We Are Succeeding Pretty Late Here in Nigeria – Chinonso Ogbogu

We Are Succeeding Pretty Late Here in Nigeria – Chinonso Ogbogu

Yesterday, in my office, the TV-set at the lobby was tuned to CNN and news about Uber was trending all over.

Just 10 years ago, Uber was founded by two guys who struggled to get a taxi on a cold day in San Francisco.

Just 10 years ago!

10 years after, they have gone public, raising over $8 billion in IPO in NYSE.

If you convert that number to Naira at an exchange rate of N360 to $1, we are looking at over N2.8 Trillion.

Now, the whole of Lagos State budget for 2019 is pegged at N874 billion!

If you doubt, Google it!

(BTW, what’s your state’s annual budget for 2019?)

Even though analysts argued that the IPO didn’t do so well, that is not even the basis of my post this morning.

But I want us to really pause here and examine something as entrepreneurs and thinkers.

I think, as you all already know, there is something fundamentally wrong in the way entrepreneurship works here in Nigeria.

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It seems there is already an invisible ceiling to how we think here – the size of our ambition and what we could possibly become.

Typically, here in Nigeria, does it ever occur to a young entrepreneur that he can go public in 10 years?

Yes, I know we got myriad of systemic issues – and once in a while we hear news of an Outlier that breaks out – but does it ever cross his mind?

Is it a possible default thinking that an average young entrepreneur in Nigeria has or is exposed to?

Of course, you already know the answer.

Instead, after 10 years, the Oga entrepreneur is still debating how to keep his books straight or separate business money from personal money.


We have bought into these custom lies of small business, of SMEs, that what was supposed to protect us has now imprisoned us.

I have said it before and I still want to reiterate it here: WE SUCCEED LATE HERE IN NIGERIA.

If I told you I want to take Sabi Writers public in 10 years, even my friends – even you sef – will be the ones telling me, “Chinonso, take it easy.”

And I get that.

While taking time to allow growth to happen is generally true, there is a part of our own version of “taking time” that is a product of our failed system and conditioned thinking.

In Nigeria, we have grown to master the art of living by the doctrine of AT LEAST.

How many of us here as young entrepreneurs are building not only to go public but to do so at the global level?

Yes, I know not everyone of us here will play the big game, but how many of us are, by default, thinking of such big game?

Okay, maybe I am being too ambitious and hysterical here at the same time.

But how about creating to a specially designed public quotation framework or institution designed for young entrepreneurs, for SMEs.

And let it serve as the preparatory ground for these SMEs for the massive take down – the big IPO at the global stage in the near future.

As I type this, I am still lying down in my bedroom, having woken up with my mind flooded with these pressing thoughts.

We are succeeding pretty late here in Nigeria.

With all our reasons noted, we are still succeeding late in Nigeria.

And this is why big ambitions seem to be the exception rather than the norm.

Instead, we have replaced it with the deafening chants of AT LEAST YOU TRIED.

And by the way, how many years have you been running that your business sef?