My name is Muhammad Murtala.
I was born on 1 January 1990, in Funtua, Katsina State, although my state of origin is Zamfara.
I grew up in Funtua.
It was there that I had my primary and secondary education.
I attended LEA Primary School.
I also went to an Islamic school which I attended for four years.after returning from school.
I was a student of Government College Day Wing Secondary School, Funtua.
I sat for for my West African School Certificate Examination (WASCE) there and passed in five subjects.
I was about ten years old when my father, named Sulaiman, died.
He had three wives but my mother, named Zainab, who is the first one, is still alive. She gave birth to me and two girls for my father. When she is not in Funtua, she is in Maradun in Zamfara where she hails from.
My father had a shop in Funtua Central Market where he sold toys and sweets.
I used to go and help him in the shop after closing from primary school. So, I learnt the business of selling toys from him.
He was going to Zamfara one day to see his parents when he had an accident which led to his death.
One of my uncles, named Halilu, took over the running of the shop after my father's death.
But later, the remaining goods in the shop were sold because they said my father owed three persons and money was needed to settle the debt.
That was the end of the shop.
To make ends meet, I had to go and farm millet and groundnut on a small land that my father had in Zamfara.
I did this for about two years but stopped after about two years.
I started my own toys' business with the money I made from the farming.
But, the business did not move well or as I had hoped.
Coming to, and life in Abuja
So, I packed it up and came here to Abuja.
That was in 2012.
I came to join my Uncle Halilu's son named Auwal, who was into "Keke NAPEP" (commercial motorcycle) business
I stayed with him at his Corner Shop place on First Avenue, in Gwarinpa, which I read about sometime ago as the largest housing estate in West Africa. This place is so large.
Auwal has gone back to Funtua.
He put me through on the Keke NAPEP business.
I had used three keke before this one, which is my own.
There is a woman who was a fuel attendant at the Oando Filling Station on First Avenue, now taken over by NNPCL, where I used to regularly fuel the keke, who gave it to me on hire purchase at One million and One Hundred Thousand Naira. The price of a new one then was Six Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira.
She said I looked like a gentleman who would not fail on the agreement.
And I did not.
Our agreement was that I would pay her Fifteen Thousand Naira every week.
Whenever I knew I would not make the weekly payment I let her know in advance what the issue was.
She also used to let me not pay during Sallah when I had to travel home for about one week to be with my sisters and mother.
It took me two years and a few months to pay her back. She is a good woman and she never gave me trouble.
As soon as I finished paying her, she gave me the particulars.
On a good day, I make at least Five Thousand Naira out of I which I try to save One Thousand Naira daily.
I do not have a girlfriend. I live in the area where Ojuelegba Amala Point is located off First Avenue.
I spend my earnings buying food, phone credit, sending money home and making sure that my keke is working well and always in service. I was lucky recently to have one customer give me Twenty Thousand Naira to add to the Twenty Thousand Naira I had saved to change the crankshaft and piston.. When I told my mother she prayed for the man. I can never forget him.
The keke is like new again.
My daily prayer
But, really, this is not the business I want to be doing. Besides the occasional harassment from the police, even when you do the right things as I try to do always, I really want to return to Funtua and back to selling toys. That is what I learnt to do and it gave me joy.
My prayer every day is to get money to go and restart the business.
I am talking of at least Two Million Naira, to get a shop and stock it with goods.
I do not know where the money will come from but I believe that it will come, Insha Allah.
It can be through government assistance to help small businesses or even through individuals. After all, I got my keke on hire purchase and I have paid back.
My phone number is +2348069748070, in case there are helpers.
Why I am not interested in doing the business in Abuja is because if you do not have your shop, say in a plaza, but in a 'temporary place' FCTA officials could hav e demolished.
But, really, I prefer to be in Funtua, where my family is.
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Taiwo Obe, FNGE
Commonwealth Professional Fellow
Founder/Director, The Journalism Clinic
+234 818 693 5900