Adebayo Shittu, minister of Communications, has commiserated with the family of Mrs. Florence Omatule Seriki, founder and CEO of Omatek Ventures Ltd and the nation’s ICT community on the sudden death of the frontline indigenous computer manufacturer.
On his part, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, former executive vice chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) described her as a woman of uncommon intellect and courage. Also, The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) described her demise as an irreparable loss to the Seriki family, the nation’s ICT community and the country at large. The Minister said that Mrs. Seriki died when the nation most needed her wealth of experience to boost ICT development in the area of manufacturing and assemblage of computers, equipment and accessories.
According to him, her death is a monumental loss to the nation especially at this period that the government is courting the ICT sector as the next mainstay of the economy.
His words,” Honestly speaking, the Nigerian ICT community will greatly miss her considering her huge contributions to the development of computer hardware and accessories. In fact, Mrs. Seriki, a team player, was a front liner who paved the way for other indigenous manufacturers of computers in Nigeria and Africa. “It is worthy of note that her contributions transcend beyond the shores of Nigeria with a big factory in Ghana, as Omatek brand of computers is an household name in many African countries”.
He was optimistic that her demise will not wane down the growth and influence of the company in ICT development, stressing that “what she lived for should be upheld”. While the Minister prayed for the repose of the soul of the deceased, adding that God will give the members of her immediate family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Ndukwe while reacting to the news of her demise, said that “I join all the members of the ICT family to mourn the untimely passing of an Amazon. A woman of uncommon intellect and courage. She was a great ally during the days of telecommunications liberalization/deregulation. May her soul respect in peace” On their part, the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) said they mourn, with heavy heart, the passing of Mrs. Florence Seriki, a major player in the IT industry.
The Society described her as an acclaimed IT Amazon in her own right; she was a dogged entrepreneur, pacesetter and industrialist who made giants strides in the sector.
“Mrs. Seriki was the Immediate Past President of the Information Technology Association of Nigeria (ITAN) and was a member of the NCS National Executive Council for several years.
“She was a fellow of NCS, Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers and the Institute of Directors. “Mrs. Florence Seriki was honoured with Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) national honour in recognition of her contributions to national development. Based on her exploits in the tech sector, she emerged as the 2015 Information Technology (IT) Personality of the Year.
“Her passing is a huge loss to the IT community. May God comfort her family and loved ones she left behind. May her soul rest in peace.
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. History of the school still has it that she put up a superlative academic performance all through her stay. She then proceeded to the Federal School of Science, Lagos (F.S.S) for her A levels. Again, she emerged as the best overall student in lower six form. She proceeded to the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife). She graduated in Chemical Engineering.
In 1993, during the CTO exhibition (organized 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 opening a factory in Lagos. The factory has turned out to be the very 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.
Florence 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. According to a statement signed by Dr. Timothy Farinre, chairman, Omatek Ventures Plc, during her lifetime, every day was a challenge - a challenge she enjoyed and with these challenges she grew both personally and technically.
“But equally important, she thoroughly enjoyed working with her professional colleagues. Through her experience, Omatek grew to become a very relaxed atmosphere, which also helped her staff to performing at their best. “Her work was part of her self-fulfillment. The other part is of course more personal, be it about spending time with friends and family, or pursuing her hobbies. Her job gives her the flexibility to enjoy that just as much.
“Naturally, her university education provided her with the basics, which she applied in her job. But she learnt new things almost everyday due to her wide travel experience. She did not pursue these things because she was thinking about her career, but because it was fun and an adventure she didn't want to miss”, he said.
Florence was talented, innovative, hardworking and a consumate achiever. She won over 150 awards during her lifetime. Married to Olalekan Seriki, a successful architect, Florence Seriki is blessed with three children, a boy and two lovely girls.