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I sold off many assets to realise my hospitality dream – Abiodun Olatunji, CEO, World Lilies

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By Benjamin Njoku

Abiodun Olatunji, a lawyer, is the CEO of World Lilies Guest House and Events Place, located in the highbrow Moor Plantation GRA, Ibadan, Oyo State capital. The centre, which opened to business few months back, is truly a lily flower seated in the heart of a rustic city, just as the Guest House can better be described as ‘a home away from home.’

Abiodun Olatunji

The business mogul, who was born and bred in Ibadan, said his venturing into business is act of God. Being a successful lawyer, Olatunji said growing up, I had a dream of establishing business outfits around the globe.

According to him, when he conceived the idea of setting up the World Lilies Guest House, the first place that came to his mind was Ibadan, not Lagos.

“As a businessman, you need to have foresight and Ibadan is the third most populous place in Nigeria. By 2036, experts have predicted that the population will skyrocket to 11.3million and you know what that means for the hospitality industry. So I see a new Ibadan that is set to emerge,”Olatunji told Sunday Vanguard.

He revealed, however, that his passion to excel in business was inspired by his decision to dispose some of his physical assets. He said, “I disposed some of my assets in order to raise money to persecute my project. I don’t like disposing my assets for many reasons, but I took the risk to do so. It’s only God that knows everything, He took over my mind and encouraged me to dispose my assets.”

It wasn’t easy for Olatunji to get to where he is today. He fought many wars, including getting approval from the authorities to put up a structure of this magnitude in the highbrow area. But after all said and done, and with the intervention of then governor of Oyo State, Alao Akala, reason prevailed, and construction began on the site in earnest.

The multi-purpose venue is adequate for a wide variety of events. It is now one of the leading event places in Ibadan with its fully integrated highest quality visual and lighting systems.

“Before we did the architectural design, explained Olatunji, we went round to see other event centres in the city. We listened to people’s complaints about existing event centres. We put all that together in our drawing.”

Olatunji described the hospitality industry as a huge industry, adding, “I understand that there are many challenges but it’s never a write off, not in this era of new technologies, tourism and development.” He noted that hotel business is always in high demand as more and more people are travelling and in need of accommodation. “That is why all our facilities are of international standard. What I would say is that the business is capital intensive so you have to have patience and a lot of it,” he said. World Lilies Guest House and Events Place guarantees a world class experience with a large hall that can be arranged to suit a wide range of events from 800 for a banquet dinner for 1500 for a theatre style event.

“When I opened the events centre to business, I thought I had what others didn’t have. So our price then was on the high side and patronage wasn’t encouraging because we wanted to maintain a class. But after six months, people got to know about the events centre and patronage blossomed.”

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