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Benjamin Akhigbe

Benjamin Akhigbe

Nigerian native who is a business owner and building contractor

Born: Bendel State, Nigeria
Heritage: Nigerian

No matter what you do in life, even if at first it might be difficult, you have to preserver. Nothing good comes easy. If everything were easy, we would not go through life trying to achieve what we want. In the country we live in, the sky’s the limit. Do the best you can. Always persevere, do your best, and let the chips fall where they may. You have to work hard to get where you want to me. There are no shortcuts to success. When you have your education, nobody can take it way from you.

Benjamin Akhigbe

Nigerian native who is a business owner and building contractor

My name is Benjamin Akihgbe. I was born January 25th, 1962, in Nigeria. I was born in the Midwest, which used to be Bendel state.

I had a very large family. There are 19 of us total. My dad was a policeman and my mother was a housewife. Our family resided in Bendel state, but my father was a federal policeman so he got transferred from state to state. He was transferred and we would move with him every 5 or 6 years. I pretty much traveled all around the country while I was there.

I attended Catholic school, which is like private school. Since Nigeria used to be a British colony, Irish nuns came and set up schools, churches, and hospitals. After high school I went to college. College was owned by the government, so tuition was free, but you still had to pay for your room and board. I graduated from college in 1984.

In May of 1987, I came to the United States. I had in mind to continue my education, but when I arrived, I learned that the cost of school was way higher than I expected. For this reason, I knew there were other parts of my life I would have to go through before returning to school.

I started working for a temporary agency. I worked at many different jobs to earn money. I began by working in factories rolling plastic and filling shampoo bottles. After that I worked as a busboy, valet, and dishwasher at a Chinese restaurant. One weekend I met a friend who worked at a nursing home. I said “If you don’t mind, I would like to work in the nursing home.” She said, “Of course.” I was looking for better pay. I took care of the elderly; got them up, dressed them, brushed their teeth, and fed them.

During this time I enrolled in Minneapolis Technical Institute to get my degree as a Nursing Assistant. After I finished my education, I continued to work in the nursing home, but was then responsible for charting patients health and administering medications. I also would communicate with families and other doctors. This is where I met my wife.

My wife Angela and I were married in September of 1996. Angela is a dental hygienist. We live in Plymouth and have two kids, Oliva (10) and Miles (6).

After we got married I started my own cleaning business, however I would still work at the nursing home in the evenings. The first big contract I got was with the airport commission. I was working there myself and hired somebody to work with me. I did this for five years.

I then returned to Minneapolis Technical Institute and receive a degree as a general contractor. I built my first house in 2001. I began by buying properties, fixing them up, and then selling them. In the 2000’s the economy was booming so I figured it was a great opportunity to make money. I did make money on the first houses, but I realized it would be tough moving forward, so I began building new houses. Today I work as a general contractor building new houses and still work at the nursing home during the winter.


Nothing Good Comes Easy

Honoring Benjamin Akhigbe

Nothing Good Comes Easy
(Honoring Benjamin Akihgbe)

Nothing, nothing, nothing good comes easy!
I came from Nigeria to Minnesota
To be with my friend Benjamin Adoga.
Found a job on the day and night shift
In factories packing shampoo and rolling plastic.
Nothing good comes easy
All they paid as a temp was 4 dollars an hour
As a new immigrant, do not have much power.
To get paid what I want, climbing up the ladder
Factory worker, valet, busboy, dishwasher
Nothing good comes easy
Nothing, nothing, nothing good comes easy!
In nursing homes for better pay, I started nursing
Helping the elderly, those who are hurting.
Brushing teeth, feeding them, giving medication
After I got my degree in nursing education
Nothing good comes easy
After that, opened up a business cleaning
Working as a nurse by day, cleaning all evening
Vacuum cleaners and machines helping with the working
When I got those big contracts, money started rolling
Nothing good comes easy
Nothing, nothing, nothing good comes easy!
Started buying old homes, built new ones for a profit
If you work hard, the sky is the limit.
Unlike Nigeria, have to know somebody.
Or give bribes, how can you, make any money
Nothing good comes easy
With 2 kids and a wife, in this land of freedom
Simply do your best, are my words of wisdom
There's no shortcuts in any situations
no one can take away your education
Nothing good comes easy
Nothing, nothing, nothing good comes easy!

Music by Larry Long. Words by Larry Long with Lauren Robison’s 4th Grade Class, Birchview Elementary School, Plymouth, Minnesota.

© Larry Long 2011