I was Attacked Four Times over US Lecturer N350,000 Cash Gift – Corporate Agidi Seller

After gaining fame for his distinctive style of wearing a suit while selling Agidi (a Nigerian maize delicacy wrapped in special leaves), Moses Eteng, known as the Corporate Agidi seller, discusses with OLUMIDE OLUSEGUN his journey and the generous cash gifts he has received.

Tell us about yourself and your educational background because some people call you an educated agidi seller. How educated are you?

I am the first child in a family of nine and I am from Cross River State, Yakurr Local Government Area. I have not gotten far in education. I stopped in SS3 but I still looking to further my education before then, I need to give my business a structure. Because if you want to go far in life, foundation matters a lot. My parents are in Cross River. My auntie brought me to Uyo in 2008 and she is into this business. I served her from 2008 to 2018 when I decided not to continue. What makes me stand out today is the training I got from my auntie, which always makes me appreciate her for the gesture. Then it felt like punishment but today, I have come to the understanding that I passed through a course. The course has helped me and I was positively impacted. I am not ashamed of my business.

How do people react to you when you appear in a suit to sell Agidi?

Sometimes people say that I don’t know what I am doing. That I was doing nonsense. People mock me. For instance, on Saturday, I was called Ikot Ekpene, the same woman who mocked me, because I wore suits to sell Agidi later approached me again and bought the Agidi from me. She bought it twice and came the third time. I initially refused to sell to her but later did after she apologised. So, some people do look down on me. Some people will just walk up to me and say you are very stupid. But I wonder, if a banker is a human being, am I not a human being? So matter what people say, it does not concern me because I am not fed by anybody rather, I feed people. A lot of people come to my DM and beg me for money and I give it to them.

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So how much do you spend on suits and how often do you replace them as a result of sunshine?

Well, most of the suits I have now are the suits I bought. One of the things is that I buy good materials. Most of the suits are Italian. Very costly and no matter how you work with it under the sunlight, it hardly affects it. And sometimes, I don’t go out in suits often. I also study the weather before going out. If I am going out between 1 pm and 2 pm, I don’t wear a suit because of the sunlight and the heat will be high but if I am going out between 3:30 pm and 4 pm, I can decide to go in a suit because the temperature will be calm. Hmm. So I dress based on temperature.

How much did you purchase the suit?

I also have two suits here that were given to me by a lecturer from the University of Abia State. Mr. Stephen and the suit were costly. At that time, it was N52,000. I have three which I bought for N56,000, N54,000, and N39,000. And they were bought a long time ago.

You became a social media sensation. How is life after such an experience?

Social media promoted me and it has also helped me to gain so much patronage. It exposed me and now, selling is not difficult for me anymore unlike before. So people get to know me and most people now crave what they had forgotten. Some people have ignored it as a meal because of the un-hygienic way some people prepare it. But today they have a renewed view of it. I am known on social media, especially after my interview with BBC.

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How has it been since you became popular on your business on Social Media?

What I am doing is tour-selling. I go to every state to sell my products because people get to see me on social media and most of them don’t believe that I exist. Some say it is just a social media stunt. I also go on the tour selling to create awareness. My vision in the business is to become an employer of labour. It is not just one worker I am going to have. So I believe this tour selling will create awareness to show and eventually, I will have offices across the nation. KFC could have started even smaller than what I am having but it is well known across the world. Everybody always has a starting point. So, if you want to succeed, you need to decide. As an entrepreneur am a risk taker. You must welcome everything that comes your way because, in business, there are ups and downs. You lose and you also gain.

How determined are you about the growth of Agidi’s business?

One thing about this business is a referral. Referral is what grows business. Even in Uyo, where I am staying to do business now, the fact is this, I aimed to be an employer and from here take the business across the globe. I am hawking it for now. I tried to discuss it with a few people, and I told them, I didn’t want to be hawking this thing anymore because it is this Agidi I used to train myself in school. After I served my auntie for 10 years you know a man is growing older. I need to plan. I won’t hawk Agidi on my head forever. No matter how much I love the business, I can’t hawk it forever. So, you must upgrade.

Many were motivated seeing you in the office suit hacking Agidi.

What motivates people to follow you and patronise you is your upgrade, not just the style. The style only attracts, and the style attraction has an expiring date.

What do you mean expiring date?

For instance, I posted something and somebody commented and said, I have known this guy for two years now. He is still hawking. That implies that they love the person but the inspiration the person acquired has expired when you upgrade from that point of hawking to a better level, It will continue to encourage them to continue to patronise you. If you are not leaving that particular point, some people will see you as an unserious person.

What makes you believe this Agidi will be acceptable in other states?

It is not only sold in Akwa Ibom, it is sold in other parts of the country. There are lots of these big men who would have loved to be eating this Agidi. For instance, during the election, some politicians contacted me and I sold it to them. Does it mean there are no other people who sell? But just that I do mine in a different style and it moved them to patronise me. I see that my product is okay with my appearance. My vision now is to put up a structure and that is going to take place very soon. But despite that, we still need support. I am looking at having the structure with space, and chairs. Sometimes people can come for birthdays and they can equally use your location for celebrations and most of their meetings.

Some people believe in White-collar jobs, why did you choose this path?

Yes, people believe in white-collar jobs but the truth is that if you understand what you are doing, you will go far. Men who give up on business are those who don’t understand what they are doing. You are aware that consistency is very essential in business and anything you are doing. If you are not consistent, people will be upset and stop patronising you. For instance, the Agidi no longer pays as before because of the high cost of items.  So, it doesn’t pay now. But I still don’t give up because the vision I have seen is bigger than now. Like when I have that structure business will be better. Normally, I produce 300, 400, or 500 pieces and I finish selling between 5 pm to 8 pm, but compare it with when I  produce like 2,000 pieces and sell all around noon. Because there is no way, when it is daytime, people will be craving for it and you have many engagements, customers will come in.

Several Nigerians are amazed at your way of wearing these suits. What informed your decision to wear suits to sell Agidi?

Your differences are what makes you stand out. It is about self-determination. Determination is the beginning of your success. I tell people, if you want to make it in life, three things you need; Vision, determination, and humility. The mystery of recovery is discovery and the mystery of discovery is humility. And the mystery behind humility is determination and the mystery behind determination is vision. So, I have already set myself out. You think out of the box if you want to succeed. I thank God, since I started wearing a suit and a lot of people have just come out to also copy my pattern. You can see the way they are dressing. And I am so much excited that at least people have seen good things to copy from me. You are addressed based on how you dress. My style convinced many to patronise me and it gives them confidence in my product.

It was reported that you got N350,000 from a US lecturer. How did that happen and how has that impacted your life?

That is Professor Okoi Obasesam, he is from my village. There was a blogger in Cross River State who posted me. Another one, Legit also posted that I make N20,000 a day selling Agidi and that news was false news. I had never been interviewed by Legit. They just made a news and published it. I want to fight it but I just decided to let go.

How much are you making per day?

I have not told anybody that. Premium Times interviewed me on the 3rd of January, 2022. The journalist asked me how much a tray of agidi was worth. Normally we don’t tell people how much we make a day and profit. I told him we don’t tell people and I wouldn’t want them to publish it online. But he placed it online that one agidi worth N100 and a tray worth N20,000 which I didn’t say. I only said sometimes, N16,000, and other times N17,000 and N18,000. He just went ahead and round-figured it to N20,000. When it was posted, Legit then published their write-up and said I make N20,000 a day selling agidi and people didn’t get to ask about it but concluded. A couple of times, I have been attacked.

Because of the N20,000 claim?

I was attacked four times. Especially after Obasesam gave me the money. I believe that as much as there is life there is hope. So I don’t care. I started genuinely and that God whom I started with I am still with him.

What did you do with the N350,000 given to you?   Part of the money I used to settle my father’s bill when he was hospitalised and the remaining I kept. They have already made a kiosk but I am just looking for a location. Getting a location is difficult to find in Uyo. So I intend to invest the remaining money once you relocate.

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