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Maduka Onyishi Wins Vanguard Newspaper Innovator Of The Year Award (pictures)

Extraordinary Grace, Strength, Destiny, Propel Me – Dr. Maduka Onyishi Says As He Wins Vanguard Newspaper Innovator Of The Year Award.

Sam Maduka Onyishi (MON), the founder of Maduka University Enugu and Peace Mass Transit has received the prestigious Vanguard Innovative Investor of the Year on Friday.

Dr. Maduka received the award at the 2024 Vanguard Personality of the Year event held at the Eko Hotel, Lagos.

The award recognises individuals who have significantly impacted business and capital development.

Speaking before guests as he received the Vanguard Newspapers Most Innovative Investor Award in Lagos last weekend, Onyishi stated that his transition from the humblest of beginnings to his current status, was nothing short of extraordinary Grace, and unusual favour of destiny upon him, and what he had been doing.

Stated he: “I sincerely make no pretence of being smarter in my businesses, nor do I assume to be better competitive, because my honest circumstance was a pretty rough survival road, very basic in scope and capacity as it were.

“There was no hint of aspirations to what has providentially become, nor any label of exclusive personal hardwork, other than the grace of trust people had on my endeavours.

“Sometimes really, I’m more surprised than most, in my quiet moments of reflections”.

Narrated he as he gave more insight into his development in life and business: “What I always acknowledge and wish to repeat here is that unspeakable grace met me at the point of toil and sweats, and took hold of my destiny without any resistance. It’s just that simple, because I have had several losses, made mistakes, failed again and again, but never obliged failures to conquer my humbly determined focus. I had no god-father to fall back on, nor access to other sources of finance, than acceptance to live what I am and see what will be.

“But clearly, there are three major markers in my life struggles that made unbelievable transformation on my life’s journey that I can’t forget. One was in Tudun Wada Kano, when a Ghana woman, Mercy Nana Dufie gave me money to keep for her in an Ovaltine container. I simply dropped it under my bed securely. When she came back after some months to take it, she shouted that I gave her the same exact money she gave me.

‘Did you not trade with it?’ she screamed, totally surprised. I protested naively that she told me to keep the money for her, not trade with it. She went ahead spontaneously to tell all the Ghana people in Tudun Wada Local Government that she had seen one man in Nigeria who didn’t touch money given to him for safe keeping. Patronage for my clothing business spiralled that I saved N12,000 between 1987 and 1989 and quietly left for spare parts business in Kano City.

“Secondly while there, one Alhaji Mohammed Lawal Kurfi gave me spare parts on credit to pay back after selling. I traveled and sold it in Lagos and returned the money in bundles of cash in a carton. Of course, I didn’t have any bank account then because of how much my capital was.

Alhaji Lawal marvelled on seeing his complete money in cash and confessed it was his first experience of such in that business. He promptly told all his colleagues who imported spare parts that he had seen someone who pays completely and in cash for goods given to him on credit. Again, out of my ‘naivety’, in not recycling his money to multiply returns as others ‘smarter’ did, my patronage exploded. I suddenly became very important as the reliable middle man there. Expansion was inevitable, and it came forcefully.

“The third and most amazing of all was when I became a transporter and went to buy a new vehicle from the popular Ineh-Mic Motors in Lagos. After paying, I was short by two hundred thousand Naira. I pledged to redeem it to him in two weeks. He kindly obliged me. Before the two weeks were due, I paid it off without any phone calls or reminders. And I didn’t think anything of it, except being my natural self as l had promised, fearful about the shame of a possible let-down in future.

Dr. Mike Inegbese, the owner and a major car dealer, then voluntarily without my asking, because of that single act, commenced giving me double of any cash purchase orders I made. If I paid for two, he would give me four, if four, he gives eight, if twelve, he released twenty-four vehicles to me without any form of colleteral, no agreement and no witness. He made it plain when eventually I managed to ask him much later, that I was his first customer who paid off his credit grace on time, without asking or tedious follow-up.

“These are people I hardly knew nor had a leverage upon, other than doing things the way I knew and believed, as I was thought by my mother. I grew my number of vehicles on the road to a record four thousand units without ever borrowing from banks as was the trend, because that man found better colletaral in a risky trust that was not betrayed at all. He later continued supplying me vehicles even without my orders, that when I scream, he calms me down instead to relax and pay later. So, how can you receive such favour and trust and claim you did these on your own?”

In one of its most inspiring citations of the day, the Newspaper said that, its board of Editors was actually drawn by irresistible curiosity to know how a peasant trader, bus conductor, bus driver, became a spare parts dealer, and founder of the most disruptive player in the Nigerian Mass Transit ecosystem, through his Peace Mass Transit company, that ply all land routes in Nigeria and beyond.

Remarked Vanguard: “Not content with that comfortable money spinning terrain, he again leaped into the conservative and complex frontier of the academia as a promoter and founder of a University, complete with a feeder College, amazing facilities and fully accredited faculties, operating seamlessly as a generation-next citadel of learning.

“Yet again, he elbowed his way into the corporate realm without noise, as a consummate investor in blue chip companies that see him sitting as board chairman of the only quoted Leasing and Maritime company in Nigeria, C&I Leasing Plc, Director of May and Baker Pharmaceuticals PLC, Director at Globus Bank Ltd, and owner of other thriving businesses”.

Grace and destiny indeed, couldn’t have been more explicit, the awardee re-emphasised, advising that people strive to have something that would attract grace and make it stay. He added that in his case, he believed it was trust and humility.


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