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WOMEN IN FREIGHT FORWARDING: THE STORY CHIEF (MRS.) MERCY EBERE OJEOGWU (NWANYIBUIFE)

By Ambrose Obioma Okehi

There is this saying that “what a man can do woman can do better”. Some also say “women education ends in kitchen”. Equally, in the traditional African setting, many believe that women are instruments for making babies and by so doing likening them to mere baby factories. Beyond these saying, womanhood is endowed with lot of capacities and potentials that are meant to benefit the society and world at large. Also womanhood generally is more than making babies, their education doesn’t end in the kitchen anymore.      

Chief (Mrs.) is not just a mere woman but a hard one indeed. A woman who has created a niche for herself in the maritime industry. She started very humbly and has really clamed through the ladder of success. Today, nobody knows how lowly she started some years ago. But today, she has distinguished herself in the business of freight forwarding.

A child born in a polygamous family. Not a family of a man with two or three wives but whole five wives  . And she is the first child of the second wife, and you know what that means. You know the competition, hatred, intrigues and all that you can see or experienced in a polygamous home.

In an exclusive interview recently, she told News Emperor that their own polygamous home was something else as it looked like a war zone.

She said due to poverty and coupled with haltered, that she could not finish her secondary education. “My own polygamous home is the unbearable and incomparable type.” My father married eight wives and my mum happens to be the fifth one. And I am the first child my own mother. And we all know what it takes to be a first child in a home and also a woman?”

The Amanato Isi in Onitsha Local Government of Ebonyi state born freight forwarder said: “her venturing into the maritime industry was a mystery and something that she did not really planned. My coming into the maritime industry is a long story but let me cut is short. I came into the field out of frustration.”

The now Managing Director (MD) Chief Executive Ofiicer (CEO) of a full-fledged freight forwarding company by name Ebby Integrated and Logistics Services Limited gave a little insight into her family background saying she was at a time abandoned by her own father in terms of her education. “I was abandoned by my own father in terms of my education. My father said that he has no money to train me. He paid my school fees from primary one to five and because of one reason or the other he said he cannot pay again, you know polygamous family? And my mummy had nothing doing as at that time. So, she has no other option than to enter into labourers’ (menier) job. And I used to go with her too. That was how I was able to finish my primary education. And we continued in that kind of job and that helped me to finish my secondary school.

EDUCATION

Like the popular saying that knowledge and human power are synonymous, so it was for the humble lady and mother who knew the power of education and knowledge of whatever one wants to engage in and that was why she first empowered herself despite the background and the abandonment. “So, by the grace of God I was able to finish my secondary education and when it was time for me to enter or get admission into higher institution, there was no money for that and it was a tough time and a struggle for me and my mum who finally took over. But fortunately for me, just in one sitting, I sat for my exams and got them by the special grace of God. From there the main laboring job started in full. From there we will go to people and work for them and after working for them, they will pay us peanut. From that little earnings, my mother will pay my school fees and that of my siblings. And I add up my own little savings then and that was how I finish my higher education. But after then, the main struggle started and that led me to proceed to PortHarcourt, Rivers State, where my younger brother (the one I senior direct) was then.”

I AND MY YOUNGER BROTHER

Ebby Integrated Logistics and Services boss had a bad experience of life in PortHarcourt in the process of searching for a way to make a living and take care of her mother and siblings and she told News Emperor that, “Because that my immediate younger brother was unable to finish his primary school because of hardship. He learned trading as an apprentice and his master abandoned him after serving him for seven years. So, he started hawking things around in PortHarcourt. As he started the hawking business, he from what he made out of it rented a room apartment and was managing to sleep on a bay floor no mat no carpet. We were sleeping on an ordinary floor. I mean, we could at the time afford a mat, no mat, nothing; we just spread our clothes on bare floor and used them to sleep. That was where I and my brother were managing after my service in PortHarcourt. Then after that stage, later on, I got a job with one woman selling in a container where they were paying me N3.000 as at then. From there I was going to represent the man in most of the oil companies as a supplier. That was how also I got another company that employed as one of their staff and I was being paid N15,000 as at then. That was how I started using that little earning then to paying my brothers school fees and help my mother. That was how I penetrated into one of he oil companies there in PH and I was employed.”

MY ENCOUNTER WITH INTELS

Chief Ebere now Chief Nwanyibuife also had an instinct with the global oil servicing conglomerate in PortHarcourt and she puts it this way: “ I worked at Intels Oil company in PortHarcourt, a owned by Italian man in partnership with former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. I worked under their Procurement department. There and then, the issue of my marriage came up and later on my first pregnancy and I worked there till the time I was delivered of that baby and because of that I lost that job. All these things were happening around 2005. I lost that job because I was very sick throughout the period of my pregnancy and I almost died in that marriage too.

LIFE IN LAGOS

This naturally endowed woman who was also kind hearted as the saying that nature gave horns to bulls, hooves to horses, speed to hares, the power of swimming to fishes, that of flying to birds, and understanding to men. He had nothing left to give to woman save beauty, Chief Mrs. Ojeogwu has the inner beauty too and added.

But as God may have it, I find my way to Lagos where some of my siblings and friends are. Then I have to started squatting with my childhood friend her family, a public yard. And with my pregnancy and everything, as God may have it, I was delivered of that baby. I even rented a room before the delivery of that child.

Today, here story has completely changed. Read more in the interview bellow.

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