For Dauda Sheidu, a vulcaniser from Kogi state, where there is a will, there is a way. A few years ago, the 35-year-old was helpless seeing his life crumbling before his own eyes.
He was in a spin.
Being from a poor background, growing up was a difficult ride for Sheidu. By the time he was about to complete his secondary education, he enrolled to be trained as a vulcaniser.
When he completed the training, however, he had no money to set up a shop to practice his acquired skills.
This, he said, made him consider riding a motorcycle better known as Okada to cater for himself and his wife.
The decision, however, resulted in the loss of his hand after he had a fatal road accident.
He said the experience made his wife — at the time — abandon him, adding that he was also mocked by friends.
“I learned this work when I was in secondary school, specifically when I was about entering SS3. But after my freedom, I didn’t have the money to rent a shop or buy tools that I would use to work,” he told BBC Pidgin.
“That led me into riding a motorcycle known as Okada to eke out a living. It was from Okada that I had an accident that resulted in the amputation of my right hand.”
In spite of the sad incident, Sheidu didn’t stop pursuing his dreams. After he was discharged from the hospital, he opened a shop and started operating as a vulcaniser.
“I won’t say because I have one hand, I should sit down and start begging for alms. It’s better I endure the attendant pains that come with hustling. If along the line I see someone that wants to help me, I would be happy,” he added.
At the outset of the business, the Okene-based entrepreneur encountered another major challenge as many people doubted his ability to deliver due to his condition.
“After I was discharged from the hospital, my wife ran away and abandoned me. I asked, why is she running away from me. Is it because I have one hand? That motivated me to start hustling,” he said.
“At the outset, whenever people bring work to my shop and see me, they would ask ‘where is your oga?’. Sometimes, when I tell them that I’m the owner of the shop, they would not believe it and leave in annoyance.
“Some would say you have only one hand, how do you want to do it? That went on for about three months until those who knew when I was learning the work started patronising me.
“That was how I started the whole thing until now that people have come to know that I am a vulcaniser and can do to the job.”
The entrepreneur’s unrelenting spirit eventually paid off as he is now happily married with another wife while he also has people learning under him.
“I have married another wife and thank God she is still with me. I have nine children and two of them are currently in secondary school. If you see them, you’d think they were raised abroad,” he said.
“I thank God because I’m the one feeding them and also paying their tuition fees without help from anyone. I’m also paying my rent without any issue.
“I also have three shops where I put those learning under me in charge. I have also done graduation for three of my boys.
“As far as my work is concerned, there’s no tyre that I cannot fix whether it’s that of a trailer, wheelbarrow, bicycle… just mention it. I used to wonder how I am able to do such work too because I do see several boys with two hands who are not interested in learning such work.”
Sheidu said he plans to return to school to improve his knowledge of his skills as a vulcaniser and facilitate his drive to impact others in the community.
He also called on the public to support him in acquiring tools essential to his job.
“There are plenty of tools that I need to do this job but because I don’t have them, I got through a lot while working,” he said.
“My plan is to go to school so that I can learn more about the work and use the knowledge to also train people in my community.”
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