So if a 60-year-old man is coming to talk about money, I’m talking about technology, so which one will you go for? You will definitely go for me because I really know what I’m saying. And then when I came to Nigeria in 2016, the availability of the currency was a big challenge. If we were buying an elevator for a million naira in 2014- 2015, now you’re buying it for like N10 million. So you could see the price difference in the US dollars.
What is your take on the new Not Too Young To Run advocacy?
Akomolafe: For now, I am not looking at politics. Though I have the interest to run for governorship in the nearest future, for now, I am focusing on the business because I don’t want to be poor to be a governor. I want to be on the billionaire’s list first. So first of all, Not Too Young to Run is a very good idea. Because we have young guys that have a lot of good initiatives like me.
I’m doing a lot of things. And I think if we give young guys the opportunity, they will do better When I was in South Africa, I had a conversation with other nominees and I was impressed because these are guys that are really doing great. So if the youths have more access to power, I believe Nigeria will do better.
We are presently faced with the challenge of out-of-school children, what do you think we can do to take these kids off the streets?
Akomolafe: Personally, I feel our government should invest more in education because if you check out this investment in education is really poor, we invest in things that are not relevant. If our budget for education can be increased by 30-40 per cent, it is going to take these kids back to school and it is also going to add economic value to our country.
Because when these guys are well educated, when they grow up, they’re going to add value and employ people. Also, change our educational system to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
What do we expect from Akotex, now that you have been recognised out of Nigeria?
Akomolafe: Presently in Nigeria, we have no elevator school in Nigeria, so I am talking to my partners in Spain to start up one in Nigeria. Hopefully, we are starting our own factory soon. We want to be the first manufacturer of elevators in Nigeria and in sub-Saharan Africa.
I just finished a job at Kwara State University, which was just opened last week. I also have my elevators at the University of Portharcourt, University of Maiduguri and Imo State University.
So I want to create a strategic partnership with the universities to see how we can start up something because an elevator needs a lot of skills, it goes beyond being a mechanical or electrical engineer. I have few mechanical and electrical engineers that have been working with me for two years now and have still not picked the required skills.
And now Nigeria is an emerging market, high rising buildings are emerging, an elevator is now like a luxury style for residential buildings. For instance, about 60 per cent of buildings at Guzape Hills (Abuja) have elevators. So being on the list doesn’t change our zeal and focus, we are here to stay and already making an impact in terms of employment, though we want to employ as many of unemployed engineers as possible.