The Nigerian Technology Impact Group (NITIG), a not for profit Non-Governmental Organisation, has received with a rude shock the death of Mrs. Florence Omatule Seriki, CEO Omatek Venture Plc who passed on at age 53 on Friday, March 3 at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) after a protracted battle with cancer. NITIG though saddened by the untimely demise of this amazing amazon who bestrode the technology plane in Nigeria, we are however, celebrating the indelible legacies of this unique technoprenuer who brighten the hope of women in the male dominated industry with her brazen forays into the terrain laced with risky bumps for investors.
At a very inspiring age 23, Florence, a Fellow of the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS), Fellow of the Society of Chemical Engineers, established Omatek Computers in 1987 and she further demonstrated her daring prowess when she ensured that Omatek became a quoted company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), where many bigger information technology companies are still foot dragging to get on board.
NITIG is consoled that with her sterling qualities exemplified in the combination of brawn, brain and beauty, Florence devoted her energies to laying the building blocks for what is today reckoned as the foundation for the made in Nigeria Personal Computers (PCs) and hand held ICT devices that her company pioneered in Nigeria. The pedigree of her unparalleled and high octane successes in the technology terrain was hinged on her brilliant performances in academic sojourn from the cradle till she graduated as a Chemical Engineer in 1993 at the old University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University). NITIG is also comforted that Florence’s beautiful heart which also influenced her nuances endeared her to the ICT community and other stakeholders in the Nigerian project.
The manifestation of this was in the launch of the Omatek brand of computers on the platform of Computers, Telecommunications and Office equipment Exhibition (CTO Exhibition) in 1993. The CTO Exhibition which was then organised by the Commercial Section of the American Embassy in Nigeria and was hugely popular, paved the way for a Nigerian brand to be unveiled to a crowd that represented the critical mass of the then emerging ICT industry on the continent. NITIG is thus pleased to appreciate this woman of selfless commitment for berthing the first made in Nigeria brand in the ICT industry.
She was not overwhelmed by the great successes that attended the acceptance of the Omatek Computer brand in Nigeria after the launch at CTO Exhibition in 1993. Ten years after the launch of the brand into the Nigerian market, Florence made another bold statement when she commissioned a production factory in 2003 from where the Completely Knocked Down (CKD) parts were coupled locally. The factory has gone down in the record as the first in Africa to produce Nigerian made Computer Cases, Speakers, Keyboards and Mouse. The factory products include Notebooks and Servers with locally produced components.
NITIG acknowledged the untiring entrepreneurial spirit of Florence, who in her lifetime continued to pursue her vision to make Omatek a borderless entity. She made her mark in this regard to some extent with the establishment of Omatek Ghana and another arm of the business in Singapore as part of her dream to lay the foundation for effective research and development for the Omatek brand.
NITIG is not left in any doubts that a critical component of Nigeria’s drive in the digital frontiers has been unbolted. To us in NITIG, it is an understatement to say that Florence was talented, innovative, hardworking and a consummate achiever. Rather than shed hot tears, the Board and management members of NITIG will rather celebrate Florence for hoisting Nigeria’s flag in the heights where nations are celebrated for their ingenuity. This acknowledgment will not be too much for a woman, mother, innovator, entrepreneur and thinker who harvested over 150 awards in the 30 years journey of building Omatek as a viable brand in the ICT ecosphere.
For her exploits in the ICT industry, NITIG is calling on the relevant federal and state government authorities to present posthumous award to Engineer (Mrs) Florence Omatule Seriki in the nation’s hall of fame for her ground breaking contributions in the fields of innovations, entrepreneurship, research and development, commerce, knowledge development and brand management.
NITIG will continue to celebrate this woman of distinction and would be unrelenting in ensuring a befitting honour for this ICTs local content legend who was passionate about ‘Buy made in Nigeria’.
Adieu, Florence Omatule Seriki