Emmanuel Odogwu-N’epe Mpe is the Managing Director of Emmaprettex Investment Company Ltd, Emmanuel Success Investment Pte Ltd Singapore, a property development company located in Nigeria and in Singapore. In this interview, he talks about his passion for helping the less privileged, his foray into real estate and his launch of IPM, a socio-cultural and non-partisan movement that promotes peace. Excerpts
How was your growing up like?
My growing up and early childhood was really amazing. I was not actually born with a golden spoon but my parents were able to put food on the table. I grew up in a family where hardwork is a norm, I have two other siblings and we value hard work, honesty and transparency. Life was not really easy when I was little, but it wasn’t that tough as well.
What do you consider your greatest achievement in life?
Talking about achievement is not something any one can beat his chest and say he has achieved more or less. I realised that any achievement that does not give you a peace of mind is not worth mentioning as an achievement. Back to your question, I have done quite a lot of things which up till now gives me much happiness and these are the things I consider as part of my achievements.
For example, when I look back and remember what I have spent on human development and youth empowerment, how many people I was able to show a way in life, those I sent to abroad and people I gave scholarships to, I just feel satisfied and happy with these things. To some people, it might not be achievement but things like that are great achievements to the best of my understanding. I feel I have achieved much when I think of how many lives I have touched, not how much in my bank account.
What are the landmark experiences that contributed in making you what you are today?
Well, I would say that I have encountered a lot of things in life, but I can’t forget one incident that happened in my life a long time ago. I have been in a situation where I was in a serious need of little things that could move my life forward but I couldn’t afford it myself. I had to beg but I was not given, the people I trusted most failed me, those I looked up to dissapointed me and that incident made me take a decision never to depend on anyone. I stopped begging and started working hard. Today, I no longer beg but that bitter experience of begging instigated my zeal and passion to work hard to make a better living. I have been through hardship and difficult life that’s why I don’t play with those people that doesn’t have. I have experienced hardship and that’s why I try my best to help people that do not have. I have known how much it pains to beg and couldn’t get and that’s the reason why I try my best to give someone that begs me for anything.
Despite being a successful man there are things that you encountered in life that you were not happy about. Do you have any particular regret in life?
I have no regret so far and there is nothing I would have to do differently. I only ask God for more grace to do more. However, there are certain things I would love to improve on. If I have my way, I would touch more lives than I’m doing now but certainly, I have no regrets in life. I really thank God for my life and honestly I’m happy with everything about my life.
In the past few years you have been involved in poverty alleviation programmes such as scholarship, helping the less privileged persons, widows and widowers. Why are you doing it?
My support to people’s life is the most thing that makes me happy. I don’t like seeing people crying about the problems I can solve. It does not really matter how much you have, what matters most is how many lives you have changed. My past made me to know that I need to help those people that I am better than. So I am doing most of these things to change lives of people and to see other people grow better than me in life.
In addition helping the less privileged is something I don’t joke with. I can joke with certain things but when it comes to putting smiles on people’s faces, I take it very seriously. I have one belief in life and it is that ”whatever is not shared with people in need is lost”. Yes, whatever you fail to share with people is completely lost. Some people may not agree with this belief but that’s the force that drives me to do whatever I’m doing in life. And again, the people you share your happiness with matters, while some will prefer to share with fellow rich men, others will prefer to share with people for certain favor but I don’t do things like that. I share things with the people who can’t afford for it. I share everything about my life with the less privileged people, who are rejected and dejected and those who have nobody to run to because I have passed through such painful experience in life. I chose to bring sucour and happiness to such people and that’s why you will always see me in the street eating together with many kinds of people.
As a real estate guru, what have your companies done to end or alleviate the problems of housing in Nigeria?
My business history started in Singapore which is the place I established the first experience into real estates and properties. During my stay in Singapore I met with a Singaporean citizen, whose name is Mr Kevin Koh, that owns one of the biggest property and real estate company in Singapore. The company specialises into building, buying and selling of apartments and different kinds of properties. I worked with this company for some years before I started my own business and registered my own company in Singapore.
I started dealing into buying and renting of apartment units/flats in Singapore in the year 2008. I later invested some funds into Kevin and Koh Properties, the former company I was working under and they resumed contract with me by giving me some flats under lease and that really moved me far in life. Everything was going smoothly between Kevin andKoh Properties Pte Ltd with my own company Emmanuel Success Investment Pte Ltd. My company remains an existing and live company in Singapore until today.
This is how I had experienced that property and real estate is a good field of business / investment. That is why I have established another company in Nigeria “Emmaprettex Investment Company Ltd. I am very comfortable with this field of specialisation because properties appreciates both in season and out of season. I have some buildings under construction because I am presently dealing into buying and selling of lands, building and renting/selling of commercial houses, student’s hostels etc. I must confess that things are moving pretty well and I have never regretted entering into properties and real estates as my field of specialisation.
You floated a group IPM recently. What is it all about and why did you establish the group?
IPM is a socio-cultural movement and it’s non partisan. In IPM, we promote peace and humanity. When you come to the region I came from, politics have created a lot of enemities between brothers, families, even churches are not left out. The traditional institutions are all factionalised and I felt we can’t continue like this. In the quest to bring peace, I and some other persons decided to float an entirely new movement, which by the grace of God, we are actualising our goals of bringing peace to the people. Also IPM is not a group for the elites, no, this is a movement for both the elites and the poor masses (The grassroots).
In IPM, we make decisions that will favour the entire local government and we are finalising our charity programs. Our vision is to stop arbitrary politics in the region so that unbalanced political benefits can be balanced in the local government for the benefit of the masses and for development purposes.