3A Auction House Limited, Nigeria’s first general auction house, is set to have its first major auction next week after its launch and official logo unveiling penultimate week. Promoters of the idea, however, have one thing in mind: to change the business of auction in Nigeria and also the attitude of both individuals and corporate bodies to it. Raheem Akingbolu reports.

Motivation is Beyond Profit… 

It came as a surprise when Abimbola Akingboye, the chief executive officer of 3A Auction House Limited, Nigeria’s first general auction house, told this reporter that Nigeria did not have an auction house prior to the unveiling of the logo and official launch of his company penultimate week at the prestigious Lagos Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Speaking to THISDAY shortly before the event, Akingboye said he was not motivated by business opportunities alone but the need to fill the gap which he noticed existed in the nation’s business environment; especially in the area of auction. 

 “I grew up in the United Kingdom and spent a lot of time shuttling between the UK and the United States of America. I discovered that there are many opportunities that people have access to that we do not have here. One of them is that people could buy things there. People can place auctions at the custom, banks and so on. There are so many opportunities to buy from auctions. I relocated to Nigeria in 2010 and I think it was in 2014 or 2015 that I realised that there was a gap in the market that could benefit both the buyer and the seller but we did not have such. At that moment, I started looking into auction in Nigeria, reading about it and I discovered there was no general auction house to deal with this all important aspect of business. That was how this idea came that we could provide the avenue for people in the country,” Akingboye explained. 

Auction Thrives During Recession…

At the logo unveiling and launch proper, Akingboye said he was not perturbed by the fact that the nation is currently undergoing economic recession at the moment; hence auction business might nit thrive. He believes that “auction does better when there is financial meltdown in any country.”

He drew correlation from the recession in the United States of America and the United Kingdom in 2008.  He said people were buying properties below market prices then because they could not afford to keep up with their mortgage.  “Those who had houses had to sell and were selling at ridiculous prices.”

In Nigeria, he said there were people who built their properties 20 years ago with N10million. That property could sell at N70million now. He added they won’t mind selling such at N45million. 

“Now, building such property now might cost more because the cost has more than tripled. So what you could have built at N90million, you are buying at half that price. This is the fact the owner selling built it with N10million but selling at N45million. I feel it is best time to start this.”

‘Why We are Holding our First Auction on November 29…’

Now the company is set to hold its first major auction on Tuesday November 29 and Akingboye said it was an opportunity for the people to know what to expect from 3A Auctions. He dismissed the insinuations that their first auction was postponed for logistic reasons. He said the jet, which was their first lot, was sold on 17th November. 

“The auction wasn’t shifted.  The jet was sold on the 17th of November, 2016. We accepted a written offer on that day. The other properties that came in missed the cut off date so they had to be entered into the next auction which was 29th of November, 2016. There are due processes that must always be taken before putting up a property for auction and the new lots did not meet the time frame against 17th, hence the new date.”

 He added that prospective buyers could expect real estate properties, assets, vehicles, aircrafts, machineries, factories, furniture, appliances, electronics, educational materials and lots more. He explained that catalogues containing available lots will be released from time to time to update prospective buyers of lots we have available per time.

 He explained further that lots for the first auction include a Lexus jeep, a Toyota corolla, a shopping complex, another property, electronic tablets, furniture, and more are still coming in.  “3A Auction House is set in the market to cut across every sphere. The lots that are available and will be available subsequently are not restricted to some set of individuals. We are creating opportunities for as many as would take it.”

 ‘Nigerians Deserve Best like the Rest of the World…’

At the launch proper, Akingboye said the auction house is aimed at providing private individuals and corporate bodies a platform to dispose unwanted assets and properties without hassles. 

According to him, there are few auction companies operating online in the country, but 3A Auction House is the first general auction house in the country and is set  to reposition the business of auctioning in the country conforming with best global practices. 

Akingboye acknowledged that auction market is a difficult terrain in Nigeria, but disclosed that he and his team have gathered needed information to bridge the gap and thrive in the market. 

He added that the company is starting off with trade from Lagos and Abuja, with a catalogue to take in properties from every region of the country. This, he said, would create job opportunities, as the company is in need of more hands to function. He noted that the auction house is not just out to make money, but has corporate social responsibility plans to give back to the society. 

His words: “When I relocated into the country in 2010, I discovered that I couldn’t buy things through auction like I was doing abroad. So I saw a gap to be filled.  We are here to make auctioning what it should be in Nigeria. We want to change the perspective about auctioning among the people. Make it safe and attractive for buyers and sellers. We know it’s a difficult market but we believe we have the grace to push. We’ve spent years doing our research, meeting with people and gathering information. We believe the information should help us sail through easily. We have approached the legislature so that we can have a law to regulate the auction market and we have also met with insurance companies.”

And Institute of Insurers Endorses 3A Auctions…

Also speaking at the event, the Registrar of the Certified Institute of Auctioneers Nigeria, Hassan Adeleke, commended the company for putting up the first general auction house in the country. He said 3A Auction House is about to practise auctioning in Nigeria the way it has never been done before. He added that this would further create awareness on the auction market in Nigeria which current runs into billions of Naira.

He disclosed that the institute has been sending members abroad to gain exposure and 3A Auction House will provide local platform for them to practice. 

Breaking the Cycle of Corruption in Auctioning Business…

3A Auctions surely has a job in its hands but the prospects are quite encouraging. The auction business in Nigeria is still at his embryonic stage due to the fact that both individual and corporate organisations still don’t avail themselves the opportunity an auction house offers in buying and selling properties. 

For instance, many insurance companies and banks have vehicles they want to dispose off but these cars are just lying there. And when they are even put up for sale, they are often bought off at ridiculous prices by same claim managers within those companies, especially the insurance companies. 

Akingboye said they are aware of this and that was why they sought and obtained the support of the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, as well as the Nigerian Insurance Association, NIA. 

“We are taking the engagement from the top,” Akingboye explained. “If we go through same people that are benefiting from this practice of selling and buying claim items, especially cars, then it is dead on arrival. You see a 2015 model vehicle that needs just minimal repair being sold at less than a million naira and the buyer will spend just less then N500,000  on it and sell at about N4million. The loser here is the insurance company or the bank. This is what we want to correct.”