- Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, founder of Elizade Nigeria Limited, has revealed that he hawked pap and matches before his mother sent him to school
- Recounting his life experience, he said he sold charcoal and firewood to make ends meet
- He said his mother financed his education because his father only sent the first child of each of his three wives to school
The founder of Elizade Nigeria Limited and chairman of Toyota Nigeria Limited, Chief Michael Ade-Ojo, has recounted his inspiring experience as a child in Ondo state, saying that he hawked pap and matches before his mother sent him to school.
Ade-Ojo, who hails from Ilara-Mokin in Ondo state, recounted his story during an interview with Vanguard.
NAIJ.com notes that the billionaire businessman said: "My life started as a street hawker in Ondo state. I sold all sorts of things including charcoal, matches, pap and firewood to make ends meet. I continued with life until my mother was convinced that I needed to go to school. So, she decided to finance my education.
"My father had three children and he did his best to sponsor the education of only one child from each wife. But unfortunately, I was the youngest child of my mother. I was very obedient to her and my mother was a good disciplinarian. She would not take nonsense from me."
Ade-Ojo said he would go to the brook everyday to fetch water for his mother to cook, adding that he was handling all the chores including sweeping in the home.
He said: "While my mother decided to finance my education, I was still doing the house chores. All the time, she was grinding corn to make pap and she taught me to be responsible. So, I was quite obedient. She never spared the rod whenever I made mistakes.
"In the morning before going to school, I would have to fetch water, sweep the house and sell pap for my mother. And when I came back in the evening, I would do my homework. I also sold kerosene and matchsticks, cleared weed to slip poverty. In those days, people were not able to buy one box of matches at a time. We would tie them in pieces, between five and 10, and then hawk them around. That was my own business."
On how he started Elizade Nigeria Limited, he said: "When I started the business, I was asked to pay 600 pounds. It was RT Briscoe Nigeria that just started selling Toyota in Nigeria. The company gave me the opportunity to sell cars while I earn my commission. I wanted to expand my coast, so I approached a bank for loan but I was denied.
"I offered my brain as collateral but it was rejected. I met a cousin who gave me the 600 pounds and I paid to start the sale of motorcycle. I paid the 600 pounds to the company and became an agent. And I was promised to be paid 2.5 per cent commission."
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that one of Nigeria's greatest nationalists and a chieftain of Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, narrated his inspiring childhood experience.
Adebanjo, who went down memory lane in an interview with Tribune, said that his classmates mocked him for being the son of a cigarette seller. He said his mother was responsible for his school fees.
Me and my children used to drink garri three times daily - Olajumoke the bread seller - on NAIJ.com TV