I left college to start refurbishing abandoned cars – Lagos Mechanic

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Lagos-based mechanic Afam Dozie, who deals in the refurbishment of abandoned vehicles, talks to TEMITOPE ADETUNJI on his motivation and his work

Tell us about you.

My name is Afam Dozie. Am from Nnewi North Local Government Area in Anambra State. But I was born and raised in Benue State. Currently, I live in Lagos where I own a workshop. I am an auto mechanic by profession. I am also involved in the refurbishment of old vehicles.

What is your field of study?

I attended a technical school after which I went to university. But I dropped out of college because I had a bigger dream to invest my time in.

What is this biggest dream?

The biggest dream is to create a niche for myself in my field; it is to stand out among the mechanics of the country. The college experience was below expectations; I wasn’t getting what I expected, so I stopped chasing my dream.

Have you started living your dream or how close are you to it?

This is where refurbishing old vehicles comes in. Refurbishment is about recreating ideas in the present time and giving it a star of your choice and ability; so, it’s more like revamping (of old vehicles), whatever language you prefer to call it.

The general language for this is car pimping – that’s what Americans call it. It is a process of bringing an old car to an exclusive model. It is what it is to me because an old car has been in distress, so the only thing we can do to bring it back to life is to refurbish it according to current technology and ideology.

Where did you get the idea of ​​refurbishing old vehicles?

I got the idea for India because after dropping out of college, I was working alongside guys who were doing manufacturing. The guys weren’t into renovations because it’s big business. It is more technical and involves different professionals, including sheet metal workers, welders, etc.

The people I worked with in the Oregon area of ​​Lagos were pure fabrication; strict distribution of vendors and all that. But that’s where the idea of ​​refurbishing came to me. Along the line, I traveled to India to learn about vehicle refurbishment.

What has your experience been like since you started refurbishing older vehicles?

Well, it has been a learning experience since my inception. I learned a lot, I went through difficult times, I went through challenges.

I have faced life to the best of my knowledge; I tried to create this niche for myself, the challenges that come with working for yourself are too much related to the situation and the economy of the country.

How many vehicles have you refurbished so far?

Typically I have refurbished over 26 cars, older versions.

What do you do with reconditioned cars? Do you sell them?

Yes I sell them and most of them are used for video shoots, movies and music video shoots

How much are you selling?

There is no fixed price in the sale and that is because different cars require different models to be refurbished. The older the vehicle model, the higher the price.

How do you source the spare parts you use for refurbishment?

Many of them are improvised here because the naira-dollar exchange rate is not favorable. Whenever the prices I receive are way beyond the budget for a particular car, I improvise. But if it is impossible to improvise, I would have no choice but to import the necessary parts from the manufacturer outside the country or go to the secondary market from where we source the parts automobiles.

What kind of feedback have you had on your refurbished vehicles?

Many distinctions and it is these distinctions that allow me to continue in the company because that alone is my motivation. These distinctions from people, from clients are the energy that drives what I do.

Our brand is already becoming a household name and what I do has exposed me to many influential people who are vintage enthusiasts.

What is your ultimate plan in this line? Do you see yourself creating a vehicle assembly plant?

Yes, the plan is to own a brand of car; it is in this direction that I am going, if the country allows it because the Nigerian situation is not encouraging.

What kind of support do you need?

The most important support I need now is financial support, so that I can take it to the next level. For small businesses like mine, it is not easy to access bank loans. What I hope for is financial support from the government, which will allow us to develop our brand and attract more people. I have confidence that we will become bigger and richer in no time.

Have you had any unpleasant experiences in this job?

Yes, I have had many unpleasant experiences. The worst part is when I have an idea and when I get to that point of executing the idea, I’m stuck because there are no parts or companies that can shape exactly what I need to do the job. It can be very frustrating.

If you weren’t in this business, what else would you have done?

If I didn’t venture into this profession, I would either have to be in my parents’ house, working for my father. He’s the only person I can work for.

What does your dad do?

My father is a mechanic. He introduced me to the area. I was trained by my father since childhood. I’ve been in the business since I was about 10 years old. I love cars and working as an auto mechanic. From childhood, I liked to participate in the repair and manufacture of automobiles. This is how all the passion was born.

While in high school, I told my parents that I would like to go to technical college so that I could pursue my passion in auto repair. My parents supported me and I went to Federal Technical College in Otukpo, Benue State. At the technical college, I gained practical experiences in the field.

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