Chief David Ayodele Borishade is an Ekiti state-born roadside auto-mechanic based in the North. In this interview, he explains to MOH BELLO HABIB how he turned a business mogul in Funtua and Zaria in Katsina and Kaduna states, respectively.
How did it all begin?
My name is Chief David Ayodele Borishade; I was born to the family of Chief and Mrs. Joseph Borishade Fajuwanbola in Ondo state, which before now was in the present Ekiti state. I have been in Funtua and later relocated to Zaria for about 65 years now. You know, this Alhaji Umaru Mutallab was among the first team of youth the then Premier of the Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, sent abroad to study accounting.
You have been in the northern part of the country almost throughout life; what have been your contributions towards the development of the towns you have lived in?
When I came to Funtua in 1954, I started as a roadside mechanic where I trained a lot people there. I could remember there was a time Alhaji Umaru Mutallab whose father was one of my customers came to my garage and I offered him soft drinks, but he turned down my offer. When I asked to know why he rejected the soft drinks, he told me that he was angry because his father had refused to buy him a pair of school sandals. I then asked him to tell me the price and he said it was being sold for between three and five shillings I gave him four shillings to enable to buy it and go back to school in Zaria.
Did you come to the North with your mechanic skills or you learnt all about it here?
I came to Funtua with my mechanic skills right from my home town Osogbo, but I was very young then; in fact, many did not even want to give me jobs because they thought I could not do it considering the fact that I was a very young man.
Were you married?
No, I was not married. I was only 20 or 21-years-old when I came to Funtua. I was not even thinking of marriage at that time. In spite of that fact that I was young I was able to train many people in Funtua – people like Alhaji Ibrahim Na-Bature who was just like an apprentice to me.
How will you describe the attitude of the people you have related with in the North and those of the South-west
Well, what I can say is that the people of the North are wonderful; I mean they are nice and accommodating; they love everybody irrespective of your religion or tribe. They don’t show any tribalism as to whether you are Yoruba or Igbo. At that time we lived together peacefully and we loved one another. Let me also tell you that it is only in the North that somebody from the South-west, South-south, and South-east can own a house of his own without tears. This is unlike the in the South-west where before one can get a land he must suffer. In the North, it is very easy to get land; Take me, for instance, I am not from the North, but I have houses of my own and businesses as well as lands here in Zaria.
Where did you learn mechanic skills from?
I was trained as an auto-mechanic in Osogbo, and my master, Mr. Adewale, and my father signed an agreement with him for four years to train me. Today, I am proud of that; we could repair different types of cars like Mercedes Benz, Toyota, Morris, and Bedford. I could remember Odumegwu Ojukwu’s father was one of our customers; he used to bring his vehicles to our garage for repairs and I was the one that always worked on his car whenever it developed any problem when he came to Osogbo from Onisha.
Why did you relocate to the North?
I came to the North through one retired soldier, Mr. Ogunlade, who was our customer and used to bring his lorry to our garage in Osogbo for repairs. This man ventured into Kola nuts business, he transport Kola nuts from Ife to the North. One day, he asked my master to give him somebody that would go with him to the North to repair his lorry in case it developed any problems on the road. This is because because the Road then was not tarred my master said that i was the one that come with him upon arrival to the Region I discovered that it was a nice place to live therefore I stayed here in the North up to now.
You are an old and experienced mechanic that deals with various types of cars, what is your take about the occupation generally?
Hmmmm… there is no way one can compare the profession in the past and the profession now because the technology is not the same. Let me tell you, the cars we used before were different from the ones we use now because the ones we used in the past had only four or five wires, but now you will see many wires in them. For example, I, as an old mechanic, if my car develops any problem I will only look it and find and get a present-day generation mechanic to work on it because I don’t know where to touch.
With your experience as a trained mechanic, do you think it is possible for Nigerians to have made-in-Nigeria cars?
Yes, it is possible, but with one condition, that is if our leaders want it. Nigerians are talents, and we have a lot of technologists and engineers that can produce cars. I can remember in 1970s, there was an engineer in the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) that developed an aeroplane it was tested, but at long last it became waste again. There was another engineer in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria that developed a car; it was tested, but that also became a waste.
Our leaders are not after the progress of the country. They don’t support any idea that Nigerians bring about they prepare for us continue to depend on western powers to produce everything for us and bring to our doorstep thereby wasting our talented people the country has.
You’ve been in the North for about 65 years; do you want to participate in politics actively?
No, I don’t have any political ambition. This is because I am old now. At my age, I can’t join politics now.