• Says Abuja, Lagos, next
The Mayor of Housing, My-ACE China, has emerged as the 2023 Real Estate Personality of the Year in the National Service Award series which was held in Abuja at the weekend.
The Mayor of Housing has however revealed what holds back the adequate housing in Nigeria leading to 28 million housing deficit.
Mr China also unveiled plans to launch a mega estate of over 1,500 houses in Port Harcourt. He did not give details of the estate such as location and name, but said it would world class in facilities and automation. He called it smart estate because of the level of automation that would be on parade.
He spoke to newsmen after the award and revealed that Abuja and the Lagos property space may be his next port of call.
The Mayor of Housing who expressed joy over the award, said merit would return to drive Nigeria.
He harped on need for merit and excellence, saying merit will one day drive Nigeria. The real estate success strategist said as more Nigerians begin to pick out men of value and shower merit and awards on them, the culture of excellence would return faster than expected.
According to the Real Estate Personality 2023, when the culture of excellence and reward for merit sweeps across Nigeria once again, then, merit would begin to drive the country and productivity would be boosted.
“It shows that merit has no hiding place and it shows that meritocracy is returning to Nigeria. I am really impressed and I am very certain that this will spur me to do even much more than I thought we were going to do. If the sky was our target with this now, the sky is going to be our stepping stone.”
The Real Estate Success Strategist who is also the UN Mayor of Peace said he was elated to win the rare honour along with distinguished personalities including the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Christopher Gwabin Musa.
On his mission and current activities in the real estate sector, China said he was starting all over after making waves under another company.
He said: “I have done a lot of projects under the coverage of a lot of collaborations and partnerships where my brand name is not the parent name of any of those projects and I gave them my best as a real estate success strategist.”
He said that he started his estate development journey in Abuja in collaboration with another company in joint ventures where the company was the mother company. “Now, Port Harcourt is the first place we are launching our own project of about 1500 plots. Is going to be the first green sustainable smart city in Nigeria and we are putting in a lot into it.
“As soon as that is launched by the first quarter of next year, we intend to also launch in Abuja and Lagos. After Abuja and Lagos next year, we have a programme that we are going to launch in the top 10 cities of Nigeria including Abuja, Jos, Ibadan, Kaduna.
“Those top 10 cities are going to have our presence by the third quarter of next year. So, all you need to do is watch out for the brand – the Mayor of Housing, because we will be coming with some very innovative value-adding products that are not just about houses but making those houses accessible to people to own.”
Speaking to newsmen, Mr China gave insight into the challenges in the property sector and why there is about 28million housing deficit in Nigeria. He pinned it to poor access to funding.
On this, he revealed why banks hardly pumped funds and loans into the real estate sector. “The challenges we have in real estate is basically that of capital and patience. So, because of how capital-intensive the industry is, you will notice that many of our banks don’t lend to real estate and many of our mortgage banks don’t make the funds for real estate accessible. So, a lot of entrepreneurs in the space are struggling.
“Secondly, the question of patience; a lot of the developers are inpatient and sometimes deliver to the market half-baked proposals that when they run into problem, they are stuck. This breeds a lot of mistrust and distrust in the sector because of the impatience of the developers.”
So, he stated, with proper funding, funds could come from diaspora sources. For now, he said, there are lots of bottlenecks to it due to plenty bureaucracy around national financial issues. “So, if access is made to funding and then we have credible, trustworthy developers, we wouldn’t be where we are stuck with about 28 million units of housing deficit in Nigeria alone. There is almost a state of emergency in housing sector.”
China warned that the situation in the housing sub-sector has almost reached national emergency levels.
The Mayor of Housing, who was a UNN best graduating student in Medlab, and best student in his secondary school days in Jos, said government needed to do something drastic so Nigerians can get houses easily.
The Mayor of Housing said the calibre of personalities such as the Chief of Defence Staff that won some other wards on the night showed the pedigree of the award.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Christopher Gwabin Musa, represented by Director, Defence Information, Brig-General Tukur Gusau, said the Army is fighting in many fronts all over Nigeria.
Calling on Nigerians to see the Army as part of them, the spokesman said the award would further encourage the armed forces to continue to do better. “As you are aware the Armed Forces of Nigeria are presently conducting operations in almost every part of Nigeria- in all the 36 states of the federation.
“The armed forces belong to all Nigerians. We are part of you. So, continue to see the armed forces as part of you. If you said armed forces are bad, the armed forces are a reflection of their own country. So, continue to pray for us, continue to support us, continue to encourage us so that we can continue to perform our constitutional responsibilities.
“On this note, on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff, we thank you most sincerely for finding us worthy to be given this award.”
Another award-winner, Mr Austin Njoku Ogbonnaya (Media Personality award winner), said awards were needed to boost the performance of people. “It’s an excellent thing when someone who does well is being recognised because we live in a time where there is very little recognition for those who are excelling.
“So, excellence is on a decline because people no longer aspire to have that virtue of excellence because they lack people to look up to as role models.
“When you however recognise people who have performed marvelously well, people in the likes of My-ACE China, when you recognise them in this magnitude, you peg them as role models to the upcoming generation.
“They look up to those people and aim to equally excellent. That is why platforms like these recognitions and awards are very essential. It helps the upcoming persons because if there is no transfer of this knowledge of what other people are doing, especially those who are excelling; if there is no transfer of that knowledge that people can excel in certain fields then people – the upcoming generation may not aim to become like them or more than them.
“So, this is a beautiful put-together event and I most congratulate the person of My-ACE China for working so hard and for putting in the necessary efforts that it takes to be recognised in this kind of platform.”
An estate developer, Mr Ruby Chinenye, who witnessed the awards, told newsmen that the Mayor of Housing deserved more than an award.
He pointed to the investor’s passion and hunger to empower people beyond selling houses.
Chinenye said: “China is not just in real estate to sell houses and make money, but to make impact. In fact, his kind is one of the first I have seen. He is more of getting people established, getting families housed, and not just housed, properly housed. So, I see it as a calling. His passion is undaunting. I was very excited when I was told he will be receiving this award.”
He said such awards meant to make one do more because it just points to the fact that your labour is not wasted. “It shows that somebody somewhere is watching and someone somewhere is at the receiving end of the good that you have to offer.
“So, I will really encourage him to do more. In fact, this should just be like the beginning for him. God willing, it will be more of global award not just beyond the shores of Nigeria. Of course, it should inspire him, it should make him more passionate to do what he is doing.”
The Mayor of Housing hinted that more awards were lined up for him in Port Harcourt, saying, when merit begins to drive Nigeria, the young people would focus on doing things of positive impact and win recognition.