Once again, I shall share with you practical success lessons as we journey through the compelling story of the life of a Nigerian who had to surmount difficult hurdles in life to carve a niche for himself in the industry of entrepreneurs; by helping other entrepreneurs achieve their business objectives, our paths crossed. His story is quite revealing and speaks a lot about how personalities and tenacity for success is taught, learnt and imparted right from childhood. It resonates with my belief that Kings are born and Kings are made. He is a University of Lagos-trained Pharmacist, writer and a business consultant and consultant on training to the Lagos State government, with a proven track record of over 15 years of business successes and the author of the best selling and most comprehensive business opportunity handbook “1000+ Practical Business Ideas and Directory of Money Sources “. Meet SUNKANMI VAUGHAN through excerpts from his autobiography I persuaded him to release to me for your reading delight.
Sunkanmi Vaughan was born in the mid ’70s in the family of Vaughan. He had his primary school at St. Peter’s Catholic Primary school, Ebute-Meta(West), Lagos. Sunkanmi Vaughan was the second of the three surviving four sons of Mr Vaughan while his parents had their only daughter 4 years after his birth.
Sunkanmi Vaughan started exhibiting the act of leadership at a very tender age when he was chosen as a class monitor(Captain) in his primary school days. Though, that was his first time to hold the post of leadership,he was so meritorious at it that he held that position for good three consecutive academic years!
Both his parents would insist on hard work as a formula for excellence, for example, he recalled how he and his elder brother use their long school break to cover the Mathematics Scheme of work for first term in the class they got promoted to with their dad’s help. However, his skill as an entrepreneur was also known at a very young age.
As a class monitor, Sunkanmi Vaughan oversees the distribution of the Lagos State government-provided free education textbooks to his classmates before each subject starts and record the list of ‘Class noise makers’ among other tasks. According to him “the most challenging things about the tasks assigned to a class Monitor was recording the names of class noise makers”, which made him come up with a system that sanctions each noise maker to pay a compulsory fine of 5 kobo or face corporal punishment from the class teacher. This he was doing in the fight to stop noise-making in his class. Whereas,his intention was to solve a problem, it ended up making him ‘rich’ as he realized that his classmates would rather pay than keep quiet or face corporal punishment unless they are broke!
In his final year in primary school class during the time of national economic recession with the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP) of the new Gen. Ibrahim Babangida-led military government. Sunkanmi’s father lost his job and things became very tough!
As a result of this economic setback, his family had to relocate from Ebute Meta to his father’s house in Isolo – outskirts of Lagos. Sunkanmi stayed every Mondays to Fridays with his maternal grandmother in Ebute meta (west) and return to Isolo at the close of school on Fridays. This was to enable him finish his primary school before he permanently reunited with the rest of his nuclear family in Isolo.
As a young teenager living with his ‘Alhaja’ grandmother who most times travel home to Esan,Former Bendel State but now Edo State) in preparation of her eventual final relocation to Esan, he is left with his older student-cousin and forced to survive on the meager funds on him and still transport himself back home in Isolo on Fridays. According to Sunkanmi, on days.”I have no funds and my cousin is broke”, he trekked the long distance from Apapa road to Oke Afa, Isolo which in my estimate should be about 20 kilometers!! Those period was his first life experience of hardship but what struck him was that it was that difficult period that helped formed his high level of conviction that :”no matter what, my nuclear family is a sanctuary for me and no matter how difficult it gets, I will still fulfill my dreams in life!”, he vowed.
During this tough time of his life he had an accident with one of the ubiquitous Lagos Commercial Mass Transit Bus popularly called ‘Molue’ on his way to school. He had a surgery at the Emergency Ward of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi Araba, Lagos (incidentally, that was where he received his Pharmacy education). He believed that his surgery went well and only had to spend 5 days on admission as an in-patient, it was on his hospital bed that he received the great news that he made a distinction Score in his First School Leaving Certificate Exam (G2).
Just on the day he was to be discharged, an absent-minded nurse forgot to dress up one of the stitched wounds on one of my two legs and my leg would have been amputated as the stitches later ‘broke’ and the wound opened up and got sore! On this discovery, he was immediately referred to the main hospital in Idi-araba from the outpatient unit on Harvey Road, Yaba where another shock awaited his parents: Sunkanmi will urgently require another surgery and skin graft was the medical verdict.
Due to the low financial state of his parents, there was no way he could have the surgery on that day even if his whole life depended on it. Reason: Lack of funds and no healthcare insurance like we now have. So Sunkanmi was returned home and kept as an outpatient on a 3-day per week wound dressing visit to Harvey road while his parents run around to raise the needed funds for the surgery. Just by a stroke of divine intervention, Sunkanmi’s legs would have been amputated. Perhaps, it was this unpleasant experience and the desire to do things better when he is grown up that made him decide to be a Healthcare professional, we would later find out.
Sunkami’s family practically survived on the assistance of his aunt,Mrs Yinka Ali(nee Vaughan),a registered nurse; she assisted them with food, healthcare and even clothes. According to Sunkanmi, “through her care and support for her brother’s family,I saw how siblings show and practiced genuine love to one another and the deep meaning in the saying that ‘blood is thicker than water “still can’t match the extent of love my aunt showed us” in their period of distress and severe hardship. That his dad ended up not selling his house he almost sold at distress.
While his wounds are yet to be healed,he resumed high school in Holy Saviour’s college, Isolo, late in the first term and told his troubled that they shouldn’t expect any outstanding academic result from him since he had missed a few days of school. But once again, his strong academic foundation came to my rescue, as he took the 19th position in a class of 40 students in the first term, by second term he had gone up to 9th position and by the final Third term had made the 4th position in the top class of the first year high school students in his class! Sunkanmi Vaughan is back he thought to himself little did he know that another series of setbacks were just around the corner. One of it was so serious a case that it shook the whole residential estate his parents live.
I think you still need to read part of the most intriguing part of the story of Sunkanmi Vaughan written in his own words:
“After the healing of the wound, something strange started happening and every day for months, I wake up and the first thing I do is C-R-Y!! Some ‘thing’ I don’t know even up till today, would quietly crawl up to my leg, gets to the healed wound and dig several indentations like 20-30 marks someone could make with sharp pointed arm of the mathematical compass used in mathematics construction. Then another several days of healing will re-commence, and after the healing, same thing will happen and this devastation continued for months, I was in psychological turmoil and I couldn’t discuss it with my friends who kept wondering why I kept wearing bandage for several months even after they knew my wound had healed. I think if it’s these days, someone would call it spiritual attack and may have recommended that my parents carry me to spiritual homes. My parents would have none of that, to them, prayers, faith and good medical care is enough and their faith saw me through those dark period.
One other strange thing that happened coincided with the last time I had my ‘strange healed wound stabs’, I was kidnapped by a neighbor living few blocks from mine. The most annoying part of this crime perpetuated against me is that my kidnappers are people known to my family members! I was intensely hypnotized and couldn’t narrate a detailed account of what happened but I was told that I was being sneaked out of the neighborhood around 1a.m when my vigilant elder brother who had maintained vigil in the neighborhood (everyone in my family was on the lookout probably they had a feeling that whoever had kidnapped me was still in the neighborhood),saw them, accosted them and demanded to know where they were taking me to while shouting out “Maami, Babami, mo ti ri Sunkanmi o!! “(Mum, dad, I have found Sunkanmi!!)
My parents quickly dashed to the scene and my mum in extreme fits of anger rushed at the female neighbor who kidnapped me and they both landed on the floor while my brother snatched me from their only male accomplice. My mum completely lost her temper and it took the greater physical strength of my father to separate her from my kidnapper in the ensuing melee. I could not recognize any single member of my family. The news went like a wildfire in the estate and extra emergency security measures were put in place. My kidnappers were eventually sent out of the estate after several pleas against police arrest and their criminal prosecution.”
Here is the good side of his journey … Sunkanmi Vaughan:
After that incident, one positive thing after the other happened in family, my father got a better paying job and my elder brother ‘cleared’ his WAEC ,JAMB at just the his first and only sitting and got admitted into the university!Today, he is a medical doctor. Sunkanmi Vaughan and his other siblings equally performed excellently in their academic pursuits and the result today is that even the youngest of them is an accountant while the only female is a Public Health Professional This period of good tidings was so refreshing after the pretty long spell of setbacks in my family.
How he started his first business ….
In those days, I go to school with my elder brother who attends a different school not far from my school.In the wisdom of my parents, they give us transport fare in a currency denomination that compels us to share same bus to school even on days we have a fight! We developed our own way of working around it and on such days when we have a fight, there is an unwritten code: each of us must mind his own business, face his own way and we each end up trekking to school!!And the transport fare? We share it 50:50!!
But there comes a problem. How do we convert the currency note into lower denominations for each person to get his share?
It is in a bid to solve this problem that the situation gave rise to an opportunity for the teenager boy to acquire his first business experience and stumble on the knowledge of how to sell, sell and sell.
I used my share of the transport fare to buy a particular type of sugar cane (called Ireke in my local Yoruba Language) I had once bought and enjoyed. I hoped to resell the ireke to my classmates so I can recover my money(the concluding part of his life’s journey ,especially how he met his chartered stockbroker wife during his undergraduate years, had his marriage and children, set up his successful businesses,his regrets of not becoming a professional footballer because of the accident etc will be made publc in the final publication of his autobiography)
Sunkanmi has given me permission to announce to you a special gift for you. To claim your gift of his latest book “How To Get Biz Loans With Peace Of Mind ” Click the book Thumbnail below!!