I threw a challenge on the Life Lessons Platform, asking this hypothetical question: ”If you were given N50 million to invest in the next 12 months on any instrument of your choice to generate an attractive return on investment, where would you invest the money?”

Several members had sent in contributions within the stipulated time, and the entries are being reviewed. But I was curious to find out how Adegboyega Adewusi, the man we had featured as Millionaire Next Door, had made a startling success of his ice cream business with returns that surpassed what many white-collar executives would earn.

When I posed the question to him, his reply was fast and straightforward: “I will invest the whole money in my ice cream business by buying more machines. There are so many machines I need to buy. So the entire money will go there, and a handsome return is guaranteed.”

Below, we serve again the story of Adewusi:

The numbers appeared, initially, too startling to be true. An old classmate of mine staying in a very small but nice estate in the Alimosho area of Lagos State had asked me to keep him company one weekend. Surprisingly, the estate is surrounded by a ghetto-like dwelling place. On a Saturday morning, I decided to take a familiarisation walk around the estate. On one of the streets adjacent to the estate, I noticed a middle-aged man sitting on a plastic chair clutching a notebook and a biro while a retinue of individuals alighting from a convoy of tricycles, milling around him were dropping different denominations of the naira notes in his hands. I was curious. While returning to the estate two hours later, I decided to engage him. I wanted to know what kind of business he was engaged in that was attracting such an endless flow of cash. What I found out beat my imagination. This guy is engaged in a small ordinary business that fetches him an income that is far higher than what medical doctors, professors, high-ranking police officers and, wait for this, bank MDs earn in a month.

I asked Vanessa Obiora, one of THISDAY’s most diligent and award-winning investigative journalists, to engage the uncommon millionaire. Read her account below and see if you will not be taken aback. Enjoy, please.

Success often comes packaged in unexpected ways. In the world of business, appearances can often be deceiving. Adegboyega Adewusi, a businessman in the ice cream and biscuits manufacturing industry, is a perfect example of this. Despite his unassuming appearance and limited formal education, Adewusi has achieved remarkable success in his business, earning a daily revenue of about N300,000 during peak periods and N200,000 during off-seasons. With an annual revenue of approximately N100.8 million and a gross profit of N60.5 million, Adewusi’s business has flourished in an estate in the Alimosho area of Lagos State, where he owns two buildings dedicated to ice cream and biscuit production. The streets are lined with tricycles bearing his business name, Baba Yato, ready for pickups and deliveries. Besides, Adewusi owns two shops in one of the Lagos State shopping Arcade in that area from which he earns decent yearly rentals; he stays in his house and cruises around town in his SUV.

At first glance, Adewusi, who is in his 50s, may seem like an ordinary individual. On any given day, he can be found wearing a white polo shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers, appearing like a young man going about his daily routine. However, what Adewusi lacks in formal education, he more than compensates for with his business acumen.

His journey into the ice cream industry was somewhat accidental. Growing up in Ibadan, Oyo State, he faced academic challenges that hindered his progress. He is the third of his parents’ five children. Of all his siblings, he is the only one who is academically challenged.

“I used to be brilliant while in primary school, but suddenly I could no longer concentrate on my studies. Even while in secondary school, I tried to pick up like my siblings but realised that I just could not catch up. So, I dropped out.”

Despite his parents’ initial disappointment, Adewusi’s father eventually recognised his limitations and stopped investing in his education. To be sure, Adewusi’s parents were comfortable and lived modestly. He never lacked anything as a child but still saw his father as a poor man. He could not understand why his father, who seemed financially comfortable, always complained about his financial situation.

“I used to call him a poor man because, among his siblings, he was the only one in Nigeria. Others were doing successfully abroad. And he had a knack of always complaining despite all the money he made.”

This perspective led Adewusi to believe that poverty is a state of mind and that taking action rather than complaining to address financial challenges is crucial.

To explore new opportunities, Adewusi delved into carpentry, learning from local workshops and sometimes going to sawmills, observing the furniture-making process. His father suggested he work at Narrow Way Furniture in Ibadan, but Adewusi received an enticing offer from a top furniture gallery that promised a higher salary — N200 — a rented apartment and a Vespa motorcycle. At the time, his father’s take-home pay was N150. He was so thrilled by this opportunity that he made plans to move out of his parents’ home immediately. But his father disapproved of the offer, believing that his son’s true worth would be undervalued in that position.

At first, Adewusi felt it was an act of jealousy, given that he would be earning more than his father.

“He told me that if I accepted the offer, I would be selling myself short. He knew my capabilities and felt the company was going to take advantage of me. He wanted me to fully understand my worth, but I was young and angry with him. Many nights, I would cry bitterly, wondering why my father did not support me. I wondered why he could not see that the job offer was a turning point in my life, that I would be living in Bodija and able to take care of myself. My mother would come in and advise me to heed my father’s words. That he was more experienced than I am.”

Despite his initial anger and frustration, Adewusi has now realised that his father’s guidance was wise, and he is grateful for not accepting the job.

The Adewusi household was a large one that accommodated extended family relatives. One of them was an uncle from his mother’s side. Adewusi’s introduction to the ice cream industry came through his uncle, Femi, who was involved in ice cream sales. He accompanied him to the Zoo, where they sold ice cream, and their four-day venture yielded a profit of over N100,000. This was over 30 years ago.

“Despite all the stress of those four days, he only gave me N5. I felt cheated and complained to my mother.”

Eventually, his mother intervened, and the uncle paid him N20, which he used to buy new clothes.

This experience opened his eyes to the business potential of ice cream sales, leading him to approach ice cream manufacturers for an opportunity to sell their products. He also collaborated with the wife of the late Ibadan Chief Lai Balogun, who was involved in ice cream manufacturing, to help hawk their products. Femi, of course, noticed his nephew’s ambition but never held it against him. Instead, he paid him a commission each time he helped him in sales.

For a while, Adewusi relied on his furniture business and ice cream sales, but the former was more demanding and made little gains. His father advised him to concentrate on the ice cream and that a better tomorrow was on the horizon. Adewusi would travel to villages to sell his ice cream and would later add biscuits to it. He started making gains that could afford him a modest lifestyle.

Through hard work and determination, Adewusi became successful in his ice cream and biscuit sales, catching the attention of his friends who were graduates. They became interested in becoming distributors and, with Adewusi’s help, established a direct buying relationship with the company.

Over time, Adewusi saved enough money to purchase his first ice cream-making machine, a significant milestone celebrated by his proud father.

“I bought my first machine for N70,000. My father was so elated. He called everyone to come and witness my success.”

Eventually, Adewusi relocated to Lagos and expanded his business, which now employs around 100 contract workers and five permanent staff members. Adewusi takes pride in not only running a successful business but also rehabilitating young men who were previously involved in drug abuse. He shares his own success story to inspire them to pursue a living and avoid wasting their lives on drugs.

“I see many of them. So, I usually talk to them about making a living instead of wasting their lives on drugs. I use myself as an example. Yes, I didn’t go to school, but I have had remarkable success in my business. If, at this age, I’m still working, what is stopping them? The Holy Bible even encouraged work so that one can be able to eat. I don’t give them money because I know they would spend the money on drugs.” Some of his previous workers have also become bosses of their own.

Today, Adewusi’s business ventures have expanded beyond ice cream and biscuits. He is now involved in real estate and car sales, and his business partner, Lekan Aderibigbe, speaks highly of his honesty and trustworthiness.

“I can leave all my wealth with him and go to bed. I know they are safe in his hands,” says Aderibigbe.

Despite the challenges faced in Nigeria, Adewusi once considered exploring opportunities abroad. Not that the hardships affected him directly. He just wanted to try a new environment. He closed down his business and sold some of his machines, but given his poor educational background, the opportunities available required him to live a life of servitude.

“I could not do that because over here (Nigeria), I have many people serving me. I could not just find myself in that situation,” he said.

He, therefore, decided against it. With that, he returned to his business and started afresh. Again, the profits rolled in, and he even expanded to selling machines.

In the 30 years of running his business, Adewusi has never taken a loan from any financial institution until recently.

“Banks used to come to me to persuade me to take loans, but I didn’t because I did not want to be under pressure. However, I had to take a loan now because my business has expanded. I needed to get new machines.”

Adewusi has gotten to a state where money is no longer a worry. He has never lost sight of the importance of financial discipline.

“When I started, I did not spend money extravagantly. I was very focused. I inculcated the habit of self-discipline so that I would be able to achieve my goals,” he said.

He emphasises the virtues of focus, delayed gratification, and having a savings plan as fundamental pillars of his success. Adewusi’s remarkable achievements serve as a testament to the fact that determination and business acumen can overcome educational limitations and pave the way for extraordinary success.


To succeed in business and life, Adewusi says these habits and virtues are essential:

  1. You must delay gratification: work now and enjoy later.
  2. You must create multiple streams of income.
  3. You must cultivate saving habits in your system.
  4. You must know that turnover is not the same as profit.
  5. You must work on your business personally.
  6. You must separate business from friendship.
  7. You must use your business to help other people.

Related Articles