Except for the tray – filled with agidi – which he carries on his head, you may be tempted to think that Moses Eteng works with one of the banks in Nigeria.
Mr Eteng, 24, who lives and does his business in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, wears a neat suit with a well-knotted tie every day he goes out to hawk corn flour jellos commonly called agidi in many Nigerian languages.
The wraps of agidi are carefully stacked in the tray, the price for each is N100. A full tray is about N20,000.
To sell agidi in Nigeria is considered a low level business, and those hawking it are usually dressed in ways that are less than attractive.
But not with Mr Eteng.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Thursday, Mr Eteng said he chose his dressing style to enable him stand out while he is hawking on the streets.
“When you’re doing business, you must study people to know what people like. What I’m doing, people like it but they cannot do it, and that’s what makes me stand out. I dress like this because this is my brand and I am trying to promote my brand.
“Anybody that looks at me will know that my products are exactly the way I look. Most times, people don’t want to buy but when they look at me, they will say, if you are neat like this, it means your product is neat.
“So my dressing encourages a lot of people to patronise me,” he said.
A PREMIUM TIMES reporter, who spoke with Mr Eteng on the street where he was hawking, witnessed when a customer bought the agidi and said, “I’m buying from him because he is a hardworking guy and I love how he is dressing, not necessarily because I need it (the agidi)”.
Apart from attracting customers to him, Mr Eteng’s dressing has also earned his business the nickname “educated agidi” among the customers.
Mr Eteng, a self-sponsored secondary school graduate, began selling agidi for his aunty in 2008 till 2018. He started his own business of selling agidi in July 2018.
He is from Yakurr Local Government Area, Cross River State.
“I have done this business for 14 years (now). My 14 years of being in Akwa Ibom State makes me 14 years in this business. I started by serving someone. I served a woman for 10 years, from 2008 to 2018, when I left her.
“I decided not to stay with her again so she took me back to my village. I had to gather money and come back to Akwa Ibom. When I came back, I started the business by myself.
“Then, I was still in school and this is the business I used to train myself from my SS1 to SS3. That is how I started the business,” he added.
He said he goes through a rigorous process to prepare the agidi in order to maintain good hygiene.
Like many other hawkers on the streets of Uyo, Mr Eteng sells till as late as 8 p.m. before returning home.
In a random interview with PREMIUM TIMES, some of the customers confirmed that Mr Eteng’s agidi tastes really nice.
Mr Eteng is a success story, one that aptly captures the saying that there is dignity in labour.
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