For Ms. Favor Okonkwo, an auto mechanic in Abuja, practicing her profession is a dream come true, having fueled her interest in high school as a teenager. People’s disparaging comments about the mechanics didn’t discourage her or change her mind. She, however, also ended up marrying an auto mechanic, who she said has given her all the encouragement and means she needs to excel in her profession.
A mechanic, Ms. Favor Okonkwo, now runs a car workshop in the Zuba mechanics village in Abuja, with four apprentices.
A native of Awka in Anambra State and a mother of six, Madam Rock of ages, as she is affectionately called, said her journey began at Government Technical College Awka. “That’s where I developed a passion for this job. Later I met the love of my life who happens to be also an auto mechanic, so with the experience I got from school, we joined forces and established this business.
Madam Favor said that she also gained additional knowledge in automotive mechatronics from some institutions thereafter, and has attended many workshops through which she further broadened her horizon.
“We started work in Onitsha and then we moved to Abuja in 2010. I used to work even while pregnant, although it is not easy. I try to do what I can afford and leave the rest for others.
On how he combines his profession and the home front, he said it’s all about planning. “There is a popular saying that when you fail to plan, you are definitely planning to fail. So when you plan your life really well, things naturally fall into place. “
He also noted that in the course of his business, he goes through many challenges, especially the inability to serve his clients promptly at times.
“But those who understand would wait patiently for me to solve my family’s problems and then take care of them. There are also problems from those who would try to discourage you. Some people would openly challenge me as to why, as a woman, I would venture into a male-dominated field, while others would even say, ‘as beautiful as she is, why did she choose this profession’, and so on.
“But that has never discouraged me, because I had already decided. For me, the essence of life is to satisfy your need, that of the immediate and extended family, and until now God has been faithful, ”he explained.
Madame Favor said that she had trained two girls in the profession and currently has four apprentices. Daily Trust Saturday also said that five men are working with her husband, who shares the same workshop with her.
Speaking of her children, she said she can’t wait for them to develop an interest in the profession. “Even if they didn’t strictly choose the profession, whatever knowledge or skills they acquire here would help them in the future. I mostly have girls, and during the confinement, they were all here. If you see them at work, you would mistake them for professional engineers. They have gone back to school; some of them are in boarding school, while others are leaving home ”.
Speaking of the successes recorded so far, Madam Favor said: “As an average Nigerian, I don’t beg anyone for food, and I don’t struggle to pay my bills. If I need something, I would just look for it, at least at my level. I pay my apprentices at least a small amount to take care of themselves as to feed themselves. I also take care of my children, especially their education. For me, these are great achievements. “
The mechanic along with 3 of the girls under his tutelage.
One of his apprentices, Victoria John, 18, said she wanted to train as an auto mechanic. He dropped out of school at JSS 3, but added that he would go back to study in the future. The teenage mechanic’s apprentice said that although she hasn’t spent more than a year in the garage, she can now handle a lot and hopes to be like her mistress one day.
The husband of the mechanic woman, Mr. Valentine Okonkwo, said that they specialize and mainly drive vehicles made in Germany, such as Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, etc.
Speaking about why he allowed his wife to join him in the profession, and went ahead to accommodate other women under his supervision, Mr. Okonkwo said: “For me, what a man can do, a woman can also do. , if not better. People always want to stereotype women, but the world has advanced beyond that today.
“Women should be encouraged to do what they love to be able to fend for themselves, and in the event of any eventuality, they would not be stranded.”
Okonkwo said he plans to move to a newly acquired site in the nearby town of Tungan-Maje, which he says is bigger and more welcoming.
“And I also look forward to acquiring more work tools such as lifters, automatic diagnostics, alignments, and tire removal tools, among others, to further our business.”