Within the business and social circles in Ilorin, the Henry George brothers, Thompson and Nelson, are a force to reckon with and the names are frequently mentioned. The dynamic and hardworking guys are blessed with excellent entrepreneurial skills. In this interview with AKINLOLU ABAYOMI, one of the Henry George brothers, Thompson Oladimeji, who was recently appointed Chairman, Kwara United FC, speaks on his mission to re-position the club, secret of keeping a long list of friends, among other issues. Excerpt:
You have staged a return as the Chairman, Kwara United, what are the factors identified and noticed as ones responsible for the club’s recent woes that you intend to quickly address?
Actually, I won’t say I have noticed anything, because football is full of surprises, so everybody must have put in their own efforts, but where they have stopped we intend to improve on it, that is just the way I look at it. I won’t say someone have done it wrong and now I’m the best person to do anything, we definitely need their support as well as the support of everybody, we can’t do it all alone but our main target is to come back to premier league this season.
What are the implications of a club getting relegated?
The implication is that when you are relegated to the lower teams, you would play at lower division in the national league. You will agree with me that everybody in his profession wants to be at the peak. When you are in a country and you were playing the premier league, but was later relegated, is that a development? Of course, it is not, so what we want is to be in the elite division, maintain the position and be permanently there.
Considering the wealth of experience you have gathered as a former chairman, what are your plans for the club?
The main agenda and focus is to get things done. In Kwara United, we are currently re-planning, we are re-organizing, we are re- strategizing, we are going to form another technical crew and a formidable team and we will need the support of the stakeholders. We want to be united so that there won’t be any division or crack within the walls. When we are able to achieve all these and work in unison definitely the desired success will come within a short period of time. I am grateful to the governor for having the trust in me that I can get things done in the club. The expectation is high, from the government, the fans and other stakeholders and I have been having sleepless nights thinking of how to get things done. I believe that with divine support and solid support from the stakeholders, things would take proper shape.
You are a socialite, a businessman and a football administrator, how do you combine the three?
The first thing is to have passion for anything you do, if the interest is there definitely you will create the time. I create time for my numerous businesses, I do it with passion, with interest and I have done it before and it has never affected my business concerns. When we put the structures right , the pressure will not be too much on me, definitely I’m not going to work alone, the support of every stakeholder is there, we would all do it together and the pressure will not be too much.
As a businessman, how will you describe the business environment; has it been encouraging and favourable?
Definitely, it has not been. You know what it is, so we are not finding it good now, but with the change in the political equation at the federal level I think, definitely things will improve for the better with the right people managing the affairs of the country. We just need to exercise patience and support them with prayers.
What do you think are the important sectors and issues President Buhari should address?
If you are talking about what he should address, I think power should earn good attention. You look at the people at the low level, the artisans, skilled workers and others, they all rely on power. If power is stable most of the youths and the unemployed will have one or two things doing and what they can do here and there. The condition of federal roads is also terrible, so these are issues he should address.
How would you rate the administration of Governor Abdul Fatah Ahmed?
‘It is good here’. In tune with that slogan, the governor has been matching words with actions. Despite that the nation has for about four years now been facing financial challenges which adversely affected the financial power of states, especially a low income state like Kwara, the governor has used his ingenuity to still get things done. If you look at the General Hospital, Ilorin here, the job they have done there and not that alone, they did it in every senatorial district and look at the roads, works are on-going, and some schools.
Can you please tell us about yourself?
I’m Prince Thompson Oladimeji. I’m married and the union is blessed with three children. I am from Oro-Ago, Ifelodun local government area of Kwara State. I’m a football administrator, an engineer and a Christian.
If you hadn’t been a businessman, what would you have been?
I would have been practicing my profession as an engineer. Though I’m practicing it as a contractor now, I mean if I’m not into the business of doing contract and practicing engineering and doing trading and what have you, probably I would have been in the lecture room teaching.
You are well connected and there is hardly any socialite in Kwara that is not on your friends list, how do you relate with your friends, what is the spirit, what is the virtue you that you exhibit that keeps people around you?
It is the Lord’s doing, it is not by my own making. However, the point is that I appreciate people doing ceremonies, like wedding ceremony and whatever, it is what make them happy and when they wish to celebrate it and I’m invited I would attend. I love seeing people progressing, I love associating with success.