By Lekan Latodu
Time and time again, Taofik Adegbite, the CEO of Marine Platforms, a leading oil services company, has continued to prove his mettle and shatter his own records of lofty attainments to push for even loftier goals.
Just when it appears the highly driven entrepreneur would slow down a little bit, having covered significant miles in his pursuits of great attainments, that’s when he revs up in pursuit of another goal, usually one deemed mission impossible by many mortals.
It is not that Taofik is an extra-ordinary being. In fact, to borrow the term commonly used by Nigerians in examining the phenomenal rise and exploits of some certain individuals in the society, he does not have two heads.
But what he has got that is really going well and paying handsomely for him is passion for his dreams and spirited determination to raise the bar of excellence in his endeavours.
As a result, the self-effacing business mogul has become an enriching lesson in perseverance, hard-work and purpose; and a good example of the pre-eminence of the God factor.
Though he’s ever prepared in pursuit of his desires which has resulted in many desirable outcomes, Taofik will never cease to acknowledge the God element in the attainments of all his plans.
The cheery news of Taofik’s nomination and subsequent confirmation of the top Nigerian upstream oil and gas player as the Norwegian Consul General to Nigeria is undoubtedly the biggest testimonial of his impeccable personality, business integrity and broad culture of corporate excellence. And certainly the topmost in his collection of awards and honours which have all come on the back of his several meritorious endeavours.
Usually, most countries across the world, particularly the Western nations, do enlist some of their influential and accomplished citizens from diverse areas of human endeavours as representatives or as goodwill ambassadors with a view to having the selected individuals deploy their influence to help their countries expand and attain its international reach in trade and other worthy engagements.
But, obviously for more impact and accelerated gains, these countries are now moving beyond their shores to head-hunt for corporate gurus with business integrity, a prestige league made up of individuals like Taofik, to advance their interests in international trade and diplomacy.
Norway is one of the economically strong countries in the world with absolutely fine records of bilateral relationships and engagements with the outside world.
The country’s bilateral relationship with Nigeria predates Nigeria’s independence in 1960 and Norway’s current trade transactions with us is valued at $30bn annually. Little wonder that Norway is pushing forward to deepen exchange of opportunities between the two countries and also acknowledging an illustrious Nigeria who has contributed immensely to the sustenance of mutually beneficial engagements between Nigeria and Norway.
Taofik is wholly Made in Nigeria; and he’s always proud to bear the tag. He perfectly fits into the narrative of the “can-do-spirit” inherent in most Nigerians. His remarkable achievement is a powerful evidence of the greatness that can be reached by Nigerians to the benefit of their country when given better opportunities and policies to unleash their potential.
So, as one of the captivating success stories of the Nigerian Content Law, a legislation that provides considerable latitude for the participation of Nigerians and the use of local capacity in the Oil and Gas industry, Taofik has been leading the way in highlighting the benefits of the law to potentially competent Nigerians to explore it.
Indeed, in Taofik and other accomplished entrepreneurs of his ilk, Nigeria has a new tribe of economic players and reputable non-state actors that can be useful for the advancement of Nigeria’s interests in the international community and in facilitating huge foreign investments and transactions to Nigeria.
But how fast Nigeria would move to begin to tap into this enormous pool of human resources in the country and ensure the development and appreciation of more people with rewarding capacity in the manner of Norway, is the disturbing poser that is yet to be answered.
Presently, Taofik is unarguably the most visible Nigerian in the business community in Norway especially from the latest massive diplomatic honour presented to him by the Norwegian government. And his company, Marine Platforms, is a major reference point in that country when it comes to discussions on excellent corporate governance and integrity in Africa.
Marine Platforms boast of multi-million-dollar assets including two multi-purpose field and ROV support vessels which, though built in Norway, are symbolically branded African Inspiration and African Vision; a workforce of over 120; impressive global oil clientele and astounding annual turn-over through which the company makes significant contribution in tax payment to the Nigerian government.
There are obviously few other Nigerians with similar reputable credentials who, like Taofik, operate with the same measure of corporate credibility that fits into global best practices.
So, the task is now before the Nigerian government to renew its commitment in raising and encouraging economic stars amongst its citizens for greater gains.
In the meantime, I say big congratulations to Taofik for making Nigeria proud through his latest diplomatic achievement, which I believe will serve as another potent elixir for Nigeria to get its act right.