Success sometimes takes very tortuous paths. This is the case of Abayomi Abowokun who, before managing 34-year-old Oando, the largest independent Nigerian conglomerate working in the oil sector, made a living by cleaning toilets.
Abayomi Abowokun was born in 1978 to a modest family in the city of Ibadan, Nigeria. He studied mathematics at the University of Ibadan and graduated with a not very glorious mention. After graduation, he briefly worked at Lagos Business School as a member of the administrative staff. But the young man is not satisfied with this work. He uses his savings to expatriate to England to study international trade. But as often, the cost of living in England is too high for the young Nigerian. He must then work as a toilet maintenance worker in order to make ends meet.
One day, while he was waiting for the occupant of the toilet to leave them to clean them, one of his compatriots called out to him. She noticed, without knowing how, that the young man is Nigerian. After a discussion with him, she discovers that the young man has interesting qualities in addition to his diplomas. Thanks to the connections of this makeshift meeting, Abayomi Abowokun landed a job in an English bank. Its efficiency is such that the Nigerian becomes, in just a few months, a regional director of this bank.
Today, 10 years later, Abayomi Abowokun heads the marketing section of Oando, Nigeria’s largest independent oil company. At 34, he is in charge of marketing management for more than 600 stations in Oando and, given his ability to climb the ranks, he is not expected to drag himself into this position.