Engineer Ayodele Ajayi is the Managing Director, Endurance Panel Beating and Spraying Company. The company situated along Adebayo-Ekiti State University Road in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State capital, has been waxing stronger in recent times. Ajayi is a native of Iworoko-Ekiti in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Areas of Ekiti State. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mechanical Engineering from the then Ondo State Polytechnic, Owo. He later attended Technical College Owo, before proceeding to Leventis Training School, which afforded him opportunity to learn more in the area of Panel Beating and Spraying. He worked for several years at Leventis Company in Ibadan, Oyo State. In this chat with Correspondent DEMOLA ATOBABA, Ajayi bared his mind on why he went into Panel Beating and Spraying business, his plans for the teeming youths of the state and other issues…
Tell us about Endurance Panel Beating and Spraying Company.
We do panel beating and spraying. We repair accident vehicles to manufacturer’s taste, without using any hammer, chisel or shock.
For how long has Endurance Company been in existence?
For twenty-five years now.
Which means, you must have a lot of graduate apprentices?
Yes, there was a time I had more than one hundred apprentices. All of them have graduated now and working independently on their own.
What type of vehicle can you do, are there some particular vehicles you cannot handle?
No! We are doing all types of vehicles. We repair every vehicle brought to us here. We have machine for all types of vehicles.
Why did you decide to set up a factory of this magnitude in Ekiti, why not in Lagos, Abuja or some other big cities? Or is it because you are from Ekiti State?
Yes, initially when we finished the installation of our Automatic Baking Machine in the factory here, some people were saying we were supposed to be in Port-Harcourt, Lagos, Ibadan or Abuja with this kind of machine, but we as indigenes of this state (Ekiti) need to develop the state. No angel from Heaven will come and develop this state for us. We believe establishing this kind of factory in the state will curtail criminal activities by reducing unemployment in the state. A lot of vehicles have been abandoned either as a result of accident or damages of different sorts. These abandoned vehicles are considered in most cases as “beyond repairs”. But here we say, there is no vehicle that is beyond repairs.
How did you come about that?
That is what we are trying to do now and to make people understand that there is no accident vehicle that is beyond repair. We have automatic machine; there is chassis balancing machine that balances chassis. In the olden days, when they used to use hammer and bare hands to repair, the vehicle would not be on the road, it would be in the gutter, which is known as Dockdie in Mechanical parlance. But now there is a machine that can balance the chassis, gauging it to make sure it looks just the way it came from the manufacturer. With the Automatic Machine, no accident vehicle is beyond repair.
Perhaps, those who believe some vehicles are beyond repairs don’t know about the Automatic Baking Machine?
Yes, it’s not common; it’s a new development. We have the Machine at Endurance Panel Beating and Spraying Company here in Ado-Ekiti and it is working very well.
What are the challenges facing you in this profession?
Finance is a big challenge, we are only trying to manage the little resources we have, and some people, because of money, take their vehicles to local panel beaters. But it is advisable that you take your vehicles to a place where it would be handled in a better way. Another challenge is that we can’t get the quality Engineers that can repair our machine here in Ekiti. We go to Lagos, Ibadan, Port-Harcourt and so on to bring in Engineers to Ado-Ekiti to repair our machine.
Are you expecting any assistance from government?
It would be good if government can assist us by encouraging youths on self-employment so that they will not just engage themselves riding Okada again and as well be useful to their families.
What informed your choice of this profession?
I had interest in this job since when I was young. Even when I was in school, I used to perform very well and always came first in class in the practical aspect of school work because I had a keen interest in the profession.
Setting up this type of company, how much does it cost to get the Automatic Baking Machine and from which country can the machine be purchased?
The Automatic Baking Machine is worth several millions of Naira. It was imported from Italy?
Apart from being an Engineer, you are also a religious leader, how do you combine this along with your other engagements?
The power of prayer in everything cannot be over-emphasised. We rely on God’s assistance, which has been guiding us to be able to perform the different roles.
With the nature of your job, how do you cope with the challenge of the poor electricity supply in the country?
We are coping. We have powerful generator that can work for several hours, for at least seven days. The only problem we are having is getting diesel regularly.
What advice do you have for youths?
They should be hard-working, focussed, dedicated, and more importantly, youths should develop interest in self-employment.