The managing director of NEST09 Builders Ltd, Tasiu Mohammed Umar Kampala has said that he will not forgive himself if he does not help the needy. He made this statement in an interview with news men in Abuja. He also talked about how to give hope to the hopeless. Excerpts:
Introduce yourself officially sir.
My names are Tasiu Mohammed Umar Kampala. I was born in Jos, I am from Kano, Kibiya Local government Area. I did my primary education in Jos, Al-Iman primary School then moved to Kano for my secondary education where I graduate from Hassan Ibrahim Gwarzo secondary school. For my university education, I moved to the famous Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria where I obtained first degree in Building, after which I did my national service in Abuja (NYSC Service). I was posted to FCDA and to department of Mass Housing, and then Department of public Building, where I took part in the Nigerian Cultural Center and millennium tower project in the heart of Abuja. It’s a monumental project and one of its kind, working tirelessly together with the Contractors “Salini Nig. Ltd” on that very site we hosted the “Nigeria@50” event, it was a memorable experience.
From there I proceeded to the University of Reading where I obtained Masters in Intelligent Buildings, fully sponsored by my parents, will forever remain grateful.
I return home and started working with a private construction company, Dantata Town Developers and I was involved in the kubwa project, we delivered about 680 units of homes as Phase-01, I then Move to Brains and Hammers for another experience where we delivered over 2000-units of Homes – until 2016 when I decided to incorporate a construction company, Nest09 Builders Limited. We have been able to deliver over 10-Different Projects both for individual clients and other Construction companies. We also offer consultancy services, Structural investigations among others, with our collective efforts today; we are currently working on 4-Different projects concurrently and with great success.
What we do is construction project management, Real estate consultancy, Design management, etc and we do give back to the society in form of Construction-Trades-Training, Assistance to the orphanage, etc I do not want to mention a lot. Basically with the current situation in the country, our target is the youth, so far together with our collaborators, we have engaged and Trained over 200-Men/women since 2018.
We engage them in different construction trades. After engaging them in training, we make use of them as subcontractors to do some works, and earn living.
And for those of them that want to do some other works, we allow them to go and when the need arise we support them to get jobs. Providence have it, today we are where we are.
In what areas specifically do you offer helping hands to those people?
Apart from construction Trades Training, we identify men and women from different strata in the society. For example, the security man in my house; when he came, I asked him a few questions and he said he finished secondary school. He said his result was bad that is why he wants to be a security man. But I said no, you can go beyond that. I said to him, go and register. He registered and cleared his papers.
He got admission into Nasarawa Polytechnic and today he is with his certificate and he is doing well.
What inspired you into philanthropic activities?
To be frank with you, I just see it as continuation of what I grew up to see both my parents and grandparents doing, Helping those in need, poorest of the poor.
My maternal grandfather, Hon. M.K. Sani, was an accomplished business man in Jos, in his capacity he helps those in need at any given time and he was well know for that, he help young men and women get jobs, get to school, or even establish business.
In 1983 He was elected into Plateau State House of Assembly as member representing the good people of Jos North. He was among men and women that always want to put sunshine in the hearts of the Poor. He was a Board Member; Plateau state tourism Board, Institute of Agriculture, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and Jama’atu Nasrul Islam, Plateau State. I was very close to him. When I was to go to Kano for secondary school, he encouraged me to “learn good English, speak good English” I never forget those words. He promised to visit me in my secondary school, but that year, 1999 after successfully participating in the transition from military to civilian administration, he died 19 days (10th May 1999) before the rebirth of Democratic Nigeria. May his soul rest in Peace!
My father, being a Bussiness man in his capacity for over 2-Decades have been running his foundation “KAMPALA FOUNDATION” in our home town Kibiya in Kano, he supports the education of hundreds of children from primary up to tertiary level. Today if you go to our local government, majority of the health workers are beneficiaries of that foundation.
My Father-In-Law, also my teacher Late Prof. Isa Hashim, Jarman kano HRH, always encourage us to study and assist any one ready to go to school, particularly girls child education. I watch and know his immense contribution to education both in his Royal and Academic capacity in the entire Kano emirate. On many occasions I meet people that will tell me how he helps them in the University, in the Palace or in Business. May his soul rest in peace!
One thing I know, growing up in the Nigeria – there is this narrative that the North gets the elites and you can get job simply for being a northerner. Unfortunately, it is the other way round. We may have the elites but you have to be really part of the elite or connected to benefit from that “perceived” privilege.
We are not part of that, we are from a business-oriented family and we know what it means.
When we come out of school with our certificates, we already have discipline to go pursue good job, or get into business. Getting a job, particularly government job is not funny.
That is a tough one, but I was not caught by surprise. I expected that because I know where I come from. You will be asked who sent you or how connected are you, nevertheless I made many submissions to different Government offices waiting for response.
I am not surprised when I did not get government job. I said okay, many don’t have to get government job, we don’t have to be government employee all of us. Now I have a rethink. And by rethinking, you will even create job; not only for yourself but for other people. And by so doing, these young men we engage, they will be proud, and you see them having dignity in themselves. You will see them not saying I did not have a university degree. It is lost in them.
Now they are dignified members of the society. They are rubbing shoulders with people that have degrees.
The fact is that they earn daily. And when you do analysis of what they are earning, you will see them earning forty – almost fifty thousand naira as skilled tradesmen.
How much is a degree holder going to earn at the end of the month? When you put these numbers before them and give them a kind of orientation, they open there eyes with hope.
There is this risk, like for a tiler; every day I work as a tiler, I earn three thousand naira, I just spend it all, because tomorrow he will still earn. We let them understand that there is future so they should be financially conscious, save money and accomplish some tangibles.
Luckily for us, these men – some of them own their houses. Some of them were able to buy their car, some of them were able to buy their lands and it is our own company culture that every year the young men give us their target and we work together to achieve it.
What is your target for this year? To buy a car, to change your car, to marry; we take note of it.
We will tell them, understand how much you are making, we will help you oganise yourself financially. And with that, you see that the sky is your limit.
I don’t think any of my men will go and beg. It is not possible.
How many types of business are into?
I laugh when you took the guess of “Oil and Gas business”
You know the bigger pockets go into oil and gas. We are into construction and then we are businessmen. Academically trained, professionally licensed to manage Building production processes and we do it in a different way. We do not do any how jobs. So, we are not engaging in unnecessary projects. We do standard projects for People that understand what they want; we give them precisely that, on time within good budget. We do not go below standard.
That is the different thing we are bringing to the market.
Secondly, what I mean by business; these young men that we bring in, we empower them. Meaning, as a contractor – maybe I want to buy one thousand blocks – I will not go personally to buy them. Among my men, someone will get the one thousand blocks and make two-naira profit. I know, he knows that I know.
Then we question him. What did you do with the two naira? It must go into something tangible. That is the business aspect. So, the business is within the construction.
We have never been into oil and gas.
And then, people ask whether we have done government project or not; but there is an answer for that.
You are not the richest young man in town, what do you tell those who have means but are not being helpful to the needy?
It is very important for us to know that we have limited time to live on earth. That is the driving force. Then, for those with big pockets, they may have a way of doing their own activities of touching people’s lives. I will urge them to do more.
It is easier when you directly touch the lives of human beings, eye ball to eye ball, You can easily feel it and there is nothing hidden. I do not need to write a note to one organization or the other to assist someone for me. It is not possible.
I have been to the IDP camps at Kuchigoro, I saw real despair. I saw children just singing what they do not even understand just to be happy, no real education. When you pick one, two, three and train them, then engage them; they will go back home with something good.
So, those with big pockets have this capacity to eliminate half the idleness in this country. One of these big pockets can double or triple the little I give out.
What I give out is very small, My company is growing but I have the will to continue giving out just as I saw my parents and grandparents, my in-laws do, I have full support of my wife who is also playing the role in supporting the less privileged. I will not forgive myself if I do not do it.
We make five thousand naira, three thousand naira. I am saying this so that you will understand. Everything that comes, we know there is a portion for the poorest of the poor. If many more people can do that, I will be among the happiest. I believe there are many men with capacity in the society to do more.
I will take you back to religion, God is pure. He accepts something that is pure. If it is pure, God make it possible, God accepts it. Otherwise, no matter how wealthy a person is, to assist will be impossible.
How do you feel for being identified for this award?
I said it before that it is an emotional moment for me to have received such recognition. It is quite emotional for me because I am conscious of my limitations as a human being; that I can give only what I can afford. I wish I can do more. With the little I am doing, I don’t know how people get to know me. How comes that this little we are doing, we are being recognized for honors? But it always takes me back to my security man and some other persons that I help, and they cannot reciprocate at that moment.
Above all, we should just thank God, “My one and All”, because God said you should help your neighbors.
Thank you for your time.
You are welcome