20180620

Pastor Told Me I'll Be Great, But I Didn't Believe Until It Happened - Nigerian Billionaire

Billionaire businessman and philanthropist, Chief Michael Ade. Ojo, speaks with The Punch on his business, family and other issues. Brief excerpts below;

What’s your advice for young people?
You can make it irrespective of whatever background you come from. You must differentiate between your capital and your spending. Make sure that you do not spend money that you should invest in your business.

What were the highlights of your time at UNN? 
That was where I met my late wife. My first year in the university was a very beautiful one because they forgot to ask for my school fees. However, I paid for subsequent years. Paying my fees was a difficult task for my mother and one of my lecturers noticed and he tried to help me. I worked at the departmental library and I was paid a stipend. I was later awarded a scholarship by CFAO; so, I didn’t have problem paying fees for my last two years in the university.

Did you have any premonition that you would rise to this level? 
I was only told by a priest that I would become a great person but I didn’t believe him...

How exactly did you meet your wife? 
I actually met her in the church, during evening devotion. I sat next to her and her friend and we didn’t talk to each other. However, I noticed that when we were singing, both of them were laughing at me. In those days, I was popular in school and my nickname was Ade. Ojo Lumumba because I kept my beards like the first president of Congo, Patrice Lumumba. After the songs, both girls ran out and I wanted to go after them but the theatre people were already around, and I wanted to watch them. Surprisingly, I found them waiting for me outside the hall. They apologised for embarrassing me and they told me that it was actually another man that sat close to us that they were making fun of because he was singing the wrong tune.

What qualities attracted you to her? 
In the second year, I couldn’t pay my fees. Meanwhile, my wife was on scholarship; so, she didn’t have a problem in that area. However, she surprised me by giving me all her pocket money, which amounted to 40 pounds. I was really touched by that gesture and I made up my mind that I was going to marry her. I finished one year ahead of her and we got married in Enugu. Our wedding was only attended by 14 people. We lived very happily and we were blessed with two children (a boy and girl).