CHIEF MICHAEL ADE-OJO
Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, OON (born June 14, 1938) is a Nigerian business magnate and founder of Elizade University in Ilara-Mokin, Ondo state, Nigeria. He is an Entrepreneur, Chairman, Toyota Nigeria Limited.
Michael Ade-Ojo, known as “The Chief” is a Yoruba from Ondo state southwestern, Nigeria and was born Michael Adeniyan Ojo on June 14, 1938, in Ilara-Mokin, a town in Ondo state into the family of the late Chief Solomon Ojo (c.1878-1956), the Lisa of Ilara-Mokin, and Mrs. Beatrice Ademolawe Ojo (1891-1991), the 5th of six children.
Born into a polygamous family, Ade-Ojo began his life as a street hawker in Ondo state where he sold all sorts of things including charcoal, matches, pap and firewood to make ends meet. He continued in this until his mother convinced him to seek a formal education. His mother financed his education with her corn and pap grinding business. He lost his father in 1956 during his secondary school education.
The young Ade-Ojo attended St. Michael’s Anglican School, Ilara-Mokin. He later had his secondary education at Imade College, Owo between 1954 and1958, where he obtained the West Africa School Certificate. He thereafter undertook an 18-month course at the School of Agriculture, Akure after which he had a stint as a laboratory technician in the Ministry of Agriculture, Moore Plantation, Ibadan before proceeding to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, in September 1961.
At the university, he studied Business Administration and graduated with a Second-Class Upper Division in June 1965. He also attended various management development courses including the Chief Executive’s Programme of the Lagos Business School (CEP-7) now Pan-Atlantic University and the IESE/LBS Seminar on Competitive Strategy and Value Creation in Barcelona, Spain.
After his graduation in 1965, Ade Ojo worked with CFAO (which had sponsored him during his last two years at the university) and later moved to the Federal Inland Revenue Department. He was at British Petroleum Nigeria Limited between July 1967 and July 1971 where he distinguished himself as the company’s best sales representative.
In fulfilment of his resolve to establish his organization within 10 years of graduation, he abandoned the certainty of a plum colonial job for the uncertainty of private enterprise. The result was the establishment of Elizade Independent Agencies; a family business co-founded with his late wife, Chief (Mrs.) Elizabeth Wuraola Ojo in 1971. The company was later incorporated as Elizade Nigeria Limited in 1973 to deal in Toyota motor vehicle sales, spare parts and service. This business has remained success story in Nigeria’s automobile industry to date, thus corroborating John Scully’s famous statement that “the future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious”.
Today, the company which he started with just one support staff in 1971 has become a conglomerate with several subsidiaries including Toyota Nigeria Limited, Mikeade Investment Co. Ltd, Mikeade Property Dev. Co. Ltd, Classic Motors Ltd, Elizade Autoland Nigeria, Okin Travels Ltd, Oodua Creations Ltd, among others.
His love for the economic development in Nigeria led him to his building of a vehicle assembly plant which was completed in November 2015 for the assembly of Toyota and JAC vehicles. He has invested about $50m in the plant which is capable of assembling 40,000 units of cars, light trucks and mini buses per year. His group of companies contributed about N200billion to the economy of Nigeria between 2005 and 2015 in terms of Customs duties, VAT, company income tax, education tax excluding the personal income taxes of the management and staff.
A disciplinarian and stickler for details, Chief Ade Ojo never takes ‘No’ for an answer. He insists that every problem has a solution and holds tenaciously to his unchanging principles of hard work, honesty and integrity, which have seen him through turbulent times. A patriot and a lover of culture, Chief Ade Ojo has continued to demonstrate his love for the country at all times.
His passion for the sustenance of Yoruba culture motivated him to establish Oodua Creations Limited, a garment manufacturing outfit which specializes in traditional and corporate wears with the use of Nigerian Fabrics. This has won international awards at various times.
He is also an ardent lover and supporter of education. Apart from donations to various educational projects, he set up the Ade Ojo Scholarship Scheme in 1991 from which more than one hundred and twenty students have benefited. In realization of the dearth of skilled technicians and artisans in the country, he and his late wife decided to arrest the situation by proposing to establish Elizade Polytechnic, which was conceived as a skill acquisition centre where technical and entrepreneurial skills could be imparted to youths from all parts of Nigeria and beyond.
The need to move with the contemporary trend, occasioned by the Federal Government’s policy change on polytechnic education coupled with the desire to provide, at the the highest level, quality education to the teaming population of Nigerian youths, led to the commencement of Elizade University in January 2013. Elizade University was set up to be a student-centred university, with great emphasis on best practices in the delivery of teaching, research and community services. The university had her maiden convocation in April 2017.
Chief Ade Ojo Ade-Ojo met his late wife, Elizabeth, at the University of Nsukka. They were married on February 26th, 1966 in Enugu, and blessed with two children, a girl, Deola and a boy, Demola. After her death, he got married for a second time in 2012 to Mrs. Taiwo Ade-ojo.
- Ade Ojo was awarded the prestigious chieftaincy title of “Aare Ataiyese of Ilara-Mokin” by his people in 1992
- In 2007, he was awarded the Asiwaju of Imesi-Ile, the home town of his late wife, Chief (Mrs) Elizabeth Wuraola Ojo
- In January 2010 he was conferred with yet another prestigious chieftaincy title of Baaloro of the Source, Ile-Ife by the late Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuade
- He is also a recipient of the National Merit award, Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON)
Chief Michael Ade-Ojo is the founder of Elizade University, Ilara Mokin, Ondo State and Elizade Motors.Today, the company which Ade Ojo started with just one support staff in 1971 has become a conglomerate with several subsidiaries including Toyota Nigeria Limited, Mikeade Investment Co. Ltd, Mikeade Property Dev. Co. Ltd, Classic Motors Ltd, Elizade Autoland Nigeria, Okin Travels Ltd, Oodua Creations Ltd, among others. and just recently, The Chairman, Toyota Nigeria Limited, and founder of Elizade Nigeria Limited, Chief Michael Ade.Ojo, for more than four decades, he has bestrode the Nigerian automotive sector like a colossus, He began to sell various auto brands like Peugeot, Volkswagen, etc., before finally settling for Toyota, a product he turned to a household name in the country has challenged his son, Demola, who is leading the Elizade Autoland in pushing a new baby of the company, the JAC, to make the Chinese brand another household name among automobile lovers in Nigeria.
Chief Ade-Ojo married his first wife, Elizabeth Wuraola Ade-Ojo on February 26, 1966, in Enugu, Nigeria, he had met her at the University of Nsukka. He combined her first name Elizabeth with his middle name, Ade, to create his company name Elizade. He later added his middle name to his last name, Ojo, and it became Ade-Ojo. Among his children include Adeola Ade-Ojo, a fashion designer, Olakunle Ade-Ojo, a businessman, and Ademola Ade-Ojo, a businessman as well. Both of his sons are managing directions in Toyota Nigeria. His wife died and he later remarried to Taiwo Ade-Ojo in 2012.
DAWN Commission celebrates you sir.
You are an Akikanju!
Sources: Elizadeuniversity.edu.ng; manpower.com.ng