Train2Build: building with Integrity
Wale Odubanwo is the newly posted Dubai commercial manager of ULDA. He visited me at the hotel I’m staying in Dubai today and chaperoned me to a local Nigerian restaurant in Deira market near the hotel. He bade me to take this picture with him, but I’m more touched by the latter part of what he wrote under the picture when he posted it on our corporate WhatsApp forum, “With the visionary master and gentleman of high integrity.#ulda”
I guess he must have been overtaken by emotions; because when he first applied for the job and was being coached in Lagos I’d always told him the importance of integrity and how it has always been the most potent currency I’d entered any market with. He was shocked that we made sure that we didn’t cut corners in getting him to Dubai and that we’re insisting that all the other construction workers (bricklayers, electricians, steelfixers, plumbers, carpenters and site managers) we’re flying to Dubai, after their advanced skills training in ULDA, Lagos, must be distinguishably better than the best brought in from India, other Asian countries and Egypt. His near two months stay here has turned him to a mentee rather than an employee (I must confess that I always like to see my staff members cross that invisible line of being a worker to being a soulmate fellow vision-chaser!)
He was enthusiastically telling me how he couldn’t wait to see the unfolding of the vision-landmarks I’d intimated him that himself and other diligent Nigerian youths in the construction industry would bring to bear in this world’s leading building and construction market.
I’m confident that in the next 2 years, an average construction project manager in Dubai will be begging to have Nigerian “site engineers/managers” and artisans on his or her site (courtesy of the silent revolution in skills-acquisition and skills-upgrade trainings happening in ULDA, Lagos). Unbeknownst to them that the “kids”, as I fondly call them, are construction-billionaires-in-the-making being groomed in an ostensibly servile circumstance away from their homeland; who’ll ultimately build Nigeria out of infrastructural and mass-housing deficits…