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‘I left my husband, started riding Keke to feed my children’

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The saying, ‘what a man can do, a woman can do better’, is being embodied by Ayomide Olaniran, a woman who operates a transportation business with a tricycle inside the University of Ibadan.

For Olaniran, she is not trying to be better than any man, rather, she is trying to stay on her ‘feet’ for her children. Her resolve to give her children a better life pushed her to conceive the idea of being an independent woman.

She told Saturday Tribune on the campus that her decision to start driving the tricycle was birthed as a result of her husband’s inability to cater for her and her children. Because she was determined to start up something for herself rather than wait for her monthly salary where she worked, it took her just two weeks to learn how to drive the tricycle.

“I started driving tricycle (Keke) this year, around April. I learnt driving for two weeks and I started driving after then. It’s been two months now that I have been riding inside UI now.

“I was a married woman but I’m now a single mother. I was working before but I looked at the money they were paying me and the responsibility I have now. The money I was being paid was not enough, so I just told one man that I wanted to learn how to drive keke and he said, since what I was doing was a man’s job, riding the keke would not be a problem for me.” That was how she plunged into it and her story is pleasant.

“I pay N5,000 every day to the owner of the keke. I make something every day for myself. This is not enough but I still thank God that I have something to take care of my children. I had no help. No family, and my husband’s family were not there too and I needed something to take care of my children.

“The two younger ones now go to a private school while the older one is in SS2 and I pay their school fees with what I make from driving this keke,” she said.

Olaniran said her husband’s family accused her of not allowing him take care of them which was one of the major family crises they had.

“I left my marriage because my husband was not serious about caring for his family. That was what caused the family problem. He works but he earns little. The main problem was that I wasn’t working at some point and his family said I did not allow their son to take care of them and it was an issue. So I thought that if I leave him I’ll be better and I thank God now because I am taking care of my three children now.”

The 32-year-old mother of three said she was a hard working woman before she married her ex-husband. She said she was working in construction sites in Lagos before she got married and had to move to Ibadan with her husband.

“Before I got married and moved to Ibadan here, I was working at construction sites but when I got married, my husband stopped me from going to those sites. He said I should learn tailoring but I didn’t have time because I gave birth when I was learning.

“So, I was not consistent because I could go this month and I won’t be able to go the following month because there was nothing in the house even to take care of the children, so I just decided to quit.

“After then, I started working for monthly pay but even before the end of the month, the money had finished. So, I thought that I should be hustling by myself, maybe N200 a day or N2,000 or even any amount a day, at least something would be coming in everyday and I would not have to wait for a salary at the end of the month,” she revealed.

Olaniran lamented that most men would “want to sleep with you” before they helped, so it was just wise for her to fend for herself and children.

“Men out there, before anyone helps you he’d want to sleep with you. If someone gives you as little as N5,000, next he’d want to sleep with you and that would be the end after that. So that was why I said let me just stand on my feet and if you want to help me then help and if you don’t want to, fine.”

She however told Saturday Tribune that she was driving the tricycle for just some time to raise enough money to start business she had learned where she worked before.

“I do not hope to do this long term. I’ve worked with a distributor of chicken feeds for some time, so I have some experience but I need money to start my own. So, I intend to do this and save money to start the business. I feel there is nothing one cannot do and make it, all you need is determination,” she said

What are the challenges of driving keke among men? She explained that whenever she had any challenge while driving on campus men came to her rescue

“Riding keke in UI is not like outside, someone owns the keke and I just use it to work every day and pay him. The keke still belongs to him; I’m just like his driver.

“Because my place is far, I go home with it. Though I don’t have the courage to ride on the express, a man helps me ride to my junction and I continue to my house. I stay at Olodo.  If I have any issue with my keke that needs fixing, I always see men that support me to help fix it,” she said.



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