Lauded for his passion for banking in 2016, Pius Ogundiran’s latest role might seem more technical that one would expect. In fact, it’s the clearest path towards maximum achievements not only for him, but for the nation’s burgeoning alternative energy sector, writes Funke Olaode
Pius Ogundiran’s newest role as a leader amongst his peers may not be the typical one you would expect, given his national and international role in the banking industry. He has gone on to apply his remarkable knowledge and experience in a fashion, which will have much more far-reaching implications, as Head of Alternative Energy Financing at Understone Advisory Partners.
Ogundiran was already well known for his previous groundbreaking work as Business Manager for one of Nigeria’s Leading Commercial Bank in Assets and Valuations. This experienced finance professional has lofty goals in his new position, a great step in an international career plan that leverages his background in emerging market finance and combines it with his knack for coming up with “outside the box” solutions to help tackle a major national priority – diversification of energy.
Ogundiran is passionate about his new role and the future that lies ahead. The power of leadership encourages lateral movements across sectors where there is a transformation agenda, but there are enormous obstacles in the Alternative Energy space － particularly in Nigeria － that few would have been willing or able to tackle. Some of these issues are systemic, while others are central to the Federal Government’s inability to harness the potential of the renewable energy space. Unfortunately, as the continent’s largest crude oil exporter, Nigeria is still mostly dependent on oil to power the energy needs of a rapidly increasing population.
The Nigerian Government recognized the need to look into a more diverse economic portfolio long ago, having introduced renewable energy as part of its National Energy Policy 15 years ago. The country’s 2006 Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP) commits Nigeria to periodic goals to achieve the development and implementation of renewable energy resources. But current levels of progress have created a great deal of doubt that there will be adequate installation of wind, solar PV, solar thermal and hydroelectricity sources by 2025 to power the grid capacity in Nigeria, and oil and gas remains a lucrative and tempting alternative which tends to crowd out any other comers.
In such a highly-populated country, Understone Advisory Partners is relatively new, though it has a crop of sophisticated and experienced talents from the energy sphere. Until recently, what it did not have, in a market which was struggling due to the continued national addiction to oil and gas, was a financial professional savvy enough to ensure its continued financial health in this alternative energy arena. Thanks to Ogundiran’s addition, that market for the company has not only survived, but thrived.
The position has offered also Ogundiran the perfect opportunity to tackle a problem in which he has developed a great deal of personal interest. While on vacation in Dubai early in his career, he saw a city with an outlook committed to infrastructure development and with the will to seek alternative investments and to opening doors which would encourage a variety of different people and cultures to visit, trade, and stay. It is with that kind of inspiration that he has chosen to tackle this seemly intractable problem for his own country. Ogundiran’s previous experience makes him almost uniquely qualified for this critical new role, relying upon years in Business Management and executive leadership as well as an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Finance from Fuqua School of Business Duke University in North Carolina.
From the insights gathered much earlier in his career, Ogundiran has channeled his unparalleled knowledge, experience, and strengths into an area of the Energy Sector that has proven to be a primary driver of economic activities in Nigeria. “Leadership”, he said, “is about making the best of yourself every day, following what is speaking to and guiding you through life.”
With his extensive international networks, finance skills and multivariate years of experience, Ogundiran is regarded as one of few professional achievers of this time poised to make a difference locally, leading energy-focused fiscal management specializing in the preparation, review, monitoring and approval of tailor-made financial products for asset and operational investment, as well as facilitating financing for suitable projects. He plans for this critical work in the area to inspire policymakers to create incentives for the renewable energy sector and, by so doing so, encourage an increase of private investments in this nationally-vital field.