Dr Cosmos Maduka’s gift is entrepreneurship.
Maduka managed to built an automobile business empire with a meagre capital of N200.
Today, thirty-six years after he was sacked as an apprentice by his boss for serving the God who gave him the rare gift, he has a visible presence in many key sectors of the economy, The Coscharis Group which has several subsidiaries that includes: Coscharis Auto Industries Ltd, Coscharis Technologies and Foods Ltd, Coscharis Exports Ltd, Coscharis Securities Ltd, Coscharis Finance and Investment Ltd., etc
Dr Cosmas Maduka was born to the family of Peter and Rose Maduka in the city of Jos, Northern Nigeria on 24th December, 1958. Unfortunately he lost his father at the age of four. With six children to cater for, his mother had to enlist Cosmas and his brother in the hawking of her products – bean cake “akara” in Nigerian vanacular.
The earning from this family business was insufficient to pay all their bills, particularly school fees. So young Cosmas had to drop out of school at the age of nine when he was just in primary three.
He was then farmed to his maternal uncle in Lagos as an apprentice in the motorcycle parts selling trade in 1970 as the curtains were drawn on the Nigerian Civil War.
The account is more touching in his own words: “I lost my father at the age of four and we had only our mother trying her best to raise us. We experienced poverty and I started hawking at the age of six. By the age of seven, I had learnt how to climb and cut palm tree for elderly women and I charged them three pence. I became a breadwinner at an early age. All along, I had a passion to make a difference. I brought the money home to my mother but when she could not cope, she sent me to live with my grandparents. From there, my uncle took me to Lagos to be an apprentice.
“My maternal uncle lived at Ebutte-Metta in Lagos and had a store at 88 Griffith Street, near Oyingbo Bus-stop. He took me to work as an apprentice for him, and people laughed at me and questioned what I could learn at my age.”
His uncle had no home of his own but stayed with a friend, and Cosmas spent the nights in the store while he went home with the key.
“I slept in the shop and I recall some children mocking me on their way to school. They laughed at me for sleeping in the shop but I told myself that I would be better than them in the next six years.
“Although I left school at Primary three, I tried to do some research and find out how I could take some parts from a Volkswagen car and fix into a Honda. I was always curious to know which automobile parts could work on another brand. For three years, I worked tirelessly with my uncle and he opened a branch in Jos. I went there to manage it; he opened another one in Sokoto, I was there and I became a born again Christian,” he recalls.