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How I Started Business In 1971 – Atiku Abubakar.

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has revealed how he made his first business decision as far back as 1971 in Nigeria.

Atiku made this revelation at the Africa’s Youth Entrepreneurs Conference and Award night where he was bestowed with the Honourary Achiever Award in Lagos, an award of “Honourary African Outstanding Entrepreneur” which he dedicated to Nigerian youths, urging them to have more drive towards entrepreneurship.

The former vice president says, “I came to Lagos on June 29, 1969 and after my two years training (with the Nigeria Customs Service); I was posted to the border station of Idi-Iroko. At that time, the Badagry Road had not been constructed and the only means of transportation to the rest of the West African corridor was through the Idi-Iroko border to what used to be called Dahomey and what is now known as Benin Republic.

“On getting to Idi-Iroko, my first posting, I was not married and what I discovered was that the most promising business was transportation. Many pickup vans were transporting women traders from Ajase (Port Novo) to Lagos every morning, and every evening from Lagos back to Port Novo.

“So I asked myself, how I can seize the opportunity of this moving business. I came over to Lagos and in those days SCOA were the sole distributors of Peugeot, so I went to SCOA and I signed a hire-purchase agreement and bought four of those pickups and gave them to four different drivers and every day they will bring their returns to me and at the end of the month, I will go to SCOA and pay them.

“I wasn’t married, so my salary was intact and in addition I was saving from what I was getting from my transport business. So, sometime, to be an entrepreneur you must have the ingenuity to be an entrepreneur.”
According to the former Vice President, “the educational system we operated in the First Republic provided our students then the opportunity to either go to universities or go to technical colleges or to go to crafts schools. There was never a dropout in that kind of educational system. The dullest was trained on a skill and given the capital to start a business.”

However he says, we regrets that “suddenly, Nigeria moved away from that to a system of education where you train only job seekers.”

He pointed out that the products of this educational system don’t know how to do anything else other than to seek for jobs, adding that they cannot self-employ themselves. “So, what I am trying to say is that my Nigeria is possible and your own Nigeria is possible”.

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