Olufemi Muraino: the power behind banking technology
He is a man of many parts, and he undertakes each of these with so much dexterity; it is difficult to tell which of these roles suit him best.
Olufemi Muraino, until recently, was the Chief Executive Officer and Country Director of Global Solutions, an ICT and Infrastructure services and solutions provider. Now, he is the Executive Director in charge of Business Transformation and Innovation for Africa at Inlaks Computers, the parent company of Global Solutions.
As though this isn’t enough, Mr. Muraino, who is commonly called Femi, is also an Assistant Pastor at one of the local branches of the Nigerian-originated Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCD), in Accra.
Very few CEOs are known to be full time pastors and managing businesses, and Femi is one of such few gifted men of God who still run big businesses to profit and lead men and women in worshipping God every week.
Femi has led the transformation of Global Solutions from a little unknown ICT company to one of the most revered firms that provide banking softwares, and other technologies to companies across sectors to provide better services to clients.
Global Solutions’ provision and management of Temenos 24, the most widely used banking software in Ghana and the world, according to users, is second to none. Many banks’ IT department heads have heaped praises on the team from Global Solutions for the good works they do.
But in his usual modest lifestyle, Femi prefers to applaud his team for the great work over the past 13 years he has led them, rather than take the credit for himself.
Femi believes that the successes achieved at Global Solutions are not just an individual effort but a collective responsibility. “I achieved it with the help of the staff. We can have disagreements here and there, but it is all for the good of the company. But it is God who ultimately guides every man and his decision.
That is the way I have been able to manage. Leadership is not about the leader because the day you look back and you do not have a follower, then you are no longer a leader. But as a leader, you must be firm and let your decision stand strong,” he adds.
The art of balancing roles
To him, balancing these two spheres – Country Director of Global Solutions and Assistant Pastor at RCCG– is a matter of commitment and ability to know what to do at every point in time, and above all, leaving everything else in the hands of God.
“Balancing the two has to do with the commitment to what you are doing. It is important you are committed to what you do, what you intend to do, and the direction you want to go, but God has also been faithful,” he says.
Explaining how one can utilise time efficiently, Femi believes that there are two hours in a day that is wasted.
“What I do as a person is to use the hours that could be wasted to do the things God expects of me. People stay on the phone for far too long. From experience and a management point of view, everything that needs to be discussed on the phone can be done in 120 seconds, unless what it is needs a deeper explanation.
But in Africa, people spend a lot of time asking about everyone and everything, which are unnecessary. Technology has also made life a bit easier, and so you can use your phone to do a lot of work,” he adds.
The art of balancing both worlds, Femi notes, is all compassing and “you cannot really separate your spiritual life from business because you cannot have two lives! There are ways they dovetail into each other and so you cannot draw a line between my spiritual life and business life.”
Leadership and delegation
Femi, as a business and spiritual leader, believes in developing future leaders since no one is irreplaceable. To him, mastering the art of delegating should be top of a leader’s mind.
“Mostly, my evenings are for me unless I have an engagement that I have to be there, and if I my presence is not critical, I delegate because while I work, I have to build for the future and develop leaders of tomorrow.
I have learnt the art of delegating in my secular and spiritual jobs. There are certain things I do not need to be there as a pastor as. Once you identify leaders, empower and support them to do some of these things in your stead.
Nobody is irreplaceable. The Bible says that God said if nobody praises him, he can raise stones to praise him, and so no one can say he, or she has the monopoly of knowledge. You just need to find a way of working with people and achieving results,” he says.
Born in present day Osun State but brought up in Lagos, Nigeria, the man who studied computer science at the University of Lagos, came to Ghana in 2004 when Inlaks was looking for an IT genius who has the knack for transforming businesses, to turnaround the fortunes of the company.
Today, due to his astute leadership and foresight, Global Solutions specialises in IT Solutions that satisfy the unique needs of financial, industrial/distribution, telecommunication, oil/gas and utilities sectors of the economy.
It isn’t surprising that Femi is now the head of the company’s department charged with overseeing the successful expansion of the business into other African countries.
He holds both first degree (1990) and a Masters Degree in Business Administration (1998) from University of Lagos. Beginning his career in the IT industry in 1990 from a food processing company through the textile industry, Femi spent a couple of years at IT consultancies before moving to Inlaks.
Since then, he has not looked back and since finding God in 1999, Femi has worked hard to bring Global Solutions this far. He has moved Global Solutions from a less than 10 employees firm, to almost 50 staff with clients increasing from five to 25, and a turnover estimated at a 1000percent.
Olufemi has attended several courses/conferences covering functional and specific areas, held both locally and offshore. His specialization and skills include sales management, system analysis, service delivery, projects and operations management.
Femi is a husband and a father to three children. He believes that children must be brought in the ways of the Lord and with his work as a minister of the gospel, he would be doing a great disservice to God if he doesn’t do just that.
“What my wife and I have done is to teach them the path to go so that by the end of the day, we can have peace. I have three wonderful children with the eldest 19, and the youngest is 12. We have worked together and we monitor their progress, we sit down and talk to them and they are very much involved in church activities in various departments.
Since an idle hand is the devil’s workshop, we keep them busy in church work so they do not fall into trouble. It is important that the children are not idle. We monitor every aspect of their lives, academic, spiritual, and social,” he says.
Femi notes that the plan is to continue to do what he knows best and improve on it. “At the end of the day, there is a time of gainful employment but for God, you cannot retire from his work: for my spiritual life I will continue to serve God even after I retire from my secular job.
I intend to do more for God and impact the people I meet in the next five to ten years in my business life. If I establish my own business along the line, then I will focus on building it, and hand it over to my children because it is important to leave a legacy behind.
We must teach children how to save, and how to be able to identify and appreciate people. They should know how to say ‘thank you’ and ‘I am sorry’, if not you are not bringing them up in the ways of the Lord,” he added.