At was twenty five in 1985, I had quit my salaried job at the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, and started in biz. I was into commodities and it was a paying cruise! I was an essential commodities “Essenco” king! So, I had just bought a yellow Mercedes Benz 200 and I was feeling like a king, not just a big boy.
One day, I went to the Mobil fueling station at MCC by Highway to buy petrol, there, I ran into Mr Obeten Bassey Iwara, (O. B. Iwara, as he was popularly known), who at the time was my uncle’s friend.
He saw me and started shaking his head. He asked, “is this your car?” I replied, “yes, Sir”. He frowned and shook his head some more, he asked, “do you have a piece of land? Have you built a house? I replied” No sir!” He then scolded: “You are a tenant and you are driving a Benz?”
I didn’t know what to say except to mumble that I had no land and no house. And he repeated “and you went and bought a Mercedes Benz?” He commanded me to drive behind him to his house. I did and there he lectured me on real estate investment returns, value increase versus car liability and inevitable car depreciation!
He didn’t stop there, he sent for the Chief of Akai Effa in Calabar and introduced me to him. Over the next few months, I bought 22 plots of land at Akai EFA which became Resort Sophie or today’s Orange Resort. (May I add that I practically developed Akai Effa, the community appreciated my role and many years later, they dashed me two plots on which I built my residence. I later dashed that house to another older guy who I mentored many times, but that’s another story!)
O. B. Iwara set me on the right path. He opened my eyes and made me think beyond cruise! You can now understand why I do the same to others. You now know why I teach freely. I do so because an older man met me going wrong and set me on the right path. See?
Our greatest leg up often comes through chance encounters with people who are not necessarily family! Get?
Class Master, Ray Ugba Morphy, a man of many parts, wrote in from Calabar.
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