business and as an investor ?
My major challenge is our banks. Financial institutions in this country are not that friendly with our business men. They exploit the economic opportunities of our environment. I could have been bigger than this, but for you to have the support of any bank in this country, you will be risking your success. If you give proposals to banks, bank officials will give it to their colleagues, and before you know it, you see the proposals being executed somewhere. Therefore, you have to keep it to yourself. Even if they eventually gave you N10 for instance, they will want to get N20 out of that N10 when you start to make money. Therefore, you will be left with your initial capital. It is a big challenge in this society. Another major challenge is the society itself, where when they tell you good morning, you will have to be sure that it is not past twelve noon. This is a very corrupt and dishonest society, so our society is not business-friendly.
Reflecting on your successes, what are the high points that you would like to remember ?
One of the memorable events of my life was the day I collected the first cheque for supplying water. Then, a graduate earned N200 or N280 monthly and a school certificate holder then earned N90 monthly. Every Thursday, I collected my cheque at National Oil and the first cheque I collected then was for N1,430. It was big money to me. The other time was when my father gave me N300 to start the fire extinguisher business. I went to raise money to buy the powder, the cylinders and other components. So, after supplying them at a cost of about N300, I was paid N2,880.
I started living like a millionaire. I started thinking like a millionaire. I started thinking bigger. It started just like that, till when I won the bid for Eric Moore Towers. It was like an impossible thing, but it became a reality. In fact then, people asked me why I was chasing a white elephant project, but I was determined to think economically big, I don’t believe anything is impossible. I look at challenges as a successful person, I don’t look at the easy aspect of achieving a goal. That’s the path I toed and that’s what I do and practice in my business life.
How are you able to combine politics and business?
I ventured into politics while I was in Mushin at a very tender age and I was already in business. The elders of that community invited me and told me they wanted me to be their representative in the House of Representatives . I was around 36 years old then. If they didn’t see me as a successful young man, they wouldn’t come to me. But I concentrated more on my business before politics, because politics costs a lot of money, you cannot be a successful politician without money. So, first of all, look for that money before you venture into politics. So, combining politics with my business is no big deal, because I concentrate more on my business than politics, and mind you, politics is seasonal, and Nigerian politics is unpredictable.
What’s your next move ?
I was in the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2003. I didn’t get there on my name or record. I got there through the recognition of Afenifere. It was Afenifere and the AD then that the people voted for. The late Alhaji Ganiyu Dawodu, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, Chief Olanihun Ajayi and others were the leaders. They knew the personality they wanted to represent them, and I was so glad that they chose me then. Today, I am offering my self to represent Lagos West Senatorial District on the platform of PDP to offer quality representation to the people. I am doing this because of the poor representation the people have suffered since the late Senator Wahab Dosunmu represented them. With my experience and pedigree, I want to assure you that I will provide the best in terms of representation to Lagos West Senatorial District.
Source : SunOnline