My first car was a Peugeot 305. That was in 1993. I had planned to buy my dream car, A Mitsubishi Galant, but the price was too high for the struggling reporter that I was, so I settled for an old 305.
I never drove the car for a full day without a mechanic bringing it back home.I became friends with mechanics and spare parts sellers. At that time, the two major spare parts markets in Ibadan were the Araromi Spare Parts market in Gate and the Ifeleye Spare Parts market at Oke Padi.
The car would work for half a day and stay with the mechanic for a week. As a result, I got quite close to one of the mechanics and we became friends. It fell at a time I and my flatmate, now Professor Wale Adebanwi, Director of the Insitute of African Studies,Oxford University, United Kingdom, were undertaking our post graduate programme at the University of Ibadan and the mechanic, who was a daily caller at our flat in the Akobo area on account of my Peugeot 305, became so fascinated with our academic engagements that he resolved to return to school and today holds a doctorate in humanities from the University of Ibadan and teaches at the Federal University of Agriculture in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
There was hardly a week I did not visit one of the two spare parts markets, all in the vain hope that the car would work. Because the car was such a huge drain on my meagre finances, I nicknamed it “Owolabi”.
Owolabi introduced me to the nooks and crannies of the Araromi Spare Parts market and Ifeleye Spare Parts market. I therefore felt particularly nostalgic when I visited the Araromi Spare Parts market yesterday to condole with the traders who lost their shops in the recent fire.
Our widow’s mite was a truck load of 800 bags of cement, N1 Million to support the traders who were thrown out of business by the fire incident and the commencement of an Empowerment Programme to provide interest-free start-up funds for graduating apprentices in the market.
Special thanks to friends and associates who made the visit a huge success. It is a long list:
1. Alhaji Waheed Akin Olajide,former Secretary to the Oyo State Govt.
2. Mr Adebayo Mutalibi Ojo, former Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General
3. Hon Nureni Adisa,former Commissioner for Special Duties
4. Hon. Sumbo Owolabi,former Commissioner for Water Resources
5. Hon. Jide Adewale, former Commissioner for Environment
6. Hon. Muideen Olagunju Alatede, former member of the Oyo State House of Assembly(Oyo East)
7. Hon Ope Salami,former Chairman, Akinyele Local Govt.
8. Hon Gbenga Opaleye,former Chairman,Ibadan South West Local Govt.
9. Hon Debo Arowomole, Chairman,Lagelu North Local Govt.
10. Hon Adekunle Oladeji,Chairman,Are Latosa Local Govt.
11. Hon. James Adeleke, Chairman, Oluyole Local Govt.
12. Hon. Yekeen Popoola, former Chairman,Irepo Local Govt. and ALGON
13. Hon Soji Ojoawo,former Chairman,Oyo West Local Govt
14. Hon Adisa Adeniji, former Chairman,Itesiwaju Local Government
15. Hon Niyi Adeagbo, Chairman,Itesiwaju Local Govt
16. Hon. Wasiu Olatunbosun, former Chairman, Olorunsogo Local Govt.
17. Hon Wasiu Akogun,Chairman, Atisbo Local Govt.
18. Chief Wale Arowomole, member. Nigerian Oil Palm Research Institute
19. Hon. Dayo Ajibola, member Board of the NYSC
19. Hon Akeem Adetoyese, member, Nigerian Geological Survey Agency
20. Mr Kunle Olatunji,former Senior Special Assistant to former Governor Abiola Ajimobi.
21. Elder Ahmed Digbi, former Administrative Secretary of APC in Oyo State.
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