Thursday, September 19, 2019 12:59 pm
ABUBAKAR HASHIM/Sierra Leone
Olusegun Jaji is a Nigerian business entrepreneur who owns and operates a boat service company called Sea Coach from Lungi International Airport to the capital city of Freetown. The story of Jaji is breath-taking and a compelling reading. He had a turbulent start, commencing operations with a single, old-fashioned and dilapidated wooden- boat, locally called “pan-pan”. His journey is fraught with difficult travails and agonies, at a time, he nearly gave up.
Today, he is a success story! From the single wooden-boat he started operations, he is now operating a modern, sea-worthy boat fleet of 61, all built with internationally-certified operating gadgets. With supports from the banks, particularly Zenith Bank, a signed partnership agreement was nurtured to purchase new boats, with an agreed share of returns.
Sea Coach commenced operations in 2009, celebrated its 10-year anniversary few weeks ago in Freetown, amidst pomp and pageantry. At 10, Sea Coach now give back to the people in the form of Corporate Social Responsibility(CRS). The company has completed the first hospital in the history of Aberdeen, the locality it operates for the past decade. It is a 14 bed facility with a labour ward and state-of-the-art modern gadgets, to be handed over to the government in first week October.
More so, as part of its CRS, it has also, over the past 4 years, offered scholarships and donations to various organizations to pursue educational and skills training programs locally and abroad.
It has also built water wells in the Aberdeen community to complement the water service that is epileptic and low.
In the health sector, Sea Coach has been offering free eye clinic outreach to various people in several locations in the country, in collaboration with NGOs like Sarola.
These services cut across, from lungi to Aberdeen, to Jui and as far as Mattru in Southern Sierra Leone.
In October this year, Sea Coach will commence boat operations to neighboring Guinea, with passengers and luggages, not cargo services. The Guinean venture will commence in October. Once the company starts and penetrates into the communities and get its act right, it can then venture into the cargo services to Guinea and later to other West African destinations, including Lagos, Banjul and Dakar, Jaji further remarked.
With an unassuming and low profile demeanor, Jaji is one person that does not jump until he knows where he is landing. He approaches business ventures in a small and incremental basis before leaping ahead to higher heights. This approach portrays how he commenced operations in Sierra Leone 10 years ago, from a small, wooden boat, incrementally, to 61 modern boats, that have resulted in making Sea Coach as the leader in boat operations in the country today and the secret of its success at 10.
Sea Coach has expanded to Lagos, where it has a company, Sierra Craft, a boat building factory, that is, today, rated as the best boat facility in Lagos, in terms of mass transit fleet services.
In the foreseeable future, Jaji is eyeing the African Coastal Market.
“Africa has a big coast line because there is water everywhere, with limited water transportation facilities”, he further remarked to the NEWS. He revealed that he is expecting more boats in March to expand operations to the international African market in the next few years ahead.
This expansion into the African Coastal Market will ease the current pain and agonies being experienced by traders who ship goods from Lagos to West African countries including Sierra Leone. These goods will transit European Cities before final destinations in West Africa. Jaji intends to change this equation by opening a direct link from Lagos to West African countries.
Indeed, the story of Olusegun Jaji is worth emulating, with three key watch words to success: Perseverance, Humility and Determination (PHD)