My office decided to send the 'village' Andy to the city of Lagos to get inspired and learn how to make money like his mates. The routine was nothing new; Aero Contractors flight for 10:45 a.m left at 12:25 p.m with the scheduled flight for 8 a.m. Who was I to complain when some lady with a Victorian hat as big as a UFO (Unidentified Flying Object) was already upset that she was missing a wedding? I guess the real anger was the fact that she wouldn't be able to show off the spaceship on her head in the next column of BellaNaija Weddings. As usual I re-dedicated my life to Christ 42 times in the air just in case...
Now in Lagos, the first task was and is getting a car to take you out of the airport at an outrageous price, especially when the place you are off to is just ten minutes away from the airport. Wise thing to do for a struggling young man with no driver to pick me up (especially as I didn't want to get anyone out of the house on a Saturday) is to stroll from Arrivals to Departures in a bid to avoid the blood sucking airport drivers and to find a normal taxi or one that just dropped a passenger. This was how I met Udeme. Udeme is a "guy man", obviously educated, well dressed and well spoken. The type of guy who would want to discuss music, women, politics and corruption with a tired passenger who wouldn't feel like slapping him. After negotiating from N6000 to N2000 for a journey that should cost N500 in any other town, we took me on a 3-floor stairway to his Israelite journey to his car.
Udeme has a white Volvo fitted with "beep beep" alarm system which he was so happy to show off. He turned the car on and put on the A/C then politely told me he had to pay for his parking ticket. My Osuofia moment begun when he gave me a tour of his car:
Udeme: Oga, you go just siddon enjoy A/C small make I pay for ticket.
Me: No wahala.
Udeme: Oga no worry I go put movie for you now, I get cinema inside this my motor o! I even get Moet but people de abuse am so I say I no go buy again (he proceeded to show me a dusty champagne glass).
We watched a DVD with a selection of Shania Twain’s music videos and we had unnecessary small chat till I reached my destination. For some reason, I was wowed at the extent to which Udeme went to satisfy his customers with his product/service and it made me see business from a different angle. I had collected his number, used him on two other occasions and suggested him to all my friends who needed taxi services. It reminded me of how time and technology has changed from the days of my father’s Volvo where you needed two hands to open the door of the car to now having DVD players in them. Or how surprised I was when I entered Chico’s car and saw a small button which was for the handbrake… I mean we still drive cars with the huge pull up hand brake gear like thing.
In summation, just last night at some very expensive hotel in Ikoyi, I was at the lobby when the lights went out and some Romanians laughed and said “Welcome to Nigeria”. As much as I was upset at the fact that they were saying the truth (even though foreigners are not allowed to say shit about our already shitty situation), It reminded me of Udeme and the extent he went to ensure great service delivery and even wow me. Why couldn't that hotel at least have an inverter or some sort of buffer system to ensure no one laughed at their services?...Anyways, gist for another day. I think as aspiring and existing entrepreneurs we have something to learn from Udeme.It is not enough for something to be beautiful or for it to work, we must always try to make our services better… Rather than wait for or blame the government. For now I’m Udeme’s official manager. Hola if you need a taxi :p