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My colleagues call me ‘First Lady’ – Female Keke rider

Mrs Mary Lucky is a commercial tricycle driver at the Lucky Way Keke park, Benin City. In this interview, the mother of two told Daily…

Mrs Mary Lucky is a commercial tricycle driver at the Lucky Way Keke park, Benin City. In this interview, the mother of two told Daily Trust that the desire to be financially independent and to contribute to the upkeep of the family prompted her to venture into a male-dominated business. She said her colleagues call her “first lady”.

Daily Trust: How long have you been in tricycle business and at the Lucky Way Park?

I have been a member of this park for over three years.

DT: How did you become a keke driver?

The desire to be financially independent pushed me into driving keke. I don’t want to depend on anyone for money; I want to raise money to establish a business and also help my husband in the upkeep of the family.

DT: How did you learn to drive the tricycle?

It was one man that put me through. I already know how to ride a motorcycle, so when I decided to learn, I visited the Lucky Way park and talked with the person I met there and he agreed to put me through. The rest is history.

Mrs Mary Lucky in her tricycle

 

DT: How did you get your own keke for commercial purposes?

After learning how to drive, I started searching for one to be using for the business even if it is on daily balance. When I couldn’t get one immediately, I started helping other keke owners. If any one is tired and wants to rest, he will hand over his keke to me and I will work pending when the person needs it and I will get my cut.

After a while, somebody gave me one on daily balance and I never defaulted, but one day he just collected the keke from me.

DT: Why did he do that?

I don’t know what happened because we never had any quarrel or argument and I know I didn’t offend him but he just came one day and said to me ‘I can’t do business with women’ and he collected the key.

DT: How did you manage to get another one?

I kept coming to the park. So, one day, a soldier whom I didn’t know came to the park and asked for a lady that has been driving keke. I told him I don’t have one again, but I was surprised when he said he would get me one and he actually bought one, though second hand for me, on hire purchase. When I finished paying for that one, I sold it because it was very old then. Thereafter, I started on a daily balance arrangement for someone until I had an accident with it. I was on the road when a little boy entered the road and I tried all I could to manoeuvre but I still hit him. Thank God he didn’t die, I then stopped for some time.

DT: How did you get back into the business of Keke riding?

After resting for a while, I started coming again to the park and a man who heard of the incident said he wanted to help me because I am a hard-working woman. He said he likes women who don’t leave the family burden for their husbands alone to bear. He actually bought a keke for me and also assisted me through the accident period when the boy was receiving treatment at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.

Before he bought the keke for me, he told me that he must see my husband so, I went with my husband to his house and he gave us the money to buy the keke.

DT: What happened thereafter?

I started driving the keke and paying him bit by bit but I couldn’t finish paying before pregnancy came and he said I should stop until after delivery. Few months after I put to bed, I continued with the keke until my husband took over from me because of the baby. But now, the keke is old and we are still owing the man, though not much, but we now spend more time at the mechanic workshop.

DT: So how much is the balance to own the keke?

Before it was N1.1 million but any new one they are giving out now on the bases of balance and carry is N1.2 million. But my own is N1.1 million. And on a daily basis, I smile home with good money.

DT: How has this business impacted on your life?

In many positive ways. My husband has joined me in the business; if it is not good, he wouldn’t have joined me. He would not have left his job to join me in the business. It was during COVID-19 when all businesses were shut down that he joined me, I was pregnant then and he said I shouldn’t shoulder the whole family responsibility so, he took over the keke. Now, he has registered we are both driving keke.

DT: What is your monthly profit?

All I can say is that I thank God for everything. Every day we have food on our table. The business is really good. But my prayer is for me and my husband to acquire our own keke one day.

DT: What is your advice for other women depending fully on their husband for everything?

It is good for a woman to assist the husband in taking care of the home because leaving him to do everything means telling the man to go and die. If the man dies, it is the woman that will be at the receiving end because when the children need attention, there would be no father for them. My appeal is that every woman should find something doing to assist their husband.