“Do people eat money?” that was the exact question young Frank Nneji posed to his mother, a local midwife, who assisted pregnant women to deliver of their babies, after she had told a desperate husband, who couldn’t afford her bills decades ago, ‘You have eaten my money, abi?”
The youngster, then, didn’t understand the implications of transliteration. Taking her mother’s words literally, he swallowed the coins his mother had left with him, recalls Frank Nneji in his new memoir, Who Says You Can’t? (Storytellers Services: 2018).
“She went nuts. Everybody started to panic. Things happened quickly. Someone put something in my anus, pumped in water, and gave me a prescription that helped to excrete the coins,” writes Nneji.
Before then, the family’s small table clock had gone missing. For he was only five years old, nobody bothered to ask him what happened to the clock. Unknown to them, he was the culprit. He had dug a hole and buried the clock, thinking it would germinate, one day, if he watered it regularly.
Nneji recalls: “After some days, my siblings noticed I kept going behind the house to pour water on the same spot. I had obviously planted something there. They decided to dig whatever it was up, and, to their utmost shock, they found the missing table clock! It had become rusty and spoilt…”
No doubt, Nneji’s curiosity for moneymaking was stirred up quite early in life, and it didn’t take too long before he discovered that money could, indeed, multiple like mustard seeds but only with the incubation of ideas. In the 234-page book, the author chronicles how he rose from a groundnut seller to become the CEO of Rapido Ventures, a company that has birthed many brands reckoned with in Africa and round the world.
Frank NNEJI – Founder, ABC Transport
“Who Says You Can’t? Timeless Lessons and Experiences in Business” by Frank Nneji, Founder, ABC Transport
At 23, leading a carefree life filled with partying and binging is a given for many Nigerian youths. Most of them will seldom look for how to search for a dark goat before nightfall. In 1983, Nneji was only 23 years old. It was at that age that he set up his first registered business, Rapido Ventures, as a fresh graduate from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, instead of searching for a white collar job.
Having studied biological sciences at UNN, he felt it was wise for the newly formed Rapido Ventures to go into the supplies of laboratory and scientific tools and materials to schools. His main customers were universities in the eastern part of Nigeria. From there, be started supplying high quality chalk boards.