Hon. Nwabueze Buchi George takes a trip to the very beginning of his life and then back to the point he is today as a business man, United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, mentor and so much more.
What’s your background and school like?
I was born to industrious parents which means I had to be involved with something as little as I was. My father ran a palm oil business and transport company while my mother ran a restaurant as well as a supermarket
I finished from St. Paul Anglican Primary School Uruala in 1982 and then Bishop Shanan College Orlu, in 1993. It wasn’t just a smooth run, but those days were filled with sweet memories and you needed to be good, diligent and tough to handle the positions of Assistance Senior Class Prefect and School Chapel Prefect, which I occupied.
The next step would be Political Science from University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State; Aviation Management from Massey College Auckland New Zealand and Law from National Open University Abuja.
As a well-established business man, what’s your career experience?
Business has been before me since I was a kid, because my parents were into it. They taught me to always solve problems if I must succeed and that is what I have been doing as a business man.
My first leap was in 1999 when I started the FOW Company, which is now registered in Nigeria, USA, Canada, UK, South Korea and 15 other countries. Identifying and solving problems have been the key to our growth.
In 2009, I established Hats Aviation Limited in Owerri, Imo State and we made huge success in aviation and logistics management. There is ORGE Lounge and ORGE wine shop; Face Of The World Organization which is a multinational event and entertainment company.
People look at what we are doing now and think it is the only thing I have ever been involved with, but we have had pageants, fashion weeks and award ceremonies within and outside Nigeria.
FOW Company, Trade Nigeria, Globe Chambers of Commerce are now at the forefront of our businesses with problem solving initiatives within and outside Nigeria.
We have Nigeria – Asia Business Forum and similar things for Europe, Australia and America. We had Nigeria at 59 National Day Awards 2019 Singapore and it was amazing, thanks to Office of The Secretary to the Government of the Federation; Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
We have also established the Nigeria – Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, while our planned joint trade mission to Korea was put on hold because Coronavirus and are looking forward to bouncing back when everything is gone. Right now, we are doing a lot in business development and capacity building via economic and business summits; trade and property expos as well as trainings for young entrepreneurs across the county.
Tell us the challenges you’ve been facing running these businesses on top successfully in a country like this?
Ideas rule the world, but the greatest challenge faced by the man with ideas is getting those who need those ideas to believe in him. Sometimes, implementation is basically an issue when you have an idea that is bigger than the platform you’re operating on.
Sentiments could often be an issue as most people would want to consider where the owner of the idea is coming from rather that what impact the idea would be making and sometimes, it is so difficult to find the right people to work with.
As a lawyer and an entrepreneur, what would you like to say combining this two distinct professions and scaling through?
Like I said earlier, business has always been around me. I combined it with my primary, secondary and university education so this won’t be much problem because none of them contradicts each other.
Being a lawyer is a business on its own and merging it with another business might seem so tough, but learning at the early stage of my life to be good, diligent and tough, means I can do it all, but with the right people around me.
What is the energy that has kept you moving?
The first is never running out of ideas and the second one is success because when you achieve one, you want to do the next one.
These things are wrapped in the grace of God which has blessed me immensely with a good team, friends and most importantly a loving family with an amazing wife as a crown on it.
How easy or difficult would you say it is for entrepreneurs to be successful in Nigeria?
Before you say how easy or difficult it is to succeed in Nigeria, you need to consider, what you are selling, where you are selling and then who you are selling to. If these three are wrong then the business is already wrong.
If they are right, then it will boil down to what you know and sometimes, who you know. But generally it is not so easy, knowing that some infrastructures like power and road are yet to be at the top level.
High expenses on power and transportation are often scary to low startups. But kudos to those who still find their way through.
Having gone this far, do you feel you’ve achieved all your goals?
Every goal is the foundation for another and it never ends. You remember when we all used to say the sky is the limit? No one has actually built anything that starts from the ground to the sky.
I’ve made some remarkable achievements in life, but I don’t think I am there yet. If I’m being sincere, I’d say that I’m just getting started.
Can you tell us about your U.N ambassadorship?
It was in 2012, but I have been working on so many life changing and charity based projects before then. I organized the United Nations Fashion Week and Awards 2012 In New York, and so far we also have Her Trade Support Program, which donates funds to indigent women across the country to improve their businesses.
There were more pageants and charity works I was involved in and United Nations noticed that and recognized me as Goodwill Ambassador.
As the word goes “young people are obsessed with making quick money” what’s your advice on this?
We will suffer it someday, aside the bad image it is giving Nigeria at the international community presently.
We have ended up having many rich people but are still cumulatively poor because all we do is consume things and send back the money to other countries while we take on the liabilities of expensive cars, gargets and others things that are perishables.
None of these moneys go to education, research and investments that will birth others. So we are still far.
My simple advice for young people is that they should understand that there is dignity in labour. Knowing that you worked for your money is great and it will encourage you to work for more. But when the stealing channel is blocked or when the person is nabbed by law enforcement agents, it is the end. But there is no end for something legitimate, it keeps growing. So quick money syndrome in youths is making Nigeria poor.
What is your own definition of life?
Life is not where we stay; it is where we pass that is why waiting for anything to happen is dangerous. You stand and make it happen.
It is more of journey to an ultimate destination to me, we are tasked with choosing the way we will be remembered by what we do, which is basically how we treat others.
Understanding this, means I live my life solving problems and want to be remembered by the number of problems I solved for me, others and the entire world.