Nigeria Distilleries Marks 60th Anniversary
Nigeria’s foremost indigenous producer of wines and spirits, Nigeria Distilleries Limited, has marked the celebration of its 60th anniversary, with an exclusive event held at the Green Legacy Resort, Ogun state, to appreciate its customers and stakeholders.
The exclusive gathering was attended by high-profile Nigerians, including Former President, H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR; the Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, HRM Oba Adedotun Gbadebo; the Olota of Ota, HRH Oba (Prof.) Adeyemi Obalanlege; Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Oluomo, Olakunle Taiwo (Prince); amongst other key players in the industry.
Opening the event with his welcome remarks, Group Chairman, and son of founder, Chief Olajide Rosiji, expressed gratitude to the leadership of the company, present and past, employees and external stakeholders who had contributed significantly to the growth of the organization, and reiterated the organization’s commitment to its host community, host state and the country at large.
“Since we commenced operations in Nigeria sixty (60) years ago, Nigeria Distilleries Limited has grown and shown resilience in business. We remain committed to growing with Ogun state and its people, and with Nigeria, its youth and its economy, and in our resolve to build brilliant African brands and global brands that will continue to make you proud of us.”
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, reminisced on the ethos of Chief Ayo Rosiji, and expressed his joy at the continuity of his legacy, “Chief Rosiji was a colossus. I would go to his house in those days for advice and it was always very useful. A true Nigerian, patriotic and entrepreneurial, he exuded a love for the country that was almost unmatched. A love that led him to create opportunities for many, the youths especially through his ideas, something we particularly crave today”. Speaking on the resilience of the company and its leadership, Chief Obasanjo said, “Not many family businesses succeed. We have seen many fail and we can attribute their failure to a number of factors. So I want to take this opportunity to congratulate this organization for succeeding. I want to commend everyone who has worked for this organization in the past and all who work with the company now. This is a business that is in the fourth generation and I pray that it will continue forever.”
Delivering his goodwill message, the Olota of Ota, HRH Oba (Prof.) Adeyemi Obalanlege spoke at length about the contribution of the organization to his community and the ripple effect of this on youth development.
“Ota is an industrial hub not just in Ogun state, but the entire Nigeria. Nigeria Distilleries Limited is one of the largest employers of labor in Ota and as a result, has contributed to reducing the crime rate in our community. The company is also one of the highest contributors in its community impact activities and has put Ota on the world map because of its investment in Ota. The Chairman of NDL, whom I call ‘Baba Ota’, still remains the number one investor in the community.”
The Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, HRM Oba Adedotun Gbadebo commended the organization for its resilience over the years having stood the test of time after six decades. He said, “I congratulate the owners, the Delanos and the Rosijis for running a company for sixty (60) years. It is not easy at all. In fact, many have tried but were not successful. NDL has successfully done what many considered impossible for sixty (60) years. Speaking on the importance of NDL’s products in tradition and his particular love for the traditional prayer drink, Seaman’s Schnapps, Oba Gbadebo said, “I use your product in the palace everyday because when I pray, I pray with Seaman’s Schnapps and I assure you those prayers have always been answered by God. So keep producing what we use in praying for our people.”
The manufacturing giant, which has made enviable strides in the wines and spirits industry, since its incorporation in 1961, by lawyer and former Minister of Information in Nigeria’s First Republic, late Chief Ayo Rosiji, has evolved into a world-class game-changer pouring the African spirit into the world.
The Chairman of NDL, Chief Akinwande Delano, SAN, while giving his vote of thanks thanked the former President of the federation, the royal fathers of the day, the Speaker of the house, partners and other guests for gracing the occasion. He particularly expressed his gratitude to the members of staff at NDL, recognizing their contribution and impact in the continuity and success of the company over the last six decades.
The company has created some of Africa’s brilliant spirit brands, including Nigeria’s beloved prayer drink, Seamans Aromatic Schnapps, as well as Regal Dry Gin, Bacchus Tonic Wine, Lord’s Dry Gin, Calypso, Apperito, 9ja Café Rhum, Swagga, and non-alcoholic wine beverage, St. Lauren Sparkling Wine, all manufactured to inspire greatness, celebrate life, and create happy moments every day.
In his keynote speech, Group Executive Director, Mr. Adekunle Rosiji recanted the daring vision of his late grandfather and the founding tenacious team that birthed the success NDL is today. Reiterating the company’s commitment to quality and continuous innovation that will support this vision over the next sixty (60) years, he said, “To this day, NDL has remained true to its roots; our quality remains world-class. Our brands retain their original, unique character, upholding our “quality-centered” approach to craftsmanship, which has made us vthe industry leader we are today. We have seen the non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverage industry grow from being worth tens of thousands in the sixties to the billion naira industry it has blossomed into today. We have truly grown with Nigeria, contributing to job creation for hundreds of thousands and national economic development. We are not stopping in our pursuit to become the global game-changer pouring the African spirit into the world. Our curiosity and knack for innovation will constantly push us to expand our limits as we reach beyond the borders of Nigeria.” Rounding up his speech, he thanked external stakeholders and promised lovers and supporters of the brand to expect more from the organization in the next sixty (60) years.
The Executive Director, Finance and Operations, Mr. Wale Majolagbe, while speaking on the milestones achieved by the company and setting the tone for the next 60 years, said, “Our vision guides our outlook, which is underpinned by four guiding pillars – Profitability, Expansion, Investment in our People and the Economy, and Sustainable Impact for longer-term action and industry-leading goals.
Since 1961, we have had many firsts, introduced new innovations, and blazed trails for others to follow, all of which has placed us at the top of the pyramid. Some of these firsts, amongst a host of others, include being the first indigenous company to produce spirit beverages in Nigeria; the first company to establish a cassava farm for ethanol production in Nigeria; the first company to extract ethanol from cassava roots, globally; the first company in Nigeria to package spirit beverages in sachet and PET for affordability; the first company to adopt best-in-class technologies and automation for beverage manufacturing; and the first company to distill raw alcohol for use in drinks and for pharmaceuticals. Our ambitious plans will see us continue to reinvent how things are done in an industry in which we have been known to set the standard.
Nigeria Distilleries Limited currently boasts of plants, processes, and production partners across Nigeria – Ogun, Ondo, Lagos, Enugu, Anambra, Oyo, Jos – one of the few indigenous manufacturing companies to achieve such a feat in Nigeria. The company has a vision to become the global game changer pouring the African spirit into the world and continues to do so through its record-breaking innovations.