Martin Chukwuemeka Agunwa is a graduate of Mass Communication from one of the prestigious universities in Nigeria, but some of the areas he has ventured into aren’t communication-related and he’s doing wonderfully well. In this post, Martins speaks on how he created opportunity for himself from selling cars fro owners.
Apart from that, he’s also a manager of two other businesses in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
In this interview, Mr. Agunwa tells InfomediaNG how he started marketing cars for people who wanted to sell their cars, and how the business has made him gained financial freedom.
“…there will always be challenges but the challenges make the endeavour worthwhile. I have had challenges from within myself and externally.”
Give an introduction of yourself
My name is Martin Chukwuemeka Agunwa, I am a journalist by training having earned a degree in Mass Communication from the Great University of Benin (laughs)… yes, Great Uniben as we like to pride ourselves. You know Uniben was actually rated the best in Nigeria while I was there.
These days, I can say I am a lot in one but about all revolving around communications, public relations, media and social advocacy.
I am a professional MC and I do mainly corporate events and social events too. I spend time writing articles on social issues and I publish on my online platform www.gubanu.com which I started with my good friend Stanley.
I design and implement publicity campaigns for brands and persons. I also work as Programmes Consultant for a non-profit in Abuja – Lifeline Care Association where we render free emergency rescue and first aid services to road crash victims and promote road safety awareness campaigns in Abuja.
I am most concerned with conceptualizing, planning and coordinating the Charity’s awareness events.
I was born in Kaduna state but I grew up mostly in Abuja save for my university education and NYSC year.
Growing up was a lot of fun as it was in those good times when there was a lot of communal life. You were a child to all the elders around you and could be disciplined by any of them and you know what?
They will report to your parents what you did and the fact that they have already disciplined you for that. Sometimes, they will plead that there was no need for your parents to add any more but if you were unlucky, your parents will add theirs once they left.
But it was fun. As the first child, I started developing a sense of responsibility very early on in life which in a sense cut short my childhood. I really didn’t have a choice.
Generally speaking, Martin is a very simple guy. I take a lot of pleasure in the arts; fine arts, music, literature – I actually write poems and have performed a few (interviewer cuts in)… oh yes, I will read a piece for you later. I also started a reading club for young people with a few friends.
“…it is only a matter of time before I get to the stars and beyond.”
Tell us about your passion for emceeing?
Let’s just say that emceeing was the first artistic bug that bit me. I started to emcee very early, about my first senior secondary school year.
The funny thing is it started as a deliberate attempt to break away from my shyness. In JSS 2 or JSS 3 I joined the literary and debating society at FGC Kwali and it was quite an elite club at the time.
But I just wanted to do what those guys were doing because I was fascinated by it.
Then in my school fellowship (Young Catholic Students), members were nominated weekly to moderate fellowship and fortunately I met the same practice at NFCS, Uniben.
I realized that people enjoyed it when I was the moderator and soon started requesting me to emcee other fellowship and campus events.
I had the opportunity to hone my skills in that regard even more when I was a part of a makeshift campus radio.
During my NYSC days, I hosted a lot of parties and events in my host community. It was such an amazing experience.
I enjoy emceeing events, seeing the celebrants/organizers and the audience happy gives me a lot of joy.
It has not always been rosy because there have been times when I didn’t live up to expectation but it has always been worth it.
People have also given me a lot of opportunities. I have met a lot of amazing people in the course of this job, you have no idea and many have commended my efforts. Emceeing is something I can now do even from my sleep because I am very passionate about it.
I put in a lot of practice and watch videos of A-lists in the craft before my events. I look forward to being a voice to reckon with globally someday.
The Challenges I have faced
Just like any meaningful thing in life, there will always be challenges but the challenges make the endeavour worthwhile. I have had challenges from within myself and externally.
In the beginning I had the usual fear especially whenever I had to emcee ‘big’ events – what will I say? How will the audience react?
But whenever I hold the microphone and step on the stage I become a totally different person. Earlier on, event organizers were concerned about how young I looked. I had a baby face – I guess I still do (laughs).
I tried to keep beards and all to look older. Also, some wanted to take advantage of my being young but I needed the opportunity so I was just happy to be on stage and do my thing.
Unfortunately, there are many who still don’t consider the MC as an integral and perhaps the most valuable part of an event.
The MC is the only character that connects all the elements of an event but he is often undervalued. So you see people who are like “just come do it for us na” and by this they mean free and expect you to do that all the time. And free clients are the most stressful you know.
The challenges pretty much reflect the reality of what we do but more than that is the fact that if you set your heart and time to the things you love, you are almost sure to succeed.
You wouldn’t make all the money in the world immediately but you will definitely be making progress.
If you want to be a good MC or any other thing for that matter, you have to be willing to learn and I am still learning. If you have a mentor who serves as a guide, it makes it easier. You have to take all the opportunities that come your way.
The reality is talent is not enough and it can only take one thus far. You need to include dedication and discipline.
I have ventured into a number of endeavours along the way only to realize that it wasn’t quite the way I envisaged. I have had to adapt, re-strategize and keep at it at instances where I believed it was worth it.
How fruitful has it been in the FCT?
That’s a tricky one. You know I said I have lived most of my life in Abuja and that includes most of my business life. I can’t complain really, at least not yet.
I am not yet that Abuja megastar but I have also enjoyed a lot of opportunities here and it is only a matter of time before I get to the stars and beyond.
Abuja is a budding niche at least where events are concerned. You can’t really compare it to Lagos. Lagos is the commercial nerve center of Nigeria and so hosts a lot of corporate and social events and with its population, you can say there is room for everybody, at least that’s how I see it.
I have considered relocating to Lagos severally you know. But Abuja also has its upsides and gradually emcees and communication professionals like us are beginning to enjoy some spotlight. So don’t worry my friend, we are getting there already.
Tell us about your social campaigns
Interesting! So, on a personal level I am a writer. I write articles on social issues and I write and perform my poems once in a while.
I am passionate about love, charity, social values and promoting individual character that engender a better society and these things find expression in my writings. My works seek to blur the lines that divide us as a people; they question and attempt to correct the negative narratives that seem to typify Nigeria and Africa at large.
I, like a number of people believe that Nigeria is richly blessed but a few whom we have entrusted our common hegemony to have pilfered our resources and damned the consequences. So I like to be part of a movement that seeks reverse that unfortunate trend albeit through my literary works and social media engagements.
I also work with a few NGOs in Abuja notably Lifeline Care that is leading the campaign on road safety in Abuja. This particular social advocacy strikes a very personal nerve because I lost two cousin sisters within 6 days to two separate road traffic crashes 7 years ago.
I see what I am doing with Lifeline Care as literally offering others a ‘Lifeline’ and as such compensating for the loss of my cousins. At Lifeline, I conceptualise, plan and execute advocacy events and PR campaigns.
I have worked with other NGOs in the past and I still volunteer for charitable causes often. I tell you, it is very gratifying especially when I see the impact my little efforts make to people I wouldn’t have been able to do much for alone or to people who do not know me and can’t repay me.
Do you do businesses on the side?
(Chuckles)… So I run a small poultry with a few friends. One of them manages and I and others market the produce at harvest time. It’s not easy task I must tell you but we have tarried for a while.
I also run a startup creative boutique called Amara Consults where we offer content creation, copy writing, PR campaign design and implementation and events promotion.
Recently, I delved into selling cars with an opportunity that came my way and it has been fun so far. I basically market people’s cars and clients buy through me.
Sometimes, I buy and sell. There was a certain time recently I was cash strapped and I saw an advertisement for a fairly used car on a friend’s WhatsApp status, so I quickly sent her a message requesting that I help her look for a buyer and get a commission and she agreed.
So I just started marketing it (the car) on my various social media platforms and buyers started trickling in.
Within no time, people were sending me their cars to help them market perhaps because of the way I marketed the first car and boom! A new business line was birthed.
How do you combine all you do?
The online space has pretty much made a lot of things really easy for me. It’s amazing what you can achieve with your smart phone in your palm.
Whenever I sit in front of my laptop or just press my phone, I can attend to almost all my endeavours. It is not easy but I am also learning and implementing discipline especially as it relates to time management.
The network of friends and colleagues I have made over time has also come in very handy. I leverage on my networks to do a lot and still benefit from it.
Importantly, I have a family that is very supportive. My parents and siblings are simply amazing. And God has really been good to me. I sometimes brag that I am a very privileged child of God. I just can’t complain.
Advice to young people
As you can see I am a very young man myself (laughs)… so when I render advice like this, I am actually talking to myself.
To every person out there, don’t let anybody tell you, you can’t, believe me they are only scared of what you’re going to be.
Whatever good thing you set your mind to achieve, pursue it with passion, dedication and discipline and with the help of God you will get it. Often times talent is not enough, so fan into flame that which you can do. Never stop learning. Always improve upon yourself.
Be kind and charitable to all man. It will never reduce you. Forgive those who hurt you and make your weight light.
Nigeria has witnessed a lot of hate lately only love can heal our land and bring us true peace and prosperity. It starts with you! May God help us all!
Writer. Poet. Blogger. Publicist. Media Planner. Road Safety Advocate.
Facebook: Agunwa Martin Chukwuemeka