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Taiwo Afolabi: Redefining luxury in the hospitality -By Keem Abdul



It is often said that the quality of a great man is not limited to who he knows or what he has done, rather a great life is characterized by the lives touched along the line and the impact made. 

Innovation is the key driver of growth and the spark that turns good ideas into great ones. Some of the most memorable and thriving businesses that have stood the test of time have been able to distinguish themselves by being distinct or offering value.  In recent times, Nigeria has witnessed the rise of genius minds in various industries in the business sectors that are driven by the zeal to create excellence out of the ordinary and Dr. Taiwo Olayinka Afolabi is one of them. 

The Nigerian born Lawyer, business acumen and philanthropist, Dr. Afolabi has made immense and memorable contributions in the freight and forwarding, oil and gas industry and the most recent: hospitality. The super business man is the founder and Chairman of internationally acclaimed business SIFAX Group a conglomerate that deals in Maritime, Aviation, Haulage, Financial Services and Oil and Gas. 

Although known to shy away from anything that brings unnecessary attention to him, the amiable business man is known for his rare gift of turning limitations into innovation, a trait greatly admired among business people and corporate leaders with similar statuses. 

Admittedly, this drive for excellence is what led Dr. Taiwo Afolabi  to build the Marriott Hotel, the number 1 hotel brand in West Africa  and the first in Sub-Saharan African. Through this the business magnate has set the pace for his peers in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. 

The Marriott Hotel: Dr. Afolabi’s magnificent 5 star luxury hotel and the first of its kind in the region is a laudable achievement that calls for celebration. The multi -billion naira hotel is a 251 state of the art room equipped with world class facilities and sitting on a 7000 square meter of land in Ikeja GRA, Lagos.  Admittedly, what makes Dr. Afolabi’s hotel a celebratory feat is the tenacity he maintained when he first laid the foundation in 2014, started building in 2018 and completed in 2021. 

No doubt that in the years to come, history will be kind to Dr. Afolabi for spending more than 10 billion to put Nigeria on the map with Africa’s best and luxurious hotels and accommodations. The imperial Marriott hotel was opened to all and sundry on May 19 2021 and is expected to bring a new dimension into the hospitality industry and further establishes Dr. Afolabi as a super corporate leader in Africa. The opening of the hotel was witnessed by the crème da la crème and influential persons in the society. Among those notably present were Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu: Governor Lagos State, Alhaji Muhammad Badaru Abubakar ; Governor Jigawa state, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi ; Ooni of Ife, Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Minister of Information and Culture of Nigeria, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi; Group Executive Vice Chairman SIFAX Group and his wife; Mrs Afolasade Afolabi among others. 

The Lagos Marriott Hotel has upped the standard of premium hotel business in Nigeria and demonstrates that the SIFAX conglomerate is not the height of the Dr. Taiwo Afolabi’s abilities. Although, this is not surprising because from the early days of his career with the shipping company: Nigerian Express Agencies , Dr. Afolabi  demonstrated his ability and in no time rose to the position of the head of operations before leaving and setting up SIFAX in 1988. As a man with an eye for business, SIFAX has grown into a multinational with diverse investments in Maritime, Aviation, Haulage, Oil and Gas, Finance and Hospitality before he clocked 27, started from the capital of a freight forwarding agent in Lagos.

The benevolent business man is pregnant with great ideas for the business sector in Nigeria that would impact the world. Born in Ogun and educated in Ondo, the  billionaire business acume had his first training in the world of business from his mother who was a first class trader, whom he assisted in hawking her wares. 

This experience gotten from participating in his mother’s business was what set the flame of entrepreneurship burning in him. The life and achievements of Dr. Afolabi Taiwo is a demonstration that determination and consistency can bring your big dreams to life. His consistency, dedication, determination and drive for quality stands as the driving force towards the expansion of his business across diverse sectors.


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