Based on the current developments in the country at that time, we decided to start a business and play in the oil and gas industry. He took a sabbatical off from the University, and we both jumped in feet first, setting up the company in February 1994 and opening our doors formally for business on 4th June 1994. We chose the name Falcon because the Falcon is a bird of strength and agility, able to soar rapidly to heights that others cannot. The Falcon is visionary; it is focused and targeted in its approach to things. It is an achiever and an accomplisher and these were the elements we knew would drive whatever we got ourselves into at the end of the day.
Today however, we are a clear force to be reckoned with in the Nigerian Oil & Gas industry. Well before the formal passing of the Local Content industry bill, Falcon has shown what is possible when Nigerians come together in commitment to an ideal. We are today the only wholly indigenous Distribution Company operating in the gas industry, and indeed we continue to pride ourselves that in all our years of existence, Falcon has only ever been staffed and managed by dedicated teams of Nigerian personnel -technical and otherwise. We are a testimonial of the greatness and potential that lies in every Nigerian.
From a technology standpoint, we were able to deliver Natural Gas infrastructure and commence delivery of Natural Gas to the Ikorodu Gas franchise zone, within 9months of the award of our franchise. This was a remarkable feat otherwise considered impossible at that time. We are however a very focused company and we consider our assignment within the Ikorodu gas franchise as a major contributor to the industrialization of this great nation Nigeria. Over the past 8years, we have put in place several kilometers of gas pipelines and distribution infrastructure, and currently deliver Natural Gas to several industries in the area. We continue to expand our reach and are currently engaging some other States to look at the prospects of extending the developmental benefits of Natural Gas into their States.
It has been a long journey with many very interesting learning curves, but I will say that we have been driven by our collective passions. My husband and I get very passionate about the things we do, and we are people of an excellent spirit and so our focus is in finding out how things work and then applying ourselves diligently towards ensuring that they do work. We have taken time to train and develop ourselves, both on-thejob and in structured trainings, to ensure that we are equipped with the knowledge and skills that have made us effective leaders and entrepreneurs.
Over the years, we have jumped into the trenches with our people as much as may have been required and this has paid off. We are constantly being asked if we are gas engineers and the answer is no. we believe firmly however that you must know what you are about, must understand the rudiments of the industry that you are in; and be focused about keeping abreast of relevant developments and technology that impact on what you do. In this space, there is no way you will not excel in your chosen field, irrespective of your original background. Passion! Vision! Focus! Add that to a dedication of everything we do to the glory of God, and you will understand how we have gotten to where we have.
We are more concerned that we get in people of integrity, the right set of values, with highly analytical entrepreneurial mindsets and leanings that will drive the business forward over the longest of terms. We are also not averse to working with other institutional investors who have the right culture and investment mindset to build on what the relationship with ACA set in motion. It would be great if we found such investors in the next two months, but we acknowledge that this could take a bit of time to get into the place of sound equity partnerships going forward.
In being given an entire franchise zone to develop and operate over a 20-year period, several billions of Naira outlay will be required. The cost attendant to this is better imagined, and the margins to the distributors at the end of the day could be improved upon. Having very severe exchange rate exposure and risk profiles do not help in any way.
Another major challenge we have to contend with is that as an LDC, we are an agent of the government in the gas sector as such the overarching bureaucratic bottlenecks that are attendant to the governmental sector tend to hold us back from achieving the kinds of milestones that we know we are capable of. Our entire focus is on the optimization of our franchise potentials but there are inherent gaps in policy, practice and general systemic challenges – operational and administrative.
As private sector players, the ‘time is money’ concept is our daily reality but things don’t work that way when you deal with government. We continue to remain hopeful that as the industry evolves and as government engages more with the private sector in pursuance of its developmental objectives, this will one day be less of a challenge.
We have also been able to leverage more recently on cheaper funds from the Bank of Industry to drive our developmental projects within the Ikorodu industrial area. God has been faithful so far and we know it will surely get better as we go along. With respect o the government, we are actually seeing changes at this time.
The current GED, Gas & Power and the executive management team of the Nigerian gas Company have a clear focus on expediting gas delivery projects all across the country, and we are benefitting from the improved efficiencies on this front. Our hope and expectation is that with the passing of the PIB and the various restructurings that this will portend for the gas industry, we will witness an even more highly efficient interaction with our regulators.
My response would be that I have always held my core responsibility as a parent to ensure my family comes first in everything I do. The responsibility of parenthood stems from the recognition of the fact that the Lord has placed destinies in our hands. We are birthing generations and we should as parents never lose sight of that. This has been my guiding philosophy. I only give myself to work in so far as my children and home front come first.
It’s a mindset issue and I see myself as a testament that you can have a successful home where you are fully present, focused and dedicated, creating an atmosphere of love and godliness; yet still be fully present in your business and be very successful at it. There will be those tough times, but the tough times should not be the norm, and the home front should be the clear priority at all times. Easy said some people will say, but I maintain that it can be done.
Our aim is to consolidate on the platform given for local content development and see how best we play a key role in the transfer of key technological competencies and skills into the Nigerian market. We can do it with God on our side and I am pretty excited about this.