Abdulsalam Qamardeen Adeyemi's journey into self-employment is not just a beautiful book of expanding success story, it is also a motivation for a teeming legion of Nigerian graduates finding it hard to navigate their ways into the jam-packed labour market.
The Iseyin-born and bred, better known by his pseudonym Comrade Obe, is a graduate of Business Education and Accounting Education from Oyo State College of Education and Ekiti State University (EKSU) respectively.
He lost his father as a secondary school student - a terrible, yet defining experience that set his feet on the path of self-employment as he is now doing well in the sawmill industry.
Road to self-employment
In an exclusive interview with Legit.ng, Adeyemi disclosed that he had ventured into the sawmill business since he was a young man looking forward to what the future holds.
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According to him, his father's death created a big lacuna that forced him to dive into the sawmill industry in 1998 as an apprentice in order to afford to sponsor his education.
Adeyemi told Legit.ng:
"Yes, I'm a graduate but being a graduate is a hard task, involving a lot of challenges. I started as an apprentice in the year 1998 I lost my father when I was in SSS1 and since then everything has been self-sponsored till university level. This was made possible by God and the sawmill industry.
"I sponsored myself with the proceeds I made from the sawmill industry. Ever since then I never thought of being an employee."
Challenges so far as a full time saw miller
Sawmill business is not strange to Adeyemi. He started as an apprentice in the year 1998 and moved on to establish himself as an expert, against all odds, after years of mastering the industry.
However, like any other business, there are challenges of which the biggest is capital. Adeyemi told Legit.ng that since he started his own business like a boss in 2020, it has been a rollercoaster of moments but there are always reasons to be grateful.
"The main challenge of the sawmill industry is capital. No amount of money is enough for the sawmilling business. It requires huge capital to be firm in the business."
No regret shunning white-collar jobs for sawmill business
For Adeyemi, shunning white-collar jobs for sawmill business is never a regret. Although his mates who took to the path of the office jobs are doing great, the 40-year-old said he is also counting his blessings in multiple.
"I thank Almighty Allah that I didn't regret venture into this business. My mates in the white-collar job are doing fine while I'm managing as well. Though, my work involves extra time and IS stressful than white-collar job, there is every reason to thank God."
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Advice for Nigerian graduates still looking for office jobs.
With the road to the labour market getting thinner, Adeyemi advised Nigerian graduate to "try and engage in something."
According to him, the Nigerian market and business space are big to explore if there are no office job options.
"They should ignore the notion that as a graduate they can't involve themselves in a dirty job. At times, the dirty job pays than many office jobs."
Rahaman Abiola is a result-oriented journalist and content writer with a firm grip of over 5-year corporate experience stranding diverse roles in digital & traditional media and social media communication.
A published literary writer, freelancer and public commentator, he has written over 100 essays covering diverse issues on economy, politics and current affairs, entertainment and leadership published in virtually all notable Nigerian national dailies and digital media in Nigeria.
He is a graduate of English Literature, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. Follow him on Twitter via @ShugabanR.