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Omatek and Death of a Dream

RARZACK OLAEGBE

Does it mean that once the owner of an enterprise dies the business she left behind also dies?

Assembled computers will not roll out of this assembly line anymore. The General Manager of the factory has left. She had taken the keys with her. She had switched off the electricity power supply. The diesel tank is empty. She would never return to the factory. Well, before she left, she placed the company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange [NSE]. That made the company the only computer-assembling firm in Nigeria listed on NSE.

As the amazon of the ICT industry, and foremost original equipment manufacturer [OEM] pioneer, she competed with other computing giants like Zinox, Balogtek etc for the market share. While some firms have kept their business on a save road, she stepped out on a limb. She ventured into the manufacturing of light bulbs. She pioneered a 24-hour alternate power solution.

The power solution – comprising solar, UPS, inverter, battery, and light emitting diodes [LED] bulb, function without a generator or diesel and reduce energy consumption by 85%. She was the first to undertake the production of completely knocked down [CKD] processes. She was a major player in the local assembling of computer casings, speakers, key boards, and mouse.

With interests in the digital space, internet of things and affordable intelligent home products from factories in Lagos and Ghana, she encouraged other system builders and resellers in Africa. Anyway, that was her dream. All these undertakings had boosted her earnings. Therefore, one was surprised that her company ended 2011 with a loss of N372 million with after tax profit of N248 million in the third quarter of 2012.

She attributed the loss to high operating costs [HOC] and high interest charges, which equally led to the non-payment of dividends to shareholders for some years. By extension, the shareholders only received dividends once. As such, while assuring the shareholders, the founder, and group Managing Director of Omatek, Florence Seriki, said:

“We have many new things in store for our shareholders. We can assure you that your company would begin to turn in impressive performance in the coming months. We have introduced new products that would attract more investors into the business”. That was the last time she spoke to the shareholders.

She did not know that that would be the last time she would address the shareholders. She died on March 3, 2017. She did not also know that once she dies her dream, her sweat, her enterprise, which she founded 25 years ago, would die with her. Reports indicated that few months after she died, Omatek had collapsed. Omatek is a derivation of her middle name, Oma.

Nevertheless, the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency [NITDA], Dr. Isah Pantami has distanced NITDA from the collapse of Omatek Computers. Pantami said, “Omatek never contacted this agency.” Friends close to the late founder said Omatek died the day Florence died.

Media reports have it that the death of Omatek was due to the inability of the company to repay a loan obtained from some commercial banks. To recoup the loan, the banks had taken a court order to shut Omatek. That is the verdict. Case closed. The factory is lock up. The machine has grounded to a halt. Omatek assembly line will not push out computer accessories anymore. Goodnight, Oma.

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