As the eTranzact Golf Classic ended on Saturday, April 29, 2023, Nigeria’s super fintech company, eTranzact reaffirmed its commitment to facilitating more business collaborations within the public and private sector in the country.
The tournament, which held from Thursday, April 27 till Saturday, April 29, 2023 at the Lakowe Lakes Golf Estate, off Lekki-Epe expressway, Lagos had both category one amateur golfers and professionals slugging it out for the fun and glory while gathering ranking points on the Professional Golfers Development Tour.
For the management of the company, being the pioneer fintech company at the forefront of connecting businesses and agencies in Nigeria, they had found the game of golf most suitable for their quest to create more avenues for productive business-to-business collaborations in Nigeria.
The Managing Director, Niyi Toluwalope, had made this clear during the pre-event media parley hosted in their Victoria Island office ahead of the tee-off of the tournament,
“We are a super fintech working with businesses and governments to facilitate seamless trade and exchange of value while also working with other fintechs to drive successes across sectors. It is therefore not unexpected that we want to create more platforms for business leaders to network and drive more collaborations.
“Golf is a precision game that develops the minds of its players, teaches spontaneity, focus and concentration while also encouraging strategic thinking and creative problem solving. These are all qualities that successful business leaders must possess regardless of age and experience.
“Therefore, having identified the role the sport plays in our society, we have chosen it as our way of connecting business leaders and professionals who have embraced it to relax and refresh their minds to face the rigours of creating more innovative ideas that will grow African economies,” he said.
eTranzact bias for youth
In an interview with journalists, the Deputy Managing Director, Mr Hakeem Adeniji-Adele, described the golf classic as a launching pad for the company’s greater involvement in promoting sports and the general wellbeing of Nigerians. He described the core target audience of the sport as smart, discerning and innovative individuals. “These are the ideals we strongly believe in at eTranzact”.
The MD equally promised that the eTranzact Golf Classic would be the beginning of the company’s investments in the development of sports generally in Africa, particularly because of the company’s bias for the young population.
He says: “Obviously, sport is very important to young people across Africa and as the leader in the youth dominated fintech space, it is a natural desire for us to constantly create and support ideas that bring excitement with development together for the younger demographic.
“We hope that the eTranzact Golf Classic will also help us to gradually get younger people more interested in playing golf because of its many mental and physical benefits. The future of our industry and indeed corporate Africa is youth and we can as well start to build that lifestyle that helps them to keep their minds refreshed and creative for the growth that the continent relies on them for.”
He added that looking ahead for the next few years, eTranzact will continue to partner with public and private stakeholders to drive more growth for the Nigerian and African economies.
“As Nigeria’s Super Fintech choice, eTranzact is committed to providing payment technology support, and facilitating trade and exchange of values among businesses, governments and its people through safe and secure channels.
“The growth of African economies is highly dependent on leveraging technologies like ours to turn ideas to real opportunities. Therefore, we will continue to partner with governments, agencies and businesses across the continent to achieve prosperity,” he said.
By the time the tournament climaxed after three days at the beautiful Lakowe Lakes and Golf Resort, it was huge excitement for the players, the organisers and their sponsor.
Francis Epe from the Ikoyi Club 1938 Lagos emerged as the winner of the tournament, defeating about 80 other professional golfers from across Nigeria and other countries.
While presenting the championship trophy to the winner at the closing ceremony on Saturday, the MD/CEO of eTranzact International PLC, Niyi Toluwalope, expressed satisfaction with the quality of competition and high standard of the game on display, promising that the fintech company would be a long-term partner with the golf club.
“We are happy to support professional golfers with an opportunity like this to further develop their game towards excelling at the international level while also providing the business community with the appropriate atmosphere to meet and drive innovations. Innovation is the hallmark of the eTranzact brand and it is the essence of our investment in this tournament.
“I hope that the event has been a fun-filled one for all our guests and contestants. I hope that skills have been learnt, people have met each other, ideas have been shared and collaborations are being initiated,” he said.
He went on to present a giant cheque of 1.5 million naira to the champion with the runners up also receiving cash prizes and other gift items from eTranzact. He also presented several consolation prizes across different categories, explaining that the eTranzact Golf Classic had been designed to ensure that everyone is a winner.
Francis Epe grossed 210 points with six-under-par score to win the 54-hole tournament. The second position was jointly won by the trio of Ayisah Anan Lucky of Achimota Golf Club, Ghana, Bako Kamalu of IBB International Golf and Country club, Abuja and Mike Ubi of Python Golf Club, Port Harcourt, all tied at 212, after 54 holes.
The champion expressed gratitude to eTranzact for sponsoring the tournament and investing in the careers of several professional golf players. He acknowledged the platform as one that would help to develop the sport in Nigeria.
For the category one amateurs, Oluremi Olukoya emerged as the winner with Emmanuel Samuel and Oluwatoba Olusegun placing second and third. There were also prizes in the ladies’ category where Funke Oguntonade won for the longest drive, leaving Jummai Abdullahi with the runner-up prize. Jason Kim won for the men. The guest amateur players at the event had Dr. Vitus Ezenwa with nine-handicap being crowned winner while Lanre Shagaya and Yemi Ajibola picked the second and third place honours respectively.
The PGD Tour management team commended eTranzact for giving Nigeria golf community a new outlook that professional golf as a career is still a viable pursuit. According to Lakowe Lakes Golf Manager, Femi Olagbenro, although it was the third edition of the competition, their partnership with eTranzact took things several steps further. He affirmed that the game of golf brings togetherness and fosters collaborations beyond the field, and these values obviously resonate with the premium brand like eTranzact.
The excitement did not end with the pros and amateur players. Members of staff and management of eTranzact also had a share of the fun in a mini contest that saw them testing their golf skills and going home with cash prizes and some other branded gifts.
The Chairman, Board of Directors, eTranzact International PLC, Mr Wole Abegunde, commended his team for supporting golf professionals in Nigeria. “We need to develop golf in Nigeria. Look at the US Tour today, top competitors from Asia have taken it over. They came from their countries; they didn’t grow up in the US and they are earning the dollars.
“Like I have always said, if the likes of Jay Jay Okocha, Kanu Nwankwo, Mikel Obi can go to the UK to play in the Premier League and earn a lot of money for themselves and their relations in Nigeria, then our golf players in Nigeria, if well supported in terms of tournament and infrastructure, can also make it big,” he said.
The eTranzact Classic had 10 million naira as the total purse for the professionals, while category one amateurs who played along with the professionals had gift vouchers for their effort.