Search this Site and the Web.

Making ends meet, Lagosians way.

By David Ibemere (Guardian)
Times are hard, no jobs, many complain, but some smart Lagosians are making a good living nonetheless 

"Survival of the fittest is the name of the game" - Lagos, Nigeria

WHEN others saw bean-cake-frying (akara) business as demeaning, Mrs. Rose Nnadozia, was only counting the possible number of people who would be passing the point she had chosen to erect her stand and how much she could sell.
With determination she started, preparing akara for her teeming customers who swarm around her to buy every morning and evening.
In a tiny makeshift kiosk she starts the day's job as early as 6.00 a.m., when she arrives at her popular shed in Orile.
She mixes and fries enough quantity before her patrons start lining up to be served. While a couple of them eat at the kiosks, a great number of them prefer to take the beak cake home.
According to her, she resigned as a receptionist in a private company in Ikeja in 2009 to start the job, which has now endeared her to her numerous customers.
"I started with the last salary I collected from my office. Initially, it was not easy since I was not yet known and could not make enough money to take care of my family. But I persisted because nobody forced me to do it. I started with only akara but when I later added 'dough nut,' fried yam and potato, I could not cope with the number of customers. My daughters were coming to help me before leaving for school in the morning," she said.
Mrs. Nnadozie observed that every business needs perseverance before it could succeed. "Had it been I relaxed when I started newly, I would not have been here today.
With this job, I have been able to train three of my children through university. Many people do not believe that it is only with this that I am able to achieve all those things," she said.
According to her, the only problem is the constant harassment from the miscreants popularly called area boys who come in different groups to collect money. She added that members of the Lagos State Task Force have demolished the place several times, forcing her to use a canopy now, saying: "I dismantle the kiosk each time I finish for the day."

'Gen set' repair, made popular by perenial power cuts
 Also, Dayo Ayoni, a 17-year-old school leaver, has become popular to many residents in Ajegunle, because of his mastery in repairs of generating set.

According to him, his parents are poor, instead of engaging in criminal activities, he decided to eke a living for himself by learning how to repair generating set.
"I have been repairing generating set for two years now. With the money I made, I was been able to support my parents in paying my school fees, and also buy textbooks. I am also saving for my university education."
"I don't have a shop, I only place a sign to show that I can repair generating set outside my house. I usually charge my customers N700 as my workmanship," he remarked

Commercial bus drivers and bus conductors, too....
 Also, Mrs. Yetunde Adelaja used to sell all varieties of fruits in Ladipo Market. She did not bother to erect a shed to protect her from the scorch of the sun. A table, stool and a raffia hat are the only property needed for her business. From morning till evening, if she is not peeling oranges, she is slicing pineapples or watermelon for her numerous patrons. Sometimes, when the fruits seem to be scarce, she adds roasted corn, yam. This is all she does for a living and she changes the fruits according to its season.

According to her, she has used it to train her daughter in the university and get a bungalow where they are living now.
A resident who wants to remain anonymous said: "All these menial jobs bring lot of money. People cannot do without them. Most of them have done that job to build houses.  Everything is perseverance. After all, there is no job that is easy."
Aminu Audu, is also one of those who smile to his bank daily because he serves his numerous patrons with bread and tea in a kiosk. He employs young boys who dash from one end of the kiosk to another to attend to the customers. His secret of success is prompt service. Despite what people say about his mean job, he is able to pay his boys "good" salary.   He is automatically an employer of labour as he pays them as at when due.
Also 18-year- old Lola Lawal is a proud of owner of a phone centre. She sells recharge cards and renders phone service.
According to her, she makes as much as N1,500 daily from her business from which she was able to pay for her examinations.
Ade Dosumu combs the city looking for where construction work is going on.
He offers himself to help with the construction and that is how he makes ends meet.
"The most favourable arrangement is when we are invited to serve the mason. Most often, we are paid N50 per block. Therefore, the pay is according to the number of blocks laid. A block is N200 and some bricklayers can lay more than 300 blocks before the day's work is over. So the least I make in a day is N2000 but I spend N300 on food daily since we have to eat very well because the work saps a lot of energy."

...not missing out the 'Okada Riders'(Motor-bike transport)
 A visit to the Agege Lairage and Abattoir also revealed different categories of labourers who have been able to eke a living from odd jobs in the vast complex.

"There are people among who collect bones and sell to bone-mills or other production outfits, which process them.
"What they get depends on their bargaining power and availability of buyers," one of the workers who spoke said.

He continued: "If you are serious and persistent, there is nothing to regret about it. Some people who work in corporate offices do not earn as much as we do. I do not think that at my level, I will want to work for any person again.
"Funny enough, when we meet a banker who earns N60,000 a month in a beer palour, because he is well dressed  and wears a tie, he buys us drinks, unaware   that I may be making as much,  if not  more  than he earns monthly."
He advised young graduates who roam the street looking for white collar jobs, to look around and harness whatever opportunities the huge population in Lagos offers and through which they can earn a decent living while waiting for their applications to be honoured.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave a comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...