A Look At The Monumental Strengths Of Benue Investment Property Company Limited (Bipc) Under The Administration Of Governor Samuel Ortom
Oduma Richard Oduma.
Welfarism is the belief that the government meets the basic needs of the people in exchange for taxes and civic and civil responsibilities. It is worth noting that governments exist primarily to formulate policies, govern, and provide services to the general populace for their ultimate benefit. Even though most governments around the world have failed in this regard, particularly in developing countries, the fact that it is the responsibility of government to meet the basic needs of the people remains. In most cases, people rely on the government to provide almost everything, including food stamps for the poor and homeless shelters. The rationality of welfarism or otherwise is debatable, but what matters at this time is that the current BIPC board, led by its chairman, astute and experienced elder statesman Hon Mike Mku, has extended welfarism beyond the traditional conventions to a whole new level that modern day capitalism envies.
The Benue Property Investment Company (BIPC), a holding investment company for the Benue State Government, was established in 1979, a few years after the Aper Aku administration created Benue State from the defunct Benue-Plateau, and has evolved to become one of the only surviving companies established by Governor Aper Aku’s visionary leadership. While there were many such creations, the majority of them have died or been sold due to dwindling returns on investment (ROI) and successive poor management.The fact that the BIPC has survived various phases of challenges that frequently confronted state-owned commercial ventures and has rather prospered beyond expectations under the administration of Governor Samuel Ortom is not simply a matter of luck or coincidence, but a direct result of the company’s board led by Hon Mike Mku combined with the sheer managerial tenacity of the incumbent MD, Barr Alex Adum PhD led management.Hon Mike Mku, the company’s chairman, has instilled stability and accountability within the organization. Moving away from the unnecessary rivalry that pervades most government institutions. This has greatly improved the company’s day-to-day operations. The board’s collective sense of direction and commitment to the company’s vision is admirable. BIPC has evolved from a traditional company into a world-class conglomerate with billions of naira in assets capable of competing with multinationals anywhere in the world, thanks to the smooth synergy between the board and management.
From a company that was initially thought to be confined to managing a few Guest Houses and other properties on behalf of the Benue State government across the federation, the BIPC in its current form under Governor Ortom’s administration rose to become a notable player in the real estate sector, delivering world class housing and apartments not just to Benue people but all over the country at affordable rates. For example, the fully completed Nyorigungu estate in Makurdi and Consgrove Estate in Mabushi Abuja are two housing intervention projects that have launched and positioned the company as a major player capable of delivering on its vision while meeting people’s basic housing needs. The high quality of these housing units demonstrates the company’s dedication to quality. This has undoubtedly earned the praise and admiration of people both inside and outside the state.
Governor Ortom has once again demonstrated to the Benue people that he is the people’s Governor, prioritizing the welfare of Benue people over party politics by bridging the housing deficit in Benue and elsewhere with the futuristic estates that have so far been completed. As his presidency comes to an end, Ortom, like Aper Aku, will be remembered for their foresight and people-centered policies and legacies. Just as Aper Aku’s administration was responsible for establishing the BIPC and other futuristic projects, the Ortom administration will be remembered for transforming the company from a mere holding company to a massive conglomerate with diverse interests such as Equities, Bonds, Real Estate, Hospitality, Tourism, and Energy, to name a few. As the opportunities for middle-income earners to become landlords grow, there are signs that the Ortom administration will be remembered for doing what even the Federal Mortgage Bank has failed to do over the years for this project.
It is morally necessary to rally support for the company, and it is not too much to ask for the patronage of the good people of Benue and beyond, so that the company can consolidate on providing more gains for the greater good of the masses. This call is especially important because it draws citizens’ attention to the changing opportunities made available by the company for the benefit of all.
Whereas it is widely assumed that government has no business doing business, the Benue State Government has continued to do business with steady growth in portfolio, assets, and profits for over four decades and counting through her flagship holding company, BIPC. This resilience would normally place the BIPC on par with other flourishing multinational corporations, but unfortunately, good news spreads slowly as a rule. The BIPC has demonstrated enough resilience and earned her place as a unique organization deserving of support, with an incredibly large portfolio large enough to sustain her own projects and policies as they evolve. With the current collective and sustained efforts of management and the board, the company will be able to compete favorably with multinational corporations and other top Nigerian corporate enterprises in no time.
The Benue Investment and Property Company has not only outperformed competitors in the real estate sector, but has also quietly emerged as a dominant player in the hospitality sector. In Kaduna State, where the likes of Durbar Hotel, Hamdalla Hotel, Arewa Suites, ASA Pyramid, and other new entrants dominated the hospitality and hotel business, Benue Guest House, a proud flagship of BIPC, has not tipped the balance but has emerged as a major player in the Kaduna State hospitality sector. The Benue State Guest House, located in the tranquil neighborhood of Ungwan Sarki on Rabah road and close to the once-famous NAF Club, has become a toast to most Kaduna socialites. The Ortom administration, through the current management of BIPC, has rebranded and repositioned the company to increase profits, and the results have been nothing short of spectacular.
Of course, progress of this magnitude cannot be achieved without meticulous efforts to sanitize the system, seal all leaks, and flush out bad eggs. One of the most astute tasks Barr. Alex Adum and his team completed upon taking office was the restructuring of BIPC. If one attributes the BIPC’s overall success to this internal audit and in-house cleaning, they will not be far off the mark. Indeed, in recent years, the management of BIPC affairs has not been business as usual. It is difficult to discuss the BIPC purges without mentioning the top-notch accounting and book-keeping processes that can compete with any flourishing enterprise anywhere in the world.
As the company’s assets grow and its coffers fill, it has become even more deeply involved in touching the lives of Benue people through audacious Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) schemes. The company has made reasonable interventions in education and health, awarded scholarships, and sponsored numerous medical outreaches throughout the state. If this isn’t the first time this has happened in the company’s history, whoever is keeping track of it has missed an important stage.
Aside from investing in complex profitable ventures such as equities, the oil and gas sector with the acquisition of an oil lifting license and the establishment of petrol filling stations with excellent service delivery, as well as joint ventures and partnerships, the BIPC under the current leadership has gone a step further to fund and operate a licensed Microfinance Bank and other highly profitable ventures that will soon place Benue on the map of financially self-sufficient states in Nigeria. This, like many other ventures, has helped to reduce unemployment. Another point not to overlook is the renegotiation of inherited financial liabilities to ensure stability. This is all made possible by the harmonious working relationship between management, led by Barr Alex Adum PhD, and the corporation’s Board of Directors, led by Hon Mike Mku, an elder statesman who has brought his vast experience to bear on the company’s historical trajectory.
The BIPC has also made significant investments in human resource and capacity building through manpower development, training, and various skill acquisition and staff development schemes. The BIPC is currently one of the largest employers of labor and the largest contributor to Benue State’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). As an agrarian state, the numerous job opportunities provided by the company’s various schemes and operations, as well as the multiplier effect they bring, cannot be overlooked. The people of Benue will be eternally grateful to the current BIPC leadership for eradicating the chronic effect of unemployment in the state.
Much is expected of those who are given much. The Benue people have placed a lot of trust in the company, and their hopes are very high given the lofty prospects and benefits they have received thus far. The Board and management must understand that there are no excuses for not doing more for the people. They must continue and sustain the company’s mission and vision because it is the only vibrant company owned by the state and one of the legendary Aper Aku’s legacies that is still standing strong. Hopefully, the incoming administration will be proud of BIPC’s overall development and will vote for consolidation to ensure the company’s survival and more positive prospects for the masses. All hands should be on deck to ensure that Benue transitions from an agrarian state to an industrial and service-oriented economy that capitalizes on its vast agricultural potential and other areas of comparative advantage. Above all, the company’s independence should be ensured to ensure stability and continuous growth for the benefit of all.
As Governor Ortom prepares to leave office, BIPC is poised to deliver a world-class shopping mall thanks to BIPC leadership innovation. May the dreams of our forefathers be realized, as demonstrated by the BIPC administration of Governor Samuel Ortom.