Divinely, every day has a place and a specific purpose in human history. So it is in the life of Leslie Merede Oghomienor, a kind-hearted man with a heart of gold. Known as a seasoned entrepreneur, renowned businessman of international repute, he has been frequently referred to in various corporate circles as ‘ Red’ coined from his native name- Merede meaning, “The Man of the Future”.
The finest full general, the beautiful one, was title given to him by the amiable General Yakubu Gowon, at the screening of Olobiri, in Lagos. Also referred to as, “The Helper and the King of Games” in some quarters, ‘the Man of the Future’ in all judgement, that sees tomorrow, with the intent to better the human society, is 50!
Born on March 17, 1969, in Lagos, into the family of Isaac and Ajua Margaret Oghomienor a k a Miss as she was fondly called – a widely admired, loved and highly respected teacher, Merede was brought up in a strict Roman Catholic family background whose values swings on the hinges of integrity, truth, discipline, the spirit of giving, good character, respect for elders, humility and trust in God.
The family culture, tradition, or perhaps a well-defined way of life, which he strongly believes, is an undeniable determinant factor or influence in the little God has helped him to accomplished, this which he is truly and unequivocally grateful to Him.
He drew a lot of inspiration from Miss, his mother, a devoted teacher, friend and a mother to all, who he said was a passionately tenacious in everything she was involved in – from her teaching profession, her responsibilities as a mother and wife and to her role in the church and the community. She was always willing to help where such was required.
Oghomienor is the chairman, Russell Smith Nigeria; eminent voting board member, FCBarcelona, Spain; president, Penya De Lagos Club, and chairman, Blaugrana Group International , promoters of the elite Barca Academy, first in Sub – Saharan Africa, and founder Legends for Children project, for the championing of indigent children education, with special interest for the girl child.
A very quiet and generous giver, a good soul to emulate and indeed a wholly true friend rare to find in this part of the planet, has over the years humbly and silently distinguished himself and lived a quality but very simple life that convincingly inspires a sustainable brilliance, excellence, selflessness, innovativeness, ingenuity, confidence, professionalism, diligence, commitment , passion and tenacity.
Howbeit, he encourages showmanship and giving back, being that he was raised in a very loving and warm family setting that savoured in laughter, good values, friendliness, games, fun, frills and thrills that made growing up exciting , interesting and richly and robust.
Oghomienor , who did not fully dreamt of being who he is now, until the beginning of the new millennium, has shifted interest from his core business – oil and gas to sports which is the new oil, with the mission to give back and quest to pioneer new areas and ideas, explore the challenges that may come, and uniquely exposed the teeming Nigerian future to the abundant opportunities in the bid live one’s dream by sincerely helping others live their life purpose. And accruing benefit is a better and quality society.
Before he became gainfully employed in 1996, ambitiously, the very young boy, cut his teeth as an employer of labour, in the fast growing entertainment industry as a producer and promoter, when he single-handedly produced the ‘Out of Bound’, sound track, a Richard Mofe – Damijo, star studded multiple award winning movie directed by the meticulous and legendary. Tade Ogidan and took same on a successful live concert and exhibition tour up – North.
The first time in the industry such a feat and innovation was experienced. He left when his thorough research revealed that the sector then had no define direction or well lay out and articulate structure as compared to other key sectors of the economy like the oil and gas where he later pitched his tent years after and it has paid off.
Oghomienor’s colourful and creative many parts can be traced to his academic journey which began at Corona School, Gbagada, Lagos, where he recently returned 40 years after as old boy, to established the Barca Academy in partnership with the Corona Schools’ Trust Council.
It was in the same premises, that he was given the title, ‘ King of Games’ because of his all-round sporting artistry.
From there he went to the Federal Government College, Enugu, for his post primary education. Five years later, he gained admission into the University of Jos, Jos, where he graduated with a degree in Business Management. No wonder his spread of friendship is beyond ethnic or religious inclination.
This motivates, in strong terms, his attitude towards the concept of state of origin in any form of documentation.
“If I were the President of Nigeria, in my first ninety minutes in the office, in a radical manner will be to remove state of origin as a policy. I will adopt the concept of the local government area where the citizen resides, do business or work, pay taxes, devoid of any form of emotion, fear or favour.
“Such is qualified to stand for election and be voted for if he or she meet other requirements. This approach will go a long way to eliminate all forms of apathy and suspicion, promote peace and unity. Surely, the nation and the people is bound to flourish,’ he noted.
His sojourn at Accenture Consulting as a first time employee, was awesome he revealed. A place he classified as an intellectual boot camp. This excursion took him through an entirely different form of life changing education, where he learned dedication, diligence, promptness, customer relations and service, hard work, strategic planning, thinking and execution, teamwork, entrepreneurial skills, knowledge, positive attitude, growing people and many more, which have been of immense benefit to his life and outlook, this he acknowledged with all deep sense of appreciation.
Hence, he advised the upcoming business owners to learn to start from the beginning – from where there are, to where they want to go, learning and working committedly with patience. And not from the top, a trend that is prevalent today, which he thinks is not achievable. And if at all it does, will not endure.
From Accenture, he went to Frank’s International, an oil and gas firm, where he left eight years later, after a meritorious service in 2004, to start Russell Smith Nigeria, as the chief executive officer, till end of 2017, when he became the chairman.
Today, after all forms of challenges and rejection from within and without the industry, Russell Smith, has grown to be a strong and an ignorable brand in the sector.
Reputed as the most innovative, totally indigenous oil and gas concern with an indisputable global span, engaging over 365 sound professionals from across the world, exploring new frontiers, to say the least, the countenance on the face of this, principled, well disciplined and stylish man is overwhelmingly awed by the company’s accomplishments and successes looking back. This he said is more than enough motivation to help others grow and become international brand.
However, he admonished start-ups, not to faint, but preserve in their aspirations to achieve greatness and in a way add good value to society, saying that hard work, complete compliance to standard operational procedures, regulatory laws and rules, professional code of ethics, guides to good and responsible corporate citizenship and diligence among others is a sure path to live one’s dreams.
Oghomienor is focused and articulate. His willingness to genuinely and silently help others grow stands him out among his peers. He is always looking for hidden ways and opportunities to grow others, helping in the improvement of their quality and standard of life by way of giving back. This for him and the board is a greater calling, and feel of fulfilment, uncommon and farther than what they were experiencing in the petroleum sector.
This phenomenon must have informed the incorporation of Blaugrana Group International, the promoters of the elite Barca Academy, with campus in Surulere, Lekki and Gbagada all in Lagos, with 96 students on full scholarship, a project which at the long run is planning to cater for over 500 beneficiaries.
In the bid to consolidate this vision his organisation berthed the Legends for Children project, launched in Abuja last year.
Since his discovery that every child wants to learn, he has asked God to give him the strength and the resources to help them in any legal and humane way possible. He propounded that a holistic child development is the key to national integration and all transform.
As a man of the future, Nigeria, which he calls, “My Father Land”, he believes will be develop into a greater, strong, peaceful and viable nation and Blaugrana Group International would be a global African brand, synonymous with youth development, empowerment and opportunities; world class and first of its kind in Africa facilities, quality child education, support for good causes, excellent leadership, high moral values and pioneers of new areas.
The highly spiritual Oghomienor has been married to his wife, Yetunde Oghomienor since February 10, 2007. The bonding is strong – similar ideas, peacefully getting ahead in life with the “I can do” spirit. Believing nothing is impossible. The marriage is blessed with lovely children.