When Ruth Obih completed her legal studies she could see law and nothing else.
“I wanted to be a lawyer so badly, I was bent on it! That was my passion,” she recalls with a smile.
It didn’t work out that way for Obih. After practicing for a year, her first legal firm decided not to retain her. It was a blow to her dreams, to say the least. Few knew then, including her, that this set back was to put her on the path to a fortune.
Obih forgot law and made a 180 degree turn into fashion. She enrolled at the London College of Fashion and returned to Nigeria with her newly acquired skills.
“People always admired what I wore. So, when you tell me you like what I’m wearing, I’d tell you I sell it,” she says.
Fashion whiled away the time, but Obih yearned for more.
“I get bored really easily and always set new tasks for myself. On achieving them, I move on to my next task,” she says.
So it was back to London, where Obih enrolled for her Qualified Lawyers Transfer Test (QLTT) in the hope of practicing law again. While studying, she interned at a property law firm and became intrigued by the business of real estate. With no formal training in property, thoughts of using her legal skills in the real estate business flooded through her mind.
In 2006, Obih started 3Invest Limited UK, in London—a company focused on providing legal advice and property for those wanting to invest in real estate. A good response in London, led to thoughts of how this kind of service would fare in Nigeria.
Obih moved back to Nigeria later that year. She registered 3Invest Homes in Lagos and began hunting for properties to market with her legal advice.
In January 2007, Obih made her first big sale—a property worth millions of naira. She moved money from her thriving fashion label—Ruru Tunics—to secure the deal.
“I never went to the banks to ask for a loan. I almost have a phobia for that,” says Obih.
Sale after sale, 3Invest grew in leaps and bounds, as did Obih’s ambition.
“Yet again, it was time for me to do something different, I had toyed with the idea of starting a real estate advocacy platform using radio,” she says.
It took a number of approaches to radio stations and months of uncertainty. In the end, Obih’s proposal was accepted leading to the launch of Nigeria’s first real estate radio show, in March 2011, called Real Estate on Air.
“This show, is geared at empowering the Nigerian populace and helping them make better informed decisions when investing in real estate, the program is a one-stop shop, for real estate in Nigeria,” says Obih.
She also runs a real estate blog, driving traffic to the radio show.
With a fashion brand; a growing real estate business and a radio show under her belt, Obih is not done yet.
As a business woman, Obih describes herself as shrewd and dynamic.