He is a very proactive personality and a workaholic in nature. Diligence and honesty are parts of his qualities and these he displays anytime anyday. At a time when some of his contemporaries who chose to be lazy bones and day dreamers were still asleep, Ambassador Dr. Chinedu Ijiomah has gone to the stream and fetched clean water for his household.
His antagonists may believe otherwise by calling him restless but he is truly a high flyer, a hero whose citadel of peace is built on the mountaintop for all eyes to see.
In this piece, Dr Ijiomah, the Founder and CEO of Chinmark spoke to our correspondents in his office on his journey to the top and how he has been able to sustain the company from a token and humble beginning Which is now worth a multi-billion naira investment.
Chinmark Group of Companies started twelve years ago berthing with Chinmark Constructions Ltd. According to the President and Chairman of the company, Dr. Ambassador Marksman Chinedu Ijiomah who rose from a lower background to an extent that he groomed a company which today has diversified into other sectors of the Nigerian economy.
In Dr. Marksman Ijiomah’s words, “Our reason for diversifying into other sectors was first, to create more employment opportunities but it was not just about creating employment alone, but to also create other areas where we can have foothold in the society, a venture where people can expand without stress. So, for us at Chinmark, by the grace of God, it was a case of moving from one level to the other.”
Speaking on the very humble beginning of the company, the Chairman disclosed that the very first project the company handled was a mud building in Nsukka, “The owner of the building did not have money, I told him to provide building materials and what I will eat everyday and that was how we started.”
Speaking further on his metamorphosis into the building world, Ijiomah added, “As you can see, it was not just about making money, from the onset, but more about touching lives and that is why our motto says, ‘Touching lives.’”
“Touching lives has nothing to do with the services we offer but it clearly captures what we intend to do as a company.” He affirmed.
It is like blinking in the dark to speak or write about the wonders of Chinmark Group of Companies without a clear knowledge of what inspired Ambassador Chinedu into the spirit of charity and construction artistry that puts his idea on world map and history. The spirit is birthed out of his humble background, coldest moments and lonely nights as a kid and teenager.
Ambassador Marksman Chinedu Ijiomah was born in Umuahia South Local Government Area of Abia State into one of the lowly classed families. His father was an inter-state driver while his mother was what he described as a cut-and-sew tailor, otherwise known as seamstress who never did more than two jobs in a month, because all her clients were mainly the poor people in their neighbourhood.
To Ambassador Chinedu Ijiomah, growing up was not very rossy and he did not get the best of education which every child deserves. When he was nine years old, his family relocated to Port Harcourt in Rivers State from Abia, into a house in with ordinary sharp sand flooring, without concrete and situated in a bushy section full of deadly snakes and scorpions.
“My growing up was not easy,” He started, “But I had always believed a man is alive to make a difference – and that was why I decided to leave home in search of greener pasture. Although my father disagreed and my mother and siblings quarrelled with me but I have made up my mind to succeed in life. I desired a better life than my parents and the environment I was living could offer me.”
“I relocated to Port Harcourt where I started working as a labourer in construction sites, earning four hundred naira a day. I will gladly calculate my earnings at the end of the day and happily send money home to my parents on weekends for their upkeep – and from there I started enjoying the independence having money brings.”
“From there, I moved to Enugu where I graduated from being a labourer to being a mason, bricklayer, carpenter to iron bender and such other jobs.” He added
When asked why he chose to touch lives, Chinedu explained that back home, he had two brothers and a sister, and his mother will cook this watery soup with just crayfish as condiment.
After heaving a sigh of relief, and shrugging his shoulder, he said, “We would have to wait for my sister to eat first before the three of us boys will feast on the remnant. The poverty was so acute to the extent that my father was always panicking. He was a very intelligent man who wrote a lot – but lack of money always made him afraid despite his level of intelligence.”
“That is why in our establishment, we do not look for qualified people, rather, we look for people who are available and get them qualified for the job and that is the reason why our company is comprises of about 95 percent youths.”
“Here in our various companies, you will see Secondary School Certificate holders in managerial positions. We train them up for American or European certifications. We pay for their training and they give us their best.” He offered.
Ambassador Ijiomah who is a worthy example to be emulated by aspiring youths added that in October 2020, his company opened a restaurant in Dubai, one of the five companies under his management, and their first Head of Operations was an electrician. “I paid for his first local and international flights. I believe in giving people opportunities, no matter how low their background is but I want their core loyalty.”
“I always ensure I touch at least five lives in a day. Today (as at interview period), I have done three. I took my car to the car wash and after they finished cleaning the car, I gave the three guys who cleaned my car two hundred thousand naira each. I derive so much joy from touching people’s lives. I am a Christian and the Bible says he who gives to the poor partners with God. Each time I give and I see the smile on their faces, it tells me I have touched divinity more.”
“If anybody comes to me for genuine needs, I don’t deny them. I don’t go clubbing. I am not in any association and I don’t drink alcohol. Not because I don’t want to but the need of the people around me is much more, so I just channel the funds to meet their needs instead. That did not mean that people do not insinuate a lot about my generous actions, some say I am a ritualist, and some of those I have helped their businesses grow say I am using their destinies. Nobody can discourage me from this act; it is like an airplane, when it is ready to fly and one passenger says, he is no longer going, once it takes-off, the plane will not stop until it reaches its destination. That is how I feel and know that I am on assignment.”
Speaking on the future of Chinmark Group, Ambassador Chinedu Ijiomah revealed that presently, the company is engaged in what he called European-American expansion. He said by the end of this year, he wants to make sure that Nigeria’s presence is felt in twenty countries in Europe and America. “Not just in words but in physical structures. We want to have companies where Nigerians in Diaspora can channel their investments locked-up somewhere in the Diaspora back into Nigerian economy through us. We must build Nigeria together.”
“There are many Nigerians in the Diaspora who have given a lot of funds to their relatives for projects or businesses they never see or touch because those relatives squandered their hard earned monies.” Ambassador Chinedu declared his intention.
“Our plan is to be a middleman. You want to invest, come to us and we take up the burden, ensuring value for your money. We want to be a link between the Nigerians in the Diaspora and Nigeria in developing the country.” He added.
He also spoke to our correspondents on Nigeria’s business environment, which he admitted is unstable and disappointing.
“Yes doing business in Nigeria might be discouraging but we cannot abandon our country. Even if you go and buy a European or American citizenship, your birthplace will still be your village. I am building a followership of people online and offline. There are over a million of them I call the ‘Chinmarkians’ who will do dignifying businesses with integrity. They are all youths.”
“If you go to places like Enugu, Nnewi and Aba, the cultists, the street boys know me so well. I talk to them and try as much as possible to help them rechanneled their focuses – from stealing into car washing, from being conductors to owning their own vehicles. That is how we change the structure of this country via the rehabilitation of youths, overhauling of their mindset – and once they get it right, the future is sure but if we all decide to abandon the system, our children and even our grandchildren will still meet it the same way.” He said
Who gets to the top of the mountain without an effort? Ambassador Chinedu also spoke on his work ethics and core values that made him a strong force in business, disclosing how he works for twelve straight hours daily. In his words, “I get to the office 10 am and leave at 10 pm every day because this is Lagos. I was told if I leave my lodge early I will run into traffic. In other states, I resume by 7:30am and I am in office till 9 or 10pm.”
“I am always structuring, targeting and progressing; a man who has arrived his goal is off the scene and makes no impact any more. I have a restaurant business in Dubai running into billions of naira. I was told Qatar is richer; I have done my researches, and I have been thinking of going to Qatar. I have not arrived yet, there are many countries to conquer.”
“My business has a structure; everybody you see here is trained and in turn, trains others. I have a mantra, ‘Don’t demand loyalty from anybody you did not train. If you train them and they refuse to give you their loyalty then, buy their loyalty.’ That is the structure here. Take for instance, my restaurant in Dubai, they send me their invoice every evening. They send it to the accountant over there who forwards the reports to me, even if I don’t read it immediately, it is on my phone for reference purpose. If you are structured, you will grow.”
Ambassador Chinedu named the Chairman of UBA, Tony Elumelu as his mentor. He said he had carefully studied how Tony Elumelu started his business and all he has achieved. He has no other option than to admire the man. He was also of the opinion that you do not need to know the people of influence and affluence to get to the top, though he said it may help but he said his zeal and determination to succeed got him the ticket to excel in life. He admitted not having met Tony Elumelu in person but he greatly revered the man and his business style that greatly inspired him.
Everybody comes through someone and belongs to some people, Dr. Chinedu opens up to our correspondents on his relationship with his family. He disclosed that, “My business life does not disturb my relationship with my family. When I wanted to marry my wife, she said she was not ready because she has a dream of going to Canada. I said, ‘Okay, I will send you to Canada to run a family business; you need finances to make the family run well.’ In essence, I am devoted to my family. When I wake up in the morning, I read my Bible, say my prayers and call my wife. Whenever I am in the car, going to work or whenever anyone annoys me, I will call my wife. If I want to sack anybody, I will call her first to seek her opinion and she has this way of diffusing all my anger.”
However, despite all the joy he derives from large business tentacles and peace from marrying a lovely wife, he still nurses a great gift he never prayed that God should take away from him – and that trait is humility. According to him, “Humility is my greatest asset. I just like being on the ground floor with everybody. The clothes you see me wearing are my workers’ because every month, my driver, the gateman, they pack my clothes and share them amongst themselves.”
Chinmark group is a global conglomerate made up of subsidiaries that provide an opportunity to touch lives via the services provided. “We are interested in delivering excellence, quality and speedy services for customer satisfaction while consistently being transparent, expanding our clients base and international legacy. We work hard to alleviate the burden of living and bring essential services close to the average man in the best way available.” Ambassador Chinedu added.
A closer look at the history of Chinmark Groups’ reveals the ambitious plan adapted to lead the market and capture opportunities in relatively intact market segment and assets classes. Chinmark Group has widened its horizon geographically in Nigeria and it is extending its reach across three continents focusing on untapped emerging markets in Africa, Europe and the Asia. However, adopting such plans normally comes with a certain level of associated risks, which surfaced as the global financial crisis unfolded followed by the political uncertainties the world has experienced.
Amazing Track Record of Chinmark Group
Over 3000 projects done and delivered.
1,200 + Global Customer
100% Efficient Employees
Operating offices in more than 10 Countries of the world
Over 20,000 Clients and still increasing day by day
More than 750 Team Experts
The company enjoys guarantees from banks and insurance companies for wealth management and security.
Chinmark is the Fastest Growing Construction Company in Africa.
Chinmark homes and shelters is the Real estate and civil engineering branch of Chinmark group, a leading construction brand in Nigeria with sustainable excellent record of accomplishment for over a decade.
With over 700 buildings, the company has created a pattern of erecting solid buildings that speak volume concerning integrity and quality trademark
The organisation builds durable structures at affordable rates. Important Things Chinmark Construction Company Consider Before Signing a Building Contract with Clients.
Choosing an experienced Architect to help with your concept as that is vital in project’s design as it will help to improve users’ experience, enhance workers skills and general outlook of the building.
They help you channel and plan a realistic budget, which will help in determining how fast the construction project is completed without an unnecessary delay or abandonment. It is common for many people to start building and find it difficult to finish due to lack of finance or estimate.
They also advise clients to have their finance or financial plans in place in order to avoid delay and incurring more expenses on the project due to changes in the price of building materials.
To also advise the clients to always build with resale in mind – as that entails the business aspect of life in which the building project is converted to an investment and this is to enable home owners enjoy massive returns on their buildings after as landed properties are expected to appreciate over time.
They help clients put together right set of workers (professionals and artisans) for their projects.
Chinmark Rides is the transportation subsidiary of Chinmark Group poised with the task of providing transportation needs. The goal is move people from various locations to their preferred destination in safely, comfortable and luxuriously at affordable rates.
They also run a fleet of executive transportation service to help clients enjoy a valuable and stress free travel experience.
Chinmark Loans on the other hand creates financial opportunities and funding for business owners. It offers quick business loans for individual and commercial funding for small scale and large existing businesses. The aim is to revive and solve business needs with bankable collateral (landed property, houses/building structure, Vehicles). The minimum tenor for a facility is 1 month, accompanies with a fixed monthly interest rate. At the expiration of the agreed period, the debtor repays the loaned sum and retrieves the collateral.
There is also Chinmark Medicals that caters for the medical and health needs of individuals, business owners and corporate organizations.
They have built ultra-modern medical structures, laboratories, hospitals, supply line for premium medical equipment and maintenance of diagnostic devices across the country.
Chinmark Medicals also provide easy access to medical and pharmaceutical needs at an affordable rate, this is an avenue for Chinmark group to save lives.
Chinmark Farm is an agricultural based firm where healthy and hygienic foods are produce and supplied to the teeming populace at an affordable cost.
Chinmark Farms also supplies quality fertilizers and pesticides to farmers across the country.