Omoneye: A chartered accountant turned amala business operator

There are different attitudes towards investments in business such that most Nigerians underrate some profitable areas. While some believe certain businesses are strictly for the women, a few men venture into the terrain and excel. ABDULRAHMAN ZAKARIYAU tells a story of how a chartered accountant of 16-year standing and former world bank consultant abandoned consultancy for amala business.

Olukayode Ogboye, fondly called Omoneye, is a story of rising from grass to grace. As a young boy growing up in the rural Obaakoko of Ondo state, his penchant for education knew no bound. However, he never allowed this thinking and urge derail him from helping his mother, a popular food vendor, in her business.

With time however, he had a fulfilment in education, as Olukayode, upon completion of his secondary education, got admitted into the famous University of Nigeria Nsukka to read Agric Economics. And still not satisfied, he enrolled

at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and got qualified in 2002, capping it with a Fellow of the prestigious institute in 2016. As a matter of fact, the chartered accountant was a consultant to many international organisations, including the World Bank and the International Fund for Agric Development (IFAD). But he decided to ‘stop hustling’ and settled for a “thing that will give me joy,” hence his foray into amala business in the highbrow Asokoro and Graki, both in Abuja

Telling his story, the Ondo-born businessman recalls: “My father was a farmer and my mother operated a buka (small scale local food centre) business. I went to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), where I studied Agric Economics, and upon completion, I searched for job and none came. So I went back and I became chartered accountant of Nigeria. I was born into buka business; the money my parents used to take care of me from primary to higher institution came from the buka. So I had an idea of what it is to own and operate a buka business, following the inspiration I drew from my mother.”


Using experience to overcome challenges

With the requisite experience, Ogboye opened Omoneye Amala Joint in the heart of Abuja. This business outfit has gulped over N3million. It is built around beautiful green flowers, with standby live performance, small golf spot, standby generator, with dishing and eating huts to compliment. Though appear elitist and beautifully carved out around Asokoro and Garki, the centres, Omoneye says “are for all as our services are moderately affordable.”

It is important to note that individuals and even groups of persons set up one business or the other, on daily basis. But most of those businesses most times don’t live to see the light of the day as a result of mountains of challenges.

On challenges he faced setting up the business, the chartered accountant also recalls: “I encountered challenges that small businesses will face. Power failure, you can see that we have been on generator since morning. The dearth of loan to support the businesses and the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, instead of them to support you, they are only interested in what they can get”.


Selling point

Though there are many food vendors in the nooks and crannies of Abuja, for uniqueness, he initially understudied some of the leading ones, in other to step up his own establishment to meet up with the competitive market. “I started from the beginning with the determination of making a difference with Amala Buka joint. So, I went round the whole of Amala joints in Abuja, I came up with three issues that I wanted to do differently.

“One, good service for all, you will not queue in my amala joint, I have enough staff to attend to you wherever you are. Secondly, the environment, the environment I am creating is unique from others in Abuja here. Then good and fresh food. Here, we dish our amala right from the pot, our pounded yam is freshly wrapped. So my uniqueness is in good service, good food and good environment, that is what is making my amala joint different”.

Sustaining the business, he says, “I want to stabilize the business first. I spend most of my time to ensure that everything is going well. I have also employed business managers. With all these, the business will sustain itself and ensure maintenance. I also treat my staff well and train them adequately for improved output. So, with the kind of training they have been given, they will contribute positively to the growth and sustainability of the business.”

Like any other business , the outfit though seeks to make profit, but not at the expense of quality. Besides, the business owner says he is fulfilled as an employer of labour. Omoneye discloses that his staff strength is about 18 personnel. To him, the ability to help some family to put food on their tables and take them off Nigeria laboru market gives him a sense of fulfilment.


Using social media

To further his reach, the outfit is embracing the trending world of social media. Since his target cuts across all age grades, economic status and even gender, Omoneye decides to employ the use of social media marketing. Aside reaching his target market via social media, he also established a good customer relationship, where he sometime gives free food to first timers in his buka to encourage them to call again.


Way forward

In Nigeria, starting a business is a big task. He however believes “one needs to be focused. You have to know your right. If you don’t know much about the business you want to invest in please ask and get the basic knowledge before you start. Know what you want and know your right within the ambit of the law. So with this basic knowledge, determination and passion for what you are doing or intend to go into, your business will grow.”

It is a different thing to have a business idea; it is another thing to get the required support from the government. In line with this, Omoneye says government is not doing enough to support Small Business Enterprise (SMEs). “The government should focus on every aspect of SME and not just manufacturers alone. This will help reduce the teaming unemployment rate in Nigeria.”


SWOT for all starters

SWOT analysis was originated in the 1960s by Albert S. Humphrey and has remained useful till date for business minded people like Omoneye, as a simple start for strategy articulation or as vital strategy instrument. The SWOT simply means Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). They help in setting achievable goals or objectives to be set for the business.

Strengths: At this point, every business starter’s strengths should be perceived from both an internal position, and from the judgment of the customers and others in the market. To be simply put, know what you can do well and better than your competitors.


Weaknesses: A business starter’s or business weaknesses are limitations that characteristically place you or the team at disadvantage when compared with others. Identifying and understanding of the weaknesses of the business will go a long to recognize areas that require special attention.

Opportunities: These are external chances for accomplishing the set goals and objectives of the business. Opportunities may be open up from associations, connections and affiliations in ones religious, political group, family and an acquired experience by the entrepreneur.

Threats: This refers to external factors usually outside the control of persons in the market environment that could impede the business or entrepreneur from achieving the expected goals and objectives.

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