Cover Stories, Interviews

Olajumoke Orisaguna exclusive: ‘Her story has become a motivation for the rich and the poor’ -Siji Ogundele, Sijumoto boss


How do you feel today being a part of Olajumoke’s story?

I feel great. I am happy to be a part of this story. I will take Olajumoke like my sister. Her story has become light to so many Nigerians. Her story has become a motivation for the rich and the poor. I believe that what we are doing will be remembered.

When I read the story, the first thing I saw was a bread seller and she left her comfort zone to come to Lagos. She had a choice to feed from pocket to mouth, but she wanted to go beyond that and look for opportunities. Some other people might say she is lucky, but we don’t believe in luck. We believe in hard work. The preparation of leaving Ire is what made the opportunity of that day which has made her a mega star and an inspiration for Nigerians.

What do you have for others out there who have not found their bearing?

In this trying time in Nigeria, we will ask ourselves, how many more Olajumokes do we have out there. If we look at the population of Nigeria, we are about 180 to 200 million people. 50 percent of these people are between 25 and 40. Among these people, almost 80 percent of them are unemployed. Among these people almost another 80 percent find it difficult to eat a meal a day. Our question is, how many more Olajumokes will leave their comfort zone and start looking for opportunities. Some people will say let us look at our problems and blame our surroundings. I want to be like Olajumoke. I want her story to go all over Nigeria, to the villages and communicate that there are opportunities all around you. You have to grab them. It is not enough anymore to start blaming our surroundings for our own downfall. It is extremely important to rise to our potentials and leave our comfort zone and look for opportunities.

Why did you decide to do this for her because it involves a lot of money?

If you look at the foundation of things, real people are moved by values and not money. You might think it will cost us a lot. It is not costing us a lot because what we are getting in return is valuable to us. The inspiration we are getting from it is value that money can’t buy. Who will ever think that a bread seller can become a bakery owner. If they told her last year that, on certain day you will become an inspiration to many Nigerians, nobody will ever believe it. But her story is a reminder that fortune can change overnight. It is high time people started seeing values in little things like this. That becomes an inspiration to so many people, it doesn’t matter your social status, I think a lot of people must use her story as hope for the challenges of tomorrow.

You said you don’t believe in luck, can you tell us your philosophy?

Our philosophy is hard work. We do not believe in luck. It is like Olajumoke’s philosophy where she had a choice to stay in that village but she didn’t do that. She prepared herself, took the little money she had, entered a bus and came to Lagos to look for opportunity.

Our philosophy is preparation that meets opportunity. That is what a lot of people call luck. But we don’t believe in luck. We believe in hard work, preparations and opportunities.

Aside taking her as your sister, what are the things, plans you have for her?

The plans we have for her is beyond mentorship because I want to be a part of her. Fortunately, I am from Osun state as well. Our village is not so far from each other. I want to become a mentor. I want my doors to be opened to everything she is doing as an adviser.

We have prepared accommodation for her to ensure that when she goes out for those opportunities she has shelter where her kids can be and her husband too. This is the first step we are taking. We might go as far as educating and empowering her in business too.

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