I Started Tricycle Business With N8,000, But Have Over 10 On The Road Now – Com. Odusanya | Independent Newspapers Limited
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I Started Tricycle Business With N8,000, But Have Over 10 On The Road Now – Com. Odusanya

Posted: Sep 24, 2016 at 11:36 am   /   by   /   comments (4)
Comrade Joseph Odusanya is the Chairman of the Lagos State Chapter of Tricycle Owners and Operators Association of Nigeria (TOOAN). Anthonia Duru met him recently and he spoke on his foray into transport business and why he doesn’t exhibit some traits common with transporters.
You don’t look or act like a regular transporter.
I don’t know what you mean by that, all I know is that I am a transporter, representing the interest of my members and I do this to the best of my ability. Being enlightened or educated does not make you a first class citizen and being a driver does not make you a third class citizen. It depends on your chosen career, gone are the days when people think we have only riffraff in the transport business. It is no longer the same today. Under TOOAN, I have a lot of graduates, even ladies. We have female operators who are graduates. Gone are the days when people think riffraff are doing transport business, not now. We can’t all choose to be in the office. Somebody has to pilot the nation which is what we are doing. We are the wheel of the nation.
When did you veer into transport business?
I started in 1985 as a cab operator and I started driving tricycle in year 1998. I was plying Orile route then.
You must have embraced the transport business as an escape route from unemployment.
I was working as an Account Officer in a small business, Bisi Olu Technical Limited before I resigned to start my own business as a cab operator. I felt I had a lot of things to do with my life rather than working for someone and waiting for 30days before I get paid. By that time my certificate was equivalent to a University degree.

People must have mocked you when you took that decision then.

I care not because I was looking beyond the present as I was focusing on the future. I wasn’t bothered by insults from passengers either. Nothing deterred me from doing what I was doing.
Of all businesses then, why did you choose transport business?
It was the commonest and about the cheapest business any poor person could venture into then. I got a fairly used vehicle for about N8,000 then and that was all I needed to start a new life as a transporter. I didn’t make lots of money then but I was able to live a decent life with my family. At a point in time I left transport business to try pure water business but I had my fingers burnt due to insincerity of those managing the business for me then. It wasn’t long before I returned to transport business as a tricycle operator.
From being an accountant, to a cabbie then a producer of sachet water and later you went into operating a tricycle. Was that not a sort of retrogression?
I don’t really view things as many people do because my perspective to life is quite different. I had to retrace my step when things were not going as planned. I can’t continue to hurt myself because I don’t want people to mock me. I am a sincere person and I don’t deceive myself. It is my life and I know where the shoe pinches me.
Do you still have some of those tricycles?
Yes I have about 10 and I have people managing it well for me.
Were you influenced with some habits associated with transporters?
I wasn’t because I had a very strict training from a very decent Catholic home. I know where I am coming from and I won’t do anything that will bring shame and reproach to my root.

There is a general belief that transport unions like TOOAN only collect money from their members without doing anything tangible for them.

That can’t be true. We are committed to the welfare of our members across the state.  What we collect from our members is peanut. Transporters are faced with loads of challenges on a daily basis from the law enforcement agents and the community in which we operate. We organise lots of programmes for our members as we are concerned about their well-being.
Lagos State government recently banned your members from operating in some routes. What are your thoughts about this ban?
We were banned from operating on highways and I think any responsible government will do such. It doesn’t make sense for any tricycle to operate on highway.
Do you see yourself growing beyond TOOAN?
If God permits me definitely I will.

How is your family sir?

They are very fine
You are a man of how many wives?
I have just two.
Do you intend to take more since women in some quarters are believed to be the salt of the earth?
No, I don’t intend marrying more. I am contented with what God has given me.

Do you have any of your children in transport business?

No way.
Why did you say that, are you not proud of what you do?
I am proud of what I do but I can’t force them to do what I am doing. If they wake tomorrow and decide to become a transporter, I can’t stop them either. They are matured enough and they know what they want. The only thing I know now is that none of them is interested in transport business.

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