Chukwudi! Welcome to my house, how are you today?
I’m very fine sir, I replied to a man who is a successful billionaire businessman (name withheld) and whose humility for all his wealth is very infectious.
Did I tell you that I bought a new car to celebrate my Mircalious recovery from Covid 19? my guest asked me after we are done with pleasantries.
No sir, I did not hear. Was it the 2021 Landcruiser that you bought some time this year.
No, that one is now an old car. it now has an elder brother. It was on the internet he continued, I drove it out not quite long for an event, your people(bloggers) decided to take a picture of it and upload it on the Internet.
It went viral! I’m surprised that you did not hear, you that is the minister of information and very current.
Viral? which car is that? I asked
It is Toyota Landcruiser 2022, I made the order sometime this year straight from Japan and I think I’m the first human being driving the model of the car in the whole of Nigeria. He said, with this air of accomplishment written all over his face and he has every reason to be proud of himself.
Come, let me show you.
As we walked to his garage, I remember the Viral 2022 Toyota Landcruiser seen on Lagos road that went viral a few days ago and was on so many auto blogs that include Autojosh and Supercars. I did not imagine that the car belonged to my senior friend and chief.
As he was showing me the interior of the new Whip that he bought, I saw a man proud of himself, of his journey and how far he has come.
My senior friend arrived in Lagos in the ’90s as Nwa Boy(apprentice) from his community in Anambra state to serve his master, penniless, broke but he had huge dreams.
Dreams to change his life, dreams to start and run a successful business and then live a baby boys life on his terms and conditions.
He did not seek anybody’s permission to be successful. He believed in the power of his dreams and took the steps to make them happen.
As we were going back to his magnificent mansion after he has shown me the car, I was way more than proud of Igbo traders which my friend is the poster boy for me at that moment, successful Igbo traders who are living the Nigerian dream, building flourishing businesses despite Nigeria and not because of it.
Igbo people have a reputation in Nigeria and probably throughout Africa, as resilient, dogged traders who build viable small-to-medium size enterprises which are completely independent of government.
As we were gisting, now seated inside his expansive sitting room, my friend shared with him his close shave with death and how he survived Covid 19.
I went to the land of death and came back. That experience changed me forever, that is why I want to be intentional in the way I live my life going forward, I want to enjoy my life and just live without anybody’s permission.
COVID 19 is real and it is deadly, he said as he waved me off.
On my way home, these thoughts have been playing on my head:
The typical Igbo trader is has been caricatured for decades in Nigeria, but there are many things that we can all learn from him. More than anything the Igbo trader is a symbol of aspiration of that Nigerian dream that anything is possible, you can change your life on your own terms living in Nigeria and I feel this quote exemplifies him in many ways.
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent”