He was born to a family from Nnewi North Local Council in Anambra State, and had to be herded off as an apprentice at the age of 7 to his uncle, who lives in Ebute-Metta to learn trade.
Hear him speak, "I Became an Automobile Apprentice at Age 7 to Escape Poverty". This sums up the story of Dr. Cosmos Maduka. A boy who had to stop elementary school at the age of 3 and hawked akara instead to support his family finances haven lost his father, Mr. Peter Maduka to the cold hands of death earlier in life.
It was indeed a trying time for his family and increasingly difficult for his mother to cope with the task of raising the family with its attendant responsibilities.
Having mastered his craft effectively by the age of nine, Cosmas would single-handedly travel to Nnewi to purchase items (spare parts) for his boss and, by the age of 14, he was smart enough to be sent to work in one of their branches at Sokoto and, later at Nnewi.
He was sent packing at 14 in 1975 from his apprenticeship for leaving the shop to attend a church program. He was settled with a mere N?200:00. This was intended as a punishment to him but young Maduka who found faith in Christ at a young age looked up to God see him through and even went a step further spiritually, looked into his uncle's eyes and said,
“God hardened the heart of Pharaoh to show His might in the land of Egypt. I served you well, and I don’t deserve this. But if this is what you have to offer me, five years from today, you will be amazed at what you’re going to see out of this”.
He was always positive about his future, “I’ve always been very positive from my childhood and this often made people laugh at me to scorn. I still recollect those days at Oyingbo Bus-stop when school children would mock me, and I would tell them I was going to be better than them in six years. I do not know why I was so confident, but the truth is that my mother inspired and encouraged me always.”
Thereafter, he teamed up with his elder brother to set up Maduka Brothers at Nnewi with a combined capital of N?300:00. Their basic business was selling spare parts, buying from Lagos and selling it at Nnewi and its environs.
His story is better told by him, “I had my first breakthrough when I went to Boulous Enterprises to purchase motorcycle spare parts. I stumbled on a new innovation, motorcycle crash ban, and I bought several and then removed the address of Boulous from the carton so that others would not know where I bought them from. I sold everything the next day and joined the night bus again to Lagos to buy more. I did that four times in one week and my capital rose from N?300:00 to over N?3,000:00. I settled down in marriage at age 19, and I ventured into importation with the little capital I had.”
From a humble beginning, Maduka today sits atop a conglomerate, Coscharis Group with several subsidiaries: Coscharis Auto Industries Ltd, Coscharis Technologies and Foods Ltd, Coscharis Exports Ltd, Coscharis Securities Ltd, Coscharis Finance and Investment Ltd, Coscharis Motors, etc.
Coscharis Group are the sole distributors of BMW and Land Rover cars in West Africa. They are also authorised dealers for major information technology product manufacturers like Compaq, American Power Conversion (APC), and Epson range of printers.
He once said, “I have five children and I ensure they go to school in Nigeria despite that some of them are American citizens, because I believe they need to learn street smartness! My oldest son graduated from the University of Lagos, and till age 25, he didn’t have a car because I didn’t give him any! He has done his MBA abroad, and now works
with one of the banks in Nigeria. He now earns his own money and can buy himself whatever car he desires!”
We salute you, Chief Dr. Cosmos Maduka. You inspire us.
All hail the businessman, industrialist, manufacturer, banker, investor and a great son of Igboland!