Going Broke Made Me Recognise The Importance Of Family — Man Like Dalu

October 31, 2021

What does it mean to be a man? Surely, it’s not one thing. It’s a series of little moments that add up. Man Like is a weekly Zikoko series documenting these moments to see how it adds up. It’s a series for men by men, talking about men’s issues. We try to understand what it means to “be a man” from the perspective of the subject of the week.


Today’s Man Like is Akabogu Dalu, a 29-year-old finance guy. He talks about wanting to become a boxer, how going broke taught him to prioritise his family and how he has changed since he got married.

What do you do?

I do a lot of interesting things. My day job is working as a private equity portfolio manager and advisory lead. Other times, I trade. I try as much as possible to be in every area of finance. I also make investments in startups. 

Interesting. 

Funny enough, I didn’t see myself ending up in the finance sector when I was growing up. I was a science student so I thought I was going to become a doctor, then I thought I’d be a civil engineer, boxer, and even boxing promoter. I ended up studying finance at the university because I was good at economics.

Boxer? LMAO. How?

I’ve always been obsessed with boxing. I was so good at predicting the winner of a match just by looking at the boxers’ footwork. I became an amateur boxer when I was 19 and was supposed to represent Nigeria at the 2012 Olympics. 

However, I went through a lot in the training camp and to top it all off, my coach demanded about half of the ₦30k stipend the Nigerian Boxing Federation gave me. That’s the moment I knew that boxing in Nigeria wasn’t for me. 

Later that evening, I saw one of my friends on Facebook receiving congratulations for a finance job. That’s when I realised that I wanted to go into finance, after all, I had graduated one of the best in my class in finance. 

What happened next?

I got a job as a corporate banker at a popular commercial bank. It paid me well, but I hated it.

Why?

I wanted to do core finance. But my role as a corporate banker meant that I was just a glorified marketer. Only people who brought in major clients to open accounts were promoted and I wasn’t learning anything. You were only as valuable as the amount of money you could bring in. I was frustrated with the job, even though it paid well according to my standards at the time. My first salary was the biggest amount that had ever entered my account and I made sure to enjoy myself with the money. I was flexing, pursuing women of all shapes and sizes, and clubbing. 

So after three years, I quit the job at the bank after two years. It turned out to be the roughest year of my life.

Omo. How?

That was the year I saw poverty face-to-face. I had saved up four months worth of salary by then and thought that would be enough till I got another job. How wrong I was. I ended up remaining unemployed for almost a year. All the women I was chasing ghosted me. My savings were wiped out. I became so broke, my clothes were becoming rags and I couldn’t afford to eat on some days. I used to use an anonymous account on Twitter to beg for money. That’s how bad it was. 

That must have been so hard. How did you get by?

My younger brother was there for me a lot during that year. He was just a fresh graduate at the time but he did his best to support me. One time, he made ₦10k from sports betting and he gave me half of it. I was moved to tears because when I had money, I hardly took care of him or my family. That was when I realised how much I had not been supportive of my family. They weren’t a priority to me while I was making money because I was focused on myself.

I promised my brother, “When I get my next job, I’m going to become really good at it, make enough money and send you out of this country.”

That was when I realised that at any point in time, the first quadrant of your income should be reserved for people who are/were pivotal to your growth as a person. Always make sure your people are okay. People I thought were my friends ghosted me and the only support I had was my family. 

What happened next?

After a year unemployed, I got another job in an investment house and things started picking up. I said, “This job, I will die here. I will learn everything there is to learn and become incredibly good at it. I’ll make sure I never stay at home unemployed again.” I was always the first to get to the office and the last to leave. I was honing all my skills with the fear of poverty on my mind. I didn’t have a life; I was always on YouTube learning a skill or the other in finance.

From there, I moved to a corporate consulting firm and from there I moved to a private equity firm where I’m currently a Vice President. 

Congratulations, man. What was your game plan?

It was full-on hard work. I’m not the smartest guy, but you can’t outwork me so I used that to my advantage. Now, I’m in a better place financially. I fulfilled the promise I made to my brother and sent him abroad this year. I work hard to make sure I can provide for my support system. If I hadn’t had that tough period in 2016, I probably still wouldn’t have prioritised their welfare the way I do now. 

It’s why I’m equivocal on the black tax conversation. My sisters treat me like their personal ATM and honestly, I don’t mind. I prefer they ask me than ask from some random person outside. I see it as my responsibility, a kind of repayment for all the support they’ve given me. They were pivotal to my development, the least I can give them is my financial support. 

What else do you do?

I’m focused on making money so they never have to want anything. Asides from my day job, I trade stocks, bonds and other risky ventures, like investing in startups. As a younger man, I used to take a lot of risks. I lost a lot of money and I made a lot of money. I used to adhere to the “Go big or go home” principle. I don’t do that as much anymore because now I consider how the decision is going to affect my family before making it. 

What does your family look like?

I have two brothers and two sisters, alongside my mother and father. 

What was growing up like?

It was a decent upbringing. My dad is from a family of spare parts dealers and was also one himself so he swore that none of his kids would end up as a parts dealer. My dad made sure we were properly educated. We were doing fine until our apartment burnt down in 2005 and my father lost all his goods. We were pretty much bankrupt. It was a hard reset for my family.

Sorry to hear about that. How’s your relationship with your dad?

We’re quite distant. I wasn’t close to him because I was scared of him. I can’t tell him certain things I would tell my mom because we didn’t have their relationship. For example, I didn’t tell my dad when I was unemployed but my mom knew and always prayed and encouraged me. 

There was a time she had to undergo surgery and I felt terrible because I was the only one who couldn’t contribute to paying for the procedure. I’m glad that’s all history now.

That’s sad. On to lighter topics. What’s your romantic life like?

Whew. I’m married to the best woman ever.

Congratulations! What’s the most important way you’ve changed as a man since you got married?

On the night of my traditional wedding, I told myself, “See, this woman was on her own, enjoying her life. I convinced her to leave her parents’ house to come and marry her, which means that my only Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is to make sure she’s always happy.” This means my default mode is providing for her emotionally and financially to the best of my abilities.

Marriage also changed my perception of risk. When I was single, I used to make very risky financial moves. Now, I think about the implications my decisions will have on her and my unborn kids.

God when? How do you relax after a long week of work?

I work very hard in a high-pressure environment; about 50-60  hours a week. So I take unwinding very seriously. At least, every two weeks, I get a room in a 5-star hotel and just relax for the weekend. I spend them in the hotel bed watching boxing videos. I also like to laugh on Instagram.

God when?

Lool.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

August 31, 2020

Pretty much every man has been in the clutches of Igbo women at some point. They’re renowned worldwide for their wickedness and cold-heartedness. If you haven’t been hurt by Igbo women before, this article is for you. I’m trying to save you before it ends in premium tears. If an Igbo woman is catching your […]

September 4, 2020

Nigerian women. What a phenomenon. If you’ve ever had to woo a Nigerian woman, you know it’s not exactly the easiest of tasks. Asides swimming through 7 oceans and conquering 7 mountains, there a few other things that can get you to a Nigerian woman’s heart. I made a list. 1. Give her money You […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

January 26, 2022

Black don’t crack, black don’t crack but they won’t tell you all the things they do a maintain that gorgeousness. Because we are so generous so we compiled a list of health care tips for 30+ women.

Recommended Quizzes

October 10, 2019

2019 is certainly Burna Boy’s year, but, if we are being honest, so was 2018. Since his transcendent mixtape, Outside, the afro-fusion star has refused to get his foot of our necks — dropping a string of fantastic singles and then capping it all off with his career-best album, African Giant.  So, in a bid […]

April 1, 2020

Everyone has a Nigerian bank that matches their personality. You could either be as likeable as GTB, as efficient as Access or as mature as First Bank. Either way, all you have to do is take this quiz and we’ll let you know with almost 100% certainty. So, go ahead:

March 24, 2020

While we know that a lot of the best Nigerian artists deservedly have fans across generations, that won’t stop us from attempting to guess how old you are based on your taste in Nigerian music. So, take this quiz to see if we got it right:

how much of an ajebutter
February 12, 2020

Are you an ajebutter or not? Well, if you’ve gone through life blissfully unaware of its harshness, then you probably are. Now, we want to know just how high you rank on that ajebutter scale, using your food preferences as a (very accurate) measure. Take to find out:

More from Man Dem

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X