The Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki, has promised to engage female mechanics in the maintenance of government vehicles in the state.
In Nigeria, car repairs and maintenance business is dominated by the men; women are rarely seen working in auto-workshop.
But Mr. Obaseki, apparently excited to witness the graduation ceremony of 25 female mechanics in Benin City, appears willing to change the phenomenon in the state.
“I want to throw an offer to you today,” the governor said on Monday at the graduation ceremony. “In Government House, we have a workshop. We would like you to come and take a look at it and also see if you can take over maintenance of the vehicles in Government House.”
Mr. Obaseki said he was willing to partner the Lady Mechanic Initiative, a non-governmental organization which trains the female mechanics.
“It’s in line with my agenda for job creation and youth empowerment,” said Mr. Obaseki who lauded the initiative.
Mr. Obaseki said as part of his administration’s strategic plans, he would encourage female mechanics, as well as female drivers, to study at the Benin Technical College, after the school is rebuilt by his administration.
Mr. Obaseki said combating unemployment and re-building communities should be the responsibility of the government, the NGOs, and the private sectors.
“We would like to have further discussions with you. I know you said you have a piece of land somewhere to develop as a one-stop mechanic village, but we would like to review and see if we can locate that workshop at the premises of the Benin Technical College, so that we can begin to relate to practical technical training with the training we receive in school,” the governor said.
“Benin city is a transportation hub – that is why the automobile business in this state is quite large. And as part of our strategic plan to make sure we have that competitive advantage, we would like to have institutions or initiatives like this that feed into our own plans.”
Sandra Aguebor, the founder and coordinator of the female mechanic initiative, told the governor that the girls had the passion to work.
She appealed to the governor to offer employment to the girls.