LIFE IN BRIEF
Amina Suleiman hails from the Dekina Local Government of Kogi State. She had her primary school and secondary school education in Lokoja, the state capital. She currently runs her business in Lokoja.
My name is Amina Suleiman. I was born into the family of Suleiman and in the Dekina Local Government of Kogi State. I had my primary school and secondary school education in Lokoja, the state capital. I started with the determination, despite my age, to succeed. Hence, I joined my mother in carrying kolanut on my head to sell around the town of Lokoja. It was there somebody saw me and gave me the job of pomp attendant at a filling station in Lokoja.
HOW IT All STARTED
I was barely seven years when the interest of following older ones for hawking brought me out. I started buying and selling kolanuts at the age of 10 years. I combined this with working as a pump attendant at a filling station in Lokoja metropolis.
My love and passion for the business of buying andnselling kolanuts was inspired by my mother who got these items from Anyigba and took them to people who further ensure they reach the consumers in the town. Because the people like kolanuts, preferably, native kolanuts and come to sell them and on realizing this ad the fact that it pays I entered into the business. The fact that many people love kola, especially native kolanut( those with more than two sides) selling kolanut is not as difficult as would be expected. Another good thing about it is that, it does not expire and has no time lag.
My mother, having identified and realised that I was picking interest and making steady gains from whatever stock she gave me to sell, started encouraging me. I even turned round the money I realised by buying and selling sweets before returning her money. When I was in the secondary school she bought sweets for me to sell. Hence, that was how I entered the business world.
There is no much challenge though some people nurse the fear of being owed by their customers. However, I have realised that if you make small profit you don’t have to entertain fears. When customers go to the market to buy and discover that your price is reasonable, they would come back to you and buy. In the last 15 years that I have been in the business, debt has not pushed me out. I had to take up the responsibility of a woman early enough because of what I saw with my mum. I saw how my mother won. When owed by her customers, she would always go back into the room to say, “well, if they have the money they would pay”, and that is it for me too.
ADVICE TO OTHERS
My advice to my fellow women, especially those who want to be successful in the future is that, they should realise that times are changing; a time will come when some men will not care about what a woman eats or wears, hence you have to put yourself in the position of fending for yourself. Women should not embark on idleness because it entails a lot of problems that will drag one into bad habit. Stories abound. You cannot continue to wait for men or your husband to do everything, please get involved in doing something. Waiting for the husband will frustrate you. You can start by selling ordinary “sachet water” and that will do. All you need is a small capital and you catch on that with good faith and entrepreneurial spirit; before you know it you are there.
In all these years I have been able to buy cloth for myself, pay a substantial part of my school fees from the kolanut which I sell. I think I have achieved a lot. When you are independent through business, you derive respect from your neighbours and it makes you happy and the house too will be happy. You don’t have to wait for anybody for little needs that you can ordinarily do yourself.
I love cooking so much. I am sure that is where whoever marries me will enjoy me. I love cooking. Cleanliness is part of my hobby, right from childhood, my mother gives that to me. I have been a champion of cleanliness. I clean everywhere in the house, kitchen and surrounding. I love singing too.
I really have no regrets as such. The only regret I have is that the person who trained me is no longer alive to see how I grow. The other one is that I cannot carry kolanut to hawk around as I used to do again.
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