I learnt this trade in my old age. Those that saw me when I was starting said I couldn’t do it. I was determined to learn. Persistence is key! We have many people making it in life at the point they thought things will never be right for them again. In Agege area of Lagos, we met Mr Biliaminu Fadola, a 60-year-old vulcanizer who has a lot to tell us when it comes to life. If there is anything to learn from the story of this man, it is the fact that patience is indeed a virtue. Why not join me and let’s see what this man has to say
about his sojourn in this field. I’m Temitope Popoola; welcome to another episode of Faces of Nigeria. My name is Biliaminu Fadola, I was born in Abeokuta on the 11th of March 1958. I have been in Lagos since 1975. I only went as far as getting a primary school certificate educational wise. My father was not interested in education. I developed interest in education after seeing students in uniform every morning. We were put in an Islamic school and were very few in number compared to them. I told my father about my interest in education but he refused. There was the likelihood of me becoming a follower to one of the young Alfas in my area. The Alfa kept pestering my father about his pledge of making me go with him. Luckily for me, someone returned from overseas and needed me to look after his children in Lagos. The fellow called my father and I; he said his child needed someone to look after his kids at home. He said my father told him I was only interested in Islamic school. He said he called the meeting for me to tell him my decision personally. You know, my father couldn’t refuse the other man. I acted on this, backed my father and told the man I wanted to go to Lagos. My father’s eyes changed. I insisted on going to Lagos against all odds. Then, Lagos was seen like a foreign country to most of us. This is what I do. I am a vulcanizer! But I have been involved in many other trades in the past. But when I saw that they were not lucrative enough, I had to learn this skill. According to my age, it will not be hard to believe that I’ve used up to thirty to forty years doing this. However, I learnt this trade in my old age. I started learning from my late boss, Mr Wasiu. So I got to him in the year 2000. That was the point I started learning. It was in July. I left there in August 2003. That was the point I gained freedom and established mine. You know the youths are not interested in skills acquisition again; they see this trade as a dirty one. So no one is interested. Even though many of them have passed through me, but most of them don’t want to practice. They end up running away. I could have left this place if there was a serious apprentice to leave it all to. Being a vulcanizer requires patience. One may not make a lot from it but I am grateful it has warded off hunger. I have been able to train my children with it to the glory of God. I also got a place of my own irrespective of the size. At least there is a place to rest my head. I’ll urge the youths to put their all into whatever they want to do. Get educated to a reasonable point; a singer once talked about being half-baked. If it is a skill they are interested in acquiring, they should invest their all in it. Don’t be a jack of all trades. Stay focused on that single lucrative trade. And you will be good to go. What a story and an inspiring one at that. That was Mr Biliaminu Fadola. This man made up his mind to be something against all odds. What is your story? If you have something inspiring to
share with us why not reach out to us via [email protected] and we will take it up from there. Do not forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, you can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and on Instagram. A big shout out to Monday Idara, the man behind camera. Thank you for helping me put this
together. Till the next time we meet, it’s a wrap for me. Bye.