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Nigerian Youths and Business Gurus unite through Forever Youth Summit

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By Tony Nwankwo

…Everyone has a talent – Dr. Cosmas Maduka, Coscharis President

…Make your life count – Tony Attah, MD/CEO NLNG

…Take charge and transform your future – Daniel Ikechukwu, FLPN Boss

The atmosphere inside the Eagle Hall, Forever Living Products, Aromire Avenue, Ikeja, Tuesday, December 12, 2017, was electric. The company had summoned Nigerian youths from all walks of life, particularly those who wished to improve their living standard based on the theme: Forever Youth Summit: Building for the future.

L-R: Mr. Sobowale Adedola (FBO); Ikechukwu Daniel (Country Sales Manager, FLP Nigeria); Dr. Cosmas Maduka (President, Coscharis Group); Mrs. Ibukun Awosika (Chairman, First Bank Nigeria Plc.); Mr. Jean-Baptiste Amichia (VP Africa, Forever Living Products); Dr. Clement Indigo (Double Diamond Manager, FLP); Soles Ezekiel (Business Coach/FBO).

The Country Sales Manager Forever Living Products Nigeria, Mr. Daniel Ikechukwu who declared the 4-days summit open, through his remarks clearly re-echoed that 47.4% of Nigeria youths are either unemployed or underemployed (NBS Report, 2017).

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“The objective of our summit”, he said,  “is to create healthier and higher quality of life for our Nigerian youths. Our youths must take charge of their lives and be involved in actions that will consciously transform their beliefs, values, attitude and finances”. He concluded his remarks by urging the  youths to imbibe the spirit of Forever which is the spirit of love, in other to learn the needed skill from some of the best business managers in Nigeria so that they could build a bigger and better future for themselves

Three eminent personalities also took the stage – Dr. Cosmas Maduka, an accomplished businessman, founder, President/CEO of Coscharis Group; Mr. Tony Attah, MD/CEO Nigeria Liquefied Gas and Pharm. Victor Erukunuakpor, MD/CEO Gratunity Nig Ltd

Maduka, the quintessential star at Coscharis Group, is the epitome of the saying: from grass to grace. He, it was, who superintended a one-man business and transformed it into an indigenous conglomerate with diverse interests in manufacturing, ICT, petro-chemicals, auto sales and many more. Coscharis owns the sole franchise of world renowned auto premium brands: BMW, Rolls Royce and Jaguar, Land Rover and others.

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And at the event, he opened himself up to an appreciative audience who cheered his every word, his every gesture. “I love to go where people add value to my life”, he started, accusing Forever Country Sales Manager, Mr. Daniel Ikechukwu, of putting him behind such accomplished man, like Tony Attah, as the two dazzled at the event. “I got value today”, he confessed.

While Maduka placed his own personal life on a scale for all to tantalize and savour, Attah placed value of people worldwide for them to choose. At the end, another standing ovation was to FLP Nigeria boss, Daniel Ikechukwu, who put together an amalgam of genuine enterprise and friendship for Forever Business Owners. Generally, the two gentlemen agreed on basic principles of creating wealth and having a successful entrepreneurship.

“Mine was a humble beginning”, Maduka said. Lost his father at age 4, he had to withdraw from school at Primary III at age 7. “I hawked akara to contribute to the up keep of my family”, he revealed. He later came to Lagos, and became apprentice in an auto shop to a senior uncle who lived at 88 Griffith Street, Ebute-Metta.

On the other hand, Attah revealed how an aptitude test in Yamoussoukro, changed the way he viewed life. “I was part of a 900-youth group who were drilled on how they viewed life and wealth. We were asked to privately indicate what each could do with a free hundred million dollars. While some Africans desired a bigger house, cars, some suggesting new wives, candidates from advanced societies had different perspectives”.

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According to Attah, a 19-year-old from Europe, said with the money, he could eradicate malaria in Sudan and Ethiopia and hope that one day he could be opportune to visit the place. Another said he would use his imaginary millions to eradicate poverty in Africa and hope to visit there one day.

Attah said the responses changed the way he viewed life. “It is important that you live for something bigger than yourself. Who will miss you when you are no longer here?” he asked a now subdued audience.

Meanwhile, Maduka explained how with dedication, honesty and hard work, the N200 his uncle provided as settlement for years of his apprenticeship, eventually turned into fortune. “After several setbacks, my breakthrough came in 1982 when the Nigerian government decided to grant import licenses to ten motor companies and Coscharis Motors was selected”, he recounted.

“If anybody had reason not to succeed, the person is me. If anybody had reason to blame God for failing, it should be me”, adding that life was about mind-set.

“Belief, is one of the most important things in my life. As a child, my mother told me to believe in myself. She didn’t tell me about God, before, but she did later. Believe in yourself and believe in God. Believe truly that hard work opens the good life”, he advised. He derided young people who condemn the country for not providing enough for them.

“A lot of young people say this country is useless, nothing will work for you if you say and think so. In your subconscious, you said it. Remember the Bible says: `Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks’”, urging them to leave the hall with a different mind-set.

“Say to yourself, `I will change my future, my life will not remain the same’, and wake up early in your race for prosperity. If you want to somersault, you must do so before age 20. If you don’t, after 25, you will have spinal injury. But if you are somersaulting at 19, you can still somersault at 40, because at age 28-30, you are at the borderline”, he told a subsumed audience, adding that statistics showed successful people were usually within age 15-25. “Only in exceptional cases, people start being successful after age 40.

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Also speaking, Attah said young people coming to Forever were being presented with a vision ordained by God, who had literally given a canvass, paint and a brush to paint their desired vision that will be approved, adding that in all cases, they would require determination and team work. “In life journey, everyone needs help and that is the meaning of team work, afterall, two good heads are better than one.

You can have everything you want in life, if you just help other people get what they want, operating individually, you can achieve nothing. Without other people you will not happen”, Attah stressed, condemning those who say the grass is greener on the other side. “No”, he said, “the grass is greener where you water it”, he observed.

He urged youths to be focused and courageous, as nothing could be achieved without focus. “When you work hard, luck shows up. Know your company; know and use the products; f

ocus on your customers and build a team of champions. You must have the burning desire to win, and ensure you go into ventures that could change your names for the better”.

Concluding Attah, described Forever Combo Pack as a Pack of Fortune, saying FBOs must stay focused so they can recognise their opportunity when it shows up.

However, in his closing remarks, Maduka, explained that if he, with his humble beginning, could sit in the board of two Nigerian banks for 12 years, serve as Chairman, Credit Committee of Access Bank, stand on a podium at the United Nations, comprising 170 countries to speak on Youth Entrepreneurship, there was no one who could not make it. He said, however, that like any worthwhile endeavour, there were rules that must be obeyed, even in Forever business.

Maduka said selling remained the most difficult thing to do in life. “You will be challenged by anything you do”, adding that the Igbo had enterprising spirit that distinguished them from other people. “To the Igbo, shop is part of our religion”, he said, stressing that with vision, courage, and hard work, anyone could succeed.

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He urged young people to look out for gaps that exist in the service sector. “When you fill the gaps that exist in service, you will not be running after money, money will be running after you”, he said. Despite the topsy-turvy of his life, Maduka said he still preferred the art of apprenticeship, as it prepared young people to appreciate the ups and downs of life and business.

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