Friday, 17 June 2016

How MKO became a business man @ 9


By on 10:27
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The Author of The President Who Never Rule Speaks with the GDA
It was late at night when Salawu finally reached Abeokuta. He was terrified. He was certain that most of the farmers, if not all of them, would call him a liar. To his surprise, by the time the lorry reached his house the farmers were waiting for him. Feeling like a man who had been stripped naked in public, he slowly got out of the vehicle, avoiding their prying eyes. Moshood was right behind him.
Salawu was silent till he got close to them. “Good evening, gentlemen!” They all returned his greetings. After a brief pause he continued, “Tragedy has struck in its ugliest form. My consolation is that you have all known me long enough to be certain that stealing is not part of my character and it will never”
The farmers interrupted him. They were not there for long speeches. They wanted their money or their goods. They began yelling at him and, in a fit of anxiety; Salawu led four of them, whom he felt were a bit calm, to a corner. Breathing heavily, he declared. “This is worse than a nightmare. It all started when an inspection team, led by an insolent inspector, claimed that our goods were full of defects. I told them they were wrong and begged. But they did not listen. Eventually they burned the entire consignment. Those people don’t have the fear of God”
One of the farmers hissed at him. “It is you who does not have the fear of God. How can you expect us to believe such nonsense?”

Another farmer shouted, “Why didn’t they burn you as well? Don’t they know that our goods are worth more than you?” And another one asked him, “Why did you return? You should have committed suicide”

MKO Abiola; The Star Boy

The other farmers had begun joining them, one after the other. Once Salawu repeated the same details to them, they started abusing him. After a while they calmed down and Salawu was finally able to speak. “This incident was not my fault but I assume full responsibility”. He paused briefly, hoping in vain that at least one of them would absolve him. “I will pay all of you what I owe you, each and every one. I will have to sell all that I own to do that but I will need some time”
The farmers became divided. Some refused his proposal because he had asked for time. Others accepted and asked him how much time he needed. After almost thirty minutes, they held a small meeting and reached a consensus. They agreed to give Salawu a maximum of five months to pay the sum in full. Communicating the details to him, their spokesman stated,.”We will not charge you the selling price of the cocoa because of our long-standing relationship with you. All we want is our cost when we acquired it” Sounding reluctant, he told Salawu the exact figures before declaring. “As you can see, we are not heartless. We could have handled this matter in a much more violent manner and I am sure that you know what I mean” Salawu nodded his head and assured them that he would comply with all their terms. After that they left.

MKO & Dad, Chief Salawu Adenekan

How Chief Salawu sold off his assets to pay debt
The following day, Salawu put all his assets, apart from a family house inherited from his late father, up for sale. After four months, he had sold most of them and used the proceeds to reduce the total debt to 523 pounds, which was a substantial amount back then. Thinking that his efforts would buy him some time, he was shocked when one of his creditors, whom he still owed 120 pounds, became very impatient for his balance. Salawu was not forthcoming so the man set his eyes on his family house, whose ownership Salawu shared with his other siblings. The creditor told him he had to sell it.
After a while Salawu shifted his ground and agreed to auction the items in the house, but not the house itself. He told the creditor and auctioneer that the property was jointly owned. They agreed to his terms and the auction began but after it had ended, the creditor, who was unsatisfied with the proceeds he had collected from the sale of the items, instructed the auctioneer to sell the house. Bidding began at once. Salawu watched helplessly. His family house would have been sold on the spot had Moshood not risen up to put a halt to the sale. With his tiny voice, Moshood boldly declared. “This house should not be sold today. My father might have inherited it but he does not own the land on which it was built. Whoever buys the house today without the approval of my uncles and aunts, the owners of the land, must be ready to carry the house to another plot of land”
After Moshood’s statement the creditor and auctioneer stood by aghast as they watched the potential buyers disperse.

“This house should not be sold today. My father might have inherited it but he does not own the land on which it was built. Whoever buys the house today without the approval of my uncles and aunts, the owners of the land, must be ready to carry the house to another plot of land”

How MKO became Bread Winner @ 9
The next day Moshood decided that it was time for him to work harder and earn more. He was encouraged by the fact that many children in Nigeria were breadwinners in their families. His father had worked hard enough and needed a break. Moshood chose the firewood business. It was not capital intensive so he was sure that his father could help him get started.
He went to seek his mother’s approval. His plan was for both of them to persuade his father together but she didn’t like the idea. “You already don’t spend enough time studying. You now want to run your own business? I will never let that happen”
Moshood immediately knelt down in front of her. “You want the best for me, I know, but my grades have improved since I started working. The things I learn out there in the real world have a positive impact on how I perform in the school world”

Abdul Jamiu AbiodunAbiola; The author of The President Who Never Ruled

“You are too stubborn. To a normal child, the word no means no, but to you it means resistance. Leave me in peace and go to your room!”
The last part of her sentence was loud enough to draw Salawu’s attention from outside. Within a few seconds he was inside the house. Moshood was already on his way to his room. His father scolded him. “Small in age but big in mischief ... Why is your mother angry with you?”
Moshood was silent. His mother appeared and said, “If you don’t talk, I will.”
Moshood began stammering. “I want to trade, sir. I know I am young but some children who are younger than me are doing much more than I am doing. If I get involved in buying and selling firewood, I am sure that I will break even”
His father, who had expected to hear something sinister, burst out laughing. He looked at his wife teasingly. “Is this what the fuss is all about? I thought he had committed a crime”. He sat down but kept his gaze on his wife. “Try to be gentler with him. He is too bright and vibrant a boy. Is that not what you prayed for before he was born?” Looking at Moshood, he sighed. “I will continue fending for all of you without your help. I will even find a way to sponsor your university education. Forget about trading!”

Moshood was disappointed. Sensing that, his father flared up. “You ought to be careful or I will even stop you from following me to work”
Moshood bowed down to his parents as a sign of respect then hurried into his room. After two hours, to his surprise, his father came to join him. He looked sober as he sat next to Moshood on the mat. He patted his back before asking, “Why do you always have to go beyond the limits that I set for you? I let you follow me to work, against my wish, and now you want to run your own business, against my wish. Why are you always so impatient to grow up?” 


The Book That Cleared MKO Abiola's Political blemishes

Moshood, in tears, told him how humiliated he had felt when the product inspector and the other farmers had treated him badly, especially when some farmers had called him names. Then he shocked his dad by asking an unexpected question, “Why should a man have a son who would be completely useless to him?”
Salawu was moved. He could not stop himself from allowing Moshood to have his way. “Okay, go ahead and carry out your plans” He looked very serious. “But the firewood business is not a cakewalk for people in our weak financial condition. I don’t have enough money to hire you a truck. That means that you have to fetch the firewood on foot” He threw Moshood a warning glance. “Aside from that, returning home with the heavy firewood on your head is another challenge entirely. You could fall several times because of the weight of the firewood and, if you buy it early in the morning, there will be darkness to contend with as well”
Moshood was not discouraged. When his father noticed that, he told him that the cheapest firewood was sold in an area called Oba. He described how Moshood could get there. He also gave Moshood ideas of where he could sell the firewood at a good price. Then before going to sleep, he made a statement that Moshood had been hoping to hear. “Give me a few days and I will raise some money for you. But your grades have to…” Moshood interrupted him. He assured him that his grades, that were already excellent, would get even better. He also promised to pay back the capital after a few months. His father declined his offer but seemed pleased, as he walked out of his room, that Moshood had made it.

(Excerpts from the book, The President Who Never Ruled by Jamiu Abiola; get copies in any book shop across the world or write Jamiu Abiola through jamiulinguist@yahoo.com. Read Day MKO was attacked at Oba Market by Area Boys in our next post on this blog).

Gbenga Dan Asabe

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