On June 4, 2011
Sam Oburoh, the Managing Director of Sabeanat Group is a University of Ilorin-trained administrator. Inspite of several accolades he has received as a good administrator, he is not one with a penchant for making noise about his giant strides in his chosen career.
His concern overtime is living the world for others while also preparing for his next level. He says: “The question I always ask myself is what will I do to take me to the next level and make it better?”, as he features as our role model this week.
What influenced the choice of your career?
Very early in life, I have taken a very keen interest in food related issues. I have been a very strong adherent of food security in this country.
If you look at the country today, a country that is growing at a very astronomic rate with over140million people today; it tells you that food security is the bedrock of any Socio-political development. It is an area that has caught my fancy and I think we can add our own value.
But the first thing is the interest; you must be passionate about what you want to do. Again, you must be sure to be able to withstand the challenges in your chosen career in order to bring your ideas to fruition. But sometimes, there could be a gap for you to fill to make ideas blossom or better still, a need you have perceived; whether the need is apparent or latent.
If you weren’t pursuing a career in food business, what else would you have been doing?
Obviously, I would have been a marketer.
So, what value have you added to people’s lives?
In keeping with the standard of the company, we have been able to impact positively on the lives of our staff. Each one of them has something to show as somebody who has been groomed, trained and prepared to add his own value to life. That to a large extent is part of our social responsibility. But we have also been able to add value to the market; Sabeanat has been consistent in delivery Dairy Products and now going into margarine production.
Why do you think some organisations survive and some are dwindling?
I can tell you from my experience, it is just two factors: commitment and discipline. Are you committed to what you’re doing, are you passionate about it, have you developed your competency to the needs or are you’re only interested in meeting your physiological needs? These are all function of commitment. Under discipline, there is a very robust dimension to it.
Are you a kind of person who abuse the process and procedure of your company? For example, financial impropriety is when you cannot separate your company resources from your personal resources; that is indiscipline. But if you are willing to subject yourself to proper corporate governance? Do you have a board that you are accountable to?
Are you accountable to even the customers? If they want a product and they cannot readily get it, it means you are not accountable to them. So, it is discipline all the way. You just have to be above board to succeed. You must be able to tell who you are and the kind of organisation you want to run and stand the test of time.
You may not be able to attain a big leap but I assure you that your progress will be steady because you are doing the right thing. These are the two issues I always advocate for anybody who seems to be looking for success and have a personality that is enduring. Such person will be able to go about and say: ‘Yes! This is who I am.’
Was there any experience you had that prompted to imbibing those two factors?
It goes with piety, and lots of open mindedness. I want to say, anybody that does not worship God cannot be an accomplished person. I am not preaching religion but I will tell you in those days even in the African /Traditional religion, the issue of the Supreme Being is always there and there was justice. If you stole a goat and the town crier went round that the goat must be produced or else the thief would face the consequences telling them that the gods are angry.
They will produce the goat. So, people left their doors opened and went to bed, people left their bicycles on the veranda and nothing happened. So, it meant no matter the religion when it was not perverted, there was justice. Now, when you begin to come to terms with your maker, you will understand the standard expected of you. You will also understand that you are on a journey that will move you from one level to another level.
So, for me the questions I always ask myself are what will I do to take me to the next level and make it better? What do I really need to make a living? But not many people know that you certainly need just a little. Bill Gates, right now, is living for charity because he does not need all the money for himself. So, he is labouring for the world, not for himself.
The wealth we acquire does not have any relationship with our individual next level. It is better to focus on the things that have bearing with your next level.
Are you also living for the world now?
Yes! You are born for the world and you are going to live it behind. The way you live it for the world is your legacy and that is what you will be remembered for. Nobody remembers you for the number of houses you leave behind, neither for the plethora of cars nor the hundreds pairs of shoes you have. These things are vanity, but what you live for is what will endure and that is what people will remember you for.
For me, I pay attention to those things I want people to remember me for. When I retired, I am going to be working not for money but for service to humanity. I am not going to collect a dime from anybody and I will make myself available for training and consultancy. This is part of my retirement plans and part of my living for the world programmes.