BABA ALAJO SOMOLU is a renowned thrift collector in Nigeria. He is popularly known as the “King of Thrift” due to his passion for collecting thrift items.
Somolu was born in the city of Lagos in the year 1950. He started his thrift collection at a young age and has continued to do so for over 40 years. Somolu has a vast collection of thrift items which he has amassed from various parts of Nigeria and other countries.
Somolu is a well-respected member of the Nigerian thrift community and is known for his knowledge and expertise in the field. He is often consulted by other collectors and dealers for advice and guidance.
Somolu has also written a number of books on thrift collecting, which are highly regarded by collectors and dealers alike. He is currently working on a book about the history of Nigerian thrift collecting, which is due to be published soon.
Alphaeus Taiwo Olunaike is not a widely recognized name in Nigeria, but almost everyone knows of Baba Alajo Somolu. He was born during a challenging time in history on September 16th, 1915 in Isonyin (formerly Isan-Oyin), located near Ijebu-Musin and Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State. His birthplace was surrounded by lush green forests and vegetation.
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Grace Okuromiko Olunaike was overcome with emotion when she heard that she had given birth to triplets. Her face became solemn as her heart rate elevated and tears began to roll down her cheeks. It was unheard of for a woman in Yorubaland to give birth to three babies at once and thus, one of them would have to be sacrificed as an offering to the gods.
Alajo Somolu was the one I’m writing about who managed to evade being sacrificed to the gods. He was only three years old when his father passed away, yet he still pursued his studies and attended Emmanuel Primary School in Ijebu-Isonyin. Eventually, his paternal uncle STA Torimoro took him from his village to Lagos where he could continue his education.
In 1927, he arrived in Lagos and was admitted to St. Johns School Aroloya. Afterward, he went on to complete his schooling at Christ Church Cathedral School in 1934. He then spent nine years as an apprentice with a tailor identified as Rojaye before achieving independence. Upon starting his tailoring career, he realized that the income received would not be enough for him and needed another source of income.
Therefore, when his late father’s brother, STA Torimoro, was planning a business trip to Cameroon in 1950, Baba Alajo Somolu saw the chance to go as well. Upon arriving in Paul Biya’s country, Baba Alajo Somolu used his entrepreneurial skills to try a variety of jobs such as selling goods and newspapers. He was determined to succeed and put all of his efforts into the ventures he undertook.
Upon returning to Nigeria in 1954, the 39-year-old had been inspired by his Cameroonian neighbor who was a thrift collector. He decided to pursue this line of work and brought back a copy of the thrift collection card from his neighbor as a reference.
When he arrived in Nigeria, he started his own business called Popular Daily Alajo Somolu. His dedication and diligence were so impressive that various expressions were created about him. One such saying is “If you want to succeed like Alajo Somolu, you have to work hard for at least three years without taking a break.”
You are as smart as Alajo Somolu, who managed to collect thrift from his customers for three years without having to write down a single name and never making a mistake with the payments. There is another saying that goes, “You are just as intelligent as Alajo Somolu, who sold his car to buy a bicycle.” Alajo Somolu was able to gather financial contributions from many clients without writing their names down and still accurately remember who paid what.
Going back to remit the payments on time and without any errors for a long period of time demonstrates having an eidetic memory. Such a remarkable ability can only be accomplished by someone who has an exceptional capacity for memorization and recollection. An intriguing fact is that many people consider Alajo Somolu’s tale to be a mere legend, believing he never existed. However, he was in fact real! After setting up his Popular Daily Alajo Somolu thrift collection enterprise,
Alajo Somolu got a bicycle to use for collecting payments from his customers, and he sought advice from an older relative. To his surprise, the relative discouraged him strongly, saying that such a business was too difficult and challenging for someone like him. He even mentioned six individuals who had started the same venture but failed.
Upon reaching Nigeria after his return in 1954, Alajo Somolu decided to start a business in ajo gbigba (thrift collection). This was due to the fact that he had witnessed his Cameroonian neighbor’s success with this type of business, and he took a copy of the thrift collection card with him from there. At the age of 39, he was determined to make it work despite having previously experienced failure in the same line of work.
He created his own version of the card, calling it Popular Daily Alajo Somolu. As he reached the peak of his success, he was so dedicated and hardworking that sayings were made about him. These sayings were: ‘’If you want to be like Alajo Somolu, work hard and don’t rest until you reach your goal.
Baba Alajo Somolu was highly intelligent as he was able to accumulate thrift and financial contributions from his numerous customers without needing to record their identities and without ever making a mistake in the payments. To demonstrate his dedication, he even sold his car in order to buy a bicycle.
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Going back to pay his debts on time and without any errors every month for many years demonstrates an exceptional recollection. Only someone with a remarkable memory and an extraordinary ability to remember could do such a remarkable accomplishment. Interestingly, many people believe the narrative of Alajo Somolu is made up, and that he doesn’t really exist. However, he did in fact exist! After building his Popular Daily
Alajo Somolu obtained a bike in order to travel and collect payments from his thrift collection customers. He asked an older relative for their opinion but was taken aback when they discouraged him, informing him that such a venture was not suitable for someone like himself as it was arduous and had already caused six other people to fail.
After hearing his older relative’s discouraging story about going bankrupt with a thrift collection, Alajo Somolu went to his elder sister’s place and was advised to find another profession as he would not have success with the thrift collection.
He divulged to his beloved sister Sarah his intention of abandoning his tailoring job and the ideas that had occupied him. She attentively heard out everything he said, put faith in his enthusiasm, and took him to a member of the clergy who offered prayers for him and provided all the backing he needed.