By Taiye Agbaje
Abuja – Mr Tony Okeke, a graduate of Mechanical Engineering Technology, said he sponsored his education through phone repair.
The 39-year-old graduate from Akpugo, Mkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State, said he enrolled for phone repair training in 2002 at the then Abuja GSM Village as a school certificate holder.
He spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria in an interview in Abuja.
‘’I am Engineer Tony Okeke. I started this job approximately when the use of mobile phones came into Nigeria in 2002.
‘’As an apprentice learning the work then, we opened phones and repaired them. That was the era of Nokia 3310, Triumph, Sagem, Motorola, including Thuraya, etc.
“The GSM Village was around Wuse II in Abuja and I was just a secondary school certificate holder. But through this job, I was able to achieve many things.
“I was able to fund my education and today, I am a graduate of Mechanical Engineering Technology from the Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa State.”
Okeke, who graduated in 2012 from the polytechnic, said he served the nation as a youth corps member in 2013 with Everton Nigeria Ltd., an oil and gas company in Abuja.
The young entrepreneur, who presently operates his business at the popular GSM Technology Village located at Wuse Zone 1, Abuja, said he had empowered no fewer than 12 young Nigerians since the inception of the business.
He said: ‘’I empower people through a skill acquisition programme on repair of mobile phones and all computer gadgets. My business name is T-Phonz Network.
“So far, I have trained about 12 people. When they complete their training, some of them will go and establish themselves. I have trained both graduates and undergraduates in this job, even those who already had their Masters.
‘’For instance, when I was serving, one of my friends, who is a Masters’ holder came to me and said he wanted to learn the job.
“And when I completed my service, I enrolled him and he has completed his training and he is now living comfortably with his family.”
On the period it takes to learn the job, he said it depends on individual.
‘’You can take a year and six months or roughly two years to be able to learn the work, but it is a continuous process because new gadgets are still coming out.
‘’It might not be the one you learned with that you will meet tomorrow, but the most important thing is for you to know the fundamentals, the basic knowledge,” he said.
Okeke, who advised young Nigerians not to despise little beginning, said he felt fulfilled in the work he was doing.