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...we can only be human together...
...we can only be human together...

I became a 'Fan Ice' seller after losing my casual job as an electrician with RCC

Tell others:
25 May 2022
5 minutes read
I became a 'Fan Ice' seller after losing my casual job as an electrician with RCC

My name is John Nonwa.

My father's name is Osaze.

I cannot remember my age.

I attended Ake Primary School in Ake, Edo State.

I came to Ibadan, Oyo State, in 1977, after the completion of my primary education. It was my older brother, from the same parents, who brought me to Ibadan and we lived at Sango.  He was then a bachelor.

He was a Hiace commuter bus driver. 

He had sent someone to bring me to Ibadan. He made it clear that it was for me to learn a vocation. 

We had a townsman then, named Bob, who was an electrician at Oke Ado. He is late now.

I believe that he and my brother discussed about letting me learn electrical work in his outfit, and he had no objection. 

That was how I started learning the work. 

I am aware that he never took any money from my brother to train me, which is not the norm: an apprentice usually pays to learn a vocation under a master. 

I spent five years as an apprentice.

One of the things I learnt was conduit wiring. In those days we used galvanised iron pipe but today we use plastic pipes. 

When I completed my apprenticeship, another townsman helped me to get employment as a casual worker at RCC (Reynolds Construction Company (Nig) Ltd).

I was involved in the company's channelisation of the Ogunpa River at Molete. I cannot remember the year now but I believe that the contract was awarded to RCC  by President Olusegun Obasanjo, either during his first term or the second. You may also remember that the Ogunpa River in Ibadan flooded again in 1980. It was called omiyale, and many houses and properties were damaged. The severe flood also took many lives.

I worked with RCC for about seven years. For the Ogunpa channelisation, I was there for four years, working wherever the work of an electrician was needed. For instance, I would give power to the welder during welding of certain materials. I was also involved in the work they did on Sagamu Road, for about three years. 

Then, I received about fifteen thousand naira a month. But, you know the value was higher then. I also made some money from overtime. 

Rainy season is not a good time for these construction companies and for many of us who were casual workers. It leads to stoppage of work when the rains become intense.

I lost the job during one of those seasons.

I live at Oke Itunnu, near the Army Barracks at Mokola.

I had a small workshop on a fenced land in the neighbourhood. Later, the owner of the place asked us to leave because he needed to build a house on the land.

I had always moved my tools to my house everyday, so this was never a permanent. I still get called for repairs every now and then.

About five years ago, I decided that rather than just be idle, I should be a bicycle vendor for an agent of Fan Milk plc. The woman I work for is the wife of one professor at the University of Ibadan (UI). That is why I am here today at the Chapel of Resurrection to sell our products to people who have come to attend the funeral service here. I was going to the Maintenance Department when I stopped thinking that it was a wedding. People hardly buy 'Fan Ice' when it is a funeral service. But the ongoing strike has a negative effect on us as well as others who sell food and drinks on the campus.

My wife is a janitor in a nursery school in UI where our first daughter is also a student. Another daughter is learning hairdressing.  The younger brother is an apprentice refrigeration mechanic.

I would have gone back to Ake to become a farmer but the property that my father built there was jointly owned with one or two of his friends whose family members are occupying there now.

I am a Catholic and I believe that God will perform a miracle, sooner or later. Nothing is beyond God once you join your mind to His.

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Sincerely,

Taiwo Obe, FNGE
Commonwealth Professional Fellow
Founder/Director, The Journalism Clinic
+234 818 693 5900
founder@thejournalismclinic.com.