Miss Olabisi Shonubi is a driver with the Lagos Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and a trained mechanic of Japanese brands of automobile. Just 26 years of age, GISTMANIA, met her on duty and spoke with her on what inspired her into what many will think is a man’s job and her dreams and admonition for the youths. Excerpts:
Can you introduce yourself?
My name is Olabisi Shonubi, I am a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) driver as you can see, the youngest amongst drivers and a girl. I am working with my grandpas, so I am the youngest, the baby driver. I am 26
years old; I am from Lagos State, Ikorodu.
From primary school, I proceeded to secondary school and went to Government Technical College, Ikorodu. From there I tried to enroll into YABATECH as an engineer, but unfortunately it didn’t
work out because I had no money and no sponsors. I had to work as a vehicle mechanic for six years. I can repair Japanese cars.
I had to take this job to enable me raise the required capital to establish my own mechanic workshop. I want to work on my own. When I was training as a mechanic, that was when I learnt to drive, so this job is very easy for me. My desire is to be famous as a lady mechanic.
How are you able to cope given your age and the fact that you are in a world considered to belong to men?
I don’t feel shy doing a man’s job. It is not easy driving this BRT bus, but the people I am working with make it easy for me. It is not that hard for me, I am comfortable with it. The only challenge I face is when passengers are telling me “you are too slow; move faster.” Meanwhile, our speed limit is 45 kilometer
per hour. Some passengers understand, some don’t understand, they are always in haste. That is the only challenge I have.
What would you consider your most embarrassing experience on the job?
A mad man once entered my bus, I never knew he was a mad man. He said he was going to Yaba and that I must take him there. I told him the bus was not meant for that route. Even the other passengers were telling him that the point we were was the last bus stop. But the man insisted I take him to Yaba, that if I don’t take him to Yaba, he is going to kill me. The next thing he did was to hold me by the neck attempting to strangle me. Later, some policemen came and said the man apparently had psychiatric
problems. Funny enough, that day I took him to Yaba, although some policemen accompanied me. That was my most embarrassing moment.
Did your parents’ consent to your choice of job?
My dad taught me to drive from a very young age. As a little girl, I was considered a Tomboy because I loved doing jobs considered strictly for men and I loved doing anything that has to do with repairing or fixing whatever went wrong around the house. My dad was the one that taught me how to drive, but he never knew that I was going to end up being a driver. What I am doing now my father can’t even do it, he worked with Dangote as a driver but he can only drive small cars not big ones.
Are you married and is your spouse supportive of this?
I am not married. My fiancé is very nice, he is very supportive, and he loves the fact that I am very strong willed.
What advice do you have for youths like you who are chasing non-existing white-collar jobs?
My advice to young girls out there is that anything in their mind that is legitimate and can fetch and earn them money they should go for it. I never knew I would come this far but because I was focused, I vowed to remain a good girl and be focused. I want to remain a role model that people will look up to and be proud of.
I thank God for answering my prayers. My advice to them is to be good, focused and not go into prostitution. They should stop stealing or prostituting or anything that will bring shame to them and their families.
What support do you think you need to enable you set up the workshop and are you aspiring to further your education?
I hoping to raise N300,000 to set up my mechanic workshop business. I just want to start from very little; from there I can go higher. N300,000 would be alright for me but because I do not have help coming from anywhere, it has been difficult for me to raise the money. I am working on the budget because I already have my tools and equipment.
I also aspire to further my education someday. By the grace of God, I will return to school.