TBY talks to Aliyu Osezay, CEO of CZ Ceezali, on infrastructure projects, the value of PPPs, and facilitating social and economic development for Nigerians.

Aliyu Osezay
Osezay's infrastructure development career spans over 20 years. He is the founder of Ceezali, one of Nigeria’s major engineering construction companies. He was responsible for successfully leading the technical team that proposed and designed a crucial road project providing an alternative route linking the nation's capital, Abuja, to a highly populated settlement in Nasarawa State, a landmark achievement in the construction industry. Mr. Osezay is a trained architect and a patron of the Nigerian Building Society. He is passionate about integrity, standards, and corporate and social responsibilities.

What is the historical background of the company and how did you launch operations in Nigeria?

Ceezali has been in the construction industry for over two decades now as a civil engineering firm. We have participated in many projects nationwide, including the building of roads, stadiums, high-rise buildings, and many other civil engineering projects. Abinitio Ceezali committed herself to operating within the best global practices with a strong inclination to quality and prudent financial management of her projects. We also give serious attention to the impact of our projects on the environment by keeping our operations environmentally friendly.

What is the nature of your collaboration with the government?

Ceezali is collaborating with the government in various areas of infrastructure development. For instance, after a three year highly competitive bidding process, our company was selected as the successful bidder for the provision of integrated engineering infrastructure to Mabushi District in Abuja under a PPP arrangement. This project is one of the major infrastructure development projects that the Federal government is embarking on. We are delighted that the government has accepted the PPP contract arrangement as a veritable alternative for procurement, so that we are able to quickly close the big gap in the country's infrastructure deficit.

What kind of support do you expect from the government, apart from PPPs?

One of the major areas where the government can offer support to the industry, and especially indigenous companies, is to facilitate and guarantee access to long-term funds to enable them to have adequate resources to operate effectively. Another area is that of tax waivers and import duties on capital assets that will be employed in delivering vital infrastructure projects in Nigeria.

How do you apply the best practices in corporate governance, social responsibility, and security management?

Ceezali is a corporate member of the British Safety Council and we are committed to keeping people safe and healthy at work. We also operate one of the best codes of practice by giving equal opportunity and fair treatment to our valued stakeholders. Before embarking on projects, we hold a stakeholders' forum where interests are identified, discussed, documented, and executed. We also maintain a cordial relationship between employees as we consciously build in them an "ownership mentality". Our company is socially responsible to the host community as we give back to the society values that will impact the life of the people. You will be shocked to know that "quality service" is a good value to the people in FCT and Nigeria as a country because it is scarce to get such value from the indigenous contractors. We have built hospitals and clinics, and provided portable water to people in the community where we operate.

You have recently taken on a new project, the building of a 16-km dual carriage roadway in Kogi State, the Ganaja-Otokiti. Could you elaborate on that?

This is one of the several publicly significant projects we will be handling. As a public interest entity, Ceezali is strongly committed to making its contribution to the development of the urban and local communities, which explains why we took up the project. Lokoja is a river and rock locked town with huge traffic challenges. The Ganaja-Otokiti narrow dual carriage ring road is the answer to decongesting the traffic in the capital. This effort requires a committed company to undertake such a project considering the issue of timely delivery and the cost implications. The building of this road will enhance the speedy development of residential and commercial spaces through the construction of real estate and public facilities, thus creating new work places and generating employment for the teeming youth of the state.