By Eric Elezuo
He is versatile when it comes to the affairs of life. He is highly devoted to the things of God, and he runs the one stop relaxation spot – the best on the mainland – JoshEsther Olive Hotel, a place so standardised that one would think he is in Dubai. In this brief chat, the Chairman of the hotel, Mr. Oluseye Fashoranti reveals the pleasures the have engulfed his life and the reason JoshEsther Olive is the hotel of choice. Excerpts:
Good afternoon sir, may we know you?
My name is Oluseye Fasharanti. I am a legal practitioner, a business man born in the year 1973 and I am from Ondo state.
Your educational qualifications, sir?
I started my primary education in Ondo state, and then I moved to Ibadan to complete it. My secondary school education was at Command Secondary school, Ipaja. I later gained admission to Obafemi Awolowo University to study Law. Then Law was a four years programme but they extended it to 5 years the year I entered, but I ended up spending seven years, thanks to Babangida and the June 12 crises.
Ever since you left school how has life been? Being a lawyer and a business man?
I must confess that it has not been easy; there have been challenges here and there. I have not had to work too hard but prayers have brought me this far. This is not to say that I am slothful or lazy but whatever I have and you see is the raw manifestation of the goodness of God.
After I left university, I decided not to go to law school and being very enterprising I ventured into buying and selling. I sold laptops, slippers, cars, petroleum products and the likes. In fact, when I was in school a friend of mine who is now a medical doctor practicing in the UK, and I bought petroleum products and set up a small place in front of my Mum’s shop then and sold them, and made money.
So the art of business has always been there?
Oh yes! It has always been part of me.
Would you say you inherited this from your father or mother?
My father was a banker and my Mum a trader, so as a young child, I would go to my Mum’s shop and she would give us fabrics, my brother and I and would come back, telling her I have sold all. As I grew up, my friends started calling me a salesman, saying I can sell anything. Honestly, I can really one buy something even if he has no need of it. That was how skillful I was in entrepreneurship, and still am. I am also into real estate , and have made most people buy property that they don’t even need at that time.
With this knack for trading, why did you choose to study law and not something like Business Administration?
Okay! As at the point of entering university, my desire for trading was not very pronounced and sharpened then. I was into books and studying. As at Form Five, I began writing my own government textbook with definitions different from the one we were given at school. I was quite good at Government, in fact, I was the best in it and the second best in History. I am the youngest and there were already two doctors, so my father felt there was no lawyer and he wanted me to be one. Moreover, I had the feeling I would make a good lawyer myself.
As a self-assessment, would you consider yourself a good lawyer?
Yes. I would say I am a good lawyer but a better business man because you see I don’t really do the criminal aspect of law, I am more inclined to the corporate world and this is borne out of my enterprising skills. As much as we do legal works for banks, we also do for entrepreneurs and that has guided me as an entrepreneur also.
What companies do you own?
I own Josh Esther Hotels, Josh Esther Bureau de Change and I am licensed from the Central Bank of Nigeria. The name is coined from my son’s and daughter’s names, Joshua and Esther but we are soon going for rebranding.
What breakthrough did you have that launched you fully into business?
I had been in the business for a while buying and selling but my breakthrough came when I came across one French company that wanted to sell off their outlets in Nigeria. The MD at that time met me and dismissed me as too young, brash and aggressive. I was around 35 years then and he said I was too young for what I was chasing. I just tried to make him understand that I can get buyers for what he wants to sell. Then a multinational company at that time in Netherlands showed interest in the properties and the man said I wasn’t going to be the one who would sell the properties because he didn’t brief me.
When they came, I kept believing that God would take control, and like joke, ;they paid me facilitation fee. This was the kind of money I have not seen before, tens of millions and that was not even the legal fee. Their representative here in Nigeria couldn’t take decision so they flew in from Amsterdam and paid me the value for the properties and I went to the MD of the company and told him, look I have a buyer but he was still not bulging because according to him he didn’t brief me.
Afterwards, my wife and I drove to the Redemption Camp to pray and handed everything over to God. I switched off my phone and three days later when I put it on a call came in from one Whiteman who said he had been trying to reach me. Guess what, it was the same MD who has been turning me down.
He asked me to come over to his office immediately so we would finalize the transaction and I went. There and then, he paid me the agency fee and we did everything needed to be done. Even the Secretary of the company told me that this was the raw demonstration of God’s power and she would serve my God because she had tried different transactions with other companies before mine and none worked.
And that has made me to depend on God and to trust him and know that even when things are hard He is always there.
A lawyer, a business man, why venture into hotel business?
I have stayed in many hotels in Nigeria and several countries around the world and I mean topnotch hotels. I felt all these hotels do not pay attention to details. I might not have money to do a 250 or 300 beds hotel but I can do my brand and from there develop and make something out of it. And I began to conceive the idea and for the location, I had already had this land before then but had never given it much thought and soon all the pieces began to fall in place and this is just the beginning because God has assured me that we are going places and he is taking me to major cities of the world.
What would you say makes yours different from other hotels?
I can boldly tell you and assert that there is no Hotel like the Josh Esther Olive Hotel on the mainland. We offer the best services; comfort, luxury, delight, you name it and our aim is to wow you, and everyone who comes here has had that impression. Trust me; it is a king’s delight and 21 rooms for 21 special people.
How affordable would you say you are?
Ours is home away from home and we give elegance and style to everyone. Anyone and everyone can come but it is for those with the passion for style and elegance.
So, we have heard Seye the legal practitioner, the real estate person, the hospitality and hotel man, what else are you into?
As I said earlier, I own a bureau de change license from the CBN; we also serve as insurance brokers. I own a chain of restaurants also. We want to build a brand, a brand that people can trust so that even after we leave, the brand remains. I also began few months back an IT company with a few of my friends, a partnership business but that is still a baby as at now.
Would you consider yourself a social person?
I use to be a social person but lately I have piped down on my social life, this is because I am mostly in church; on Sundays, Tuesday evenings and Wednesday mornings not to forget other services that could come in, but don’t get me wrong, I also go to parties, to celebrate with my own and thank God for them but I am not really a party person.
With your tight and busy schedule, when do you spend time with your wife and children?
I spend a lot of time with them. My wife is always around me, and so are my children I don’t want to be an absentee father only evident in financing them but never knowing them.
How do you relax as a person?
I watch football. I’m an Arsenal fan and I play football, I am part of a team called Galacticos and we play every Saturday and on public holidays.
Do you have any favourite food?
I eat quite anything, but I have a penchant for fruits and vegetables
With the way that God has blessed you, how would you say you are giving back to the society?
I’m a multiple Paul Aris fellow and it stems from the Rotary Club. To earn one Paul Aris Fellow, you give a thousand dollar, and to be a major donor, you must have given 10 thousand dollars. Right now, I have given between three and four, and I am getting there by God;s grace. The act is geared towards eradication of polio in our society.
I do not have a foundation yet but that is in the pipeline and by God’s grace, we would have that fully by 2019. But at the moment, we pay school fees of indigent children; we give to the Orphanages Homes and Motherless babies homes. We feed people weekly. Moreover, we have completely changed the face of our present location through electrification of the streets, increase security by bringing mobile policemen and doing the road.
What is your staff strength across board
Right now, about 50, and I am believing God that in my life time, I will employ not less than 10, 000 people
What advice do you have for the youths and other entrepreneurs?
Simple; do not be afraid to fail, dare to dream, be prayerful, hardworking and believe in yourself. Be diligent and have faith in God. The bible says he would bless the work of your hand but how would he bless it if there is no work? For example, I met someone in the traffic who gave me a connection that would later become a major breakthrough in my life, so God works in mysterious ways but his mystery will never bless a lazy person.
It’s been so delighting speaking with you. Thank you for your time.
Thank you too. I am grateful.