When Orville and Wilbur Wright set out to redefine human travel and bring the four corners of the earth closer together in time, they were warned by critics. The naysayers told them that if God had wanted man to fly, he would have given him wings. Today, an aeroplane is a testament to the ingenuity of the human mind.
Sir Mallinson Ukatu comes in the mould of the Wright brothers. He started as a trader with the name Mallinson & Partners ltd and had the option of staying put on the easy route of importation which leads to capital flight and empowerment of foreign economies.
The excuses are all too common and valid- epileptic power supply, which is the foundation of industrialization, poor infrastructure, multiple taxation, insecurity, policy inconsistency on the part of government, very high interest rates etc. All these factors militate against manufacturing in Nigeria. But where others saw challenges, Sir Mallinson saw opportunities. Where others want the easy way of continuous importation, making Nigeria a dumping ground for foreign manufactured goods, Sir Mallinson insisted on changing the narrative by producing here.
His courageous and bold moves led to the setting up of an industry for the manufacturing of floor tiles and ceramics, despite the odds.Thanks to his vision, NISPO PORCELAIN COMPANY LTD is the first indigenous floor tiles and PVC manufacturing company in Nigeria. The once moribund Nigerian real sector is getting a new lease of life because of the efforts and belief of people like him in this country. He has shown absolute trust in the local content policy of the federal government.
The effect of these industries on job creation is far reaching. Sir Mallinson has created thousands of jobs both directly and indirectly, giving numerous job seekers the chance to earn a decent living and to derive the joy and satisfaction that come from working. These massive jobs also impacts on government revenue as the tax net is widened.
The local production of ceramics and PVC has saved the country huge money in FOREX that would have been channelled towards importation. The government revenue is shrinking due to the uncertainty that surrounds the oil sector and the dwindling demand of oil in the international market. The hope and salvation of the Country is in deepening the real sector.
Flowing from the above, Sir Mallinson is not just a bold entrepreneur; he is passionate about the growth and the diversification of the Nigerian economy. Due to his efforts, the country is gradually being weaned from the tethers of foreign ceramic manufacturers. Now into plastic manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing.
By extension, technology transfer is also one of the effects of his giant strides in the manufacturing sector, deepening the National absorptive capacity and innovation capability.
Consequently, after careful observation and study, he emerged the SUN industrialist/entrepreneur of the year 2019. Even though the global pandemic altered the plans of the organizers, SUN NEWSPAPER, he had been presented with the award privately while the organizers plan a virtual event this November.
Sir Ukatu was born in mid sixties and married with children. His foray in the manufacturing sector and the indelible marks he has made there makes him tower above his peers, some of whom discouraged him when he was starting out on the harsh Nigerian industrial terrain. According to Jose Coronado, people told Henry Ford he couldn’t do it. People told Thomas Edison he couldn’t do it. People told Andrew Carnegie he couldn’t do it. They all have something in common. They were told they couldn’t do it, and they all have something else in common. They all did it. Just like these great industrialists, Sir Mallinson did it despite the odds and today, the country is better for it.
Sir Mallinson holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and MBA crawford University, Ogun state. Edc, Lagos business school. Currently in graduate school of stanford university (transformation program) He has continued to enrich his mind and expand his quest for value creation through numerous self development courses both locally and abroad.
Sir Ukatu is a role model in entrepreneurship and manufacturing. His story shines forth in darkness, illuminating the dark recesses of the Nigerian industrial terrain and giving inspiration to other entrepreneurs, urging them to give production a chance and assuring them that they too can fly.
He has gone ahead to invest in other thriving businesses across the country. Currently, he is a Director in numerous companies, including Cowry Assets and Management, Masters Energy Oil and Gas Limited, Urban Space Services ltd and Alor Microfinance bank Limited.
His philanthropic gestures benefits several causes in his hometown and State, as well as where he does business. He has imbibed the mantra which says that all that is not given is lost, and has made it his life motto.
Indeed, the cap fits.
Written by: Tony Okonkwo