My Vision of Raising One Million African Millionaires
I am not Tony Elumelu, who is doing a great job raising African millionaires.
I’m not also a worldly Christian governed by the spirit of Mammon as some very religious folks would start thinking right away. I detest sin and live a very disciplined life. I’m very heavenly conscious as many pious church folks would like to say.
I’m not extravagant, and I live a very frugal life for my age, profession, exposure, intelligence, anointing, and my connections. For many years, I had no suit in Ughelli, when I decided to bend down and redesign my life. Although someone gave me 23 suits in a year, I have given most of them out.
For many years, until very recently, I had only two or three pairs of shoes. Pastor Chibueze Okezie S. J. gave me one recently, and someone bought one from the US for me. I have only one necklace. I hardly wear wristwatches. I wear very cheap perfumes like Lapid, made by Starline Nigeria Ltd which, at one time, sold for 450 Naira, a little bit more than one dollar. I still use it, though it is now about 2 USD. I have no coral beads, just like my wife. I have three wrappers, that I have only won three times—once for my daughter’s traditional wedding, her church wedding, and one for my mother-in-law’s burial.
I take public transport to preach most times; though I have about 10 vehicles in my house and school, I rather see them as utensils to create wealth. I have six drivers, but they hardly drive me to preach. Don’t think I don’t take flights. I do, a lot, for my long journeys, and I like to sleep in good hotels, because I work hard and rest well.
I’m a very frugal person, and very few people of my status can live the way I do. But the simple lifestyle was deliberately cultivated to be able to climb out of poverty, reach a level in life, sustain it, and model it for others.
I don’t need to do what I do in the posts you read. I can afford to be like some people who like simulation and packaging.
If you have read my book titled, “Refined by Hardship”, then you can understand my lifestyle. I strongly recommend it to you. But suffice it to say that I was plagued with the problems of living in sin as a badly bad young man, from an idolatrous background, very rascally, with illiterate parents. It was a dysfunctional family, but I was quite brilliant.
I set out to rectify these ills at a point in life. I graduated as a medical doctor in 1984 from the prestigious College of Medicine, University of Ibadan. I opened my first practice in 1988, when I was 29. I built my first house when I was 30, and got married at 26. However, at a point, I slowed down in every aspect of life. I was less than what I had dreamed off. My mates left me; I was somehow anaesthetised by what I won’t like to mention here. The chain of poverty was about to grip me again. Things were not the way I had hoped for.
But I loved God, and was into several Christian activities. I had great charismatic gifts with healings, Word of knowledge, people falling under anointing, and standing up the same, most times.
Even when I went into full-time ministry, my hands were very empty, and some of my in-laws called me a fake doctor and fake pastor. One day, I told God that my mates won’t listen to me with poverty. My mates are professors of medicine all over the world. My secondary school mates are multimillionaires. My junior at one time, Ambode, was Governor of Lagos state. I had made a vow that I will not beg to preach. I had also made a vow that none of my mates will come from any nation and intimidate me with wealth.
I really fasted and prayed in agony that, Lord, if you can teach me how to be rich genuinely, I will teach one million African Entrepreneurs to become better than I am, or at least like me. I got my inspiration from 2 Timothy 2:2: “Teach reliable men what you have been taught, who will then teach others”.
Teach people responsible and disciplined lifestyles and excellence in anything they do.
Raise a respectable family, and don’t get enmeshed in the corruption that is endemic in Africa.
I put my best into everything I do because I need to be a model of excellence.
The motto of our school, Petra Christian Academy, Ughelli, is Righteousness and Excellence. It will interest you to know that at 56 years of age, I did a Master’s degree in Public Administration and scored 10 A’s, 7 B’s and 1 C. It was the best result in that graduating class of MPA at Delta State University, Abraka.
How Do We Intend To Reach Our Goal?
For 20 years, I have been running entrepreneurship seminars in several African nations with my own funds. I was sponsored once to Sierra Leone. Only this year have I demanded for tickets from any church in Africa when I went to Cameroon. I don’t raise offerings and don’t place any financial conditions.
This has taken me to Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, South Sudan, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Togo, Benin, and Cameroon. Sometimes, I go to very remote areas. Like in Busia, Kenya, I was carried with a Bicycle called boda boda as guest preacher. Bishop Sireka can testify that I did not ask for an offering, I paid my hotel bills at Paradise Hotel in Busia. I have travelled by road for 17 hours from Antananarivo to Morandova in Madagascar. I paid my hotel bills for 11 days. Venerable Kingsley Ogbonda of Anglican Church, Rivers State, was my host. He gave me food and water.
I was in South Sudan one year after their independence with Laolu Adegbesan. We paid our tickets from Lagos to Kenya, Kenya to Madagascar, and back. Rev. Finbarr Ogu and his wife were our hosts; they took very good care of us, put us in a great hotel, fed us, and gave us an offering out of their own volition.
I have also been to Australia to speak to Africans on entrepreneurship. I bought the ticket for 805,000 Naira of my money. I had only 50 dollars when I got to Lagos on my way to Melbourne, enroute Adelaide, but my childhood friend, a Roman Catholic, gave me 3,500 dollars for the trip. That was in January, 2015.
I have been running the Word and Wisdom Conferences in our school, Petra Christian Academy, Ughelli, usually twice a year, for many years.
We bring people who have excelled in various areas of businesses and life to teach people. One of my most recent guests is the renowned fashion designer, Mudi Africa who told us his story. We have done several training on various trades over the years. We don’t put financial pressures on anybody.
I run the Word and Wisdom program every Wednesday by 6:30 a.m. on Quest FM that reaches a large audience in about 5 States—a potential audience that runs into millions of people.
I started with my own funds then at 800,000 Naira, per annum, excluding staff salaries before Salimo Wits Foundation took over the sponsorship for the past two years.
It’s one of the best programs in my area here, and there great testimonies of lives that we have reached.
We act as resource persons to states, organisations, cooperatives, companies, and denominations like Church of God Mission International, Assemblies of God Church Nigeria, where I have spoken at several of their Men’s National Conventions.
I also went round Nigeria to speak in their districts around Nigeria on entrepreneurship. I still do that regularly till date, before the COVID-19 period.
The blog you are reading is read in a hundred countries and territories globally.
Yesterday, we had readers from all the continents of the world. We have readers from as far as Belize, Brazil, North Mariana Islands, India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and several other nations.
There are several businesses that have been established by individuals and denominations throughout Africa because of our books and messages.
I lecture on entrepreneurship at the Vocational Enterprise Centre of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun as a visiting lecturer.
I have mentored several young men and women all over the world of Nigerian extraction, who are in turn influencing others.
We are practically demonstrating what we teach on a daily basis for those we mentor, and for our observers to emulate. I don’t need to do some of the things I’m doing if I choose comfort. I no longer need to go to work before I eat until I leave this world, but I have a covenant with God to be productive.
We have acquired land for Petra Institute at Effurun-Otor, my maternal home, where we intend to train entrepreneurs. It will be very practical and will be a tourist centre too.
We intend to do regular online broadcasts on entrepreneurship to reach the global audience. This will come on stream very soon.
This post you are reading was written by 3:48 a.m. Nigerian Time. I will send it to Europe to be edited. It should be online this morning. I don’t need to do this at 61 years of age; many of my mates are retirees. But this is my song; this is my life work; this will be my legacy to Africa and the world. I have been awake since 6 a.m. the previous day, and I have been to the farm. It is now 3:53 a.m, and my son doing a PhD in Software Engineering in Europe is editing this post right now.
I will be up this morning to market cucumbers to a new customer in a nearby town. It’s not easy; it costs money, great efforts, and meditation.
We need partners in every aspect to help actualize this vision. I am not getting any younger. We need your partnership towards achieving the dream of Petra Institute, Effurun-Otor.
God Bless You.