By Olabisi Olaleye
Fresh facts have emerged on how late chief executive officer of Omatek Plc, Mrs. Florence Omatule Seriki, held on strongly to God, in the hope that she could survive a terminal illness which was diagnosed at the last minute.
According to one of her staff, who declined to be named, “Florence believed so much in God that she would recover from the illness after some days at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH).
“Before her death on March 3, she spoke with some people, even on that Friday morning, telling them what to do concerning some contracts to be executed, among other things. She kept saying, ‘I won’t die because God is there, I will bounce back.”
Seriki had three children, a boy and two girls, with Olalekan Seriki, an architect. She had 150 awards in her kitty.
Meanwhile, Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu and some stakeholders are still in shock and saddened by her death.
Shittu described her demise as “an irreparable loss to the Seriki family, the nation’s ICT community and the country at large.”
On his part, Chairman, Omatek Ventures Plc, Dr. Timothy Farinre said “Seriki expanded the business when she established Omatek Ghana, as part of her vision towards making Omatek a pan-African company. She also opened another arm of the business in Singapore, as part of efforts to engage in effective research and development for the business.”
Former president, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) and CEO, Teledom Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, described Seriki’s death as when “the sun set at dawn. How can anyone believe that our amazon is just gone that way? Just think of her doggedness, industriousness, and the innovative ideas she has championed, you will understand why I am confused.”
Current President of ITAN, Mr. Tayo Adeniyi also eulogised and described her as a woman with a strong character. “Seriki was a woman very close to the heart of Nigerian ICT eco- system. It will be difficult to forget her.” His predecessor, Mr. Chris Uwaje said Seriki’s death is a bad blow to ICT professionals in Nigeria.
and a wake up call for government to incubate a sustainability programme that will ensure innovations of great entrepreneurs like Seriki would not die with them.
“During her lifetime, every day was a challenge – a challenge she enjoyed and with these challenges she grew both personally and technically.”
Current President of ITAN, Mr. Tayo Adeniyi also eulogised Seriki saying she was a woman with a strong character. “Seriki is a woman very close to the heart of Nigerian ICT eco- system. It will be difficult to forget her. She single handedly fought for the recognition of local computer manufacturers and other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) as against the priority given to foreign vendors and her struggle is what the sector is benefitting now. She was a motivator, an influencer and attracted government presence to every activity of ITAN and the ICT industry at large” he added.
In the words of President of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Prof. Aderounmu said Seriki’s demise is a sad loss to the society and the IT industry. We will definitely miss her. May her gentle soul rest in perfect peace.”
President of the National Association of Telecommunications Subscribers (NATCOMS), Chief Deolu Ogunbanjo, said Omatek was one of Nigeria’s pioneer indigenous Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) and added that Seriki achieved a lot in the industry, particularly in ensuring that Nigeria was put on the map of computer manufacturing.
“You cannot write the history of computer manufacturing in Nigeria without mentioning Omatek. It is so unfortunate. We don’t know why this happened, but God gives and God takes,’’ he said.
Seriki was born in Lagos to the Udebu family from Ebu in Delta State. She had her secondary education at the Reagan Memorial Baptist Secondary School, Sabo, Yaba between 1975 and 1980. She then proceeded to the Federal School of Science, Lagos (FSS) for her A levels. Thereafter to the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife). She graduated in Chemical Engineering.
In 1993, during the CTO exhibition (organised by the commercial section of the American Embassy in Nigeria), Florence took a bold step to launch the Omatek brand of computers. This, which is actually the first attempt of its kind in Nigeria, became widely accepted and used as a result of its quality and ruggedness.
Early in 2003, she took another giant stride by opening a factory in Lagos. The factory has turned out to be the first in Africa to produce Nigerian made computer cases, speakers, keyboards and mouse from completely knocked down (CKD). The factory produced made in Nigeria Omatek Computers, Notebooks and Servers with all its components made in Nigeria.
Seriki died at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) last Friday during a brief illness. She was aged 53.
Omatek Ventures specialises in the manufacturing of computers and other ICT devices.