So, Mum came to meet me at the Wehla M Stores. Quite the Fashionista, she wanted to buy a Jewellery set for a ceremony. She brought out her tablet and proceeded to show me photos from my Cousin’s engagement ceremony. I looked at two of the pictures and said; “wow, very lovely” and made some other remarks on how well the party was organized, then, handed her tablet to her. She proceeded to show me some more and I refused.
She made the snidest remark ever; “what’s wrong with you? You never seem to be interested in anything!”
To which I responded; “Mummy, it’s not like that! I am a Slave!”
Mummy went; “You are a Slave? Did you just say; You are a Slave? Olorun o maa ni je ki emi je slave in my own fatherland! You are a freeborn!” Her voice trailed as I walked briskly away to catch the bike that will set off my trip towards the Trade fair Complex.
Growing up; Dad used to say;
Never borrow, Never lend.
If you borrow money from a Man,
You make him your Master,
If you lend money to a man,
You make him your slave.
So, never borrow, never lend.
My dad was so particular about this that if you mixed ‘borrow and lend’ up in a sentence while speaking, he will give you an earful and snap at you! More like; ‘that’s a mistake you should never make’!
So, I was very careful! I never borrowed, I never lent! Life was easy! I was neither a slave nor a master.
Fast forward to 2016, I was fed up of my job, I was not ready to continue neither was I ready to apply for another paid employment. I wanted to be my own Boss.
The plan was to float a multi-million naira General Merchandise store from where people could purchase items in the following categories;
- Home Appliances
- Household Management Goods
- Phones, Tablets and their accessories
I have a very huge dream! So, I began speaking with people to give me a loan! The most I could get from anyone at a time was 300,000 naira (three hundred thousand naira). It was given to me by a company, it was a no-collateral loan given at a cut-throat interest. I took it. I paid part, my mother paid part when the company was out for my throat.
I became such a Chronic borrower and where I could not borrow money, I even collected goods from two merchants on credit. I was determined to make my business work. I am quite the hard and smart worker! So, I believed I will be able to pay back my loans with interest.
So, I spent a lot of time working. I opened the store at 7:30a.m. and closed by 10:00 p.m. I added a lot of other businesses along the way.
To be truthful, I made a lot of money from my several ventures but I lost my time (for myself, time for pleasure, time for family, friends and loved ones, time for partying, even time for chatting), I became so entrenched in my love for work and a strong determination to make it work against all odds that nothing else seemed to matter.
Even when I fell ill, I went to my place of work.
I remember one time I was on assisted breathing a night before (I was breathing with the aid of an oxygen mask), I was discharged around 8a.m. the next day, I opened my shop by 11a.m.Tweet
I had an accident at Ikeja where I had gone for “Etisalat Sim Registration Agent Training” and was rushed from there in an ambulance to the Lagos State Accident and Emergency Centre, Tollgate. When I got home, my right leg was 2x the size of my left leg.Tweet
Then I had yet another accident this year September, it was on my right foot this time! I lost 3 layers of skin.
What do you think I did immediately after the accident? the one who caused the accident immediately took the 2nd victim into the Health care centre. Providentially, the accident occurred beside a Health care centre. I refused. I,immediately got help into a taxi and made my way to the Airport (which was my destination before the accident), I had some deliveries to make! I wanted to complete it before tending any wounds. I went and still resumed back at the shop, it took the timely intervention of my mum, who drove me to the clinic the next day, else I wouldn’t have taken even an Anti-tetanus injection.
So, it was at this point, I began to live my life in retrospect like; “is all of these really worth it?”
Before Wehla M Stores, I was quite the adventurous one, I mean I have been to 22 of the 36 states in Nigeria and slept in at least 20 of those 22! I have been to over 5 states of the United States of America (where I don’t even live). I wore the most fashionable clothes and made my hair in the biggest salons, I did not have money or a job that could sustain my lifestyle but I was happy and free!
But, here I was a slave! Here, am I; a Slave! A slave because I have made some people my Master.
Will I do this again? Yes. I see you looking at me like; “You cant be serious!”
Like I always say; “everything that happens, happens for me”
That phase prepared me for the current phase I am passing through. I can handle all of these stress and more because I know there is a ‘phase’ where one can relax, enjoy, be in the company of friends and visit choice locations.
What’s more?I look forward to that time when I can do all those things, knowing fully well I have a ‘name’ and ‘bank account balance’ to back it up!
So, seriously, if you never had to undergo slavery in ensuring your dream came true, congrats to you! You just woke up one morning and a very benevolent person gave you funds or an influential philanthropist signed you, Congrats!
God knows I have always wanted the easy way, but he never chose that path for me… While the path has been very difficult, it was still riddled with a lot of life’s challenges! ko easy mehn!
Of course, I will come to share another story here when the slavery is over singing; “What have you not done for me?”