From Village Kerosene, Salad Seller To Aso Villa, Osinbajo's Aide Narrates Humble Beginning


Philip Obin, Technical Assistant (Social Media) to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has narrated the story of his humble beginning to the Presidency.

Obin who hails from war ravaged Erei community in Biase local government area of Cross River State said that he started business at a very tender age when he was still a pupil in primary school.

The VP aide who took to his Facebook page (@Philip Obin) to narrate the touching story said that as an infant, he was hawking native salad for his mother after which he will switch to his own personal business of selling kerosene. 

He narrated that "I started business while still in primary school. I hawked native salad for my mother. When I wasn't selling salad, I would switch to my personal business, which was moving around the entire village, selling kerosene in the smallest Gino tin tomatoes can to locals who needed it basically to fuel their lanterns. I was buying in Star Larger Beer bottle (as wholesale). I made progress till I started buying a few dozens of 50 liter cans.

As business boomed, I diversified into palm oil, bread, as well as buying of yams, garri and moving them to neighbouring Afikpo in Ebonyi  state or some times Cemetery Market in Aba, Abia State".

Continuing, he said that "In the cause of these business trips, I saw or was involved in series of road accidents but God preserved me. The experiences are better imagined.

At some point, I rented a shop at Stadium Road, Aba, where I started selling my garri and yam, after the market associations at Cemetery Market stopped me from selling there for failure to meet up their Membership registration payment.

Most of these businesses I did during holidays or short breaks, as I was still in junior secondary school and not even up to 17 years of age yet.

This photo was taken in Afikpo, Ebonyi State, Amachi Road, to be precised, around the year 1999/2000, when I went to print (wash films) of the photos I had taken my happy customers in my Biase Community in Cross River State. I had branched into photography as a business, a venture that taught me so much about relating with people, the importance of courteous and friendly customer relationship,  as well as what time management and speed means in business".

He added that "As a student, young and new entrant into the business of photography in my community, breaking even with my poor quality camera was a herculean task, as I needed to compete with the likes of Messrs Nwogwugwu (of blessed memory), Joe Best and other old and experience Photographers at the time.

It wasn't too long before I found a way of beating the very old and experienced photographers at the game. I had discovered a secret they never did, which was simply about courteous and humble customer relationship and timing.

I discovered that the big photographers would always wait to exhaust so many films before traveling to Afikpo in Ebonyi state, which was the nearest photo lab, in order to save cost and maximise profit. But they failed to discover that the average customer wanted to see their photos as soon as possible, after taken them.

I decided to save up, bought a bicycle and started riding to Afikpo to watch and print my photos whenever I exhausted at least 1 film of 36 negatives (photos). Sometimes I even go with half a film. A return trip on a bicycle to Afikpo took average of 5hrs, but that wasn't a challenge and stress for a youngster at the time.

Most people in my village never believed photos taken could be washed, printed and delivered same week let alone same day, as they would always wait for weeks or months to get their photos. I broke that record graduated to delivering their photos same day or the next day. 

Over time, other photographers started doing same, when I almost took over all their customers. 

In the business, we recorded losses arising from customers rejecting their photos when they're not sharp or good enough. However, in my own case, the losses were almost zero, as the excitement of getting their photos at the speed of light never envisaged blinded them to even badly washed (printed) photos.

By the time other photographers knew what was going on, I had taken almost all their customers, as so many photo lovers would prefer to wait for weeks until whenever I return home from school by weekend or holidays, before taking photos.

But no business idea stays fresh and a secret for ever, which is why I see business as an ongoing race which requires that one must learn, relearn, unlearn and remain creative, if they must continue to win. Before too long, my competitors started doing all I was doing, but I would always beat them...

I came up with more ideas, Included the idea of taking customers photos with a plain clothe backgrounds but ensuring that their photos return with Jesus Christ, Mary or other beautiful images like expensive houses standing by them in the photos". 

The APC Chieftain maintained that "to cut the story short, by the time I graduated from Secondary school and moved to Ajegunle in Lagos, I traveled with over N20,000 of my own, after dashing mum some money. This was exactly in the year 2002, and N20,000 was big money for the village boy I was.

Obin has gained so much popularity in the state in recent years because of the number of things he has attracted from federal government to people in the state.
Cross River 4963314653783045217

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