When cars started towing streets in Nigeria, not so many brands were known. But there was one brand that danced on the lips on young and old—that brand was Peugeot. Then, every young man’s dream is to sit as the proud owner at the wheels of a German Peugeot. It has so much fancy that it formed the official cars of political dignitaries in the 80s and 90s. But today, the Toyota Motor Brand has taken the place of the once much-adored Peugeot. And is now seen everywhere like sachet of pure water on Nigeria roads; because of one man: Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, the founder and Chairman of Elizade Nigeria Limited and Toyota Nigeria Limited.
Background and Early Life
Michael Ade-Ojo hails from Ilara Mokin in Ondo State. Born on the 14th of June, 1938. Michael is the fifth child to the late Pa Solomon Ojo. Been born in a poor family, the little Michael never dreamt of being educated. His father had three wives, and already said he is only capable of sending one child to school, which wasn’t Ade-Ojo. His mother, Mrs. Beatrice Ademolawe Ojo, who was a pap seller, shouldered the burden of making Michael ‘a school man’. Meanwhile in 1956, he lost his father at age 18.
The business magnate was a street hawker who helped his mother to sell things like pap, matches, charcoal and firewood. According to him, this sort of life plus determination and doggedness made him pursued the kind of affluence he has today.
When he finished from Imade College, he proceeded School of Agriculture in Akure. And eventually went to University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he bagged a degree in Business Administration in 1965. Mr. Toyota could have been a Soldier, but he wasn’t selected after the interview.
The growing of Elizade Nigeria Limited
After spending few years at CFAO motors (was on scholarship with them in his last two years in the university), Chief Michael stayed a few months at the Federal Inland Revenue. Before he worked at British Petroleum as their sales representative. His period here was what catapulted him to pivot success. While on holiday, he started dealing in cars, and was give given four months trial. Through this, he was able to sell 40 cars at the time which to him was much more profitable than working at BP; so, he quitted British Petroleum.
He was required to pay 600 pounds by RT Briscoe Nigeria (the company which formerly imports Toyota Cars into Nigeria) which he got through his cousin, thereafter, he became the company’s agent. And also included motorcycles in his collection. He stated that his ability to separate the financial capital from his personal purse aided the quick growth of his business.
In 1971, with his wife (Elizabeth Wuraola Ojo), Michael founded EIA, Elizade Independent Agencies. The company’s nexus objective was to distribute cars across Nigeria. In continuous enviable uprising, EIA procured the license to be the sole importer of Toyota motors into Nigeria prominently regarded as TOYOTA NIGERIA LIMITED. That single step made Toyota Vehicles to be the commonest and the most sought-after car in Nigeria today. The company has now multiplied into Classic Motors Ltd., Crow Motors Nigeria Ltd., RT Briscoe Nigeria, among others.
Other Investments and Achievements
Besides the motor business, Chief Michael Ojo-Ade has an empire of other businesses and investments. Some include: Elizade Auto-land, Elizade University, Okin Travels Limited, Mikeade Property Development Co. Ltd. and others. Owing to the vastness and experiences he has garnered over the years, he has seats in the board of directors of various establishments.
Elizade Motor Group now has tentacles across the federation, and surely one of the foremost cars distributing company in Nigeria.
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