The Platform

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Sesan Olaibo, 25, has worked in various menial jobs since completing his secondary school education in 2015. “I’ve worked in places and had experiences that really made me who I am today.” First, it was a hotel in Lagos. He refuses to name the hotel because the experience was off-putting. “I only worked [there] for three days; I couldn’t continue.”

Later, he got a sales job, also in Lagos, which is no longer there. He says that he was treated well there, adding, “I was like a manager because they trusted me like a son.”

As the only male in a family of 4, life dramatically twisted and turned for Sesan when his boss relocated to Ikorodu. “I was left to fight my battle.” Fortunately, not long after, Sesan met a Ghanaian on his way back from church. They talked for quite a while. Sesan explained his state of joblessness. Without negotiating payment with him, the Ghanaian recruited him.

“I knew my Ghanaian boss when I was learning screen prints at age 11. He just liked me from the moment we met. He asked me some questions back then and liked my personality. He bought me gifts whenever I helped to complete his work. He was surprised how hardworking I was at that age.”

Without informing Sesan, his boss left Lagos for Ogun State, and again, Sesan was back to square one. However, he was admitted to Yaba College of Technology in Lagos soon after.

Sesan Olaibo
Provided by the author.

“I graduated in 2020 and soon after I started a point of sale (PoS) business.” He stated that he never had any intention of starting his own business. Friends and acquittances advised and encouraged him to start his own business.

A man in Sesan’s neighborhood decided to help Sesan with seed money. The man “offered to help me to start the business. I was triggered. I never thought or dreamt I would be having my own business. It was never in my plan. All I knew was working for others, who saw my industrious and hardworking character.”

“I convinced [the investor] that he was going to be getting interest on his investment. It was really a difficult time for me because I also needed to pay my school fees. I practically started the business with $280 because I had used $50 for my school fees. Buying the equipment and registering it was stressful for me. Meanwhile, the business had been set up and the investor was receiving monthly interest as agreed.”

Journalism is riskier than starting a business

Asked whether he is forgoing a career in journalism, his area of study, Sesan said he is willing to take to any job in journalism, but never print journalism. “I prefer talking, so I would be glad to receive an offer from any organization. Journalism is riskier than starting a business, though starting a business carries some risks.”

Sesan added: “Going to school is one of the reasons I am where I am today. It really helped me to become a better person. In fact, I’m planning to further my education. It’s not really a waste of time.”

As the only son in the family, he noted that he sends his sisters and parents money and pays a lot of bills. If he gets an opportunity to work in media, he said, he will continue with his business as a “side hustle.” Sesan added: “You know this is Nigeria, you can’t just depend on a salary.”

Asked what his long-term vision was, Sesan said he thinks about the business every day and how to make things better. “I see myself having vibrant workers, investing in other businesses, like importing rice.”

Segun Ige is a Lagos-based journalist.