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Ogbuefi takes passion, aesthetics to hospitality business

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FELIX Okwuchukwu Okwui Ogbuefi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of TRIG-POINT Hotel, Nibo, maintains that if not for his father, perhaps his life would tell a different story today.

His father was initially, uneducated until he embarked on adult education and later ensured that young Okwuchukwu, who had wanted to go and learn a trade after his primary education became a graduate, Ditto for all his siblings.

He holds his father as his role model. Advancing education and taking to his father’s advice have brought huge benefit to him in business and life,

Chief Ogbuefi is a man that burns with passion to infuse change in Anambra State’s business landscape. This he has demonstrated in the hospitality industry.

He believes in setting standard. The Nibo born businessman tells around him that the hospitality sector in Anambra State needs stakeholders that love to grow human resources and have avoid economic drive.

Hard work that results in productivity speaks for him. If you don’t have the nerve for honesty and hard work, then you have no business with Chief Ogbuefi. He speaks and embodies what he preaches. When he resolves on an issue that he is sure of its potential, he doesn’t surrender to pressure or discouragement.

Such was the case when he wanted to build Trig-Point Hotel. The hotel was built on what people called evil infested land. But such doesn’t apply to him as he doesn’t believe in superstition.

Building Trig Point Hotel was dream come true for him, “It has always been my dream. When I started visiting Europe and other countries, I discovered that our idea of hotel management is totally different from what we have over there, so I decided to inject standard into the sector.

The dream was also propelled by a friend who visited from Canada. I lodged him in a hotel in Awka, which then used to be the best in Awka.

He never had pleasant experience with the reputed best hotel in town that when he wanted to check out, he asked me to do something about it, but not on the land where Trig Point seats as I had just acquired.

I laughed because my resolve is such that when I’m determined to do something I’m convinced of, I go ahead with it.”

This place used to be called Ogugu Ezu, a lake that receded but our people attributed it to some herbalists’ activities that made the lake recede. This place was an abandoned terrain that nobody wanted to buy or invest in.

When I was offered the land to buy I did not think twice before purchasing it. As a fine artist, I had a picture of what I intended to do with the place. Nobody wanted to buy not to talk of investing in the land. Even when I started building people asked me to stop that I was wasting my time and resources. When the structure stood, they marveled at it.

“I don’t follow the crowd, even the name of this hotel was intended to stand out. The day I decided to give it a name, so many names were coming from family members and, friends.

I woke from sleep one day, opened dictionary, and saw Trig Point; a reference point on high ground used in surveying usually marked by a stone pillar set into the ground. The picture it painted for me was a reference point hotel and that is what this hotel has become.”

Often asked why he sited his hotel in Nibo, and not within Awka metropolis, he responds by asking if there was anything wrong with Nibo. He sees no other place as perfect to site his hotel than in his hometown. He recalled as a kid growing up town that his people used to call his town, Nibo City, Second London, ‘Obodo oku na-ewu n’enu’, but there was nothing to reflect that name. He took the initiative with other projects in the pipeline that will reflect the envisaged Nibo City.

“Another reason for the hotel occupying its present location was its proximity to the Governor’s Lodge and the State Police Headquarters; issue of security was taken into consideration. Most people who think of their security think of this place first before any other place.”

Chief Ogbuefi buys into the Akulueuno philosophy; think home policy of Anambra State Government, encouraging ndi Anambra to have large chunk of their investment in the state more than they do outside the state.

“That is what our people should have been doing. With what is happening in the country, our people should not be told to think home for investment.   The country will remain but things will change and it’s happening already.

We have prominent people from Anambra State whose investments in the state can take the state to another level. Nnewi people understood this long ago. Many of our people think investing in the state will not give them the market but that’s not true.

Look at what Nnewi people have done. Akulueuno is the best thing that ever happened to Anambra State. I commend Gov. Willie Obiano for that. The first time I saw him, I knew he was going to do something like that. He changed many things about doing business in the state.”

He doesn’t believe that hospitality sector in Awka is overcrowded as some people claimed; he argues that the challenge is not in the number of hotels but rather, the number of people that comes into Awka.

“Often we witness large patronage or human traffic during festive periods and if people were to troop in like this on daily basis, the hotels in Awka would not contain them. We may have hotel scattered all over Awka, there is still space for hotels in the city.”

Chief Ogbuefi is excited that recent developments in the industry are putting indicators to measure standard in the city.

“Before now, you have nothing to write home about Awka hospitality industry. If you have taste for hotel and wants to come into the industry, you have to beat the standard of Trig Point, Best Western Mellock, Finotel, Parktonia and Golden Tulip.

Anybody who wants to come into the industry should know that it is not about having structure to collect money, but your professionalism.”

Chief Ogbuefi’s first love is the arts and he is still a fine artist. He projects big for the industry with vision to encourage budding artists and propagating arts in the state. He has endowed a prize building artists, from primary to tertiary schools.

First prize winner goes home with N500,000, the first runner up N250,000 and the second runner up receiving N150,000. “I won’t be surprised to see people with the gifts of Michaelangelo and Da Vince emerge from such competition in the state. I even promised to get some stakeholders who would participate in the project” in his huge collection.

He pointed to an artwork made from scrap of Honda lady’s machine with the face of horse crafted by a student for class work- “Seeing that I knew the student was a star in the making and this is the kind of things I want to encourage. Art is beyond drawing or painting. There is money in it. I intend to open an art gallery and a museum.

I really want to propagate arts in Anambra State. It hurts me that people that I want to work with in that regard did not buy into my vision; this project is not for personal aggrandizement, as they would want to believe, which is absolutely wrong. I am not that kind of person that will at this stage in my life practice such which I have never done before.”

He doesn’t totally agree that youths seem to shy away from arts these days but rather, they lack encouragement. “I know there are many negatively influenced youths who don’t believe in hard work and patience.

I know some people who think of every fraudulent idea, even devilish to make money. In Nigeria, many youths want quick money. Every vocation has benefits in it. You have to start somewhere and be steadfast and consistent.

I’m still a fine artist, though involved in other businesses. Be honest with what you are doing, God will direct your steps and one day you will achieve success. All that I have achieved today did not fall from the sky. It was year’s hard work and careful planning. What I cannot achieve immediately, I wait for the appropriate time.”

Chief Ogbuefi thanked God for blessing him with hard working staff. “If have a nice place like this and you have bad staff, you are doomed.”

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