Operated by a chartered accountant, Omoneye Amala Joint has been up and running for six years in the heart of Abuja, the nation’s capital city. TOPE SUNDAY writes on the success story.
The Amala joint, located in the Garki area of Abuja, was built around beautiful green flowers, and a standby generator, with eating huts to complement. For a first timer, the Buka appears elitist and beautifully carved out, but after a while, it will later be known that it is carved out for all the classes with particular attention to culture and qualities of food to behold.
The journey so far
The Buka, now reputed for its quality food and adequate attention to culture and good hospitality, was established in 2016 with a mission to render good services to all Nigerians, irrespective of their status, and to ensure human dignity is preserved and respected and at the same time, offers fresh food to its customers at all times.
According to its proprietor, Mr. Olukayode Ogboye, fondly called Omoneye, another distinction about the joint is the availability of adequate staffers to attend to customers simultaneously, no matter their size and number.
Ogboye, in an interview with Blueprint Business Starter, said: “One, the good service for all, you will not queue in my amala joint, I have enough staff to attend to you wherever you are. Secondly, the environment, the environment I am creating is unique from others in Abuja here, then, good and fresh food. Here, we dish our amala right from the pot; our pounded yam is freshly wrapped. So my uniqueness is in good service, good food and good environment, that is what is making my amala joint different”.
Face behind the joint
A visit to Omoneye Amala Buka catches the attention of the first timer, particularly with the courteous staff who are smartly dressed, attending to customers. They usually dress in the Nigerian attires with beaming smiles, and intermittent ‘welcome sir, welcome Ma. However, if not enquired, hardly will the customers recognise the brain behind it.
He is no other person than Mr. Olukayode Ogboye, fondly called Omoneye. Ogboye graduated from the famous University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu state, where he bagged a B.Sc. in Agric Economics. Also in 2002, he was qualified as a Chartered Accountant, and became an ICAN’s fellow 2016. He is a consultant to many international organisations, including the World Bank and the International Fund for Agric Development (IFAD).
According to the Obaakoko born-businessman, he stopped hustling to embrace things that gave him joy, which led to his foray into amala business in Abuja.
The 6th anniversary
Ogboye told our reporter that he decided to mark the 6th anniversary of the Buka to celebrate the victory over COVID-19, which according to him, had ruined many businesses.
He said: ‘’We have survived COVID-19 and that is why we are alive. It is a celebration of the victory over the pandemic.
“Also, it is a celebration of giving back to the society and our slogan is ‘eat well, live free. We are giving back to the society, and serving humanity’’
The two-sided celebration
However, in celebrating the anniversary, the Omoneye outfit feted about 50 guests free of charge at the first segment of the event, tagged: “Eat and laugh” session. Our reporter, who was part of the guests, observed that some of the guest-customers were not aware that the free food awaited them at the Buka. The first session, which started by 3pm came to an end by 6pm.
The second session, tagged: ‘The anniversary dinner’, was well attended by Nollywood stars that came for Zuma film Festival in Abuja. They were led to the venue by Queen Adesewa Oniyide and a Yoruba popular actor, Owolabi Ajasa. The dinner was a night of bliss and glitz.
Ogboye, who is full of praises to God for the successes recorded in the last six years, said his mission is to reduce unemployment and replicate his Buka in all the 36 states of the federation. The chartered accountant said he would be delighted to have in his employ, workers cutting across all tribes in Nigeria based on merit.
He said: “My interest is to have branches across the country and employ workers from all tribes in Nigeria on merit. My aim is that no matter where you come from, once you step into our Buka, you will see and interact with your kinsman. We are determined to reduce unemployment in the country. As we speak, I have 25 staff in my Garki joint.
On the challenges of sustaining the business, he said: “I encountered challenges that small businesses will face. Power failure, you can see that we have been on generator since morning.”
Despite the challenges, the amala joint operator, however, expressed the hope that very soon he would relocate to his permanent site where ‘he would have it all to himself.’