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I Was A Professional Mourner, Grave Digger, Car Washer As A Student In UK — Ajibola Afonja


Prince Ajibola Afonja, former labour and productivity minister and former chairman of the First Bank Nigeria, has disclosed how he had 66 applications and interviews despite his qualification as an accountant in the UK before his first job.

“I got my first job, despite being a chartered accountant, after 66 interviews and applications,” said Prince Afonja, who was headlining Oyo Global Forum’s “Wisdom of the Elder” virtual session Wednesday night.

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He said, however, that the experience strengthened for the challenges of life. The session was moderated by Taiwo Hassan Adebayo, OGF general secretary and a senior investigative journalist.

Chief Afonja, also, disclosed how he did all sorts of jobs, including professional mourner, grave digger, car washer, parking steward, as a student in the UK.

“I was making up to 30 pounds a day and then that made see that if I work harder, I would make more money to save and do things later,” he said.

On his company, Integrated Dimensional System Limited, he said a sudden change in government policy on pre-inspection of shipped materials initially affected the take off.

“But after that we started and we won international prizes for manufacturing excellence,” he said. “Then, the SAP (Structual Adjustment Programme) happened and it affected foreign exchange needed for importation of raw materials.”

He said siting the factory in Oyo was not a problem because other similar places far from Lagos have factories too.

He said Oyo provided comparatively cheaper labour, accommodation for staff and “all you need to do is to move your raw materials from the port to Oyo…the market is global and we don’t even distribute, customers send their own trucks to load from the factory.”

But his friend of 64 years, Chief Oba Otudeko, who joined the live session, said Oyo was a “commercial mistake” for siting the company there “no matter what he (Afonja) says.”

It was convivial session as the friends exchanged banters.

Chief Otudeko appreciated OGF, led by Olorunpoto Rahaman, a top human capital development industry player heading ROC World, for their dedication to community service.

Speaking further, Prince Afonja advised young people to persevere and work hard and not to cut corners.

He committed to supporting OGF.

After First Bank, he said he got offer from 9 companies to join their board.

“But I only chose two,” he said.

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