Cosmas Mmaduka, the founder of Coscharis group of companies, is a well known name in the Nigerian business circle. This is a man that has risen from a humble beginning to become a billionaire and one of the richest men in Nigeria. I first ran into the billionaire some years ago, when he came to minister in a church in Surulere Lagos. What I noticed most about this great man, was his sincerity and humility. His story is a classic illustration that anyone can make it in Nigeria, no matter your background and despite the economic situation of the nation.
Cosmas Maduka was born in 1958, in Jos, Nigeria to Mr and Mrs Peter and Rose Maduka. In 1962, at the age of just four (4), tragedy struck with the passing of his father. With the poor and pitiable status of his family’s then finances, he was faced with no other choice than to start providing the very basics of life for himself. At the age of seven (7), he withdrew from primary school at elementary 3 and started assisting his mother in hawking Akara (Bean cakes) in Plateau, Jos.
In 1968 when Cosmas was seven (7) years old, his uncle who resided in the Ebute Metta area of Lagos, took charge of his well being by bringing him over to serve as an automobile apprentice in their auto shop located at No. 88 Griffith Street, relatively close to Oyingbo Bus Stop. Since his uncle had no place of his own to stay, he’d usually sleep at his friend’s place while Cosmas Maduka would sleep in the shop at the end of every work-day.
At the age of 9, young Cosmas, through is hardwork, dedication, and honesty had totally won his uncle’s trust. This made his uncle give him larger sensitive responsibilities he wouldn’t naturally have given anyone, like travelling alone to make purchases on his uncle’s behalf from Nnewi, and when he clocked 14, he was sent to work at one of their branches at Sokoto and eventually Nnewi.
In 1975 while still aged 14, after absenting himself from work by attending a church camp program without his uncle’s permission, his relationship with his uncle fell apart. The event caused his uncle to immediately terminate his apprenticeship, and to subsequently settle him with a pitiful sum of just 200 Naira to go and concentrate on his church programs. The little sum was given to punish him at the time. In 1975, N200 was not what it is today, but was still a small sum of money.
With his settlement, he founded an auto spare parts business called Maduka Brothers with his brother which eventually shut down, and they parted ways due to ideological differences. This separation left him with an additional 100 Naira, and a total of 300 Naira as working capital.
With just 300 Naira in capital to have another trial at entrepreneurship, Cosmas Maduka started a new business as the sole proprietor. He began by buying and selling motorcycle spare parts from Boulos Industries. The major product that was turning in a lot of returns for him was Boulos’s new innovation, motorcylce crash ban. He would buy several of them and remove the address of Boulos from the carton so that people wouldn’t know where he was buying from. Within a short period of one week, his capital rose from 300 Naira to 3,000 Naira.
Marriage and Fall In Business
By the age of 19, Cosmas Maduka decided to get married to a beautiful woman called Charity. A short while after his marriage, he started importing products, but was struck with a great misfortune when he received the wrong consignment. This loss led him into several debts, and his landlord which he owed several months rent ended up locking his shop.
With nothing in hand, Cosmas had to start all over again. He picked a weight scale that he had received as a gift from his marriage, took it to the market, and started to charge 10 kobo from everyone who measured their weight. This daily routine got his wife in deep tears because of what her husband was going through, remembering their previous comfortable state.
After saving up a little capital, Cosmas Maduka teamed up with a friend of his, Dave, to start a new business called CosDave. Not long after their new business partnership, they fell apart due to disagreements on decisions made. This new breakup prompted him to start yet another business called Coscharis.
The Rise Of Coscharis
The name Coscharis was formed by the combination of two different names; his name, Cosmas, and his wife’s name, Charity.
Cosmas Maduka’s big break finally came when in the same year 1982, the Nigerian government granted ten (10) motor companies import licences, and his Coscharis motors was selected. Ever since then, his company has continued to grow sporadically, with several branches around Nigeria. He pursued several deals with top European car makers that positioned him as a major dealer in several car brands. Coscharis motors is not just one of the largest automobile dealers in Nigeria, but is also the exclusive distributor of BMW automobiles in Nigeria. Coscharis Motors has also secured sole franchise of MINI, Rolls Royce and Jaguar Land Rover premium brands and Abro USA Auto care and Consumer products. Coscharis is also a very strong partner for distribution of Ford brand of automobiles in Nigeria.
Today, Cosmas Maduka is currently serving on Board of many companies notable among them are CG-EKO LLP, First System Refinishes Ltd., CG Biostadt Limited, Sixt Rentals, Nigeria. He served as a Director in Access Bank Plc., one of the leading banks in Nigeria for 12 years from 2000-2012. He also served as the President/Chairman of the Nigerian Table Tennis Federation for 16 years during which Nigeria led Africa in all the events. He led the Nigerian Team to the Olympic Games; Atlanta ’96, Athens 2000, Sidney 2004 and Beijing 2008. His personal net worth according to an interview with Forbes Africa 2015, sits at over $500 million US dollars and counting. This makes him one of the richest men, not just in Nigeria, but in Africa as well.
Dr. Cosmas Maduka is an Entrepreneur per Excellence. He is a motivational speaker and plays mentoring role to upcoming entrepreneurs. In September 2012, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria conferred him with the National Honours of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).
Coscharis Group is now a business conglomerate with diverse interest in Manufacturing, ICT, Petrochemical, Auto care and Auto Components, Automobile Sales and Services, Agric and Agro Allied business sectors of the Nigerian economy.
The story of Cosmas Maduka should be an inspiration to every youth in Nigeria, It teaches that resilience, hard work, and taking advantage of opportunities at the right time is a key to success for any troubled entrepreneur anywhere in the world.
Never give up on your dreams no matter how many times you fail. It is reported that Thomas Edison failed over 1000 times before he invented the light bulb. When asked to explain what kept him going after failing so many times, he replied that he never failed 1000 times, but only discovered 1000 things a light bulb will not work. So failure can be seen as a lesson on how something will not work. Resilience and determination will always win the day.
Remember, don’t waste your time crying over the economy of the nation, or over your personal background, there is nothing you can do about it, but there is a lot you can do about your own personal economy today.
Improve yourself and your personal economy will improve. At least, start by improving yourself.
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