- There are few young entrepreneurs making waves in the oil and gas sector, and Wale Oladiti, CEO of Weeldrop Petroleum, is one of them.
- In an interview with Business Insider SSA, Wale Oladiti, a 40-year-old entrepreneur, shares insights into how he started his oil and gas business.
- To venture into the retail part of the business, Wale Oladiti, says entrepreneurs must ask a lot of questions and consider the strategic location when setting up an outlet in Nigeria.
In a country where the unemployment rate is skyrocketing and the poverty level keeps increasing every day, Wale Oladiti has cut a niche for himself right from his undergraduate days.
The 2007 graduate of Computer Science at the University of Abuja, decided to make a life for himself outside his father’s wealth and properties by using his school pocket money to engage in some web development training.
This later turned out to be one of the pillars that set him apart from his colleagues after school. He would later tell me about how he got his first web design contract and how his father, a core businessman and petrol tanker unionist, reckoned with him as a young tech-savvy.
In this exclusive interview with Business Insider SSA, Wale Oladiti, Chief Executive Officer of Weeldrop Petroleum and Logistics, who recently turned 40-year-old, shares details of life, his business philosophy, and how he is making waves in the oil and gas industry.
Business Insider SSA (BISSA): Tell us about Wale Oladiti?
Wale Oladiti: I am the CEO of Weeldrop Petroleum Petroleum, a retail oil company.
Back in school, my girlfriend asked about my plan after school, and that question shaped my life.
I responded by saying, I want to become a web designer and a developer, as a Computer Science student. While on the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES), I did training at APTECH with my school pocket money, and I was feeding on my girlfriend’s pocket for almost two months as I have invested all my cash on the training during the holiday.
After the training, I have gained more skills in web development, and before graduation, I started developing websites for people, writing proposals to different secondary schools. That was how I cut a niche for myself and start a self-sustaining life without bothering my parents for pocket-money.
After school, I returned to Ibadan, a southwestern part of Nigeria, and continued with the web design gigs.
One day, I visited my Dad at his Ibadan office to ask for three things; a laptop, an office space, and a car. He asked about my plans, and I told him about the web design gig. At the end of the discussion, he gave me a laptop, an office, and then said, “go and work with that, one day you will buy a car yourself.”
BISSA: You moved from being a web designer to a game-changer in the oil and gas industry. How did it happen?
Oladiti: Sigh. A breakthrough came when my Dad introduced me to his colleagues to develop a website for tankers’ union in Nigeria. I was told to bring a proposal to the general meeting of the association in Calabar, South-south Nigeria.
I had thought it would be a smooth ride because my father was also a card-carrying member of the association, but I experienced another scenario as I faced strict scrutiny, and processes as many of them don’t even know me as his son due to irregularity in our surname. I was in front of 23 executive members, facing all manners of questions. I was not expecting them to have some level of exposure in tech because of their ages, but they proved me wrong.
But that period was a turnaround for me as they appreciated my presentation. I got the website job. The Calabar presentation also got me a job at my Dad’s office with a salary of N100,000 per month.
BISSA: How did your journey into logistics and petroleum start?
Oladiti: Through savings from my salary, I bought a truck from one of the father’s affiliates to join the logistics retail business in the oil and gas sector. Later on, I added more trucks with the help of my wife, who raked all her bonuses from work for the purchase. When we realised we were doing well with the trucks, my wife and I decided to take the business to the next level. And that was how I ventured into the retail business of petroleum. We took the lease of filling stations for more than 6 years and finally built our own in 2017.
BISSA: The oil and gas sector is a big one with a lot of noise about cabal. At this age, what has been your business strategy?
Oladiti: With more than 150 staff across outlets, our strategy is to limit the price as much as possible and maintain our integrity with the pump meter. We currently sell at N140 per liter, meaning we put many other outlets on their toes. So for every liter, there’s a price difference of N5 for our customers.
BISSA: What’s your view about the Dangote refinery as a stakeholder?
Oladiti: The Dangote refinery facility will solve a lot of issues in the industry. Since the refining of crude will be done locally, it will help reduce the stress of transporting refined products.
Another thing is that it will accommodate everyone to play in the market, buying refined crude from the facility, and may crash the local price of oil.
BISSA: Advice for other entrepreneurs coming into the logistics and oil and gas sector?
Oladiti: Those who want to come into the business should take their time to study the downstream sector. Ask a lot of questions and imbibe the spirit of integrity while dealing with people in the industry. For instance, if you want to set up an outlet, apart from money, you need to consider the strategic location you want to put your business. Location is key when setting up an outlet in Nigeria.