By:Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair
Gold fish they say, has no hiding place ,yet not all eyes easily identifies its uniqueness.Some actually mistake it for strange sea creature. It takes people with the uncanny knack for excellence, merit and quality to spot gold fish.
The university of Calabar, Unical, has such knack, it therefore, wasn’t a surprise that it easily spotted out Alhaji (Dr) Kamoru Ibitoye Yusuf popularly known as Kam-wire for an award of Honorary Doctorate Award Honoris Causa in Business Management at its recent 34 convocation in recognition of his contributions to the growth of the manufacturing sector in Nigeria.
For Dr Kamoru Ibitoye Yusuf, Saturday, March 27, 2021 was indeed a day to remember as friends, family and business associates emptied into Calabar, the Cross River state capital to felicitate with him as UNICAL conferred the honor on him.
Dr.Yusuf’s citation drew unprecedented applause from his admirers amid showers of encomium on him.
One of Nigeria’s leading industrialists, wealth creators, and philanthropists, Alhaji (Dr) Kamoru Ibitoye Yusuf sits atop a multi- billion dollar Steel investments in Nigeria and overseas under a conglomerate brand, Kam industries.
Born in the legendary Igbomina, Kwara state, an area reputed for the industry and enterprising spirit of its inhabitants, the mark Alhaji (Dr) Kamoru has made in the Steel and wire sector is indelible and his contributions to the economic growth of his fatherland undeniable.For example, in his employ are over 5,000 Nigerians with many more benefiting from his philanthropic gestures.
However, he didnt attain the height he is today overnight.His rise to the top was not a one-step movement. It was a function of humble beginning for a humble man.
The inter play of factors that would establish Alhaji (Dr) Kamoru as one of Nigeria’s reputable captains of industry conditioned his principle and philosophy of life and business-humility, honesty,hard work and abiding faith in God.
His unassuming nature and infectious humility explain why he does not trumpet his numerous philanthropist gestures. With the groundbreaking of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) KAM-WIRE building which was part of the convocation ceremonies, the University of Calabar has joined the league of institutions, groups and individuals that have benefited immensely from Dr. Kamoru’s philanthropy.
Notedly, Open and Distance Learning (ODL) is a digital Center that provides and enhances learning round the world, from the University of Calabar academic community using and exploring the Internet, teleconferencing, and related means to achieve an extended classroom or learning experience.
Besides the KAM-WIRE Open and Distant Learning (ODL) building in Unical, he has established Kamoru Yusuf Entrepreneurial Fund at the Kwara State University Malete, with revolving loans for students through the Centre for Entrepreneurial Studies.
A true son of Emir of Ilorin, the Ilorin Emirate and Kwara State, Kamwire as fondly called started off as an apprentice boy and later rose to prominence through the dint of hardwork.
Dr.Kamoru is a veritable inspiration to young people. His zero to hero story is refreshing just as it is inspiring and enriching.
Dr. Kamoru’s success story reminds us that life is not always a bed of roses. It is sometimes, especially at the beginning, replete with obsufucations and viccitudes.They come in different forms for in the words of John Mason, “you can’t travel the road to success without a puncture or two”. Alhaji Kamoru had his own share of this puncture and this came in the mould of not enjoying mother’s warmth.
Losing his mother at a very tender age, the responsibility of raising the young Kamoru fell squarely on his father. And he did a good job of it.
His father, it was who instilled in him the fear of God and sound knowledge of the Holy Quran.
In 1971 Kamoru got admitted into Iwo-Owu primary school, leaving in 1976 to proceed to Iwo-Owu secondary school.After his secondary education in 1980, he opted to pursue a life of apprenticeship in the trading of Metals and Metal derivatives under the tutelage of Messrs Oladimeji & Sons Enterprises, Emir’s Road in Ilorin. He was to undergo rigorous training in the trade for an uninterrupted period of seven years.
However, later in life, due to his passion for knowledge and technological advancement, he would proceed to Institute Superieur Formation Professionelle, ISFOP-Benin University in the Republic of Benin to study Computer Science, acquiring B.sc degree in that discipline.
Having clinically acquainted himself with the techniques of steel trade, Kamoru was in 1987certified competent to stand on his own-to start his own business, thus began his journey to success.
Apparently applying John Ruskin’s postulation that “When a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package”, within a short period of setting up his own trade, Kamoru widened his business horizon and knowledge, establishing contacts with foreign producers of metals, including Italians and Chinese.
The business blossomed handsomely and within a period of 10 years,1987 – 1997, he became a foremost distributor to notable companies in the wire and steel industry in Nigeria. Some of the companies are: Oscar James Nigeria Limited, Nigeria Wire Industry, Lagos, Adediran Steel & Wire Industry, Ilesa, Ola-Oluwa Aina Wire Industry, Oshogbo, United Wire Industry, Kaduna and Eruka Metal Steel, Lagos.
Alhaji Kamoru soon expanded the frontier of his business and diversified into manufacturing of nails and iron rods.
In spite of the vagaries of manufacturing in Nigeria and other third world countries, especially as it concerns competing with foreign products, by 2008, Kamoru had become the leading producer of nails and nail products in the country under the brand name, Kamwire.The brand has won many NIS and SON CAP awards for quality from the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON).
Kamoru is the first Nigerian manufacturer to successfully produce Galvanised Roofing Nail in West Africa.He recently completed a factory for the production of Stone Coated Roofing Sheets, the first of its kind in Nigeria.
Having bestrode the Nigerian business scene, Kamoru in October 2008 made a foray into Asia and consolidated his business relationship with his Chinese business partners by establishing two companies in Wuxi, China.
His company, Kam Industries (Wuxi) Limited is a prominent producer of nail washers in China while Wuxi Kam Import and Export Company Limited exports to Nigeria and very soon to other parts of the world.
In recognition of this contribution to the business community in China, Alhaji (Dr) Kamoru Yusuf was given a resident permit on merit and he is being courted for more partnership by many of his Chinese businessmen and companies till today.
He is also the Chairman/Director of Kamcom India Private Limited, a company he established in 2013 to coordinate his business activities in South Asia.
To further boost his company’s production capacity in Nigeria, Dr. Kamoru in 2020, acquired the N60bn Steel Plant Assets investment owned by the Standard Metallurgical Company Ltd in Sagamu, Ogun State to become KAM Steel Integrated Company, Sagamu-Plant with ultra modern steel rolling equipment.
A devoted moslem, Alhaji Kamoru has hugely contributed to the growth of Islam in Kwara state and beyond, in most cases singlehandedly building mosques.
He has also sponsored many Muslim faithfuls on pilgrimage to the holy land of Mecca.He is a patron of so many Muslim societies and organizations.
In recognition of his contributions to the spread of Islam, he was bestowed with the title of Giwa Adinni of Central Mosque at Olorunsogo, Ilorin
A member of countless professional and business bodies, including the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Alhaji Kamoru is also on the Board of many companies as well as member of Governing Board of several federal government agencies, including National Metallurgical Development Centre and National Centre for Agricultural Mechanization, (NCAM).
Happily married to his delectable wife,Alhaja Bolanle Yusuf, Alhaji Kamoru, in recognition of his service to humanity and God, has been showered with a plethora of honours and awards, including Honoris Causa in Human Resources Management and development of entrepreneurship by Concept University, UK, Merit Award by The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Distinguished Personality Award by the Postgraduate Students Association of the University of Ilorin and Excellent Corporate Support Award by 1st Kwara State Sports Council, the Best Entrepreneur of the year 2014 by the Bank of Industry to mention but among other honours.
As Kamoru stood before a sea of academics, family members, business associates, friends and well wishers to receive honorary academic laurel from Unical, he was not alone there as the Governor of Kwara State,represented by his deputy, His Excellency ,Chief Kayode Alabi stood behind him as a true son of Kwara and indeed Nigeria to take the award home .
This shown that, Dr Kamoru was not only recognized outside,his home state as exemplified by the Deputy Governor’s Entourage loved and cherished his contributions to National growth and economic development.
According to the kwara state Deputy Governor,Kayode Alabi,”Your conferment of Honorary Doctorate Degree(Honoris Causa)is well deserved in view of your unrelenting contributions to the social economic development of the Nation”.
It was evident from the smiling faces, nodding heads and clapping hands that for a man with a large, kind and generous heart; a silent achiever and a blessing to humanity, his community,Igbomina, Ilorin, state, Kwara and fatherland, Nigeria, the award was fitting, deserving and proper.
Rasheed Olanrewaju Zubair, a senior journalist and public Affairs Analyst, writes from Calabar