Emmanuel Aneke is from Obukpa in Igboeze South LGA of Enugu State. The eighty-year-old says he makes an average of N5, 000 every day from patching plastic rubbers, repairing pots and other related jobs.
According to him, “I fabricate ‘ite ola’ and ordinary pots. My products are better than imported ones. I also repair lamps, stoves, torch-lights and refill lighters. I have been in this business for over 25 years.”
He said he learnt the trade in Ghana and practised it in some states of South-West Nigeria. Quoting him, “I lived in Ghana, Panya, and many parts of the West. That’s where I learnt these skills. From the proceeds I made, I built a big house, fenced it and enjoy my labour. I also do security work. Anywhere I get security job, I establish my business there.
“Currently, I have stands at Eke Ozi in Igboeze North, Itchi, Unadu, Nkalegu Obukpa, and Obollo-Afor. I currently do a security job, so I reduced my days of doing this.”
On what makes his work unique, he said, “I use a particular kind of waterproof. My repairs stay over ten years. My colleagues do the same work, but they don’t know this particular secret. It is very unique. I learnt it in Ghana.”
He said he used the proceeds from his work to train his children in secondary schools: “They are grown and even building their own houses. I have four boys and two girls. They in turn trained their sisters in university.”
On whether he gets apprentices, he said, “Our youths don’t agree to learn this trade. They don’t know that this profession will be like their retirement benefits. I am over 80, and I am still very healthy. It makes me younger. I eat good things. I take care of myself to be able to do my work. If not, I would have been weak. I eat fruit.
“I want government to give me funds to buy some equipment to make my job more efficient and effective. I have taught this trade to about 25 youths, among them females. Some left their paid jobs to be doing this at Ogige market. Everything you see here is gain. No loss. No matter how bad the market it, I make at least N5, 000 daily. I am also well known.”