-“Cross Riverians are not Lazy”, says Filtration Consultant
Ibrahim Kefas, former Military Governor of Cross River State, once reportedly described Cross Riverians as “the laziest set of people who perpetually wallow in self pity and total resignation to fate”.
Although a press statement signed by the Military Governor’s Press Secretary at that time dismissed that statement as a figment of the imagination of Chronicle newspaper’s reporter who filed that story, that statement is still fresh in the memory of some readers of that newspaper. It may be haunting some who believe it and inspiring others who condemn and dismiss it.
Do Cross Riverians actually wallow in self-pity and total resignation to fate? Sunny Odey, a Filtration Consultant and Executive Director of Ofe – Odey Nigeria Limited, a Lagos based Company, has an answer to this question. Sunny Odey is a native of Okpoma, in Yala Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Please read his story below and give your verdict on the nature of Cross Riverians.
What is Ofe – Odey Nigeria Limited all about?
Ofe – Odey Nigeria Limited is a young company that is in the business of filtration and chemicals, in the service of the food and beverage industry as well as the general public. We take products to the doorsteps of our customers. Our major customers are Nigerian Brewery PLC, Nigerian Distilleries, Intercontinental Distilleries, Champion Breweries in Uyo and others.
We service them with filter bags and filter cartridges. We go to the extent of diversifying into other products. Also, we represent some foreign companies such as Trelleborg in France, TTL France and Brother Filtration in China. Trelleborg are manufacturers of Trelleborg Hose, one of the strongest hose. We import filter cloth from TTL France which we service to Cadbury Nigeria Limited, one of our major customers. Brother Filtration is in the business of Filter Cartridge. Most of the cartridge are used in water filtration as well as filtration of beer and juice.
Through our relationship with some of these companies outside the country, we have been able to make a lot of impact in terms of quality. This has given us a good reputation in the industry. As a result of this, several companies have given us recognition. For instance, Hope For Africa gave us an award in recognition of our excellent services.
In this industry, Ofe – Odey Nigeria Limited is always rated as number one. Every organization has a table that rates suppliers. We have preferred suppliers, secondary suppliers and primary suppliers. We are constantly rated as preferred supplier. We are always at the top of that chart.
What inspired you to establish Ofe – Odey Nigeria Limited?
Before now, I was a staff of an organization that gave customers very good services. After serving that company for some years, I felt that if I could do as much as I was doing for that company, I could as well do same for myself. Equally, I wanted to break that belief that some people seem to have about the people of Ogoja and Cross River generally.
Some people seem to perceive us as people who are reluctant to take challenges. We are seen as people who seem to have a strong fear of the unknown. Some people say that we are afraid of tomorrow. They say that we don’t take risks. Such people assume that we don’t have the capability to start and finish anything good.
Therefore, I thought that I should debunk that view. I looked at the whole situation and said that Cross Riverians are not lazy. I told myself that ‘no, we can do something. If others have done it, we can equally do it. If others have not started, I can start. I would get to where others have reached’. I was operating from my home, initially.
Gradually, my customers and friends including you, encouraged me to move out of my residence and establish an office elsewhere. In particular, my friend, Cyril Ilok, a high ranking staff of MTN Nigeria, encouraged me to defy all odds and stay focused. I give him credit for most of what this company has achieved.
Cyril and others encouraged me to venture out and engage people. That was how I got this company registered fully. That was how I got this office place at number 12, John Olugbo Street, off Unity street, Ikeja Lagos. I have been here for about three years.
What is filtration all about and why is it important?
“Filtration is the process of separating solid from liquid. It removes impurities from water, for instance. No matter how bad water may be, we are in the industry that can purify such water to World Health Organization’s recommended standard. This is because of the excellent standard of our products.”
“There is no liquid or solid product that should not go through the process of removing impurity before consumption. You can’t just go to a well and fetch water for drinking without filtering such water. You must treat that water to give you a hygienic and acceptable standard. Ofe- Odey Nigeria Limited is mainly involved in this business of filtration.”
How can one identify pure water as sold in sachets as well as plastic bottles?
“We have been able to educate a lot of people about the consumption of pure or bottled water. It is not everything you see in sachets or bottles that is pure. You may not notice water that is impure if you drink it when it is chilled. But if you allow the water to be exposed to sunlight before trying to drink it, you would know if it is impure through the odor of that water or through the sediments that would be seen in it, if you pour it into a glass and allow it to settle for a short while. This would show you that the water was not properly filtered.”
“It is not all sachet water that is pure. Some are just sachet water packaged directly from the tap.”
What extent of collaboration do you have with agencies such as NAFDAC (National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control) and Consumer Protection Agencies?
“Most of our products go through NAFDAC clearance. Otherwise, they cannot be used. That is why before now, when NAFDAC used to organise training programs for manufacturers of pure water or those in the food and beverages packaging industry, we used to do presentations. We educate those manufacturers on how most of those products can be treated. And you can keep some of the products for NAFDAC approved periods, without sediments.”
“We recommend that before you consume any product that is colorless or colored, try to observe the contents. You would discover that some that are not supposed to have sediments would develop sediments or growth. That shows that proper filtration did not take place.”
To what extent is your presence felt in Cross River State, your state of origin?
“We are a young organisation trying to spread to everywhere. Most of the time when we go home to Cross River State and Ogoja in particular, we discover that water has been a challenge to our people. Therefore, we are working towards establishing a water factory that would be able to reach better standards than what currently exists there.”
What is your message to younger women and men who may want to emulate you?
“We should all be able to swallow pride and take up challenges. We should not feel that the government is the only means of making money. There are a lot of opportunities in everything you lay your hands on. It is your determination and confidence that you can succeed, that would help you to succeed. The moment you take up a challenge and work towards it with a firm believe in God, you would certainly succeed. Without God, you cannot succeed.”
What is you message to your customers?
“We have always given our customers our trust and our best. We have always made them to understand that that we can never disappoint them in terms of quality and delivery. We would always be there for them at all points of their need. We would always serve them excellently. Customer satisfaction is our key.”
- Cornelius Ellah
Facebook: Cornelius Ellah