My name is Matthew Sobola.
I am the eldest of the five children of my parents, Talabi and Mojisola Sobola.
I was born on 7 January 1977.
We are from Ogunmakin, Ajebo (in the Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State, Nigeria).
Mum and dad are farmers who are interested in the education of their children.
I attended St Peter's Anglican Primary School, Abeokuta.
I was in the school's football team. I played in the midfield.
I was brought to Ibadan by my dad's younger brother, Mr Adeyemi Sobola.
I was happy to leave our rural community for the city.
In Ibadan, I was enrolled at Urban Day Secondary School at Jericho.
But, I spent only two years there.
I did not catch up well with the studies.
So, my uncle, who is a sign-writer, asked me to choose a vocation.
I chose to be a vulcaniser.
So, I became an apprentice under one Mr Adeyemo who had his shop opposite the Ansar-ud-Deen Central Mosque around Salvation Army at Oke Padi, Ibadan.
I spent three years training under my master and I believe I learnt well.
My parents helped me get my first set of work tools after I obtained my freedom.
I have been on my own, for about ten years, at this spot close to the Agbarigo Junction which leads to either Sabo, if you turn left, or to Dugbe, if you turn right.
I paid rent here for two years only.
When the owners of the land behind the fence found that I was of good character, I was told to stay here free of charge.
I am almost always at work latest half past seven in the morning. But I do not work on Sundays.
Honesty is my guiding principle, and this has paid off for me in many ways that I can only keep thanking God.
I have heard it said that, while in training, apprentices are taught how to cheat their patrons.
Maybe that is true for some but I can say that it was not so where I trained.
You see that woman who has just driven off, she is one of my loyal patrons. She and many other repeat customers have told me that, unlike some other vulcanisers around, I do not cheat them. They say that I do not tell them there are several leaks that need patching when it is only one.
They do not only come back to fix their tires when they have problems with them, they also recommend others to me.
That makes me to want to remain honest.
I am still single.
I am looking to God for the right time.
I am a member of the Gospel Faith International Mission (GOFAMINT) at its parish near the same Ansar-ud-Deen mosque. My residence is at Alawo, also in the same vicinity.
I am also looking to God and mankind to have the means to expand my business. It is my desire to be able to sell new tires. Right now, I sell fairly used ones.
In case, there are members of the public who would want to help me, I can be reached on +2348100697690.
God will help us all. Amen.
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Taiwo Obe, FNGE
Commonwealth Professional Fellow
Founder/Director, The Journalism Clinic
+234 818 693 5900