A young Nigerian man who has earned the name ‘Corporate Keke Drive’ has opened up on how he goes about his business.
Lagos, the swelling metropolis of approximately 20 million people is notorious for its poor transportation network.
To get from point A to B, Lagosians, who don’t have cars or possess the financial means to take cabs, use motorcycles (known as okadas), commercial buses (known as danfos) or tricycles (known as Keke NAPEP or Keke Marwa) to get around.
While these modes of transportation differ, they have one thing in common- rough and unpolished drivers that look straight out of a Terror Muda comic strip from Vanguard’s back page.
The chances of seeing a gentlemanly driver on the streets of Lagos is the same as finding a needle in a haystack. It is difficult but not impossible.
The corporate keke driver
Mr Samuel Ogundare is that needle in the haystack. Ogundare is not your average Lagos tricycle driver. Here is his story.
Why is he different?
For one, his dress code is more suited for a GQ photoshoot than driving on the rough roads of Lagos.
When Pulse met him in Shitta, Surulere, he was wearing a white shirt, black blazer, bow tie and a pair of suede wingtip shoes.
Samuel Ogundare is a 5’6 man, with a clean shave, a great haircut and a certain swagger that you rarely see with commercial transporters.
His keke is not the average dirty tricycle. It has a sound and visual system. It also has brown leather seats, a hand towel and specially tailored carpets in the right areas with a phone camera. It doesn’t stop there. His Keke also has a ceiling fan.
Ogundare is also present on social media. He has an Instagram, Facebook and Twitter account for his one-of-a-kind keke.
His sharp sense of style and packaging was the subject of attraction on Twitter recently. It’s not every day you see a keke driver dressed like an investment banker with a posh Keke.
Ogundare’s business strategy has garnered his names like “corporate guy” and “Kowope,” on the streets of Surulere.
“I know people look down on Keke drivers and think they don’t know anything. This is what I do, and if I don’t stand out, and act like everyone else, how will anyone take me seriously?”
“I like what I do and I enjoy it. I don’t like to think anyone is better than me.” he continues.
When I asked whether it was a marketing tactic, he says, “Yes and no. This is me being who I am. I like dressing well. But yes, it is also so people look at me differently.”
Ogundare has two kekes and each one costs N650,000.
How much does he make in a day?
“Usually, it’s about N5,000 but on the good days, I make N7,000, N8, 000,” he says.
“I come out at 9 (am) and I work till 2-3 (pm) and go pick the children assigned to me from school. I close at 5:30 pm every day” he further says.
“I completed my Secondary School exams in 2013 – that’s five years ago. My older brother, also a Keke driver asked me to come to Lagos” he tells Pulse.
He continues, “When I arrived, I got a Keke on hire-purchase. I worked with it for four years and saved up each day.”
God as his father
One easily perceivable thing in all our conversations was, “God”. So I asked him whether he was a Christian.
It turns out he is an instrumentalist and as we later discussed in camera, his “Father in the lord,” helped him realise how he could stand out of the crowd.
He plays the talking drum and goes to church every other day. His church connects have also helped his growing popularity around the Surulere, Ojuelegba area.
It underlines the power of referrals. When trust is built, business tends to work itself as someone will talk to another who needs a solution you can provide.
That’s why Ogundare transports over five children a day across Surulere. Their parents have complete trust in him.
Admirers and growing popularity
Being a guy with a growing reputation, admirers are bound to come. He says passively as if it meant nothing that, “I just want to make my money and go but I like them, it means they appreciate what I do.”
He continues, “I just try to stay humble, but those people have helped me a lot with social media posts and other things.”
On women, he says, “I have no girlfriend, but I will when the time is right.”
Would he take another job?
Interestingly, Ogundare says no. He says he loves his job and wouldn’t change it for a thing. Instead, he says he would invest heavily in this business and watch it all yield results.
He’s a sensation and people are taking notice fast. Politicians are also coming in. Ogundare has an employee that drives his second keke. His name is John Kelechi who he hired earlier in the year.
His end goal
Ogundare plans to go back to school for a degree in Business Administration.