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I hawked ice water, eba; today a Managing Director

By Moses Nosike

Mr. Jibola Awoseyi, originally is from Ilesa, was born and breed in Ile Ife, Osun State.

Awoseyi said apart from his “A” level which he did in Ibadan Polytechnic, he completed his Primary, Secondary and University education in Ile Ife. After his graduation from the University of Ife (Obafemi Awolowo University) he proceeded for his Youth Service Corps in Lagos. At the end of the one year of service as a youth corper, he picked a job at the University of Lagos as an Administrative officer in the year 1982.

“In my family however, my father was not a millionaire, but was comfortable and prominent and we can get things done. But I tell you behind my father, I was hawking iced water, wrapped eba in nylon for my mother because she was a petty trader, even though some of my siblings were abroad, she still involved herself in that to survive even though my father would not know I was doing that, but I did it for my mother. “If you want to rise not only on the job, but in life perseverance and dedication must be your stock in trade otherwise you are going nowhere in life. Because of my background and training , I don’t look back when it comes to work – I give all it takes to make sure I achieve results.”

I could still recollect in my first employment after Youth Service, I woked almost 10 years in UNILAG dedicated to service. During that period I rose to become the Head of Protocol to the vice chancellor before I left for then Lever Brothers Nigeria Ltd. now Unilever Nigeria Plc. as the Personal Assistant to then Chief Executive Officer, late Chief Rufus Giwa. I worked with him for nine years. So, when he left, I was to continue on the job but I didn’t because I had made up my mind not to continue with a paid job after twenty years of service.

I decided that time had come for me to start my own business, having worked in UNILAG and Lever Brothers for almost 20 years. There I resigned, without knowing what type of business to venture into. Meanwhile, I had registered three businesses engaging in petty trading and supplies. This company you are seeing today, CloseWatch is among the three registered.

One day, just from the word CloseWatch, I said to myself this sounds like watching “security’. Since that day I started developing interest in security services. I went searching on the internet, reading journals and attending conferences on security with my friends who were in the business already. I went to one of my friends, Alhaji Rotimi Isola, the CEO, RoyalSec Security Nigeria Ltd, for counseling and advise because for you to rise you need the advices of those who are there before you.

He was such an inspiration and I remain grateful to him. I must confess to you that initially it was very rough. I had a lot of challenges; getting an office, finance, logistics, skilled manpower etc. Mind you I was just new in the industry. First I had to go head-hunt for the Head of security, Lever Brothers and I employed him to join me and my driver and they are the two staff of the company at inception.

Our first job was with John Holt Plc. through a friend Alhaji Bayo Jimoh, the current GMD Odua Group of Companies. We started at Abule Egba with just 24 guards, but today we service John Holt in almost all the states of the Federation.

You don’t determine the future from the beginning, it is not always easy at start. When you remain focused, and with God nothing is impossible. There was in time in this business when we asked ourselves, if we could continue this business, because we were operating at 45% loss every month. But I told my staff that if you want to continue in business don’t look at the profit but strive for volume and maintain the confidence of your clients and , with perseverance and determination you can make it.

Today, we have moved beyond that level despite challenges in the business. I tell people that any time you want to do something, don’t lose focus, be determined to achieve results. Don’t count how many times you have failed. I know some people who sat for school certificate six times, but today, they are professors.

In my life, I have worked with people I still adopt their style till tomorrow, such people like late Chief Rufus Giwa, who never went to a secondary school because of poverty and sat for A Level from home and came out with a first Class from the University and rose through the ranks to become the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lever Brothers Plc. He never believed there was anything like failure. If such men from low background survived why will I not survive.

This has been one of my propeller in life. So, what am I saying, your attitude to life can stop you from rising. For instance, in UNILAG we were four that were employed on the same day, four of us in the same department, one in another department. I made sure I carry out assignments delegated to me.

I made sure I was in my office at 7 a.m before work starts at 8 a.m. Then I never left office before my boss and worked till very late. Nobody taught me that. But my colleagues would leave office as soon as it was 4 p.m whether their boss were in the office or not. I never did that and fortunately I didn’t know that my boss was watching all that.

When the first promotion came, I was promoted and they started complaining. The next one came I was promoted. I remember it came to a time my boss asked me if I had worked somewhere else before I said no that I came straight from NYSC. What was I doing? When my boss gave me a job and I would go to my clerk and cleaner who had been there for several years and asked him how do you do this and they would teach me and give me the relevant files to study post

The Postgraduate School of UNILAG was just established and I was assisting, the then Deputy Registrar, the Late Mrs E. A. Adesanya. But because of the confidence she had in me, I was the one doing the job. Postgraduate Board Meeting would start at 9 a.m and most times would drag into as late as 9p.m.

However, little did I know that was preparing myself for the future. Again, when I was in then Lever Brothers, my boss didn’t promote me not for a long time because he realised that if he did, I would have to move from his office and he didn’t want to loose me.

I never realized this, it was one of the Directors, Chief Luggard Ahimiuwu that made to realize this and did something about this. He then merged my job with that of Head Office Admin. Manger to enable me progress in my career while still working with the Chairman.

The lesson from this is to take other people’s job as your own as you cannot quantify the benefits. Reason is that whatever thing you are doing, people are watching you and it is the same zeal you will put into your own personal business. The moment you put money first in anything, you are a looking for failure. Money should not be the objective. The moment you are given a job, do it as if

it’s your own, don’t look at the financial gain because when you do it well, money will come.


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