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11 May 2014

"WHY I Want To Make An Impact In Life"

-Arch. Tunde Ojo, CEO Spring Hills Hotel
Articulate and vibrant Tunde Ojo is the brain behind Archi Konsult Integrated Services Ltd and Spring Hills Hotel, Ilesa. The Osun State born architect is undoubtedly one of the leading and new shining lights from the state who want to contribute to the development of his community and State of Osun. He spoke to us about his dreams and six months of Spring Hills Hotel in Ilesa, Osun State.
What have been the challenges of Spring Hills Hotel since inception?
The business has been good and challenging on the other side, the ability to survive challenges of business is what makes you a successful businessman. It has been worthwhile so far, the response we have got from our clients, lodgers, people around the area has been encouraging because what we have brought to Ilesa is what they see around the world in terms of hospitality. We have since been re-investing all the money we have been making back to the business to make sure the facilities are well maintained. People have been commending us, so we thank God.
Do you think you have been able to actualize some of the visions you had while starting the business?
 Yes, it has been worthwhile, we have followed our vision strictly even though it has not been easy digressing from our core business which is construction. It’s a learning process for us but we have been fast about it. In the next couple of months, we would be starting something smaller in Lagos. We are just six months old and the hotel looks like a brand new one and that is our aim. We hope to keep maintaining that standard in terms of services, staff, facilities and so on.
Why did you build the hotel in Ilesa, why not Lagos or any big city where you will make huge profit?

We knew from the outset that the patronage would not be like that of cities such as Osogbo, Ibadan or Lagos but we wanted to start from home state, the vision was to start from Ilesa. It’s not about the money, Ilesa is growing in population and in terms of development, Ilesa is a town where people come for parties and relaxation every weekend but soon we will be moving to developed cities where the profit will be higher. Having said that, lots of dignitaries, showbiz stars, professionals and politicians have been patronizing us because this is the best in town. The state government through its Commissioner for Tourism, Sikiru Ayedun has recommended our hotel for use and they have been patronizing us.
What lessons have you learnt as an  hotelier?
Like I said, it’s a learning process, we have faced lots of challenges on the job, one of it is power supply which is epileptic across the country. We had to acquire another 50kva generator to join the ones we have because light must be on 24hours for our clients. We provided street lights on the route leading to the hotel, we constructed bumps on the road too. I am beginning to know more about Hotel Management; for your information, I am doing a course now on Hotel Management; also, being an architect has helped me because it has to do with facilities and design, so I am groomed already in that area.
How would you assess the support from Osun State government?
Kudos should go to the Chairman, Hoteliers Association in the State, Chief Fadipe, he is from Ilesa. He has been of great help to all hoteliers in the State likewise the Commissioner for Tourism and Ogbeni Aregbesola, our able governor.
How do you manage the business based on the fact that you have your core business which is architectural designs office in Lagos?
When I am not there, I have capable hands on ground. From time to time, I get daily reports and monitor day to day events at the hotel. As for my architectural work, I have two architects and site supervisors in my office, mine is just to get the brief, they do the designs and quotation. I only vet it and add my input. I make input in all our jobs but it has not affected other interest at all. I sleep less, take more calls and attend more meetings but I am a good planner.
What has Spring Hills Hotels contributed to its community, Ilesa to  be precise?
We employed about 50 staff who are indigenes, we tarred the road leading to the hotel, repaired transformer around the area, mounted electric poles and provided street lights. Our impact is being felt by the people.
What has been your dream from childhood?
I have always wanted to be a great man from childhood. I hope to work harder and achieve that, I am an architect, hotelier and politics is a possibility for me as well, I have contributed to the development of my town. I am an Ijesha man to the core, my parents are from Ijesha, so politics has always been in my dream.

In what capacity would you like to serve in politics?
In any capacity, my aim is just to contribute to the development of my area, I have my businesses which I have been using the little profit to support my area. I would do more if I have more resources, I am ready to serve as councilor, chairman, member of House of Assembly or any capacity. Already, I have Architect Tunde Ojo Foundation, it’s an NGO. I’m supporting people in my area, it’s not a political group, we are using it to support our society and the needy and we are attracting government’s presence in the community. I can tell you that we are yet to see federal government’s presence in Oriade and its neighbouring local government areas. The State Government has indeed tried so much but we need federal government presence here too.
What are some of the achievements of your foundation?
Lots, I remember during the last Christmas, about 200 people came to celebrate with us and we gave them gifts. During Easter period, we did the same, we gave phones to the needy, fixed some bumps around the area and lots more which we would not mention on the pages of newspaper because we are not doing it because of what we want to get.
Are you a member of any political  party now?
Yes, I am a member of a political party, I have my registration card and  I attend ward meetings. I have good relationship with my leaders, ward, council and state Chairmen, so my people know me and I know them.

How would you describe the government of Ogbeni Aregbesola since his assumption of office?
The governor has done well to merit a second term, the roads he is constructing are roads that will last for almost two decades. The drainages are being worked upon, you need to see the schools he’s building and the ones he has built. Forget about the politics behind the education policy; it’s the best for a state like State of Osun.  The state is a public servants state and the government has little resources to carry out all these projects, most of the allocation goes into salary payment. Nevertheless, he has done very well

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