Wednesday, 28 October 2015

What To Do When You Lose Your Job In Nigeria (INTERESTING)

You might have been booted out for one of several reasons – surplus to requirement, not good enough for the position you occupied, too slow, over-ambitious, threat to boss reputation, implicated in a scandal you know little or nothing about etc. All these are indeed enough reasons for anyone to despair and lose hope. 

On the flip side, sometimes job loss could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. It is possible that providence has something better in store for you and was only waiting to court your attention. Also remember that many, if not most, successful people have experienced major failures in their careers. But they’ve turned those failures around by picking themselves up, learning from the experience, and trying again.

I remember when I lost my first job way back in 1996 while working with a freight forwarder (formerly known as Clearing and Forwarding) in Apapa. I sat at the bus stop for close to three hours looking shattered and wondering where I went wrong. 

Looking back now, I figured why it was more devastating was the fact that the managing director who I had an incredible father-son relationship with didn’t explain in the termination letter nor tell me verbally what my offence was. He just told me point-blank that his ‘spirit’ didn’t feel like working with me again. I almost went berserk for that was the first time I would hear of such ‘wicked’ excuse. I recalled going back to him repeatedly trying to convince him of my loyalty all to no avail. 

The bus stop was my next point of solace as I sat down counting every vehicle – commercial and private ones passing by as well as birds in the sky. When I eventually went home, I became sick emotionally and my psychological nuts went loose. I spent three weeks doing nothing – eating, sleeping, reading books and watching television.
When I eventually recovered from the shock, I did it in a big way. 

This much is discussed in the latter part of this e-book.

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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

How Poverty Almost Made Me Trade My Teenage Years for N100,000

Alas! My suffer don end o... Thank you Jesus!
But the celebration was short-lived when I saw the alleged piece of paper they referred to. It was a mutilated part of a blank cheque which belonged to a first generation bank where signatures are appended. O ti o...

Misfortune paid me an early visit in the early 1990’s. My dad, a retired ship engineer with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) around 1989 was struggling with his new found world of entrepreneurship. Things were not panning out as he envisaged. He has sold his car and was left with his beloved “Vespa,” quite a trendy turtle motorcycle.

He woke up one day and announced he was travelling to Ghana on the invitation of his brother who ran a distribution chain across Togo, Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. Virtually everyone believed him except me. My dad has always been my hero based on some hard stances he took in the past. He cut the image of military general with his imposing height and possessed this uncompromising status even when he knew the odds would not favour him.

But on this day, he chickened out. The pressure was mounting!!! He was struggling to foot the growing utility bills, school fees were piling up and maintaining a balance at the home front was becoming a problem. And so... he took the easy way out, a self-imposed exile!

Young as I was, he suspected I didn’t believe his ‘Ali and the Angel’ tale hence the need to invite me separately to his room. I remember every single emotional word he used as if it was just yesterday. He apologised for having come up with such feeble excuse. He maintained that it is possible I would be angry with him for a long time to come but he was optimistic I would understand why he did what he had to do when I became a grown man myself. Tears welled up in my eyes as he hugged and patted me on the back reassuring me that the storm would soon pass. As he calmly packed the last of his items, he squeezed my wrist and looked into my eyes.

“Francis, you are my son. My blood, my flesh, my all! I am sorry for placing this burden on you...” I broke down completely when he mentioned, “You are temporarily the head of the family now. I have instructed your mum to always consult you before taking a major decision. I trust your judgement and believe you will always do the right thing. Don’t compromise!” The tears flowed freely again. He apologised repeatedly for having to place the fate of my mum and four siblings in my care and made me promised not to sell my self-esteem even if it means going to bed on empty stomach. As he mentioned those words, fear enveloped me. What was he trying to do – commit suicide? He seemingly noticed my hesitation and reassured me that he would be BACK!

As he rightly predicted, our situation went really BAD! No relative, friend, or ex-colleague of him was willing to offer a hand of succour. We prayed o... Yes, we even fasted severally. Yet, nothing happened. At a point, the challenge of survival graduated from bad to WORSE! I got quite a handful of varsity admissions I had to turn down. One, some tuition fees were way beyond what we could afford. Two, a couple of the universities were too far. I was downcast! I moved from the happy-go guy everybody wanted to a share drink with to a moody fellow. Even though we didn’t beg, quite a handful of generous people (I still revere to date) often sent things to salvage our pitiable state.

I remembered vividly how I had to sacrifice the little money I saved up for registration and tuition fees at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria before expiration of the window period when I heard Iyabo my last sibling was rushed to National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos after she was hit by an onrushing car.

With all hope lost, I took up menial jobs (from factory worker to waiter) intermittently. Regardless of what I was passing through, I wasn’t willing to just give up. One day, an opportunity that appeared to be a lifeline (or so it seemed) came up. An old acquaintance, Ebuka, visited and announced that he had succeeded in striking me a mouth-watering deal. What deal? I asked jokingly. He intimated me that some ‘Big Men’ were looking for somebody who has a cursive handwriting to help them fill a form. 

“As they said that, my mind just flashed to you. You know we used to taunt and liken your handwriting to that of a fowl,” he enthused.

I looked at him again and enquired what I stood to gain from the ‘deal.’  “You wouldn’t believe it!” Ebuka moved close and whispered into my ear “N100,000!” I almost choked as I staggered back in shock. As he continued to laugh half-heartedly to his own joke, my mind went to work. Why would anybody want to engage a school cert holder out of a population of 78 million (as at then) for mere handwriting job? It sounded too good to be true. My adrenalin shot up in high expectation. Come on, I couldn’t even boast of N3,000! “You are not kidding me, right?” I blurted out. He chuckled and gently pushed me, “My friend, go and dress up. Let’s go. You are wasting my time o... Abi, you are interested ni?”

30 minutes later, I met my contractors who took their time assessing me from afar. “Have you been briefed?” I nodded in affirmative. They opened their briefcase, brought a sheet of paper and said, “Write any sentence of your choice here. Just about anything!” I did and pushed the paper back. They studied it for some minutes and concluded that my handwriting matched the one they were seeking. “Congratulations! Your task is simple. You will help us trace a line on a piece of paper. Once completed and it matched, we will pay immediately. Are you ready?” they enquired.

My heart leapt for joy. Alas! My suffer don end o... Thank you Jesus! But the celebration was short-lived when I saw the alleged piece of paper they referred to. It was an unmistakable mutilated part of a blank cheque which belonged to a first generation bank where signatures were always appended. O ti o... I turned to look at the contractors’ faces. “Is there a problem?” they enquired. “You told me I was meant to trace a line. But what I have here are cheque and a sample of somebody’s signature. I don’t understand,” I remarked in shock. My excited contractors then went on to lecture me about a dead colleague who was stalling their payment of a deal and what have you.

While the explanation continued, I kept shaking my head in disapproval. “Sorry Sir, I cannot do it. This is forgery and I am not ready to go to jail,” I retorted. Their resentment and anger started building, “That is not for you to decide. We are the ones presenting the cheque. Your task is simple. Just do it, collect your money and be gone!” one of them barked at me. When they noticed my stance, they told my acquaintance to talk some sense into me.

As I packed my things into leave, he grabbed me by the wrist saying this is once in a lifetime opportunity. He reminded me about my wretched state and started playing on my emotion. “Honestly If I didn’t consider all what you are passing through, I wouldn’t venture to approach you. Please Francis, don’t disgrace me in their presence. Aside your payment of N100,000, they also promised me N50,000 once the job is done. This could be God’s way of rewarding us,” he pleaded and started patting me playfully on the back.

If not for anything, I admire Ebuka’s sincerity. Perhaps that was why we were that close. For a moment, I considered his opinion about my pathetic state, the struggle for financial balance back at home and the question mark about my future. Before misfortune paid me a visit, I used to dream about becoming an accountant or a renowned journalist. Instead here I was feeding from hand to mouth and not sure of where my next meal ticket would come from. I nodded in resignation and collected the paper and signature sample. I studied the handwriting for some minutes, mentally tracing and scribbling the lines in my subconscious mind. As I made attempt to put pen to paper, my last encounter with my father before leaving the shore of the country played into my consciousness.

“I trust your judgement and believe you will always do the right thing...” I panicked as the pen fell from my hand. `No, I wasn’t ready to go to jail for anybody.  Both the contractors and my friend were taken aback. I pleaded with them to give me time to think about it. They got the message and told me to “Gerrara here, Mehn!” and turned to blast Ebuka for bring a miserable assh*le to them. The dude was speechless as he kept staring at me absentmindedly.

I packed my things and “Gerrara there” as they instructed not sure what the future hold in store for my miserable life.

That was almost 23 years ago. Now fast forward to 2015. I am a journalist (not renowned yet but a work in progress), an author of three bestsellers, a blogger and public speaker. My father has since returned from his self-exiled and quietly enjoying his retirement. I am married with three kids (two brainy cute girls and one carbon copy of myself). My present take-home pay from both salary and personal vocations amounts to N200,000 on monthly basis.

How did my fortune change? I don’t know.

How did I survive two decades of hardship without cursing God or resorting to criminality? I really can’t tell.

All I know is that if every product have expiry date, so do problems! I have survived my Egypt without given up on God and my future. I don’t know what you are passing through at the moment. Rest assured, your moment of breakthrough will come if you hold on awhile. As I often advise participants during public seminars and other speaking engagement, “Don’t negotiate when you are hungry or vulnerable!” The Devil is merely attempting to see how far you can go. Just hold on, your harvest period is near.

Patience, integrity and godliness... the keywords!

For as Matthew 6:31-32 puts it, “Therefore do not worry, saying, what shall we eat? or what shall we wear? For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

Sitting ensconced at the balcony in company of my kids, I asked myself “Is the so-called “mouth watering” N100,000 of the 1990s that could have landed me in jail as a teenager really worth these achievements?”

"Travails of A Traveller" is a series written by Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis and culled from

Monday, 28 September 2015

Tired of Paid Employment?

2015 Award Winning Bestsellers

For aspiring entrepreneurs, graduates, businessmen, full-time housewives, single mothers, those planning retirement and investors seeking opportunities!!!

“Take up one idea. Make that idea your life - think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success,” - Swami Vivekananda

“I am happy with the birth of a book like this, which addresses the need of common people, intending and growing entrepreneurs” – Lawrence Ani, TELEGRAPH EDITOR

“Great book, good concept! I think we should applaud the author’s vision” – Appolonia Adeyemi, COMPASS NEWSPAPER

“The author of this book deserves to be commended for a good job! I highly recommend it to anyone desirous of change in their status quo” – Olufemi Omotayo, ENTREPRENEWS Publisher

“Francis has done it again! …always bringing his wealth of experience to bear on his writings. His first series was great but this is something else” – Adebayo Oladejo, PHARMA NEWS



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Monday, 21 September 2015

From Ajegunle To Europe: Odion Ighalo’s Rise To EPL Football Glory (PHOTOS)

Until now, not many Nigerians are familiar with the name “Odion Ighalo.” After his goals lifted Watford from the English Championship to the glamorous premier league, he became the cynosure of all eyes.

At first, football pundits were unsure whether the Nigerian goal poacher can replicate the form that saw Watford qualifying for the EPL. But the blistering form of the striker continues as he netted four goals in as much as four early games of the season. This led to continuous clamour for his inclusion in Coach Sunday Oliseh’s new look Super Eagles.

The big question on some soccer observers is: How did a relatively unknown Ighalo make it this far?

In truth, the 26-year-old footballer journey through Ajegunle, a renowned Lagos slum to Norway as a teenager was more of a fairy tale.

Prior to his coming to Europe, Ighalo used to kick tin cans with his bare feet around the crowded streets of Ajegunle even when running errand for his mother. The industrious mum reportedly worked 17 hours a day selling “pure water” and soft drinks from where the proceed for the striker’s first pair of football boots came from.

On getting to icy Norway, sources said that the first time the young man ever saw snow, he ate it.

When he left Norway, he pitched tent with Spanish club, Granada which recently named one of their stadia entrances after the Nigeria forward for his immense contribution to the club’s progress.

The club said that they found it easy to name him along with three of their stadia entrances after the players for helping them progress to the Spanish La Liga in 2011.

An entrance was decorated with the picture of Ighalo and one other player and was named “Heroes’ Ascent” in the New Stadium Los Carmenes.

Now enjoying the riches of English football, his journey from inner-city hardship in Africa to Watford’s tilt at Premier League survival, is now the yardstick for kids who dream of turning from austerity to prosperity.

Today, Ighalo have just signed a new five-year contract at Vicarage Road.

Hear him: “I come from a ghetto where there was no 24-hour electricity, no good water, bad roads and the neighbourhood is tough,” he said. “We used to kick old cans, plastic bottles, sometimes even an orange, around the streets in bare feet.

“Whatever I go on to achieve in football, I will always give thanks to God for this opportunity to live my dream – but I will also never forget where I came from.

“Ajegunle is where my journey began and I’m proud of that. My first team, Olodi Warriors, used to play on a grass pitch known locally as the ‘Maracana’ but it was really a big, wide-open field.

“On one corner, there were boys selling marijuana and they were always being chased by the police when they cut across the pitch. We would hit the floor when we heard the ‘pop, pop, pop’ of gunfire and then continue training.

“It is part of life, but bullets don’t always differentiate between the footballers and the bad guys.”

Ighalo was scouted by Norway’s Lyn Oslo as a 17-year-old, and the youngest of seven children left Nigeria to seek his fortune in a country where temperatures were often 70 degrees colder.

“There were three players from Nigeria who went to Norway – but one of them had to go home because he could not cope with the cold,” he said. “I could easily have followed him, but when I thought of the hardship I left behind, I was not going to cut and run.

“I had never seen snow before in Nigeria. The first time it snowed in Oslo I was like a child. I was eating it, rubbing it on my head, throwing it in the air like confetti... it was a new toy.”

After 10 months, Ighalo was snared in the web of Watford’s owners, the Italian Pozzo dynasty, joining Udinese before being loaned out to their Spanish club, Granada, where he is revered.

Ighalo scored the winner in consecutive play-off finals as Granada leapt to La Liga.
His happy knack of scoring important goals and winning promotion endured after his move to Vicarage Road 14 months ago.

When Watford, trailing 2-1, were down to 10 men at Derby on Good Friday, Ighalo snaffled a precious equaliser.

Three days later, his rocket against Middlesbrough in another promotion shootout clinched an important 2-0 win and made the Hornets believe they were going up.

Ighalo was off the mark on the opening day of this season in a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park, leaving England’s John Stones on his backside with his signature ‘scoop’ turn.

“I’ve been lucky enough to score some important goals, but my work is not done,” he said.

“One day, when I’ve made good money in football, I would like to go back to Ajegunle and provide better pitches, help the kids at grassroots levels.

“My mum had to work so hard, selling bottled water and soft drinks, to pay for my first pair of adidas Copa Mundial boots, and everything I am today I owe to her and to God.”

Meanwhile, Ighalo has expressed his excitement over his achievements in his career in the last one week.

“A gate in Granada Stadium was name after me, I signed a new five-year contract with Watford FC and scored my second EPL goal,” he wrote recently on Instagram.

“A perfect week for me and who says God doesn’t exist? I vow to give him back all the glory.”


Never ever give up on your dream. It may tarry awhile, you will surely get there with patience, perseverance and hardwork

Meet Late Adadevoh’s Gorgeous Niece And Cousin (PHOTOS)

It was a night of pomp and glamour at THISDAY’s 20th annual anniversary ceremony where Late Dr. Ameyo Stella Adadevoh and 19 others were honoured with the covetous ‘Game Changer’ awards.

The colourful ceremony which held at Eko Hotel and Suite on September 6, 2015 had virtually all the big wigs and crème de la crème in the banking, Information and communication technology, manufacturing, health, oil and gas, media and political sectors in attendance.

The event which started on a bright note with great old beats from a live band reached its climax with the presentation of awards.

What seemingly caught the attention of the ecstatic audience was the presence of two delectable damsels who climbed the podium when the name of Late Dr. Adadevoh was announced for a posthumous award.

While eagle-eyed paparazzi kept taking repeated shots and a section of the crowd readjusting their seats to catch a glimpse, the ladies introduced themselves as the late physician’s niece – Fiona Henshaw and cousin – Ngozi Edozien.

So gorgeous was the fair-complexioned lady that even the former Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola who joined Mr. Robert Gate, a former United States secretary of defence and director of central intelligence agency (CIA) on the stage was caught staring repeatedly at her.

After receiving the award, Henshaw expressed appreciation saying: “Aunty Ameyo is in good company today. I thank you for the opportunity to remember her and celebrate what she did.

“To celebrate her efforts, a trust was set up in her honour called the Stella Adadevoh Health Trust,” she remarked.

The website address named after the anti-Ebola heroine, according to the niece, was given as

A Tale of Two Defectors: Ribadu, Obi Meets Again (PHOTOS)

It was a reunion of sort for former Anambra governor, Peter Obi and former Adamawa gubernatorial candidate, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu who apparently were seeing again for the first time since the post-Goodluck Jonathan era.

Their continual hugging and vigorous shaking of hands drew attention of journalists and other political big wigs at the cocktail session of the 20th THISDAY Anniversary Award held at Eko Hotel and Suites penultimate week.

It would be recalled that both men defected from their primary parties to pitch tent with the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a move that shock political observers.

While Peter Obi claimed he dumped All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) after a long and sustained denial in October 2014 because of his resolve to be strongly involved in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 re-election bid, the 54-year-old anti-corruption Czar defended his jumping of ships from All Progressive Congress (APC) to PDP as an action borne out of his zeal to his country.

However after the loss and eventual evacuation of the erstwhile government from Aso Rock, not much was heard of most PDP stalwarts, especially the two political turncoats who many political buffs still believed hold an impeccable record in their last political assignments – Ribadu in EFCC and Obi as Anambra State governor.

This perhaps explained why the organisers of THISDAY anniversary awards found both worthy of being given the prestigious recognition of game changers.

In the category of lifetime achievers however were Alhaji Ahmadu Ibrahim Coomasie, former Inspector General of Police; Chief Tonye Graham-Douglas, former Minister of Tourism; Sir Alex Duduyemi, businessman extraordinaire; Mr. Jackson Gaius-Obaseki, former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); Prof Ibrahim Gambari, former Minister of External Affairs; His Royal Highness Alhaji Shehu Idris, Emir of Zaria; Prof Joe Irukwu, insurance guru and Chief Kola Jamodu, former Minister of Commerce and Industry.

Others lifetime achievers included Commodore Ndubuisi Kanu, former Lagos State Governor; Justice Idris Kutigi, former Chief Justice of Nigeria; Prince Tony Momoh, former Minister of Information; Justice Aloma Mariam Muktar, first female Chief Justice of Nigeria; Justice Dahiru Musdapha, former Chief Justice of Nigeria; Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, former chairman of Nestle Plc and Chief Joseph Sanusi, former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor.

Boko Haram Bomb Survivor Wins THISDAY Game Changer Award (PHOTOS)

Recognition eventually came the way of Member Fesse, one of the few survivors of Boko Haram bombing of the United Nations office in Abuja some years ago.

Fesse, a post-graduate student of Poverty and Development at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, was presented with the prestigious THISDAY game changer award for not giving up on her dreams.

It would be recalled that face of Hope campaigner was at the UN office on the fateful day to collect data for her dissertation on social protection in Nigeria when the terrorist struck.

After her miraculous survival, Fesse refused to stand down from what she believes is right and just by converting what started as a support group for her recovery into an advocacy body that demands improved service delivery and accountability, especially for the poor and marginalised in society.

Through “Team Member” she is working to provide modern prosthetic centre in Nigeria where artificial limbs can be made available for those who need it.

Fesse is currently a staff in the department of Development Finance at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Former Governor Fashola Still Toast of Lagos 'Babes' (PHOTOS)

Like or hate him, erstwhile governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Fashola discernibly remains the toast of Lagos damsels.

This was confirmed again when he showed up at the 20th anniversary ceremony of THISDAY Newspaper which took place at Eko Hotel and Suites recently.

Immediately the former governor was sighted coming into the posh venue, virtually all the ladies in the hall jumped to their feet and rushed to him in excitement.

Left, right and centre, cameras went clicking as everybody struggled to take a selfie with him.

The prestigious THISDAY game changer award, a pet project of Nduka Obaigbena, incumbent chairman of newspaper owners association and glamour boy of Nigerian journalism, is held annual.

The 2015 edition, initially slated for February, was subsequently shifted due to the general election held early in the year.

NNPC New Boss Kachikwu's Test Of Popularity At THISDAY Award (PHOTOS)

The group managing director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu is obviously blending well in his new found fame.

The new NNPC poster boy was spotted looking dapper in an immaculate white suit and a trendy dark goggle at the THISDAY’s 20th anniversary awards penultimate week.

Despite sitting in company of Elizabeth, his wife, the legal luminary and pioneer of romance journalism in Nigeria was the cynosure of all eyes. The gait and poise with which he moves reek of sheer class.

The test of his popularity surfaced midway through the programme when he was called up to the stage to partner Charles Hagel, former United States Secretary of Defence in presenting an award to Member Fesse, a Boko Haram bomb survivor.

Right from the moment he rose from his seat to ascend the rostrum to the time he descended after presenting the award, he received a standing ovation from the crowd.

In truth, one cannot really say if his new found fame has anything to do with his personality or his assuming the mantle of leadership at NNPC.

Quite hard to say though!

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