Engr. Babagana Abba Dalori is the Chief Executive Officer of Galaxy Transportation and Construction Services Limited. In this interview with IGHO OYOYO, he says President Muhammadu Buhari has done excellently well, providing jobs for youths. He implored them to utilise such golden opportunities.
Despite the contribution from private individuals like you to create employment in the country, there are still many young graduates roaming the streets of Nigeria; will you say that the government is doing enough to provide jobs in the country?
The government of President Muhammadu Buhari is trying its best in providing jobs for the youths, but sometimes, we the youths are not up and doing, because if the government makes the enabling environment for us to start a business, we do not make use of it. We do not need the government to do everything for us, since we have enabling environment to run businesses. We can start with anything we have. We do not need a big capital from the government before we can start a business. When I was in secondary school, after school hours, I used to sell sugar cane. How much is a stick of sugar cane? So, even any of your relatives can give you a little capital to start something small, no matter how small it is, just start something, some day it will grow. So, since you have the enabling environment to start a business, you should make use of it. I think that the burden on the government is to provide channel where the youths can acquire soft loan from the government for them to start their own business. I am aware that the government has come up with a lot of channels of acquiring soft loans, so it is now left for the youths to utilize this opportunity by meeting up the requirements in order to have access to the loan. Some of the requirements are very simple and some of them are very difficult for the youths to meet up. I am using this medium to appeal to the government to design a scheme where the youth can have access to loan without going through some difficulties.
The youths are the ones mainly used for killings and violence in Nigeria; what do you think is responsible for it?
Joblessness and idleness are responsible for it. The truth is that if the youths are jobless, there will be a kind of frustration that sets in. So, it is the joblessness and frustration that leads them to commit many atrocities and killing of one another and so on. However, if the youths are engaged one way or the other, I do not think that they will start killing themselves, because if you are engaged and you are making some income, you will not want anything to come and spoil your business. You will not want anything to come between you and the money you are getting from your business or the job you are doing. So, if the youths are better engaged anywhere, I do not think they will end up killing themselves or perpetrating violence. If you take example of other western countries, you will find out that their youths are well engaged and they have enabling environment and there are enough jobs and business opportunities for the youths to venture into. That is why you hardly hear of this kind of unnecessary killings and violence in the western countries. So, if in Nigeria, people come up with a lot of business ideas that will lead to construction of factories and industries where the youths will be fully engaged, even if it is not all, most of them. I believe the killings and violence in Nigeria will stop. Because, if you empower one youth, you have indirectly empowered more people, since this one youth have more people under him or her that will benefit from that empowerment that you give to him. So, let the government at all levels introduce factories and industries for the youths to be engaged, mostly the state governments who are closer to the people at the grassroots. I believe that the killings will reduce drastically.
As a result of the rate of unemployment in Nigeria, many young graduates would still prefer to wait for government’s white-collar jobs, but you decided to launch into the world of entrepreneurship with little or no support from anywhere after your National Youth Service Corps; what was the motivation behind it?
When I was in the university, I discovered that many youths were seeking for white-collar jobs after graduation for many years when the jobs are not there. That was when I decided that after graduation I will not wait for white-collar jobs, but to start something on my own, no matter how small. So that if there is no white-collar job, I will be able to manage what I make from my business. When I was in the university, I was into little businesses to make ends meet. Then after graduation in 2010, I opened a company known as Galaxy Computing and Electronics Services limited with the intention of establishing an IT computer school. However, during that time there was crisis in Maiduguri as a result of Boko Haram attack, so I could not establish the school. Later when I came to Abuja after my youth service I discovered that the transportation system in Abuja is lacking investors and I decided to venture into tricycle transportation popularly called Keke NAPEP, which I started with one Keke NAPEP. I opened another company, Galaxy Transportation and Construction Services limited which was a subsidiary of Galaxy Computer then. I got a trusted driver for the Keke NAPEP who I had an agreement on what he should be remitting to me every week and the amount was lower than what was being collected from other Keke NAPEP drivers then. We also agreed on how we were going to be maintaining the tricycle. After about five to six months, I was able to buy another tricycle and told him to get me another trustworthy driver, because of the trust I have for him. He did as I told him and we entered into the same agreement as the first driver and that was how the tricycles started multiplying. My friends and family started asking me if I have gotten a white-collar job, I told them that I did not need a white-collar job, because I have gotten something that I am doing and I am succeeding.
They took interest in the tricycle business and bought their own tricycles which they handed over to me for proper management and maintenance. I got drivers for them and we will arrange the same scheme and process for maintaining the tricycles. From then, many people started trooping into the tricycle business with my company maintaining them. We later opened a garage where we sell spare parts, repair and maintain all the tricycles that were under my company. The business started thriving, because people were coming from everywhere to buy tricycles for us to maintain for them. That was when we decided to register the Galaxy Transportation and Construction Services limited. Like I said, it was a subsidiary of Galaxy Computer, so, we incorporated Galaxy Transportation Services in 2016. From there we started tipper business, which was much more lucrative than the Keke NAPEP business, because we ventured into sand mining. Sand mining cannot succeed without logistics, without transportation, we had suppliers who were willing to buy the sand we were mining, but the transportation was a challenge.
That was how the tipper business came about.
Since you ventured into entrepreneurship after your youth service, the name Galaxy transportation is becoming a household name, what is the secret behind it?
The secret behind it is hard work, dedication and sincerity of purpose. Because there are a lot of companies which are also using people’s money to invest, but a lot of them are failing their clients. In our own case, we have a system where failure is always negligible, so we always pay our clients as at when due. Since when we started the Keke NAPEP business, our Keke NAPEP clients are getting their remittance as at when due. When we ventured into tipper, most of the clients that were doing Keke NAPEP business with us, are the same clients in the tipper business. So, they have confidence in us, because we have never failed them. So, that is why the business is spreading everywhere. Presently, we have about 11 branches across the nation and I cannot tell you our staff strength, because every two or three days we employ, whether on permanent or contract basis, presently we have over 2000 staff benefitting with Galaxy.
What is your advice to young graduates and the youths who are still roaming the streets looking and waiting for white-collar jobs?
I am advising the youths to work very hard. They should not rely on government alone for jobs, because government can only provide less than 20 percent of the job opportunities in the nation. They should be positive in whatever they are doing and should not also rely on their parents, no matter how rich they are. That their parents are very rich and they do not need to work or start business of their own because their parents can provide anything for them. That is a very negative way of reasoning. The youth should always try to come up with business initiatives, no matter how small it may be, it will grow, so long as you are determined to make it work. Nigerian youths should always be hardworking and they should not be reluctant in whatever positive thing they are doing.
What is your advice to Nigerian youths on how to avert violence in the country mostly during election period?
I am advising the youths that we should tolerate one another, that if you are a Nigerian, you can live anywhere, so long as you are a citizen. Let us tolerate one another and become our brothers’ keepers at all times. The killings cannot take us anywhere, you know the way you kill people the more complicated it becomes. If you kill your brother, you may not have peace of mind, because you have killed a human being who has not done any wrong to you. Let us say for example, if in the north people started killing innocent southerners, the southerners will retaliate and they will start killing innocent northerners in the south. So, in this situation, we should learn to tolerate one another for Nigeria to develop for the betterment of all of us.
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