A MUST READ!! The Okada Rider With 2 Wives On ₦4k/Day – This Will Shock You - Nigelzient



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Monday, July 08, 2024

A MUST READ!! The Okada Rider With 2 Wives On ₦4k/Day – This Will Shock You


This 37-year-old thought he’d received a lifeline when he started riding Okada for a living in 2023. But one year later, he’s barely surviving on ₦4k daily with his family and a new wife on the way.

This is his #NairaLife.

Every week, Zikoko seeks to understand how people move the Naira in and out of their lives. Some stories will be struggle-ish, others will be bougie. All the time, it’ll be revealing.

What was your first “I have to make this money” moment?

It was after one small nail killed my younger sister in 2000. We were playing outside when she stepped on it. The people we lived with just put bandages on her leg and left her like that. A week later, she started jerking like someone who had convulsions.

They called my father, and he took her to elewe omo (herbal medical practitioners). Those ones asked him to buy something, and he started pursuing some of his debtors to get money. To cut the story short, my sister died.

I was 13 years old, and she was 10. If there was money, she’d have been treated faster. We wouldn’t even have had to live with other people in the first place.

I’m so sorry. Which people were you living with?

I don’t know how to describe the relationship. They were probably distant relatives. But I called the man and his wife Mummy and Daddy.

My parents had seven children — apart from the other children from my dad’s two other wives — and they sent us to live with different family members when it became tough to raise us. My father earned little from his carpenter income, and my mother also made small change as a hairdresser. That’s why my sister and I were sent to live with those people. We’d only stayed a year when the incident happened.

Did you continue living with them?

I didn’t have a choice, even though I was angry. I’m sure they wouldn’t have left their own children like that, but you can’t tell someone who’s feeding you that the meat in your food has too much bone. Also, the man was the one paying my school fees.

The only thing I could do was to make some money, so I wouldn’t have to wait for anybody to do something again.

What was the first thing you ever did for money?

I sold empty soft drink bottles in SS 1. This was around 2001-2002. One woman sold soft drinks to my school’s teachers and rich students. She was always at the school’s gate, but I didn’t have money to buy from her. I noticed she always came inside the school to look for empty bottles to exchange with her soft drinks suppliers.

We had plenty of those bottles at home because Mummy also sold them. So, I approached the woman and told her I’d sell them to her. I can’t remember how much we agreed on for each bottle, but she paid me ₦5 weekly for the bottles. I sneaked bottles from the house in my big school bag for six months.

Mummy eventually caught me with the bottles one day. She’d noticed the missing bottles, but there were always plenty of people in the house, so I could say it wasn’t me. The beating I got when they caught me ehn? Ah. it was serious gan. I still carry the scar on my back. After the beating, they called my father to come and take me.

Was that the end of living with them?

Yes. It was also the end of school. My father said, “Since you’ve decided to become a thief, you better start looking for money.”

First, I did laborer work at a construction site near our street. My job was to pack the blocks from where they were spread to dry to the place where the bricklayers used them. At one point, I was also pushing a wheelbarrow filled with stones. For all of this, I got paid ₦50/day.

I only worked there for three weeks because the oga stopped paying after the first week. He was always talking story.

What did you do next?

I started helping a market woman sell poly bags. She’d give me five bags, and I’d walk around the market to sell them to women who were buying things. I think each poly bag was like ₦5. If I sold ten, she gave me ₦1.

The money was too small, so I decided to buy my own poly bags to resell. The profit didn’t make sense so I abandoned it too.

After that, I became a sales boy at a poultry. The owner paid me ₦500/month to stay in the shop and sell eggs. They pursued me after three months because I almost stole all their eggs.


They beat me and reported me to my father. After he also beat me, he told me I was going to learn carpenter work under him so I’d stop disgracing him up and down.

How long did you learn carpentry?

I’m not sure how long it took me to learn, but I worked with my father from 2003 to 2014. He didn’t pay me, so I made money by adding small small change to the price of materials whenever he sent me to buy them. That’s what I used to hold body.

From 2010, I was the one who did the work for his customers because he started having health issues. Whenever that happened, he allowed me to take the payment. It was a good arrangement. I didn’t have to pay for shop rent and was making money — sometimes ₦10k for a one-week job, sometimes ₦50k.

I even thought I was going to inherit the shop, but I had to run away in 2014 after an issue with a cult group in my area.

What happened?

Woman matter o. I was dating one girl who didn’t tell me she was dating a cultist. When the cultist and his friends came to warn me, I was forming strong man. I said they should let the woman make her own choice.

I realised they were serious when I found a human finger in front of my father’s shop. On the same day, they went to see my mother and told her to warn me to disappear if she didn’t want to bury me. I left Lagos and went to live with an uncle in another state.

What was that like?

Hm. There is broke, and there is — what do you people call it? Sapa, abi? I was deep inside sapa. My uncle had a fish pond, and I started helping him for free.

But unlike the previous places I’d worked where I managed to remove small change, I couldn’t do anything like that because my uncle was always around. If he wasn’t at the shop, his wife and children were there. I was so annoyed. They were feeding me o, but as a man, you should have small money in your hand.

I managed for a year before I convinced my uncle to let me go and learn mechanic work.

Why mechanic?

I didn’t want to learn any work jare. I just wanted to find a way to leave his house without causing a fight. I told him that one of my friends in another state knew a mechanic who didn’t charge a lot of money. He agreed and allowed me to go. He even gave me ₦20k. That’s how I returned to Lagos in 2015.

What about the cultists?

I didn’t go back to my family house. Instead, I went to squat with a friend who lived far from our house. I concluded that Lagos is big, and it’ll be hard for them to find me. Also, one year had already passed. Didn’t they have other people to fight?

Anyway, the friend I stayed with was a yahoo boy and I also wanted to learn the work. I think I have bad luck because police raided my friend’s house and arrested all of us just one week after I started living there.

Ah. They knew he was a yahoo boy?

They suspected. It was one of his neighbours who gave a hint to the police. You know when boys have big generators, sound systems and POP ceilings, everyone begins to suspect them.

My friend settled the case with the police and was released, but I spent four months in prison — they wanted me to bribe them, but I kept saying I didn’t have money. In the end, I had to call my father to look for ₦80k so they’d release me. That was how he even knew I was back in Lagos. Looking for the money took another two weeks.

I was sick for several months after my release. Prison is not a good place. It’s just God that said I won’t die.

Phew. Sorry you went through that

At this point, I was just ready to calm down in one place, make small money and live peacefully. I returned to stay with my uncle in 2016, and he allowed me to use a small space in front of his house to work as a carpenter.

Small small, I started getting clients. The first time I made big money was in 2018. Someone was building a new school and called me to make 250 chairs and tables for her. I made ₦200k in profit. I could’ve made more, but the woman can price ehn. I just took the work because it was my first big job.

I used the money to rent a ₦100k/year apartment and used the balance for my wedding. I also got married that year.


That was my first and only big job. But I was still doing quite well and making small money — at least ₦40k – ₦50k monthly.

2020 was a bad year because of the lockdown and everything becoming more expensive. But I was still surviving small small.

Towards the end of 2022, I started considering finding something else to do.


The market became somehow. One time, I charged a customer ₦60k for a dining table, thinking I’d use like ₦40k to buy wood and other materials. By the time I reached the market, everything I needed cost ₦55k, and I couldn’t go back to tell the customer that I wanted to increase the money.

I had to buy less quality materials to deliver, but even that caused problems because the customer kept complaining. I started telling customers to buy the materials themselves, but I had to stop when they started trying to make me collect ₦10k-₦20k for workmanship.

I’d also moved from using my uncle’s space to my own shop back in 2019, and paying the ₦80k/year rent became difficult.

I shared my troubles with one of the alhajis in my local mosque, and he asked me to think about a business I could do and get back to him. I decided on okada. It seemed profitable.

Everyone in my town uses okada, and I won’t have to think about looking for money to pay shop rent or buy goods. I told the alhaji and he bought me an okada in 2023.

Has this been more profitable?

It was profitable at first. I made up to ₦6k/day after removing ₦1500 for fuel and ₦300 for tickets. I gave my shop to my wife, and she turned it into a salon. Things were going fine, and I was happy.

But Tinubu came and removed fuel subsidy in May 2023. I first parked my bike at home for one week because fuel became scarce. There’s a filling station near my house, but as early as 5 a.m., you’d see plenty of okadas already lining up. Being first in the queue didn’t even mean you’d see fuel to buy because the filling station people could come at 8 a.m. and say they didn’t have fuel.

I can relate like mad

Even when I finally found fuel, finding customers was another thing. Like other okada men, I had to increase the amount I charged because of the fuel matter. But people were more interested in trekking than paying ₦500 for a journey that usually costs ₦100.

I’ve been riding okada for just about a year, and I’m already regretting it. If not that someone gave me this okada, I would’ve sold it. I’ve just been moving from one wahala to the other. If fuel is not scarce, it’s expensive or even fake.

My okada started having issues late last year because of one fuel I bought from the black market. The mechanic said they mixed the fuel with something. I used about ₦30k to fix the engine when the problem started. Since then, I return to the mechanic to fix another problem at least once every month. That usually takes between ₦10k – ₦15k.

What pains me about this thing is that the alhaji bought the okada new. I should’ve still enjoyed it for a long time before having to repair it every time.

How much do you make these days?

Now, I struggle to make ₦4k daily. Most times, it’s ₦3k — after removing fuel and ticket money. I can’t go long distances because my okada can just start misbehaving. It’s tough, but I’m just trying my best.

I’m considering restarting my carpenter work on the side so I can earn extra cash. I need another income now, especially since I’m marrying a second wife soon.

A second wife?

Yes. She’s pregnant, and I can’t let my child be born as a bastard when my religion allows me to marry more than one wife. I didn’t intend to remarry so soon, but God has a way of doing things.

I hope to sort out the wedding plans within the next three months — I’m spending more money because she’s not living with me. I have to send her own feeding allowance separately. There’s also money for antenatal and medicine. I had to pay half of her ₦80k house rent in January. When we get married, those costs will be reduced.

I’m curious. What are your expenses like right now with your current home?

God is helping us because I don’t really calculate how much I spend. I just spend. But I give my wife ₦3k every two days to cook. We have one child who just started nursery school last term, and I paid ₦14k for his school fees and uniform.

I mentioned my wife has a salon, so she helps to pay for small things in the house like water and the NEPA bill. I pay the ₦150k rent for our two-bedroom house. I thank God for ajo. I make a ₦3k weekly ajo contribution, and it’s what I use to save for rent.

Why do you think carpentry would work now when it wasn’t profitable a few years ago?

Someone advised me to go into making bed frames. I heard it’s easier to make more money on them. Before, I focused on just tables and chairs. If I see ₦100k now, I’ll just make like two or three bed frames and display them in my wife’s salon. I’m sure customers will come.

Have you considered what would happen if they don’t come?

Ah. Are you wishing me bad? I just have to hope because if I can’t hope, I’d better just sit down at home. But if the business picks up, I may consider selling my okada and investing more in it. Let me just get my wedding out of the way first.

Let’s rate your financial happiness on a scale of 1-10

I’m not happy with my finances at all, but there’s hope. So, I rate it 5/10.

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