By Mercy Hill
Many times we find ourselves at a dilemma of our career paths. It used to seem as if you knew where you were going but suddenly, you begin to ask yourself-questions like: where am I going to? Should I stick with this or try something different? Should I follow my passion or stick with what I have at hand?
This happens also, to the best of us – even the successful business owners, celebrities, and professionals we have come to admire. But for them, through consistency and self-realization, they were able to figure out their answers. The results of their decisions were successful careers, often beyond their wildest imaginations.
Some of their life stories are culled out here to remind and inspire us to make the right decisions and go for the life you desire.
Chimamanda Adichie – Writer, Author.
Born in the town of Enugu, Chimamanda Adichie studied Medicine and Pharmacy at the University of Nigeria, at the request of her father. She had always dreamed of becoming a writer, a desire that she credits to Chinua Achebe, Igbo author of Nigerian masterwork “Things Fall Apart.”
She quit studying Medicine after a year and a half and left Nigeria at age 19 for the United States to study Communications and Political Science at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She transferred to Eastern Connecticut State University to live closer to her sister.
Today, she is a widely celebrated writer with her three bestselling novels; Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun and her latest novel Americanah (selected as one of the New York Times’ 10 Best Books of 2013).
Jason Njoku – Entrepreneur and Co-founder of Iroko Partners.
Born in Britain, after graduating with a 2.1 in Chemistry from University of Manchester in 2005. Jason Njoku threw himself into launching a magazine for students called Brash – fueled by loans from bank and friends, and youthful enthusiasm; a business he admits his most epic failure.
In an interview with Forbes Africa he said, “I spent a good three years making every mistake there was to make about how to run a business.”
He took a break in formal employment as a recruitment consultant. But his entrepreneurial drive got him back on another round.
He co-founded ‘Roll On Friday’ – a blog network and news site for young professionals in banking, law and consultancy – another failed venture that lasted for two years. He turned to other business to pay the bills, a T-shirt company, a web design venture.
But defeat led to a revelation, a huge opportunity in the Nigerian movie industry, Nollywood. The idea of Iroko Partners was born. Today, he is the co-founder of IrokoTV, a web platform that provides Nigerian films on-demand, and one of Africa’s first mainstream online movie steaming websites, giving free and instant access to over 5,000 Nollywood film titles.
Ibukun Awosika – Entrepreneur, and Founder of The Chair Centre Ltd.
Ms Ibukun Awosika wanted to become a medical doctor when she was in secondary school, later on, an architect but eventually ended up graduating with her first degree in Chemistry from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife).
She also took many free electives in accounting as she had keen interest in banking.
Since a bank job did not materialize, she took a sales job at a furniture company. Three and a half months later, she resigned her position to set up her own furniture manufacturing company, Quebees Ltd, from which The Chair Centre Ltd later evolved.
She started in January 1989 with 2 carpenters, 2 sprayers and 2 upholsterers from the back of her father’s house. Today she has grown her business to a net worth of more than three billion Naira ($18.6 million).
Kate Henshaw – Actress.
Kate Henshaw spent one year at the University of Calabar studying remedial studies, and then majored in Medical Microbiology at the School of Medical Lab Science, LUTH (Lagos University Teaching Hospital). In 1993, Henshaw left her career in Medicine to pursue her dream to become an actress.
She auditioned for the lead role in the movie, “When the Sun Sets” and was handed the role. She has starred in over 40 Nollywood movies. In 2008, she won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role for the film, “Stronger than Pain.” She is presently one of the judges on Nigeria’s Got Talent TV reality show.
Mr. Frank Nneji – Entrepreneur and Founder/CEO ABC Transport.
Mr. Frank Nneji, OON, graduated from the University of Nigeria-Nsukka, in 1982, with his first degree in Biological Sciences. He gained a foretaste of what to expect of his life trajectory when he successfully ran for the position of Transport Officer in the UNN student’s union election.
He never failed to take an opportunity to make some pocket money by conveying fellow students to venues of sporting events for a fee in his personal rugged car.
Today, he is the founder/CEO of Associated Bus Company Plc – operator of ABC Transport, a clear front-runner in luxury bus operation in West African sub-region.
Dr. Raymond Dokpesi – Founder of DAAR Communications.
His full name is Raymond Anthony Aleogho Dokpesi, born in 1951 in Ibadan. Dr. Dokpesi was part of the pioneer students at University of Benin-Edo State, where he did his undergraduate studies.
He completed his studies in University of Gdansk, Poland where he earned his Doctorate degree in Marine Engineering under the sponsorship of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur who saw him through his secondary school days to his university level.
Dr. Raymond practiced in his field of study working at the Nigerian Port Authority, but he never forgot his first love, showbiz, and entertainment.
He decided to put his dream to reality when he conceived the idea of starting a radio station during the Ibrahim Babangida Regime when the atmosphere was conducive enough due to the deregulation of broadcasting in Nigeria.
In 1994 he launched the first Nigerian private FM radio station. Two years later, he launched Africa Independent Television – (AIT), the first private television network in Nigeria operated by Daar Communications.