Becoming a man

I am Samson Olamidele Oladega from Ipokia in Ipokia Local Government Area of Ogun State, Nigeria.

I was born on 14 October 1983 in the same Ipokia to Olatunji and Asabe Oladega. My dad was involved in the retail of petroleum in jerry cans. He was also a farmer.

I attended Eleja Primary School in Ipokia. At the same time, I was also an apprentice tailor with my older brother, Jeremiah Oladega.

I would return from school and go for my training at his shop in Ikolaje in the border town of Idiroko. I spent close to eight years as an apprentice. Remember that I was a young lad. Brother Jeremiah, however, is no longer a tailor; he is now a full time pastor. I am now the only tailor in the family.

When he was a tailor, he was a specialist in the sewing of English and native wears. 

After my apprenticeship, I left for Ajah, near Lekki. I became a journeyman to a friend, Isah, an indigene of Ilorin, Kwara State, who was already established. That was in 1999.

After sometime, I moved to Agege and joined another friend, Bashiru, an Ijebu lad, to co-rent a shop.

I had tried to attend a high school in Ikolaje but I fell by the wayside.

Working and living in Rivers State

At some point, Bashiru left for Rumuomasi, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, leaving me alone at the shop.

Not long after, he invited me to join him in Rumuomasi. 

That is how I came to Rivers State.

I came to Bonny Island through a female friend, a tailor, who used to work with someone in Port Harcourt who really was not good at what she was doing. I used to help. Her husband, also a tailor, worked on the island. It has been a while now and I can no longer remember her name.

She said I could try out Bonny. 

That was how I left Port Harcourt.

The first person I worked with on the island was one Madam Allison.  I used to sew men's clothes for her while she specialised in female wears. 

I learnt and became an expert in the sewing of Niger Delta traditional male outfits while in Port Harcourt. 

Madam Allison is like my mother on the island. And a good one too.

I established my own shop, Samel Fashion on the island, about fifteen years ago, but I still sew for Madam Allison. 

By the grace of God, I have become a well-known tailor on the island. 

I have satisfied customers all over the place.

Of course, I can do with many more. I can be reached via +234 803 569 0214.

I have enjoyed my time here. I have also behaved responsibly, minding my business without causing any harm to anyone. That is important to me.

I also have no disturbance of any sort from anybody. 

Any non-indigene who wishes to come to work and live on Bonny Island is most welcome. You know, of course, that we enjoy uninterrupted electricity on the island. That is a major advantage. 

I have trained four tailors, one fellow from Andoni and the three others are fellow Yoruba.

I travel home at Christmas with my family - my wife and child. I had the misfortune of the loss of two children. 

I married from home but we all live on Bonny Island. We are Celestians.

Photo Credit: Pelu Awofeso

Appreciation to the Nigeria LNG Limited for providing total logistics support to, and on, Bonny Island, and to our local guide, Godswill Jumbo of Kristina Reports