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Grass to grace: Office messenger turns director •How he made it

Posted by News Express | 11 December 2018 | 2,534 times

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This is an enthralling story of a man who served a particular organisation at the lowest rank of a messenger, years after, the same man has catapulted to the position of a director (partner) of the same establishment.

Mr Ajaiye Ojeikere Irivboje was not born with the proverbial silver spoon in his mouth.  He has a humble background which almost made his education a mirage but for providence and a dint of determination and hard work on his own part.

Narrating his grass to grace story to Maggie’s Blog in his Ikeja, Lagos, home with great excitement for his conquest over poverty and illiteracy in his life, the ebullient accountant who is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), said: “I have passed through thick and thin, my life is a clear testimony of the unlimited grace of God. I cannot thank God enough for what He has done for me.”

Continuing the Edo State-born amiable personality said: “When my late elder brother whoml I lived with in Lagos was retired from the Nigerian Army, I returned to my village in Owan East Local Government Area to continue with my primary education. I was appointed class prefect in primary five and eventually became the school’s senior prefect in primary six while also acting as mail prefect and labour prefect.

“In my secondary school, I also ended up as games prefect, all as a result of my brilliance at that youthful age.”

Armed with his school certificate, Irivboje moved to Benin City where he took up a job as an office messenger with Spiropoulos, Adiele, Okpara and Co, a firm of chartered accountants. The young Ajayi was after a short while promoted to the position of audit clerk.

His quest for higher education made Irivboje to resign his appointment to undergo a certificate course in executive accounting at the Federal Polytechnic,  Idah in Kogi State.

During holidays, Irivboje said he would travel to Lagos to take up menial jobs in order to make money to pay his school fees on resumption from holidays.

“I rode motor bike (okada) in the streets of Lagos and hawked ice cream in traffic at the popular Mile 2 area during holidays to raise money for my school fees and other financial obligations, though I also received support from time to time from my parents, especially my mother who ensured that I didn’t lack foodstuff while in school,” he narrated.

Trouble came when Irivboje completed his course, only to discover that the certificate he had laboured so hard to obtain was not accepted for admission to study for a diploma.

He said in retrospect: “I was devastated to discover that, even with good grades, the certificate I laboured for so much could not be used to pursue a diploma. I took to farming at my village and after sometime, I travelled back to Benin City to plead with my former boss to accept me back. I thank God I was re-employed.

“While with the firm, my yearning for higher education grew higher. I enrolled with the University of Benin and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting (BSc Accounting) and later Master’s degree in business administration (MBA).”

Still with that firm which name was later changed to Grand Thornton Nigeria Limited, Irivboje who started as office messenger is today a Partner in the company.

Today, he sits in the boardroom to take decisions and formulate policies for the management and staff to execute.

Apart from being a Fellow of three professional bodies, the philanthropist who is happily married to his dear wife, Blessing, and blessed with children, has bagged several awards and laurels, one of which is the Edocated Initiative Award, for his support to the promotion of Edo culture.

The ever-smiling accountant loves reading and listening to music at his leisure.

Source: News Express

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