LIFE IN BRIEF
Ohiza Bello-Salami was born in 1983 into a polygamous family at Okoroke, Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State. She had both her primary and secondary schools education in her home town of Okehi after she proceeded to the Jos Television School, Jos, Plateau State. Ohiza is married and blessed with a baby girl.
My name is Ohiza Bello-Salami. I was born in 1983 into a polygamous family at Okoroke, Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State. Both my primary and secondary schools were in Okehi after which I proceeded to Plateau State where I attended the Jos Television School, Jos. I am happily married and I have a baby girl.
HOW IT STARTED
I was 10 years old when I started buying and selling of clothes and pieces of jewellery. I still do these now, though combined with my work.
My love and passion for the business of buying and selling clothes were inspired by my mother who got these items from Okene and took them to Abuja to sell. She also bought stock from Abuja and came to Okene to sell. Realising that it was very profitable, I entered into the business. Everybody wears clothes; hence, selling clothes is not as difficult as many people think. When I was 10 years old, my mother was making soap which she would give to me to sell. From the proceeds, I bought and sold sweets. I, however, returned her money after I finished selling my wares. When I was in the secondary school, she bought me veils to sell; which I did. That was how I entered into the business world.
There are challenges in every business. But here, the greatest challenge is that of debt owed by patrons. That is, people would buy goods and refuse to pay. But this can be conquered and so one does not have to entertain fears on it. If one makes small profit, then one doesn’t have to worry or entertain fears. When customers go to the market to buy and discover that your price is reasonable they will come back to buy from you. And that is okay. 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 in my mother.
ADVICE TO OTHERS
My advice to other women is that they should not embark on idleness because it brings a lot of problems. A woman should not be looking up to her husband for everything that concerns finances. Hence, she should get cracking. Waiting for the husband will frustrate you. You can start with a business by selling ordinary sachet water. All you need is a small capital and with faith and hard work you can become an entrepreneur.
In all the years I have been in business, I have been able to achieve a lot. When I was observing the mandatory one year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, I also engaged in selling clothes combined with snacks. After NYSC, I was able to make N200, 000 and it baffled some of my colleagues who did not believe in buying and selling. It also widened my horizon in other businesses and that has made my husband happy. 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 on your own.
I love cooking so much and I am sure that is why my husband fell in love with me. I just love cooking. Cleanliness is also part of my hobby. Right from childhood, I have been a champion of cleanliness and as the only woman from my mother, I clean everywhere in the house, kitchen and surrounding. I love singing too.
I really have no regrets to the magnitude of exploding. The only regret I have is that I learnt business from my mother but nobody has learnt from me yet.
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