ORSAS HEMBADOON writes that the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity of a young, male, Nigerian graduate of Physics Education, stand him out in Makurdi
A young graduate, Abraham Sunday Okoh, from Orokam, Iano council ward of Ogbadibo local government area of Benue State, who graduated from the University of Agriculture, Makurdi, in 2013/2014 academic session with BSc in Physics Education. When white collar job was not forthcoming, he decided to use his God-given talent and creativity- he went into the business of producing easy wears and sandals. With just a start-up capital of N18,000, good feasibility planning, financial discipline and planning as well as God’s favour, he was able to scale through the hurdles.
According to him, “Sometimes I will produce four to five easy wears and gradually, I began to grow till I became what I am today. Now I have many customers from far and near coming to patronize me.”
He goes on to reveal his source of inspiration in life: “In the Bible, Exodus 23 vs 25, the Lord said we should worship Him and that He will bless us, that sickness shall not be our portion and non shall be barren in the land; while Matthew Chapter 6 v 33 says “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and it’s righteousness and every other things shall be added unto you”, these are the two scripture verses that give me the courage to forge ahead in life,” he said.
“Many people need my products even outside Nigeria, but the major problem is that it does not have any brand name, for now I don’t have a crest machine that will crest the sizes and names on my easy wears but that does not discourage me from doing my work diligently. I don’t use inferior materials, I do my best so that any customer that purchases my products will not have any regrets.
“I delved into easy wear production in 2012/2013 to help myself while I was in school because of the financial difficulties I was facing then. I did not learn this from anywhere as an apprentice, because while in school I didn’t have the finances to go into production so I started doing menial jobs like mixing of concrete in building construction sites and so on, which gave me a little capital to start buying in little quantities from producers mostly in Otukpo, to sell in school. I was even drawing designs of easy wears I needed and was taking them to the producers during weekends and holidays and after producing them, I will buy few pairs according to what I have and take them to school and sell to students and even lecturers. This helped me a lot to solve some of my little problems and after graduation, instead of waiting for white collar job I decided to be self-employed. I give God the glory because it is purely God’s gift and my creativity. I use pure rubber and animal skin, and a little metal which I purchase from Onitsha. My easy wears are unisex; I even produce for children as well,” Okoh said.
Okoh desires use of improved technology for his wears, but was, however, full of praises for God for His mercies, noting that in spite of not having a brand name, people still patronize him which he attributes to putting in his best to do a quality work that can stand a taste of time.
“ I started with small amount with few easy wears but today I can boost of over 50 at a time; for me, it is much, and my success story is simple, when I take my products out I don’t return with them unsold, I sell all of them because of the quality, pattern and designs.
He wants all young men like him to discover their talents, and not shy away from exhibiting the God-given talents for creative work in them, just as he has done. “Why should I regret for what is keeping me busy and at the same time helping me to pay my dues? “I love my handiwork,” he stated.
Okoh appealed to well-meaning individuals and the governments to address the plight of young entrepreneurs by assisting them with soft loans that will enable them take what they are doing to greater height.
“I am looking forward to a day someone will be touched by this handwork, and would offer to help me grow beyond where I am today”
He disclosed that his easy wears are made of good Nigeria skin and rubber, saying they are durable, “I believe the time will come when customers will be struggling for who to get my product first, and with God by my side I know I will make a name with this.”
Okoh further explained that apart from the due diligence he applies in producing his products he prays as well. He engages in praise and worship, and busies himself when not working, in other extra-curricular activities like football, tennis and as well body building and aerobics at the gym.
“I look up to people like Dr (Pastor) Paul Enenche, because 100 per cent of my success in life today is through inspiration from his ministrations; also one of his servants, Pastor Godwin Shaibu, and Pastor King Adaji, who also taught me how to move on in life and destiny,” Okoh said.
The young entrepreneur encouraged upcoming entrepreneurs not to be deterred by people who try to discourage them, but to be focused especially in this time of recession. “Don’t allow yourself to be weighed down by any discouraging words of ‘no money’ or economic recession, but always believe strongly that there is money, and with God by your side, money will surely come.”
He described his worst moment as not yet being able to have a shop to show-case his product. “As you can see, I have an iron umbrella which I use as my shield but it was recently blown off by rain storm that is why you are seeing me working in the sun.
“In spite of all the challenges, I still advise young people like me to stop saying there are no jobs opportunities, because for me, that does not exist in my dictionary. I always tell my peers to try and make use of their talents which God has given them to become better people and be useful to themselves and their families.
“I am saying this because most of the young men who are graduates are not using their God-given talents because they all want quick money. Three quarter of them have engaged themselves in riding motorcycle and the little money they make therefrom go into gambling and betting. I advise them to learn some skills like painting, carpentry, etc.”
Okoh strongly advises young men to stay away from smoking, drinking of alcohol and engagement in social vices that will destroy their lives.