BUSINESS LESSON FROM A STREET FOOD SELLER THAT REFUSED TO SELLER WATER, THAT COULD HAVE STOPPED BOKO HARAM


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During my youth service days, although I was posted to Yobe state in north eastern Nigeria, I will always drive down to Bauchi state to market my products.

Just by the City square was an Igbo woman that sold local delicacies, so all the traders and businessmen will always gather round her stall to buy food. The amazing thing though was that this woman refused to sell drinking water. If you wanted to drink water, you had to call her neighbour to get one for you. The neighbour was an Hausa shop owner.

Recently, I have noticed this trend in Major markets in Lagos among the Igbo traders. Consciously or unconsciously, they hands off a particular part of the business. For instance, an Igbo trader will not allow an Igbo boy to carry his load but would insist on a Yoruba person even if the Igbo boy is there.

I began to ponder on this and I was hit by a revelation that shows that you must hands off a particular segment of your operation for the people around you. The Igbo woman in Bauchi was living in a very volatile state. She needed to make her Hausa neighbours business to depend on her own. This means that if there was trouble, if not for anything the Hausa man will want to defend her because his livelihood indirectly depended on her business.

The same applied to the Igbo traders all over Nigeria. They hands of some aspect of business so that the locals can also make some money off their business thereby reducing the tendency to attack them.

The Americans mastered this art. After the first world war, the Europeans after defeating Germany made a very terrible mistake. They placed a huge financial reparation on the Germans that crushed the German economy but raised something very deadly.

While they were carrying the huge burden, they were looking for someone to give them relieve and Hitler showed up to do just that and the second world war was born.

The Americans did not make the same mistake with Japan. After they defeated Japan, they immediately sent TWI experts to start to rebuild Japan. Thus the Japanese did not see them as punishers but as correctors.

God in the bible gave a clear reason why you must ignore some revenue streams in your business. He asked the Jews not to harvest everything in his farm because the poor will always be in their midst. God knew that there is a stage a hungry man living among the rich will get to and he will chose to destroy the rich around him.

This is typically exemplified by the Boko haram problems in Nigeria. I grew up in Kaduna state and every morning around five a.m in the very cold Kaduna weather were these group of five to ten year old boys. They will be huddled around a small fire and sometimes smoking gum just to keep warm. They were the almajeris.

In the afternoon, you will see them in groups walking the street begging for pieces of food to eat in the midst of the wealth they could see around them. I used to wonder why no one cared about them. They were the poor that everyone ignored.

That was like twenty years ago. Now those boys are now men and have lost the value for life. People saw these group of young men growing up and no leader bother to reader the book TIPPING POINT by Malcolm Glad wells.

Unfortunately, what Gladwells predicted happened. A tipping point was reached by those young men and Boko haram was born.

My point is that if you want to build a secure wealth, make income space for people around you. Let the young boy watching you, carry your small package and pay him for his service. That way, you are keeping the volatile tippingĀ  point away and preserving your wealth. Do not insult the area boys around you. Create a revenue stream for them from you business. A friend of mine who does that assures me that nothing can happen to his business in the event of a riot because the area boys depend on his business to make money.

 

 

 

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