Born on December 11, 1964 in the ancient city of Agbor, Delta State to the family of Chief and Mrs Okomayin Arigbada Obende, Mr. Friday Babatunde Obende is one man I can categorically refer to as a Star; A Nigerian Star Indeed. Though he was born in Delta State, He hails from Igarra in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State.
He attended Uyiosa Primary School, Benin City between 1971 and 1976 after which he proceeded to the renowned Immaculate Conception College (I.C.C) in Benin City between 1976 and 1981. He went ahead to further his education in the prestigious University of Benin(UNIBEN) where he obtained a second class upper, Bachelor of Engineering (B. Eng.) degree in Civil Engineering.
Coming from a family where his parents funded seven (7) children comprising of six (6) boys and a girl all through their education, Mr. Obende’s rise from obscurity in a small village in Igarra to living comfortably with a blessed family in his own words is truly a case of “God’s grace finding undeserving man”.
Narrating his ordeal sometime back, He said, “I came to Lagos from Benin City with just one bag but today things have definitely gotten better”. Mr. Obende’s case is a typical one involving the movement from grass to grace. Starting as a tenant in the Oluwabebe area of Akowonjo in Lagos State, Mr. Obende then moved to the first house he built in Ayobo area of Lagos also before relocating to his Gemade Estate residence in Egbeda, Lagos State where he currently stays with family.
As it is popularly said that good things don’t come easy, Mr. Obende’s case is really not an exception. Mr. Obende started his career with the Ajaokuta steel company in 1987. He then joined the Aluminum division of UTC Nigeria PLC as Product Manager in 1988. He was involved in the sales and development of the company’s services and rose to the position of General Manager of the division in 2001.
Through deeds of hard work, He later became the General Manager of UTC Engineering in 2002 saddled with the responsibility of overseeing Engineering divisions of the company which included the UTC Engineering Company (UTC Water and Power Engineering), UTC Aluminum and UTC Facilities Management divisions. Recollecting the way the promotion came, he said he had almost tendered his resignation letter as he felt discouraged that promotion didn’t come his way even after working in the company for over 14 years. Hence, this promotion came just at the right time.
All these years of working at UTC Aluminum, Mr. Obende testified that he had a life transforming encounter. It was a redirection of life. He found purpose in this life-transforming encounter. He surrendered his life to Christ in August 1988 at Foursquare Gospel Church Akowonjo and has continually lived his life in service to God and Humanity. A very humble man to the core, he has found out that life is all about living for others.
This has shown in his attitude towards those that are looked down upon in the society. A man with such a large heart is so caring and is more of a family man as he loves to be with his family while not on official duty. He got married to his heartthrob, Mrs. Olufunke Obende on the 6th of March 1993 and the union has produced four (4) children; Kelly, Praise, Faithful and Bright.
On key feature in Mr. Obende that you notice in getting close to him is his wisdom with which he handles matters. He is so honest, plain and truthful. He seems to have his unique gift of identifying talents and grooming them to becoming what God created them to be. In July 2004, he led a group of key executives to do a Management Buy-Out (MBO) of the company and thereafter changed the name of the company to UTAL Building Products Limited in December 2005.
He is currently the Managing Director of the same company. Mr. Obende’s rise to prominence remains one of the greatest lessons of life. It is a lesson that teaches that though the beginning of a thing might seem small, it is not bound to remain like that as long as you remain focused, diligent and hardworking. This man is indeed making tremendous difference in his family, field, Gemade Estate Community and the world at large.
This “I Know A Nigerian Star” Story was submitted by………………