NIGERIANS are very aspirational. It is the reason that rags-to-riches stories hold a special place in our hearts. These rags-to-riches stories remind us that through perseverance, hardwork, and prayer, anyone can surmount obstacles on the path to greatness and achieve amazing success.

In this age of glitz and glamour, it is quite easy to forget that many of our successful entrepreneurs, actresses, academics, media moguls and the likes started out dirt poor. Nowadays when we see their luxury cars, massive mansions and expensive jewelry, it may look like they have always rolled in cash. But for many of them, this was not so at the beginning. Some had to do menial jobs to make ends meet. Others started at the lowest level in the professions.

Below are a few rags to riches stories that will motivate us into achieving greatness just like they did.

Cosmas Maduka of Coscharis Motors

A businessman and philanthropist, Maduka is the founder, president and chairman of Coscharis Group. Coscharis is an indigenous conglomerate with diverse interests in manufacturing, ICT, petrochemical, auto care and sales and agriculture. He was born into a poor family in the city of Jos, Plateau State, and began his entrepreneurial journey at the tender age of six. He dropped out of primary school two years after the death of his father and started hawking beans cake (Akara) to support his mother.

Through sheer hard work, Maduka escaped poverty to become one of the world’s most successful investors. In 2015, he was featured in Forbes Africa as the man who turned $1 dollar to $500million. His name is synonymous with the retailing of luxury car brands which he sells and services under the famous Coscharis Motors brand.

Patoranking, a musician Reggae-dancehall singer and songwriter Patrick Nnaemeka Okorie, popularly known as Patoranking, was born in Ijegun-Egba, a suburb of Lagos. He started out as a bricklayer. Before he became a successful businessman and musician, he also hawked rat poison and traps on the streets of Lagos. The path to success wasn’t a rosy one for the former bricklayer and rat poison seller.

Actress Mercy Johnson Okojie

Mercy Johnson Okojie is one of Nollywood’s most beloved and versatile artistes. In an interview with a newspaper some years back, Nollywood star actress-Mercy Johnson Okojie, said: “There were times I stopped schooling to hawk pure water, plantain chips and other things. Do you also know I was once a housemaid?” Today, Johnson-Okojie’s past is like a forgotten dream. She is one of Nollywood’s most successful artistes and fame, money and stardom have taken the place of poverty in her life. Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah of Capital Oil

Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah was born in Lugbe, a small town in Abuja, back when that district was still poor and teeming with people striving to survive. The first born of seven children dropped out of school-Premier Academy, Lugbe, in Abuja to learn a trade at a young age due to the inability of his parents to cater for the educational and material needs of their children. Despite these obstacles, Ubah triumphed in business. Shortly after he started in business, he moved into the importation of spare parts and tyres doing business across Europe and the West African sub-region. He set up Capital Oil in 2001. Ubah is the owner of a football club, Ifeanyi Ubah FC, and during the last election, he won the Anambra South Senatorial seat under the banner of the Young Progressives Party (YPP).

Joseph Benjamin, actor & OAP

Joseph Benjamin is a Nigerian actor, model, TV presenter, well-known for co-hosting MTN’s Project Fame, a talent reality show. He happens to be one of the leading comperes and reality show presenters in Nigeria. But he had such a tough time in his journey to stardom. According to the handsome dude, who studied computing at the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka, “I have moved from being a bus conductor, security guard, waiter, worked in a bakery, sold shoes at Balogun; then moved into IT before acting.”