Danladi Ibrahim, 23, was born and brought up in Unguwan Rimi area in Kaduna metropolis, to the family of a bicycle repairer.
At the age of seven, after school he went to his father’s shop and watched how he repaired different bicycles. He soon developed interest and began to assist his father. But it was not that easy. Every time his father sent him away, he always returned, more determined than ever, until his father relented.
After a decade, Ibrahim had to drop out of Rimi College Kaduna and opened his own shop near his family compound. When he realized that repairing bicycles alone would not sustain him, he ventured into welding and later became a motorcycle mechanic. In addition to this, he also became a lawn mower mechanic, radio, television, computer and electric and gas cooker technician, and most importantly a metal fabricator.
Gifted, Ibrahim uncouples and repairs things formerly strange to him.
“I bought a fairly used electric welding machine at the cost of N13, 000 with my savings, connected it to the power source and started welding in front of the shop. I was mocked but I did not give up,” he said.
“I reconstructed a two-wheel motorcycle to a tricycle shaped like a lady’s shoe. I bought a fairly used Honda CG motorcycle with 125 engine capacity at the cost of N20, 000 and cut off the fuel tank and handlebars. I used some metal sheets and iron rods to design another tricycle shaped like a man’s shoe and attached a car steering for control, a battery box and tool kit to match,” he said, adding that someone mildly advised him to use the concept of a lady’s shoe instead, which is more attractive and will give him more room for manoeuvring.
Ibrahim said it took him two months to complete the reconstruction, fabrication and painting before the test- drive because of funding and erratic power supply.
“I have been riding it for two years and I did the test drive from Unguwan Rimi to Maraban Rido, behind Kaduna Refinery, a distance of about 25 km. Along the way, the police overtook me and asked me to park and I complied. I thought they wanted to arrest me, but to my astonishment, they brought out their phones and took a snapshot of me,” he said.
Danladi said he has not received any funding for the different things he has fabricated, like the lady shoe-shaped tricycle, a motorized speed boat, a motorcycle he reconstructed to a tricycle pick-up which he uses to collect used bicycles, motorcycles, lawn mowers among other from places to his workshop.
However, he said a passer-by once gave him N200 and the people of Maraban Rido contributed N2, 800 for him in appreciation for his visit to their rural community behind Kaduna Refinery.
No government agencies like the National Board for Technology Incubation (NBTI), National Directorate of Employment (NDE) or a technical institution like Kaduna Polytechnic or Technical College Malali has ever contacted him on how he can develop or teach youngsters in a joint partnership.
Danladi said after he was featured in a local television program in Kaduna, some white men and locals came and took his picture with some of his inventions.
“The complex part of the tricycle was the front wheels beam frame and car steering connection which I successfully fixed after many trails.
“I am very happy to have proved myself worthy against the doubts of so many people who felt I was just wasting my time. They watched me as I made those unique items and I’m glad I’ve never been involved in any form of accident.
“Some people had wanted me to construct something unique for them, but after considering the cost they left. If the power supply can be sustained, I would be able to do new inventions and finish new projects on time,” said Danladi Ibrahim.
He urged parents to encourage their children to acquire skills, especially when they are still young, adding that he does not have an apprentice because most of the youth brought to him are teenagers who lack discipline and patience.