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Money, Not Worth Pursuing- Lucky Egede, CEO, SuperSaver Supermarkets

Money, Not Worth Pursuing- Lucky Egede, CEO, SuperSaver Supermarkets

 

‘A lawless person will pursue money forever. But when you live within the confines of the law, blessings will pursue you and overtake you.

But today, if you occupy a position and you come out without bringing anything, you will be disowned by the community.

Take, for instance, an Honorable Minister earning Four Hundred Thousand Naira a month, which translates to Nine Million, Six Hundred Thousand Naira per annum. He is there for four years. So total salary for four years is about thirty-six million and he is expected to build a house for the mother, build for the father, build for the in-law, build for the uncle and build for everybody in the village from the salary of thirty-six million per annum. Nobody asks; how does this person earn? They just want to collect. When you put pressure on him, he steals more and more to meet up.

And when society is bad, we begin to look for who actually spoilt society. The type of pressure we put on people in political positions stands as the root cause. In most cases, you hear people say; it is now our turn. Our brother is there, so all our problems are solved.

We don’t look at how to earn and solve our problems. Look into yourself for the solution to your problem. That was how we grew up. When I gained admission into the university, my brother was selling garri in Isolo market, Lagos. Will I go the university? My father had no money to send anybody to the university. So, as soon as we get a break from school, I come to Lagos, pick up money, go to Agbor, buy garri and bring it to Lagos to sell, As a final year law student, I was still climbing Mercedes lorry (911) to bring Garri to Lagos to come and sell. I was not blaming somebody for our poverty. I just knew that if you are poor, look for a way to get out of it. Anything you don’t like set your mind to get out of it.

READ ALSO: I AM A VILLAGE GROOMED BOY LIVING WITHIN CONFINES OF MORALS – Lucky Egede, Chairman/CEO, Supersavers Stores Ltd

I hated poverty, and I wanted to get out of it. And how do I get out? Hard work. I must earn more than I spent.  When you are given a job, you put your life into the work.

I became a director in Obasanjo’s Group in three months because when you give me a legal job to do, people call it to work. I am coming from the farm; selling garri and climbing lorry, you now give me legal drafting to do, is that one work?  So, when people say that they are tired, I will ask them; what is making them tired?

To write, inside the air conditioner? I seat inside the air conditioner to do my legal drafting. I know where I am coming from. This one does not look like any work. I was just enjoying myself. I seat inside the air conditioner, write letter and write memos.

The man (Obasanjo) looked at my attitude to work and in three months, I was made a director. I was given a house, I was given a car, I was given a driver, I was given a gardener. I was given all the benefits of being a director. And that is where merit is respected. They look at your productivity and nobody remembers that you are not from the tribe or the other.

Ika Weekly; Thank you so much, Sir, from the position canvassed so far, it is obvious that you are ready, willing, and eager to see a new Nigeria where equity, justice and peace, and development will reign supreme. In view of this fact, I ask; what is the way forward?

Answer; the way forward is for everybody to put his hand on deck. One thing that I have is that each person that I preach this gospel to tells me that he is not the person to change Nigeria, I cannot change Nigeria.

But I usually tell such people that I am the one to change Nigeria. I saw unemployment as pain in Nigeria. I may not be able to employ everybody. For instance, I said I want to employ one thousand people, I started with twenty-three. From twenty-three, we have grown in nine years to over four hundred. So, we are still building up; before we are ten years, we will certainly get to seven hundred because the new projects that we are developing will take over three hundred workers.

Ika Weekly; so, the Organization is nine years?

Answer; Yes.

Ika Weekly; let’s quickly talk about the Organization (Supersaver). What is the relationship between Supersaver and Ebeanor Supermarket?

Answer; Well let me answer you this way; the organizations are not related but the owners are related. I operate Supersaver supermarket. My younger brother is the co-owner of Prince Ebeanor Supermarket with my nephew. So, it is two people that formed Prince Ebeanor Supermarket; Sunday Egede and my nephew, Chuks Ojei, which is the son of my senior sister. Two of them own Prince Ebeanor Supermarket while I own Supersaver.

‘I operate Supersaver supermarket. My younger brother is the co-owner of Prince Ebeanor Supermarket with my nephew. It is two people that formed Prince Ebeanor Supermarket; Sunday Egede and my nephew, Chuks Ojei, which is the son of my senior sister. Two of them own Prince Ebeanor Supermarket while I own Supersaver’.

Ika Weekly; Thanks for this clarification. Before coming to this place, I carried out an independent investigation of your organization and interfaced with some of your staff members. And I discovered one thing; your business ideology/operation runs contrary to that of an entrepreneur/capitalist. Your staff talked about how the organization shares profit among staff- An exercise that comes quarterly. This, they added happens even when the majority of the staff members are not aware that such profits exist and come at a time when they have been promptly paid their legitimate salaries.  So, I ask; what propels you to such ‘culture’?

Answer; Yes, it doesn’t have to be excessive profit or surplus gain. For human beings, no money is too much. But the Bible says, Godliness with contentment. If we make ten million Naira, and only I carry the ten million and every other person around me is hungry, what have I achieved?  The people that are working, the laborer deserves his wages

Ika Weekly;… which is the salary. This is not my mindset but I am bringing up these questions to assist our readers to understand the man we interviewing.

Answer; Well, the way my mind works is that everything that we amount for in life is a product of what we do for people. The moment you look away from the people and begin to look only at yourself and what you will get. The truth is that the more you look at yourself, the smaller you become. The more you open your eyes to look at the globe, the bigger you become and I will give you an example.

Bill Gates became the richest man in the world at a time. How did he get there? He said he suffered to look for a computer to do his assignment and he wished that no human being will suffer like that. He wished that there will be computers in every home in the world. And he started struggling to make computers available to every home in the world.  And he started struggling to make computers for every home in the world. By the time computer was delivered to the majority of homes in the world, he became the richest man.

He didn’t wake up and say I wish I am the richest man in the world. No. I wish I can end suffering for people. When you just wake and gather money, the question that follows are; how much can you eat? How many rooms can you sleep in? The man who invented penicillin, the man who invented electric bulb, the man that invent telephone and most recently, the man that brought about zoom, were not looking for money. They were looking for what they will do for humanity. All your relevance is measured by what you do for people and that what you will be remembered for.

Today everybody in the South west want to use Awo to campaign right?  I attended Awo School. If you grow up in the then Mid-Western region, all the primary schools that I know were founded in 1955 by Awo. It is amazing. To create this number of schools to make sure that education was available for all. You ask; what was the education budget of Western region in 1955 to create this number of primary schools.  He was just looking for what to do for people.

Have you ever heard Awo’s name mentioned in relation to money? No. But you see people that died with so much wealth but today, nobody is talking about them. Money becomes something not worth pursuing.

If you look at Anambra state for example, Peter Obi was the Governor in that state.  And today, he has finished his tenure and goes about everywhere sharing his testimony; I didn’t owe pensioners, I didn’t owe peoples’ gratuity, I didn’t owe salaries, I didn’t owe any contractor and I have this amount left in the state’s account and he can go anywhere to say it. Has he become poor?  Obiano just left the same position, is it the same testimony?

You find that wisdom demands that you must put money behind, is not worth pursuing. And for the some of us that read the Bible, I have gone through the Bible cover to cover; I looked for places where God said that we should look for blessings, but I didn’t see one. To even go to church and say God bless me, that’s not a prayer.

Ika Weekly: But God said in the Bible that he will bless the work of our hands.

Answer; He (God) made that statement. He didn’t say that you should go and ask for it. Just go and work. He said if you can work, I will bless the work of your hands. When he created man, he created them male and female and blesses them. They didn’t ask for the blessing but God blessed; be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth, have dominion over everything I have created. Did they ask for it? They didn’t ask for it.

In Deuteronomy 28, he said, if you will diligently obey my commandments, which comes to the law again, the blessings will pursue you and overtake you. You can find that in verse two.

So, you are not even the one to go out for blessing. He said; blessing will pursue you. Even if you are running away from blessings, he will overtake you. The blessing will catch you.

A lawless person will pursue blessing forever. But when you live within the confines of the law, blessings will pursue you and overtake you.  God wants blessings to pursue us, is not for us to pursue blessings-moving from church to church, from one-night vigil to another. The first thing God gave man was his blessing without man demanding it and till today God doesn’t need us to demand his blessing I will give you an example; if the people of this world, wicked as men are, don’t give the stone to their children when they ask for bread. Do they? How do you think that your heavenly father will not give you all that you all good things that you need? That’s who God is.

‘A lawless person will pursue blessing forever. But when you live within the confines of the law, blessings will pursue you and overtake you.

Ika weekly; Thanks so much Sir for this detailed explanation but the above fact notwithstanding, there exists this belief that man is a political animal. So, I ask; are you a politician or do you intend to be in the nearest future?

Answer; it depends on what you call politics. Every human being is a politician. There is politics of office; there is politics of this organization. People jostle for a leadership position and you must know how to manage it. A supervisor wants to be a manager; he has to politick about it. And if you are not politically minded, you will not know when people will play you like the card and you promote the wrong person to a position. You have to be politically alert to know people who practice faithful service and distinguish them from people from faceful service.

Ika Weekly; Still on the organization, isn’t there a structure that dictates a ceiling or height that staff with school certificates cannot surpass? This question is predicated on an account of your staff with just a school certificate but has risen to the position of a store receiver.

Answer; we have one that joined us as a genitor, she was our first cleaner. Today, she is our accountant.  She didn’t go to any school. She was trained for an accounting job here and she loves accounts. Our principle here is that we develop human beings. We add value to everybody that we meet. The level at which you come into Supersaver is the least you can ever be. We look for an upward movement for you. You can be trained to become what you did not study in the school and you keep rising. A certificate is not a barrier.

‘We have one that joined us as a genitor, she was our first cleaner. Today, she is our accountant.  She didn’t go to any school. She was trained for an accounting job here and she loves accounts. Our principle here is that we develop human beings. We add value to everybody that we meet.

Ika Weekly: This is amazing. However, there exists yet another challenge in our society. And that is the unrelenting quest for instant gratification, particularly among our youths. How do we reverse this ugly trend?

Answer; we keep teaching. You see ignorance is the greatest killer. God said my people perish for lack of knowledge. If you believe that stealing will make you rich, it is a piece of information but it is not correct information. Because one person went to the House of Assembly and all of a sudden became rich, have you seen those people who left the House of Assembly four years ago? Are they still comfortable people? Is their wealth still maintained? Have you seen governors that left office in 2007? And see that their lives are not what you want to be. It is information; we keep teaching and teaching and teaching.

If we get ten percent of Nigerians that will be thinking that what value can I add to the next person, Nigeria will be changed. You are the one to change Nigeria and I am the one to change Nigeria. All we need to do is make up our minds to improve everybody that comes around us. Whoever we meet, we should make better.

Ika Weekly; so, what message do you have for our youths looking at the current challenge of ritual killings in the country?

Answer; it all boils down to ignorance. They need to seek knowledge. You know Solomon at a time noted that wisdom is the principal of all things. In all you are getting, get knowledge; Get understanding. Whatever you will not want anybody to do to you, don’t do it to another person. For whatever seed you put on the ground, it will germinate and produce after its own kind. That is the law of nature. You see, whoever sheds man blood, shall his blood be shed. If you kill because you want to make money, after gathering that money, you will be killed by another person. You can’t live forever and whoever that kills violently will die violently. It is natural, you are just planting.

I asked my children; how many 419 do see celebrate 40th birthday? They die early. Something will just happen because God will not be God if you don’t harvest what you sown. If you sow into the lives of people, Goodness will follow you. You see people that are unemployed, you say; I want to employ you. And if from the productivity of each person, you are just taking 5%, of the productivity of each person you employ, you know what that means.

I asked my children; how many 419 do see celebrate 40th birthday? They die early. Something will just happen because God will not be God if you don’t harvest what you sown. If you sow into the lives of people, Goodness will follow you. You see people that are unemployed, you say; I want to employ you. And if from the productivity of each person, you are just taking 5%, of the productivity of each person you employ, you know what that means.

Somebody was doing an analogy recently, he says; everybody has 24 hours a day. Nobody can add or subtract from his own. He said Dangote has nighty six thousand hours a day because he has bought eight hours each from twelve thousand people working for him. Those people have 16 hours a day that they could be used for themselves. They remaining 8 hours of their lives for that day has been sold to somebody.  They are not in charge of, or the determinant of what they will do with those eight hours.

So, whether Dangote is sleeping or at the Golf Course, twelve thousand people are working to produce money for him. So, when you hear people say; I want to drive similar car with Dangote because he doesn’t have two heads, you must first remember that the man (Dangote) has twelve thousand heads already. So, before you start driving Range Rover, you must first of all ask yourself how many heads do I have before I start competing.

‘Whether Dangote is sleeping or at the Golf Course, twelve thousand people are working to produce money for him’.

We should look at areas to compete with him. For instance, he employs a number of workers and I have to go and meet him up there and possibly surpass his record.

Ika Weekly; Looking at you Sir, I see a man desirous of Nigeria turning to a hyper-modern nation. But to achieve this feat, analysts are in agreement that education holds the key?  So, if the above position is anything to go by, why are our leaders not funding the nation’s education sector in line with UNESCO’s budgetary recommendation on education?

‘We don’t earn enough and we have not positioned or patterned ourselves to earn enough because we keep building on this culture of selfishness’.

Ika Weekly; Have you compared the budget of Nigeria with that of any other country like South Africa, Egypt, and you will see the ratio of our population to our income (per capita income). So, when you look at how much income they earn and what the population is, compared to other countries, it is obvious that Nigeria is a very poor wretched country. Even if South Africa puts two million dollars on education and Nigeria puts two million dollars on education, it means South Africa is putting two million dollars for about forty-nine million people while Nigeria is putting two million dollars for two hundred million people, the result can never be the same. We don’t earn enough and we have not positioned or patterned ourselves to earn enough because we keep building on this culture of selfishness.

Whatever you will not want anybody to do to you, don’t do it to another person. For whatever seed you put on the ground, it will germinate and produce after its own kind. That is the law of nature. You see, whoever sheds man blood, shall his blood be shed. If you kill because you want to make money, after gathering that money, you will be killed by another person. You can’t live forever and whoever kills violently will die violently. It is natural, you are just planting.

 

WATCH OUT FOR CONCLUDING PART IN THE NEXT EDITION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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