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|Peace Mass Transit: No Glory Without A Story by WhatDoYouMean: 5:49pm On Jul 20, 2015|
SAMUEL MADUKA ONYISHI, MON
(THE BEACON OF HOPE)
The Story behind the Glory
Chief Samuel Maduka Onyishi, MD/CEO of Peace Mass Transit, is one of Nigeria’s leading entrepreneurs who could be rightly described as the Doyen of African Entrepreneurs.
Who is Chief Onyishi?
The story of Samuel Maduka Onyishi is the story of an African child who will not allow his background to determine his destiny. It is the story of the dogged spirit of the African child, in his quest to fight poverty to a stand-still. Sam’s story is a bitter-sweet one. A poor child whose father died when he was in the first year of his secondary school, what was a jolly good ride soon became a struggle. He had to start from that early age to fend for himself, his mother and siblings. His childhood psyche was seriously bruised when after his secondary school education, what he saw as an opportunity for him to secure an employment and begin to earn a living, slipped through his fingers because he didn’t have two naira to bribe a messenger to let him enter an office to pick his appointment letter, meanwhile people who didn’t even have the basic qualification got the job.
Disappointed, he came close to tearing his school certificate as according to him then, “What was the use of education?” This statement he withdrew years later when again, his ego was seriously wounded. His junior in primary school who had become a university graduate ordered him to keep quiet because he shouldn’t be talking where educated people were talking.
Like a wounded lion, Sam abandoned his thriving business in Kano state to return to Nsukka to acquire that University education, for which he was insulted. At the University, he did not only acquire a degree, but also started his transport business — Peace Mass Transit, for which he is better known today.
Born in Nsukka, Enugu State in November 1963, Sam is the first son in a family of nine. Sam’s father was a bricklayer at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. He slumped and died on the last day of February, 1977. Sam had his primary school education at the Enugu Road primary school, Nsukka from 1971-1976. He then was admitted into Bubendorf Grammar school, Adazi, in Awka, Anambra State. But the death of the father left the mother with no option than to withdraw him from the school for financial reasons and bring him closer home. He then entered Community Secondary school, Mbu in Isi-Uzo LGA of Enugu State.
Barely managing to survive in school because of poverty, Sam had only one pair of white khaki shorts and a white shirt as a school uniform as against two recommended by the school.” At that time, I only wash my school uniform on Saturdays, wear it clean to school on Monday to Wednesday and avoided morning assembly on Thursdays and Fridays because my uniform was too dirty. I used to report to school early those two days, but I would go and hide somewhere until the assembly was over. Of course, I was always punished for coming late. That was not all. I climbed all the mango and cashew trees around our school to pluck their fruits for food and for sale, to supplement what my mother was giving me as pocket and feeding money. I climbed these trees so often that I know those trees knew me by my name.”
At the end of his class 3 at Community Secondary School, Mbu, he could no longer cope with the financial demands and subsequently, had to be transferred to St. Theresa’s College, Nsukka where he felt a lot more relieved as it his home. But as a senior student as he was in class 4, he was expected to wear trousers to school. He had no money to buy trousers, and so he continued wearing shorts until the second term of his final year. It was a public embarrassment!
While in secondary school, Sam had dreamt of being a lawyer, but his poor financial background made sure that dream was never achieved as he could not continue after the secondary school. “At the time I passed out of secondary school, government was recruiting auxiliary teachers in his state. The minimum qualification was five credits in one sitting. So, I applied because I had that. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job because I didn’t have two naira to bribe a messenger to allow me enter the zonal commissioner’s office to collect my appointment letter. What pained me more was that some applicants, who did not have up to five credits at one sitting, got the job. I couldn’t explain what could have happened. That was my first encounter with what they call the ‘Nigerian Factor’. I was so fed up with education that I contemplated tearing my school certificate to pieces so as to forget all about academics. On a second thought however, I remembered the sufferings and the sacrifices my mother went through for me to go to school. I decided to handover the certificate to her and leave to search for what to do with my life.
ENTRY INTO BUSINESS
His mother gave him N200 which was the bride price of one of his sisters to enable him go to Enugu and fix himself somewhere, but this failed. Back in Nsukka, he tried his hands in many things and at a time, he was a barrow-pusher and a bus conductor. Later, he went into learning a trade after which he could not still go into the business because there was no money. He then went into music as a song writer and singer. His producer went into political detention before his record was released .Out of frustration, he left them. “I traveled to the North, Kaduna state, to serve as a laborer at a place called Ikara. I left my employers in1984 because my salary wasn’t paid in full. I returned to Nsukka fortunately for me, that was when UNN was paying my people some money for our land which was sold to them. My mother received N1200 as her own share and she handed over the whole money to me because she trusted me. With that money, I returned to Ikara and went I to second hand clothe business and later moved to Kano in 1987. By 1989, I had saved up to N12000. With that, I went to learn motor spare parts business for 24 days and then, set up my own. I had saved up to N260000 in my bank account.”
GOING BACK TO SCHOOL
Sam was challenged to pursue university education by one of his village men who ordered him to keep quiet because as an ordinary West African School Certificate (WASC) holder, he shouldn’t talk where graduates like him were talking.
“this guy was my junior in Primary school, in fact, he was two years behind me; even though he was older than me, but he had become a graduate. He told me in public that I should not argue with him because I was only a WASC holder. Can you imagine that? That was when I told myself that I must go back to school, to acquire that University education for which I was insulted. I personally like challenges and this was just enough challenge to make me abandon my business in the north to return to Nsukka. Like I said, I like challenges because when someone delivers a punch on you, the person’s armpit is open and you can always land a shock on the person’s open armpit, although, it depends on how you position yourself and are able to land a cut on the person’s open armpit. I was a boxer in my secondary school days and I know how to give a good punch. I am always guided by this belief in confronting challenges on my way. I got admission to do a diploma program at UNN between 1993 and 1996 and later, a degree program from1996 to 1999. I graduated with a second class upper in Social works and Community development”
THE BIRTH OF PEACE MASS TRANSIT
When he started his lectures as a student, he discovered he had plenty of idle time. To fill that space, he went back to Kano and withdrew that N260, 000 in his account and used it to purchase two buses. He gave one out to another driver and managed one himself. He used the bus to convey passengers after lectures on week days and full time one Saturdays
“my going into transport business was like a film. At a time, I was only doing it to support myself in school. but before I knew it, I had moved from the initial 2 buses to 8. I went into a contract with Nsukka LGA to use their name. my company then was called Nsukka Mass Transit. The number of buses continued to grow that when I was graduating in 1999, I had up to 45 buses.
“I fell out with the local Government because they violated our agreement by allowing another operator to use a similar name as mine. The new person called his Nsukka Urban Mass Transit. I had to change my name to Peace Mass Transit. I applied for a private park and it was granted. So, I owned the first mini-bus private park in Nsukka, Enugu, Onitsha, Aba, Abakaliki, Owerri, Njuba Abuja. Then, it was almost impossible, but God was with me.”
THE BUSINESS GROWS
Peace mass Transit (PMT) from that humble beginning has today, blossomed into not only the foremost road transport business in Nigeria with over 3000 buses, but also the fastest growing Mass Transit business in West Africa. It has grown into what is known as the Peace Group of Companies, comprising among others, Peace quick response Insurance brokers; Peace Petroleum Limited; Peace Micro-finance bank; Peace express service ltd; Peace Capital Market ltd (Stock Brokers); Dealers and Investment Advisers; Maduka Commercial and Futon International Ltd, the sole importers of Peace Hiace Brand of vehicles; Peace Bureau de Change; Peace Aviation Services, PMT Beijing Trade ltd. China.
“One important lesson I want the young generation to learn is that there is nothing like carry-over in success. Success does not necessarily come from one’s background. My father is rich and therefore the richness will come to me or that my mother is very poor and therefore I will be poor, no way, I do not believe in that. Any body can be successful; there is no hindrance from being successful in life.” “I also want the young generation to know that God gives money, through hard work and dedication to duty”
Chief Onyishi reveals that God talks to him in dreams and directs him on whatever he wants to do. “God revealed to me in a dream when I wanted to venture into the big buses that I shouldn’t, that He wants me to concentrate on the small buses.” The directive from God was very instructive because after about 12 years in the business, all the big bus operators left the big buses and came down to the small buses and it’s like every transporter is now doing the small bus business.
One another important lesson of Chief Onyishi is Honesty in Business. He recalled that when he was in Kano, that there was on Alhaji Lawal Kurfi who used to give them goods on credit to go and sell in Lagos. He said, while other people will sell and invest the money and pay instalmentally, he will sell and bring the whole money back to Alhaji and this has made the Alhaji to trust him which aided rapid growth in business, because the alhaji introduced him to more suppliers because of his honesty.
Recently, Dr. Sam Onyishi dolled out 11 fairly used buses to 10 retiring drivers from the company who had served the company for 15 years. Among the recipients was the widow of a late driver who lost his life during a brief illness after completing the 15 year service mark. The Peace Foundation which was set up in 1998 has empowered over 640 young men and women through start-up business capitals and awarded scholarships to many students in different higher institutions of learning in Nigeria. Sam himself has built a-16 room office block for the Faculty of Social Sciences UNN; built a-10 room administrative block for the Nigerian Police, Nsukka Division; built a hostel block for St. Theresa’s College, Nsukka; he also completed the Nsukka Town Hall which was eventually name after him; Samuel Maduka Onyishi African Entrepreneurship Foundation (SAMOAEF) domiciled at Institute of African Studies, UNN; he has also given scholarship to undergraduates and postgraduates students both in Nigeria and Abroad. Some of such students given scholarship by the Foundation to study Chinese language have been employed by the University to teach Chinese language at UNN. Others are engaged to teach Chinese language in Afe Babalola University, Ekiti. Every year, the Foundation of ‘the boy who could not register for his University education when he passed JAMB’ gives scholarship to minimum of 100 students.
For his numerous contributions to community development, Sam is a recipient of numerous awards and Chieftaincy titles. These include:
A Doctorate Degree in Business Administration, conferred on him by the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) in 2013
The National Honours Award as a Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) which was conferred on him by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2012.
The same year, the company emerged the highest buyer of Toyota vehicles in Nigeria and won a brand new Toyota Sport Utility vehicle (SUV) RAV 4, 2013 model.
In 2012 still, Peace Mass Transit won two out of three Avensis cars from Elizade Motors as a reward for being the highest buyer in Nigeria within the three periods the buyers’ survey was conducted.
The company started business with two fairly used Toyota Hiace buses in 1994; eight years later, in 2002 it won Silver award from Toyota Nigeria when the company had 200 Toyota buses. The company later in 2005 won a Gold award when it had over 400 Toyota buses in its fleet.
Others are Transporter of the year 1997 by the Rotary Club Nsukka; Grassroots Transporter in 1998 by the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Enugu State chapter; Friend of the Masses by Rotary Club of Enugu; Community Service Award by the University of Nigeria Alumni Association; Friend of Students by the SUG of UNN.
He has also been variously honoured by traditional institutions with many chieftaincy titles
2 Likes 1 Share
|Re: Peace Mass Transit: No Glory Without A Story by IamChuks(m): 5:51pm On Jul 20, 2015|
no time to read all that...
|Re: Peace Mass Transit: No Glory Without A Story by millhouse: 2:53am On Jul 24, 2015|
|Re: Peace Mass Transit: No Glory Without A Story by jamace(m): 4:09am On Jul 24, 2015|
IamChuks:Hmm. Blackman and poor reading culture.
|Re: Peace Mass Transit: No Glory Without A Story by ebamma(m): 7:55am On Jul 24, 2015|
|Re: Peace Mass Transit: No Glory Without A Story by Nobody: 8:19am On Jul 24, 2015|
|Re: Peace Mass Transit: No Glory Without A Story by lordtech(m): 8:54am On Jul 24, 2015|
Wow, I so much love this article. Started With just two buses coupled with (Hardwork , Dedication, Honesty & Perseverance) GOD involved & the rest is history
Oh GOD , pls remember me in the days of my little beginning(Amen).
|Re: Peace Mass Transit: No Glory Without A Story by darocha1(m): 8:44am On Aug 25, 2015|
Lesson for youths of nowadays
|Re: Peace Mass Transit: No Glory Without A Story by christejames(m): 2:58pm On Jan 25, 2016|
Lalasticlala isn't this inspirational This will change the psyche of most of us youths still staggering in life.
...the thread has spent so much time on probation na.
|Re: Peace Mass Transit: No Glory Without A Story by kennyman2000(m): 3:37pm On Jan 25, 2016|
|Re: Peace Mass Transit: No Glory Without A Story by kulobyno: 4:14am On Dec 19, 2016|
It's surprising that this inspiring piece didn't make front page whereas snake stories, cleavages and poos from celebrities do.
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