A Mission to Redefine Hospitality
In an effort to redefine the hospitality business in the country, an entrepreneur of note, Francis Okeke, has inaugurated a hotel with the state-of-the-art facilities in Okota, Lagos. Ugo Aliogo who attended the inauguration, reports
The building is an epitome of architectural masterpiece. From the wall paintings, to the fittings in the public wash rooms and the state-of-the-art facilities, everything speaks of freshness. The Fanjane Royal Suites has raised the bar in the business of defining aesthetics. Situated in a conducive atmosphere in the Okota, a Lagos suburb, the hotel was built with a dream to provide world class hospitality in Okota and environs. But importantly, the vision of the Chairman, Mr. Francis Okeke, is to use the hotel as a symbol to redefine hospitality in line with international best practices.
He decided to walk on this path due to some challenges he has realised about hoteling in Nigeria. One of the issues he discovered is that hotels in the country suffer from proper maintenance culture, a problem which stems from poor management. Therefore, he is determined to use Franjane to set a precedent for others to follow.
To set the tone for the event was the Lord Bishop, Diocese of Lagos West, Rev. Dr. James Odedeji. His presence at the inauguration gave the event the needed boost and impetus. As a clergy, he has built his pedigree on issues of faith and spirituality. With a deep intellectual lining in the subject-matter of Christian faith, Odedeji has led many to Christ through his teachings.
He is a man with a golden heart whose hardworking hands has not gone to rest for the Kingdom of God. He is soft spoken. The breath of his intelligence is something that continues to make a bold statement in the Lagos West Diocese community and resonates in the Christian community in the country.
His stay at the event was short-lived due to other engagements. But when he spoke to the media, he was precise and not ready to go through the preambles associated with public functions. He began on a call on Christians to stop looking at the unwholesome aspect of hospitality always in order to appreciate tourism and hospitality which he described as a big business capable of contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of any economy.
He remarked that hospitality is a very important aspect of human life; therefore he noted that food, security, and locations are the three key factors that are vital in hoteling.
He also noted that managing a hotel as a Christian should not be seen as sin depending on the angle the individual views it from, adding that to the impure everything is impure, but to the pure everything is pure.
Odedeji further noted that this is a profitable investment which would drive growth and create jobs in Okota and environs therefore commended the chairman of the hotel for establishing such investment.
“Coming to a hotel does not mean you are coming with somebody’s wife or you are coming with the intention of committing adultery or fornication. This is the mistake people make which is very unfortunate. If we have conferences in the Diocese, I can phone the chairman to reserve rooms for my guests. We should not look at the unwholesome aspect of hospitality always. To the impure everything is impure, but to the pure everything is pure. For me, this is a profitable investment and it also requires interest to do this. Establishing this investment is a conviction. Even in the church, we have guest houses and we raise money from it,” Odedeji espoused.
For the guests, that graced the occasion, Okeke has used the hotel to construct a symbol of beauty and excellence that would echo for years. From the pages of his heart, there was an outpouring of emotions and happiness. Okeke spent much of his time receiving guests who had come to felicitate with him on this remarkable milestone. Dressed in a red colour French suit, Okeke had a physical built which seemed intimidating from the distance, but on a close contact, he is simple and easy going. Okeke belongs to the class of individuals who believe in keeping a low profile despite their breakthroughs in business and career.
His understanding of aesthetics is something one could say he is divinely blessed with. He is enterprising, astute and brilliant. This is evident in the shrewd principles he has applied in running his businesses. His success story in business is one of love and desire. His passion for breakthrough is like a fire that cannot go out. His legacy is a belief and way of life. Indeed this investment was described by guests as a major milestone.
From his precise remarks, there was a revealing message that Okeke clearly understands the tourism business and what is needed to position it to make it a strong foreign exchange earner for the country. He answered every question with an uncommon confidence. The watchword for his hotel is : ‘Feel just at home’ this is a statement of responsibility which comes with strong demand, however, Okeke is not scared because he has the conviction that he can rise up to the occasion when it will counts.
He noted that the hospitability business in Nigeria is not easy but with the grace of God, they have succeeded, adding that the point of attraction in the hotel is the state-of-the-art facilities.
He explained that in the business, everyone understands the demands of the trade, therefore he said people employ different skills to ensure that they are able to stand out, “the way one individual operates might be different from the way another individual operates.”
Okeke added: “In hospitality business, everybody is on his own; the way you operate might be different from the way I operate. I have good staff, the team that manages the hotel; I believe they will achieve success. The facilities are the centre of attraction; if you enter the rooms you will see that the facilities are exceptional. If you watch out, you will see that I have done a lot of work here, I have set up street light down to the bus-stop, this was one of the worst roads in this area. We also have Closed Circuit (CCTV) to watch out activities to ensure safety.
“The reason I built here is because I had a land here and since 2001 I started business in this area so for me to relocate because I want do business in other places is stressful as my major business is in this area. I don’t want the stress of moving to the island every day. We employ professionals to cook the food; we tasted the food before employment. We have more than 40 workers here thereby creating employment opportunities for the youths. I believe in expansion, as I have built this one here I believe before three years I would have established some new places by the grace of God.”