While other youths embark on Japa, Chukwudi Iwuchukwu highlights what other creative youths are doing in Nigeria to overcome challenges and win.
I was startled last April when I read on Nairametrics that a 31-year-old real estate investor called Nola Adetola wanted to borrow five billion Naira on a commercial paper loan from the Financial Market Dealers Quotation Securities Exchange.
When others are moaning about the bad shape of the country, these young people choose to see the glass as half-full instead of half-empty. That, for me, is the lesson to draw as a young person living in Nigeria who is committed to staying in the country for the long term
Before I continue, let me explain what a commercial paper is. Commercial paper is a short-term loan that most Nigerian corporates access to grow their businesses and boost their capital. Most Nigerian big corporates prefer commercial paper because it is cheaper than bank loans.You can get a commercial paper loan with less than 8% interest, while banks charge 25% to give the same loan.
The difference is that the duration for repayment is usually shorter with commercial paper than with a bank loan. Commercial paper tenor (repayment) is usually 270 days, but banks can lend up to two years to customers.
Companies that have a healthy cash flow but need a cheap temporary loan or other funding to fund their business resort to commercial papers. FMDQ Exchange known as the Financial Market Dealers Quotation Securities Exchange issue commercial papers. MTN and Dangote are the two biggest Nigerian companies that use commercial paper loans to run their businesses, so you can imagine my shock and skepticism to see a real estate company run by a 31-year-old dude is approaching the same market that MTN patronized for their funding needs. For instance, MTN raised 127 billion naira for their business in commercial paper last year.
I was shocked; as I did not know who he was or the company he runs. To satisfy my curiosity, I went to Google to read up on him.
Nola might be young, but he is big; he runs one of the biggest real estate companies in Nigeria, and his story is remarkable and inspiring. Five years ago, he was an ordinary shoe seller; he produced his own hand-made shoes and then sold them to retailers and end-user customers. It was just 4 years ago that he had his epiphany moment by getting into real estate first as a property agent, before he started his company 3 years ago.
The company has grown from those humble beginnings to be one of the biggest real estate companies in Nigeria. It is the real estate company behind the popular Itunu city, for those who live in Lekki, and it has also developed other ambitious real estate projects for its subscribers and clients.
I was a year older on December 28th, and I was basking in the euphoria of my day when I got a news notification from Nairametics that Nola Adeotoa Company has redeemed or paid back the N5.526 billion in Series 1 and 2 of its debut commercial paper ahead of its maturity date, which was on December 30. In the Nairametrics news, Nola went ahead to explain that the issuance of the commercial paper program, signed in April 2022, facilitated the development of premium real estate projects for clients at home and in the diaspora for his company.
After reading the press release on Nairametrics, I told myself that this young man is liquid; he runs a company that has healthy cash flows as well, and Nola Adeola is not an outlier.
There are many like him, in their 20s and 30s, who are bullish and optimistic about the future of our country, and they are building ground-breaking companies. From finance to logistics, manufacturing, media, transport, and real estate, they abound, and without media coverage and away from the limelight, they are building what will be the next Dangote in two decades to come.
At a time when many young people are despondent about the future of the country and are leaving in droves, this tribe of young men and women are bullish about the future of our country and focused on what is important, which is to build a business that will create jobs and lift many of our fellow young people out of poverty.
We need more of them as a sign of what the future of the country will be. But more than anything else, they inspire their own generation to keep building and to pay less attention to the noise and to things that are beyond their country, like the inflation. They know that they can’t change the inflation rate. They cannot stop the naira’s depreciation. Those were out of their control, so they would do well to focus on what they could impact.
When others are moaning about the bad shape of the country, these young people choose to see the glass as half-full instead of half-empty. That, for me, is the lesson to draw as a young person living in Nigeria who is committed to staying in the country for the long term.