just carried out a restructuring and some workers had to be laid off.
Olabode Johnson didn’t know his name was on the list. He was shocked
when he was given the termination of employment letter. He cried. But he
knew if he continued crying, it was not going to bring back his job.
After all, he had always dreamed of having his own company.
at a company, it’s either you are told to go or you go on your own
will,” he said. “In my own case, I was asked to go.”
job, but having worked at several engineering firms and gained
experience, Johnson decided it was time to start his own engineering
firm. But it wasn’t going to be easy.
engineering firms before and anywhere I worked, I always had it at the
back of my mind that I could lose the job someday. So when it finally
happened, I didn’t take it as a major blow to me, but I looked at it as a
step forward in my life.
knew the situation was going to affect them, not their education,
though. But some other things had to change. I had to sacrifice so many
things and I knew they too would be affected.
go to before for vacation; we don’t eat the same type of food we used to
eat. Losing something that is precious could be devastating, but if you
stay too much crying or disturbed, you would not be able to forge
ahead. It shouldn’t be the end of the world.
positive and she encouraged me. She has been a very supportive wife. She
told me that as long as there was life, there was hope. We prayed
together and I was lifted up in my spirit.”
Ikeja, Lagos, Johnson said even though the road had been rough, he was
not going to look back. He was not going to be an employee anymore.
way out, I told myself that I wasn’t going back to paid employment. I
thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be good if I could put all my experience to work?
Wouldn’t it be good to have my own company and employees?’ These
thoughts spurred me on to start my own firm in March 2015. However, I
was initially scared. Changing from one phase to a new one was not easy.
stopped. However, something came up which wanted to ruin my dream —
after I had decided I was going to start my own firm, I got an offer
from an engineering firm on Victoria Island. I went there, but I spent
only three months there and left. So I started my own company.”
of four employees presently, Johnson told our correspondent that he knew
the future was bright despite some challenges on his way.
right now, and I’m believing that He will take me to places. Now I have
my own company, which is an electrical and mechanical engineering firm.
It’s a registered company. We are a consulting/servicing company.
office space, so I had to beg my brother to share his office space with
him on Victoria Island, where he runs his own firm. Thank God things
were good, some jobs came my way, so I got my own office at Ikeja few
right from the beginning of this year when the economic recession
started, things have been quite difficult. But I trust God that things
will be okay again. Now, I’ve handled jobs for some of my former
employers and even the Lagos State Government.”
now are tied to the economic recession. Sometimes we get jobs, sometimes
we don’t. But I think it’s all part of life. Being a small
entrepreneur, getting customers has also been a challenge.
Island, we’ve written proposals, but they have yet to respond, all of
them citing economic recession. I have four people working under me now,
but I hope that in the nearest future, I’m going to have hundreds or
thousands of employees by God’s grace.”
he could offer Nigerians who have also lost their jobs, especially
during this period of economic recession, Johnson said, “They shouldn’t
think it’s the end of the world for them. They should see it as a step
forward in their lives.”
shared some of the qualities that have helped him so far in the business
world that would-be entrepreneurs should imbibe in order to be
business success is good attitude. Whatever they find themselves doing
or wherever they find themselves again, they should do well. If your
attitude is not good, you can’t set up a business and even if you do, it
won’t last. It’s not going to work. It has paved ways for me.
the companies I once worked at, I wouldn’t be able to go back there
again to ask them to be my clients. But I didn’t spoil my reputation
there. I can walk into any of the offices of my former employers again
and they will open the door for me.
not be afraid to start small. They shouldn’t despise the day of small
beginning. If you start big sometimes, you’re not going to have great
stories to tell. Look at the big entrepreneurs in the world, most of
them started small.
help. If the help comes, fine, but if not, they should learn to move
on. They should depend on God. They should also be straightforward.
Integrity matters a lot in business. You get referrals a lot if you are
learn to appreciate them. Next time, they will refer many more to you.
Meanwhile, learn to treat your clients equally, whether they are big or
small. Also, if you don’t have the full knowledge of the business, seek
for help. Learn from others. Hire those who can do it. Train yourself on
the job. However, if anyone who loses their job still wants to search
for another one, they should still try to think of what they can do on
their own while the search is on. They should not be idle.”
Intercontinental Bank sacked around 1,500 employees, Niyi Babawale, a
former branch manager was affected. Immediately, he fell sick and was
admitted to a hospital. His blood pressure was high. He could not admit
it was a reality.
rich lifestyle — vacations in the United States and the United Kingdom
with his two daughters and wife, chauffeur-driven in exotic vehicles and
a posh home in Victoria Garden City. In the twinkle of an eye, all was
borrowed to look good then. People thought I was rich because that was
the way my employer wanted me to look. Banks want you to live a wealthy
lifestyle even though you are not rich. So they provide an avenue for
you to borrow.
well-polished leather shoes and speak good English. Your presentation
matters a lot, but I was just living a fake lifestyle. I knew it, but I
didn’t think it was going to come to an end like that.
savings because whatever money I made, I used to service my loan. I had a
car, I bought one for my wife and also one to carry my children to
school. We had two drivers. But the banking tsunami came and swept me
and regrets, Babawale started an Information Technology company two
years after losing his job with the aid of a loan his wife helped him
secure. Since then, it has been a smooth, steady recovery to the life he
could sell. I sold my car and my wife sold her jewellery. I was able to
raise some money and started an IT firm. I studied Computer Science at
the University of Ibadan. I went into banking because I didn’t get a job
on time in the IT sector. I spent close to 15 years or so in the
industry before the banking sector reform which led to the collapse of
I’m in a new one. The company is located on Victoria Island and it’s
doing well. We have ten employees for now, but over time, they will
increase. Now I don’t worry about meeting any target of N2bn or N5bn
again. I’m living my life, even though it’s not as buoyant as when I was
a bank manager. But I thank God.
job, when you have your source of income blocked. But that is not the
end of the world. It’s the beginning of a new one. So I am happy I
passed that phase of lamentation. Anyone who has lost their job should
strive to pass that level also, though it’s not easy.”
but has since become an entrepreneur is Kola Oluyemi. It was in March
2013 when his employer told him to go as he failed to meet up with his
target of millions of naira.
travel out of the country when it happened. But I decided that I was
going to stay and survive in this country,” Oluyemi, who lives in
Ibadan, told our correspondent on the phone.
finding another one, but all my efforts were futile. Then I tried
dabbling into some businesses, but I was swindled along the way and lost
my money. I was downhearted. But I was not going to give up.
introduced me into poultry farming. Up till now, this is what I do. The
profit therein is not that much for now, but at least I know I’m working
for myself. I run my own show now. I don’t have to wake up early in the
morning and get stuck in traffic anymore. I have peace of mind. I am
surviving and I believe things are getting better.”
the people who know the job are not the ones who get sacked. It’s all
about politics. In fact, even a year after being sacked, they were still
calling me to ask, ‘How did you do this, how did you handle that?’ I
think it was not fair to sack the good people because of politics,” he
said. But he has since passed this phase.
has been experiencing, Oluyemi said, “There are many challenges. In
poultry business, logistics is very bad. There are no accessible roads
from the farm to the markets. Running the farm on diesel because of poor
electricity supply makes one to incur high cost. There are some
unfaithful workers to deal with.
farmer needs to dig their own borehole. All these facilities are
supposed to be provided by the government. We cannot access loans from
banks because of the double-digit interest rate. Some countries help
their farmers a lot. They provide their farmers all these amenities and
they go to the extent of buying produce from farmers. Here, if you are
stuck, you are stuck. Nobody comes to help you. It could be very
telecommunications firm in 2014 in Warri, Delta State, after working
there for three years. But she was not going to let the situation weigh
fashion school. I had always loved fashion. It involves creativity and I
am a creative person. I am single and agile. I knew I had to do
something else. By God’s grace, I am now a fashion entrepreneur and I’ve
never looked back.
find fulfilment in it. In fact, even though I am not earning up to half
of what I used to earn while I was an employee, I will not accept their
offer if they attempt to give me another one again.
because you are on your own, but I am encouraged by the fact that this
is the picture I’ve always painted for my life. Thinking of creative
designs keeps me awake all day long.”
high as 13 per cent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics,
which also said in its August 2016 report that about 1.5 million
Nigerians lost their jobs in the past one year.
labour force of 38.2 million (representing 48.7 per cent of the total
labour force of 78.48 million), a total of 15.2 million of them were
either unemployed or underemployed in Q1 2016, representing a youth
unemployment rate of 42.2 per cent,” the report added.
year as a lawyer at a law firm in Lagos until 2015 when his boss served
him a letter of termination of employment. Few months later, he started
his own law firm.
ever since. Right now, I dictate my fees to my clients. A boss doesn’t
hand down peanuts to me anymore. There are places I never went to as an
employee, but in my short time of starting my own law firm, I’ve been
there. The sky is not even the limit for me,” he said.
a long time for some people. It disturbs the mind. But anyone in the
situation should always remember that if there is life, there is still
hope. Instead of sobbing all day long, they should get up and encourage
themselves. That’s how they can move forward,” she said.
businesses, a Lagos-based business developer, Mr. Michael Adesola, has
some advice to offer.
whatever business they want to go into to avoid getting their hands
burnt in the process. Some just dabble into business without having
perhaps they had saved well while they were still on the job — they
could just start any business right away. It is not so.
well about that business, study the economic environment before
launching out. Seek for advice from reputable sources.”