That Sunday morning Alex Oluremi Ajipe was teaching a Sunday school class at a small parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Akure, Ondo State. If nobody tells you anything, you will pass him off as just anybody. Indeed, he does not carry the toga of somebody. But he is a person with a difference.
Though young, Ajipe parades an incredible credentials. Yet, he takes delight in doing service in God’s vineyard. He believes his business which is fast becoming an empire is geared towards fulfilling God’s purpose on earth. “My ambition is to be a pastor” he told this bewildered reporter. “When I was a young man, a herbalist once came to my father and said to him that I would be the star in the family and that I will be a pastor of a big church” he recalled.
Then both the prophecy and the man being prophesied to don’t seem to make sense. “I was a Muslim when the man made the prophecy and then the man was a herbalist. So, there were two negatives at play.” He said.
But in the course of time, Ajipe who was already going to an Islamic school soon got fed up and abandoned the school. It was around that time that the RCCG was doing its Let’s Go A Fishing and he took time out to be part of the event. “That was how I came to know the Lord. Since then it has been from one glory to another. The time I experienced hard time in my life was the time I wanted to run faster than God and when I abandoned my fellowship with him.”
A lover of culture, Ajipe who holds a number of traditional titles including one conferred on him by the Ooni of Ife says he abhors idolatry. “I can’t serve any other God apart from the Lord Jesus. My own idea of culture and tradition are things that are natural to us. For instance, the Ikogosi water spring is a cultural element in our environment. Such things should be preserved. And when I was being given the chieftaincy title, prayers were said not incantations. In fact, my oba is a member of the RCCG. He is a firm believer and he does not wear cap in church. So, there is nothing ungodly in the titles. It is just a recognition and a call to serve.”
The Klick Konnect boss who graduated from the department of electrical electronics at the Federal University of Technology in 2002 said he had never worked for anybody in his life noting that his first company was established when he was in part two in the university. “I have never worked under anybody. I don’t know how to write applications. The last and only time I wrote application was when I wrote WAEC and they ask us in English exam to write application as part of the exams.”
He said his drive to become an entrepreneur was borne out of his understanding that he could do a lot of things on his own. “I have this understanding that I can do a lot of things on my own. That is why it is difficult for me to work for anybody. I know God has given me the grace to do many things. I have learnt to be patient and believe that whatever I am pursuing will come to fruitful no matter how long.
“My first company was registered when I was in part 2 in the university. It was called Remkon Trading company. I used to go to Cotonou to buy cars and sell.”
While noting that his background was not special he said, “Growing up was not like I was in abject poverty. My parents were not poor. They were comfortable and lived the good life. We come from a good moral background. But I perhaps would not have gotten this exposure if I had remained in Owo. Despite the fact that Owo is close to Akure I did not come over until the later years in my secondary school days.”
He however noted that one of the things that go for him is his ability to keep friends. “I don’t lose friends. There is nobody that I met in this journey of life that I don’t still relate with. I leverage on friendship and keep friends but I don’t see them as my source. I believe whatever I need in life has been provided for. It is just for me to unveil it. To do that I have to stay in the presence of God. I believe that he is the only one that can direct helpers of destiny. God has been the only and major driver of my life.”
Ajipe who has a chain of other businesses with foreign affiliations stated that the idea of Klick Konnect was conceived in 2004. “That was when I began to conceive this idea about networking I got a distribution opportunity from an India company DOPC. I deployed VSat on their behalf and that led me to register Klick Konnect network and we were able to design the pioneer website for Kaduna refinery and did the networking of Gwagwalada Specialist hospital.”
What helped according to him was the fact that The Telecoms industry was just evolving in Nigeria by the time he came into the industry. But he has since diversified. “I trade. I have a number of other companies. MVB Bau Construction company is one of them. We have seven people on the board of that company only two of us are Nigerians. We are into construction. We got a job from Niger State government but we could not execute the job then because of change of government. We are into rural urban integrated project. “We are also into farming. There is a company I co-own with a Chinese called W farms which is into agric. Right now, Klick Konnect is into PR and also a revenue collecting agency. We are consultants to many organisations and agencies”
He wondered why many young graduates are interested in getting salary job noting that the over-dependence on government is the reason many are being dragged down. While blaming the educational system of the country which does not equip students with entrepreneurial skills, he said “I see it crazy when an MSC is pursuing N40k salary job.”
He however confessed that it has not been all rosy. “I went through some downturns but I am specially and carefully made. I had challenges when I was running faster than my leg. But to God be the glory I retraced my steps and there has not been a better yesterday.
I don’t have referrers. Nobody can say if not for him I would not have succeeded in life. God has been my mentor and sustenance.
He believes every man has been wired to be an entrepreneur adding however that the level of tolerance of the individual will determine how far one can go. “I want to believe that everybody has grace that carries him. It is for you to identify that grace. When people are tired of doing things I stay put.. when you are not far from the source the resources will be available to you. Jeremiah 3v33 is my main scripture call upon me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things.”
He reiterated his earlier position stating again, “My future ambition is to become a pastor. When you take God away from me I become zero. When I depended on my wisdom and start going after people I fail. God makes the difference. You have to know what works for you. God saw Aaron before he chose Moses. A lot of people want to be like the top pastors. These people know the grace that works in them that is why they are the leaders. My being in business is in fulfilment of the calling of God in my life. People ask me why I spend so much but I tell them I am not the owner of the funds. The part I am following is in fulfillment of prophecy. I don’t have any struggle in my mind. There is nothing difficult for God to do. Nobody can stop God but where are the people that are ready to be used. That is where the challenges are.”
His main firm which has branches in Sweden and the US creates opportunity for a lot of young graduates. “I am still running the place as fulfilment of a bigger calling. God has been helping us tremendously. What we did is to provide a platform that people can grow on their own. As many that want to improve themselves have the opportunity to improve themselves.
“We bring in opportunities. In the real sense of it those who work with us closely are chosen from the church. Ordinarily we should not have moral issues. What you need to learn is the professional ethics of the job. We teach them on how to negotiate and comport themselves in business. By May I will be travelling with the governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Akeredolu for a business meeting in China that will attract a $400 million investment to Ondo State. I believe when the opportunity comes a lot of people will benefit.”
For Ajipe his business and service to God are intertwined. He holds weekly meetings where prayers and teachings are done in the office. “I don’t see those working with me as staff but as colleagues. “We have a platform. Whoever wants to fulfil life ambition will stay with God and be patient. Our God is one. What God is making available belongs to God so I don’t really bother about that. I tell my staff we are colleagues. They are not my subordinates. I expect them to take advantage of the platform and develop themselves.
He disclosed that “Almost every organization in the state wants us to be their consultants. I had some meeting with some Canadian officials who want to build game villages in all the 18 local governments. When you go in there you develop yourselves in various sporting activities. It could be a springboard for people to develop their potentials in sports.”
That he is in Akure does not make him succeed less. “I have been in Akure all along. When I was in Lagos I was a dependant. People should stay close to their source. They should know that it is God that makes things work. Joseph would not have succeeded if he was not focused. I have gone through a lot. We have done lots of things in the past that if not God we would have been consumed. But the mercy of God has kept us.”