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The True Life Story of Samuel Maduka Onyishi (MON)

The True Life Story of Samuel Maduka Onyishi (MON) is the story of an
African Child who did not allow his background to determine his
destiny. It is the story of the dogged spirit of the African Child.
It is a story that proves and again that with determination,
integrity and hard work, one can rise from the smallest of
beginnings to the highest aspirations.
It is a story that illustrates that success is within the grasp of each
and every one of us, and that no external condition has the power
to stop us from achieving our dreams if we are determined to do so.
Take a deep breath as I take you on a dive into the untold story of
Chief Samuel Maduka Onyishi. MON: The Founder of Peace Group
of companies, who started his transportation business with just 2
buses in 1994, which has now grown to over 4,000 fleet of vehicles.
Samuel Maduka Onyishi was born in Nsukka, Enugu State,
Nigeria in November 1963. He is the first son in a family of nine.
Samuel’s father was a Bricklayer at the University of Nigeria,
His father slumped and died on Monday, February 28, 1977. Sam
as he is fondly called, had his primary school education at the
Enugu Road Primary School, Nsukka, Enugu State from 1971
He was then admitted into Bubendorf Grammar School, Adazi, in
Awka, Anambra State, but the death of the father left the mother
with no option than to withdraw him from the school for financial
reasons and bring him closer home.
He then continued his studies at Community Secondary School,
Mbu in Isi-Uzo Local Government Area, Enugu State, barely
managing to survive in school because of poverty.
Sam had only one pair of white khaki shorts and a white shirt as
his school uniform as against the two recommended by the
school.” At that time, he washes his school uniform on Saturdays,
wear it clean to school on Monday to Wednesday and avoided
morning assembly on Thursdays and Fridays because his uniform
was too dirty. He used to report to school early those two days, but
he would hide somewhere until the assembly was over.
He was always punished for coming late. Narrating his childhood
experience, he said, “I climbed all the mango and cashew trees
around our school to pluck their fruits for food and for sale, to
supplement what my mother was giving me as pocket and feeding
money. I climbed these trees so often that I know those trees knew
me by my name.”
At the end of his Class III at Community Secondary School, Mbu,
he could no longer cope with the financial demands and
subsequently, had to be transferred to St. Theresa’s College,
Nsukka where he felt a lot more relieved as it his home town.
However as a senior student as he was in Class IV, he was expected
to wear trousers to school, but he had no money to buy trousers,
and so he continued wearing shorts until the second term of his
final year. It was a public embarrassment!
While in secondary school, Sam had dreamt of being a Lawyer, but
his poor financial background made sure that dream was never
achieved as he could not continue after the secondary school. “At
the time he passed out of secondary school, government was
recruiting auxiliary teachers in his state. The minimum
qualification was five credits in one sitting, so, he applied because
he had that. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the job because he
didn’t have Two Naira to bribe the messenger to allow him enter
the Zonal Commissioner’s Office to collect his Appointment
Letter. What pained him more was that some applicants, who did
not have up to five credits at one sitting, got the job. He couldn’t
explain what could have happened. That was his first encounter
with what they call the ‘Nigerian Factor’. He was so fed up with
education that he contemplated tearing his school certificate to
pieces so as to forget all about academics. On a second thought
however, he remembered the sufferings and the sacrifices his mother
went through for him to go to school. He decided to handover the
certificate to his mother and leave to search for what to do with his
His mother gave him Two Hundred Naira which was the Bride
Price of one of his sisters to enable him go to Enugu and fix himself
somewhere, but this failed. Back in Nsukka, he tried his hands on
many things and at a time, he was a wheelbarrow-pusher and a
bus conductor. Later, he went into learning a trade after which he
could not still go into his business of choice because there was no
money. He then went into music as a song writer and singer. His
producer went into political detention before his record was
released, and out of frustration, he left them. He then travelled to
Kaduna State, Northern Nigeria to serve as labourer at a place
called Ikara. He left his employers in 1984 because his salary
wasn’t paid in full. He then returned to Nsukka, fortunately for
him that was when University of Nigeria, Nsukka was paying his
family the compensation for acquisition of their land.
His mother received One Thousand Two Hundred Naira as her own
share and she handed over the whole money to Sam because she
trusted him. With that money, he returned to Ikara and went into
second hand clothe business, popularly known as Okrika Wake Up
in Nigeria, from where he later moved to Kano in 1987. By 1989 he
went to learn Motor Spare Parts Business for 24 days and then, set
up my own, by then he had saved up to Two Hundred and Sixty
Thousand Naira in my Bank Account.”
Sam was challenged to pursue university education by one of his
village men who ordered him to keep quiet because, as an
“ordinary West African School Certificate” holder, he wasn’t
supposed to talk where graduates like him were talking.
Recounting the experience, Sam said, “This guy was my junior in
Primary School, in fact, he was two years behind me; even though
he was older than me, but he had become a graduate.”
“He told me in public that I should not argue with him because I
was only a WAEC holder.
Can you imagine that?
That was when I told myself that I must go back to school, to
acquire that University education for which I was insulted. I
personally like challenges and this was just enough challenge to
make me abandon my business in the North to return to Nsukka.
Like I said, I like challenges because when a person delivers a punch
on you, the person’s armpit is open and you can always land a
shock on the person’s open armpit, although, it depends on how
you position yourself to be able to land a cut on the person’s open
armpit. I was a boxer in my secondary school days and I know how
to give a good punch. I am always guided by this belief in
confronting challenges on my way,” he said.
He got admission to do a Diploma Program at University of
Nigeria, Nsukka, between 1993 – 1996 and later, a degree program
from 1996 – 1999. He graduated with a Second Class Upper in
Social works and Community development”
When he started his lectures as a student, he discovered that he had
plenty of idle time. To fill that space, he went back to Kano and
withdrew his savings of Two Hundred and Sixty Thousand Naira
and used it to purchase two buses. He gave one out to another
driver and managed one himself. He used the bus to convey
passengers after lectures on weekdays and full time on Saturdays
His venturing into the transport business was like a movie. At the
time, he was only doing it to support himself in school, but before
he knew it, he had grown from the initial 2 buses to 8.
He then went into a contract with Nsukka Local Government Area
to use their name. His company then was called Nsukka Mass
Transit. His number of buses grew to the point that, as at the time
he was graduating in 1999, he already had up to 45 buses.
He later fell out with the Local Government Authority because they
violated their agreement by allowing another operator to use a
similar name as his. The other Transport Line was called Nsukka
Urban Mass Transit. Sam then changed the name of his Transport
Line from Nsukka Mass Transit to Peace Mass Transit.
He then applied for a Private Motor Park and it was granted. That
was how he owned and the first Private Mini-Bus Private Park in
Nsukka, Enugu, Onitsha, Aba, Abakaliki, Owerri, Njuba, Abuja.
The first entrepreneur to achieve such a feat. “Then, it was almost
impossible, but God was with me.” He said.
Peace Mass Transit from that humble beginning has today,
blossomed into not only the foremost Road Transport Business in
Nigeria with over 4,000 buses, but also the fastest growing Mass
Transit Business in West Africa.
It has grown into what is known as the Peace Group of
Companies, comprising among others:
Peace Mass Transit Limited
Peace Quick Response Insurance Brokers
Peace Petroleum Limited
Peace Micro-Finance Bank
Peace Express Service Limited
Brand of vehicles
Peace Bureau de Change;
Peace Aviation Services,
PMT Beijing Trade Limited. China
Peace Ugama Printing Press
PMT Assembly Plant Limited
Peace Oil Lubricants Limited
Peace Capital Market Limited: Stock Brokers, Dealers and
Investment Advisers
Maduka Commercial and Futon International Limited: Exclusive
Importer of Peace Hiace
Some of the other positions Dr. Samuel Maduka Onyishi has held
or is holding are:
Former Chairman Enugu State Football Association
Chairman of Rangers International Football Club.
At 54 years of age, Dr. Samuel Maduka Onyishi. MON is truly an
accomplished Entrepreneur that have made his mark.
Today, the vast majority of our youths have a pessimistic outlook
in life, we grow up believing our parents must provide for us, and
soon we shift our focus to the government. We are very good in
spotting problems and in criticizing.
Some people read such inspiring stories of people who have
overcome very difficult battles to get to the top, but you will see
some of them telling us that this whole success story is false, and
that Dr. Samuel Maduka and other successful Nigerians are all
criminals, yes people say it. The last time shared the success story
of Dr. Patrick Ifeanyichukwu Ubah, someone who claimed to know
him “very” well alleged that he steals up to 5 trucks of diesel
from NNPC Storage Facility, can you imagine that? Isn’t that
I hope you are not one of them? But guess what? Life doesn’t give
a buck what you think. If you get too angry with life, you will end
up poor, old, wrinkled and bitter.
One common trend among those that succeed is that they know the
system is bad, but they don’t care. They just go ahead and work
as hard as they can, until they succeed.
Sometimes, even the bad system will work in your favour.
A wise man said, “If life gives you lemon, make lemonade”.
No millionaire ever said: I became rich by saving.
Simple investments over time are the key to wealth.
Every penny in your hand is like a seed, you can decide to eat it, or
sow it. When you sow it, it will bear much more seeds later in


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