How MKO became a business man @ 9

The Author of The President Who Never Rule Speaks with the GDA
It was late at
night when Salawu finally reached Abeokuta. He was terrified. He was
certain that most of the farmers, if not all of them, would call him a liar. To
his surprise, by the time the lorry reached his house the farmers were waiting
for him. Feeling like a man who had been stripped naked in public, he slowly
got out of the vehicle, avoiding their prying eyes. Moshood was right behind
Salawu was silent till
he got close to them. “Good evening,
They all returned his greetings. After a brief pause he
continued, “Tragedy has struck in its
ugliest form. My consolation is that you have all known me long enough to be
certain that stealing is not part of my character and it will never”
The farmers
interrupted him. They were not there for long speeches. They wanted their money
or their goods. They began yelling at him and, in a fit of anxiety;
led four of them, whom he felt were a bit calm, to a corner.
Breathing heavily, he declared. “This is
worse than a nightmare. It all started when an inspection team, led by an
insolent inspector, claimed that our
were full of defects. I told them they were wrong and begged. But they did not
listen. Eventually they burned the entire consignment. Those people don’t have
the fear of God”
One of the
farmers hissed at him. “It is you who
does not have the fear of God. How can you expect us to believe such nonsense?”

Another farmer
shouted, “Why didn’t they burn you as
well? Don’t they know that our goods are worth more than you?”
And another
one asked him, “Why did you return? You should
have committed suicide”

MKO Abiola; The Star Boy

The other
farmers had begun joining them, one after the other. Once Salawu repeated the same
details to them, they started abusing him. After a while they calmed down and Salawu
was finally able to speak. “This incident
was not my fault but I assume full responsibility”.
He paused briefly,
hoping in vain that at least one of them would absolve him. “I will pay all of you what I owe you, each
and every one. I will have to sell all that I own to do that but I will need
some time”
The farmers
became divided. Some refused his proposal because he had asked for time. Others
accepted and asked him how much time he needed. After almost thirty minutes,
they held a small meeting and reached a consensus. They agreed to give Salawu
a maximum of five months to pay the sum in full. Communicating the details to
him, their spokesman stated,.”We will not
charge you the selling price of the cocoa because of our long-standing
relationship with you. All we want is our cost when we acquired it”
reluctant, he told Salawu the exact figures before
declaring. “As you can see, we are not
heartless. We could have handled this matter in a much more violent manner and
I am sure that you know what I mean”
Salawu nodded his head and assured
them that he would comply with all their terms. After that they left.

MKO & Dad, Chief Salawu Adenekan

How Chief Salawu sold off his assets to pay debt
The following
day, Salawu
put all his assets, apart from a family house inherited from his late father,
up for sale. After four months, he had sold most of them and used the proceeds
to reduce the total debt to 523 pounds, which was a substantial amount back
then. Thinking that his efforts would buy him some time, he was shocked when
one of his creditors, whom he still owed 120 pounds, became very impatient for
his balance. Salawu was not forthcoming so the man set his eyes on his
family house, whose ownership Salawu shared with his other
siblings. The creditor told him he had to sell it.
After a while Salawu
shifted his ground and agreed to auction the items in the house, but
not the house itself. He told the creditor and auctioneer that the property was
jointly owned. They agreed to his terms and the auction began but after it had
ended, the creditor, who was unsatisfied with the proceeds he had collected
from the sale of the items, instructed the auctioneer to sell the house.
Bidding began at once. Salawu watched helplessly. His family
house would have been sold on the spot had Moshood not risen up to put a halt
to the sale. With his tiny voice, Moshood boldly declared. “This house should not be sold today. My
father might have inherited it but he does not own the land on which it was
built. Whoever buys the house today without the approval of my uncles and
aunts, the owners of the land, must be ready to carry the house to another plot
of land”
After Moshood’s
statement the creditor and auctioneer stood by aghast as they watched the
potential buyers disperse.

“This house should not be sold today. My father
might have inherited it but he does not own the land on which it was built.
Whoever buys the house today without the approval of my uncles and aunts, the
owners of the land, must be ready to carry the house to another plot of land”

How MKO became Bread Winner @ 9
The next day Moshood
decided that it was time for him to work harder and earn more. He was
encouraged by the fact that many children in Nigeria were breadwinners in their
families. His father had worked hard enough and needed a break. Moshood
chose the firewood business. It was not capital intensive so he was sure that
his father could help him get started.
He went to seek
his mother’s approval. His plan was for both of them to persuade his father
together but she didn’t like the idea. “You
already don’t spend enough time studying. You now want to run your own
business? I will never let that happen”
Moshood immediately
knelt down in front of her. “You want the
best for me, I know, but my grades have improved since I started working. The
things I learn out there in the real world have a positive impact on how I
perform in the school world”

Abdul Jamiu AbiodunAbiola; The author of The President Who Never Ruled

“You are too stubborn. To a normal child, the word no means no, but to you it means
resistance. Leave me in peace and go to your room!”
The last part of
her sentence was loud enough to draw Salawu’s attention from outside.
Within a few seconds he was inside the house. Moshood was already on
his way to his room. His father scolded him. “Small in age but big in mischief … Why is your mother angry with
Moshood was silent. His
mother appeared and said, “If you don’t
talk, I will.”
Moshood began
stammering. “I want to trade, sir. I know
I am young but some children who are younger than me are doing much more than I
am doing. If I get involved in buying and selling firewood, I am sure that I
will break even”
His father, who
had expected to hear something sinister, burst out laughing. He looked at his
wife teasingly. “Is this what the fuss is
all about? I thought he had committed a crime”.
He sat down but kept his
gaze on his wife. “Try to be gentler with
him. He is too bright and vibrant a boy. Is that not what you prayed for before
he was born?”
Looking at Moshood, he sighed. “I will continue fending for all of you
without your help. I will even find a way to sponsor your university education.
Forget about trading!”
Moshood was
disappointed. Sensing that, his father flared up. “You ought to be careful or I will even stop you from following me to
Moshood bowed down to
his parents as a sign of respect then hurried into his room. After two hours,
to his surprise, his father came to join him. He looked sober as he sat next to
on the mat. He patted his back before asking, “Why do you always have to go beyond the limits that I set for you? I
let you follow me to work, against my wish, and now you want to run your own
business, against my wish. Why are you always so impatient to grow up?”

The Book That Cleared MKO Abiola’s Political blemishes

Moshood, in tears, told
him how humiliated he had felt when the product inspector and the other farmers
had treated him badly, especially when some farmers had called him names. Then
he shocked his dad by asking an unexpected question, “Why should a man have a son who would be completely useless to him?”
Salawu was moved. He
could not stop himself from allowing Moshood to have his way. “Okay, go ahead and carry out your plans” He looked very serious. “But the firewood business is not a cakewalk
for people in our weak financial condition. I don’t have enough money to hire
you a truck. That means that you have to fetch the firewood on foot”
He threw
Moshood a warning glance. “Aside from
that, returning home with the heavy firewood on your head is another challenge
entirely. You could fall several times because of the weight of the firewood
and, if you buy it early in the morning, there will be darkness to contend with
as well”
Moshood was not
discouraged. When his father noticed that, he told him that the cheapest
firewood was sold in an area called Oba. He described how Moshood
could get there. He also gave Moshood ideas of where he could sell
the firewood at a good price. Then before going to sleep, he made a statement
that Moshood
had been hoping to hear. “Give me a few
days and I will raise some money for you. But your grades have to…” Moshood
interrupted him. He assured
him that his grades, that were already excellent, would get even better. He
also promised to pay back the capital after a few months. His father declined
his offer but seemed pleased, as he walked out of his room, that Moshood
had made it.
(Excerpts from
the book, The President Who Never Ruled by Jamiu Abiola; get copies
in any book shop across the world or write Jamiu Abiola through Read Day MKO was attacked at Oba Market by Area Boys in our next
post on this blog).