One of Nigeria’s leading technology lights is gone. Mrs. Florence Seriki, founder of Omatek Computers Plc, passed on last Friday.
Seriki, famous for her sturdy business approach and pioneer roles in local production of computer hardware, was honoured with the Order of the Federal Republic – OFR by her country.
In a tribute on social media, former staff of Omatek and Group General Manager, Yomi Soyinka, said Seriki life was an inspiring cornerstone for the growth of the IT industry in Nigeria.
See Soyinka’s full tribute below.
GOOD NIGHT, FLO!
Good night to a most indefatigable woman! An amazon, my Boss, my friend and my sister. Your words were always your bond, you were bold and fearless. We broke barriers together, was always beside or behind you. You never took no for an answer, there was nothing like a shut door , just like nothing was impossible to achieve.. You were a pioneer and a path finder. You were indeed a warrior, a colossus! You were a dynamite, small in stature but of great influence, ability and capability. You were an institution, so many people learnt from you, I did.
You were a blessing to Nigeria and Africa, you were at the forefront of the propagation of IT (especially hardware) not only in Nigeria, but Africa. We were all over Africa together. From Tunisia to South Africa, from Kenya to Ghana, looking to seize great opportunities in the industries. In Nigeria, we went round the country, all the States and all tertiary institutions. We had dealings with all state governments and the Fed itself.
You were my GMD and I became the Group GM.
You prepared me for the roles and challenges.
You were simply a forerunner! I remember when paperless office was still alien to the Nigerian Business environment, you and I and the entire Group were already running on that platform. I could be in Asia and still see files, work on them and approve where necessary, even on my phone then.
I am very sure the factories of Asia will not forget you so soon, you were constantly challenging them.
You once asked me to see how we could lower the cost of our parts for the Desk Tops, at a time. So i left for China with Engrs. Oladipupo and Suraj. After i had done everything I could do in terms of negotiations, and there was no head way, I asked the Chinese if we could convert Desktop speaker power source from A/C to USB. My Engrs and I were told it was not possible at that time. I had a meeting with my Engrs, who also had learnt greatly from you, and we agreed we could achieve that. I asked the Chinese to take us to the Lab, and I put my Engrs to task. Bingo! we achieved it and thereby reducing the cost of our parts by so much, all put together. I will never forget how elated you were, when i called you on phone and most importantly the words of appreciation, reward and praises for my Engrs.
You were tireless! We would fly into Asia, at that time it took almost 48hrs to get into Asia from Nigeria, and go straight into meetings from the airport. Tiredness or fatigue never stopped you.
I knew you and you knew me, we had a good synergy and we achieved. We got to great heights as far as IT/Computers and the Brand was concerned. The Brand was celebrated!
You were in so many ways maverick. I will never forget the day we were walking to a meeting on Admiralty Road, Lekki and you suddenly pulled me back and you said “Yomi, lets go to the market”! Wao, was I not taken aback? I asked you if you felt we were ready for that. In your usual confident way, you said yes, and it was the best time for us to do so. The rest became history.
You eventually took the Brand into the market after i had left the company, there couldn’t have been a more successful outing for the Brand, it was simply over subscribed.
You simply accomplished! Out of a few other OEMs in Nigeria, you were the only woman and it remained so till you departed.
Nigeria appreciated you, you were an OFR.
You left your foot print and legacies, and they will be indelible.
We were to see some weeks back on a new project, but you shifted the meeting and I became a bit busy too. When I saw your text some weeks back, i became unsually lackadaisical about replying, little did I know it would be the last contact from you.
You lived a very short but impact full life, so much that am yet to come to terms with the reality of you demise.
You were a great Boss! You were my friend, we discussed everything and anything freely! You were a great influence. You made me a part of your family.
I will never forget a day at the International Airport, Lagos. We were to travel as we usually did (I think we were going to India on that trip), and your husband said to me “Yomi, am happy you are going. I have confidence in you, take care of my wife and slow Florence down, she works too hard”!
But really, who was I to slow down a woman that climbed the stairs to the 14th floor of the WAEC office, for us to seal a deal, at 9 months of pregnancy and put to bed 2 days after?
That is what you were made of.
May the Lord console your aged mother, your husband and children, your siblings and the entire family.
I shall miss you, my Dear Boss! My Dear Friend and My Dear Sister! May God bless your soul.
Good Night, Engr (Mrs). Florence Omatule Seriki, Bsc Chemical Engineering, OFR