10yr old Lekan is wise beyond his years. Wisdom acquired by growing up too fast. Aging under the burden of being an adult when he is just a kid.
I have seen some pretty smarts kids in my time, so I wasn’t particularly impressed about a 10-year-old barber. But I was curious.
Was this little dude truly making N5000 a day? If true, then this kid makes more now, than I did when I was in my 20s.
Genius must be respected. So I got on a bus with Chuey Chu and Chris, to go pay homage to the next 5 min viral sensation since Olajumoke, the bread seller.
I don’t know if it’s the hope it represents or that Nigerians are just cursed with the ‘I wan hammer’ syndrome, but stories of this nature tend to make the rounds fast.
They have the virility appeal which an online establishment like ours crave.
So I quickly sent a DM to Chygoz101, the singer whose picture of Lekan giving him a haircut went viral, asking for the scoop.
ALSO READ: This 10-year-old barber makes N5000 daily
But I had another mission in mind. One of equal importance. Important enough for me to face the despised Lekki-Ajah traffic.
Maybe I was unconsciously pissed a 10yr old was making way more money than I did when I was 20, but this story didn't add up. It was my mission to prove if it was true.
Olamilekan Samson Ogunleye is wise beyond his years. Wisdom acquired by growing up too fast. Aging under the burden of being an adult when he is just a kid.
The camera didn't faze him, nor was he particularly excited to have become a viral sensation.
Chuey's swag was lost on him, nor was he unfazed by a call from Adekunle Gold, his self-confessed favourite artist.
Well, what he lacked for excitement his colleagues and boss sure made up for him.
I tried hard not to get caught in the crossfire, as his colleagues fired shots after shots from expensive looking smartphones.
And they ought to be proud especially his boss Adekunle Mishak.
Lekan had come to Lagos about a year ago from Ogun state to stay with his mom’s brother, Kazeem, a welder.
As is customary in our culture, you either go to school or you learn a skill. He chose to do both. He enrolled in a school and also declared his interest in becoming a barber.
Some money and a crate of soft drinks were exchanged and Lekan became an apprentice under Mishak. This is the standard in our part of the world.
He’s not the only young apprentice under Mishak. There’s Nudegbesi, Ahmed Alabede, Muyisi, and Bola. They age between 10 -19 and are all in school except Ahmed.
But Lekan’s fifteen minutes of fame was drawing all kinds of people, including some NGOs. One of such NGOs, Africa Education Aid For Development Network (AFEADAN), was present on the day of my visit.
I met Judith Obi, its President, who said her greatest challenge working with kids like these was mobility.
“The problem I have with these kids is mobility. Last year we put 15 kids in school, today 5 of them have gone back to their villages.”
As I watched Lekan shave Chuey with the ease and confidence of a professional, all I could think about was cash.
Does he really make N5000 daily as claimed? Yes, he reiterates.
He cuts on average six people a day, at N500 a cut. But his main source of income are the tips he gets from satisfied customers. Some tip as high as N1000, double the amount to have your haircut.
This JSS1 student is all already cashing in. His classmates call him Commercial Barber, he says with pride.
“My classmates call me barber, Commercial Barber. I usually tell them to come and learn how to cut hair. That there’s money in barbering.
“On weekends we usually make like N30,000 in a day.”
I quickly put two and two together - N30,000, N5,000, Mishak uses a N145,000 phone(a Samsung A5 duos). I did not need not to be a prophet to see the profits.
For a very long second, I considered my chosen profession while I silently hummed Adekunle Gold’s hit song “pick up the call”.