From being an accomplished company accountant; Lady Isi Divine Otuokpokpo transformed to a Certified Auto Mechatonics Engineer and reveals in this online interview with NATA News Editor-in-Chief, Samuel Oloyede Oriowo; that her “main intention is providing solutions to customers’ problems”
NATA News: Hello madam. Nice speaking with you on the phone. I even have this WhatsApp number before.
Thank you sir.
NATA News: To God be the glory. Are you free now to take my questions?
Yes sir, I wanted to go and deliver a car, but rain is falling (in Warri). So we can talk.
NATA News: Oh great. So what’s your full name?
Isi Divine Otuokpokpo.
NATA News: And where do you hail from?
Esan from Edo State, Nigeria.
NATA News: And when exactly were you born?
October 28, 1977
NATA News: When and where did you begin your nursery/ primary school education?
Warri, Delta State, Nugeria.
NATA News: The name of the school?
Ogbe Primary School, Effurun.
Year you started and when you finished there?
1982 to 1988
NATA News: After your primary school education what happened?
I started school with Mosco Comprehensive College, Ekpoma
NATA News: When did you start there and which year did you finish from there?
1989 to 1993
NATA News: And what now happened thereafter?
I have to work for a while.
NATA News: With which company and from which year to which year?
Awoyemi Chambers, Warri as a Secretary.
NATA News: How many years did you spend there?
From (year) 1994 to 1977
NATA News: So, what happened next?
I got Admission to College of Continuing Education, Benin (City, Edo State, Nigeria) to Study Accountancy. From (year) 1997 to 1999; there I obtained my (Ordinary) National Diploma.
NATA News: In Accountancy?
NATA News: And what happened next?
I went back to work with Mandilas Motors Nigeria Limited as an Account Officer.
NATA News: From which year?
2000 to 2002
NATA News: Okay! What were your core duties with Mandilas Motors?
Receiving Cash from customers; recording of payment vouchers; paying suppliers and staff’s salary.
NATA News: Was that all you did there?
As at then before I went back for my BSc.
NATA News: Okay. At which institution did you further your education and which year to year; and which course did you study there?
Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma. From (year) 2002 to 2004 Accountancy.
NATA News: Oh, you are closer to being a Chartered Accountant then?
NATA News: Have you been able to get chartered?
NATA News: Oh, what happened in the interim?
I went back to Mandilas (Motors Nigeria Limited) and was promoted to Account Supervisor to Cashier.
NATA News: Oh, lucky you! All these while, it was at Mandilas Motors in Warri?
Yes. I only came to Lagos office for training.
NATA News: Training on which areas of duty?
General Account Procedure.
NATA News: Okay. For; like how many times?
But I resigned and joined Doyin Motors.
NATA News: After spending how many years with Mandilas Motors Nigeria Limited?
2000 to 2005
NATA News: Good. So, what was your duty like at Doyin Motors?
NATA News: For like how many years did you practice this at Doyin Motors?
Two years; before they lost their contract.
NATA News: Lost their contract as how?
They (Doyin Motors) took over Shell Petroleum contract from Mandilas Motors.
NATA News: Was that how you got to Doyin Motors?
That was why I resigned from Mandilas Motors and joined Doyin Motors.
NATA News: But Mandilas Motors was still on the ground there and even up till now?
Yes Mandilas Motors was there then, but they don’t have jobs, so after 4 to 5 years; they called me back to help them create a database for their customers.
NATA News: Really? And you accepted the offer?
Yes, I accepted the offer as a Contract Staff, because I was also good in Computer.
NATA News: How long did the contract last?
And they gave me an office; that was never in existence prior called customer relation/warrantee officer.
NATA News: Haaaaa!!! Lucky you!
The contract was just for 3 months, but the position later led to permanent staff (status).
NATA News: You returned to Mandilas Motors again?
After the contract I was asked to stay back to help them source for new customers and the old ones that left because the company was almost closing up.
NATA News: Really? Then the pay must have been mouth watering?
NATA News: Abi nah? What was the pay like?
It was not much, as at then it was just 20 Thousand Naira with other little incentives.
NATA News: Oh, it was something encouraging too?
Yes, it was encouraging.
NATA News: So, for how long again did you work with Mandilas Motors?
I worked with them for two years, then (I) resigned to join Santalan Motors.
NATA News: As what? Accountant?
As a Customer Relations Manager to manage the new auto firm.
NATA News: The Auto Company was newly established then?
Yes. Santalan Motors (was established) by my former Mandilas Motors Branch Manager.
NATA News: Lucky him! For how long were you in the new company?
Just 1 year before I established Floritech.
NATA News: Oh, greater you!!! Tell me about your transformation from being an accountant to a lady mechanic?
It started when I was in Mandilas Motors as a warrantee Officer, I actually developed the interest in mechanical (aspect of auto repairs) when I was sent for a Warranty Training in Toyota Motors on different occasions.
NATA News: Really? Which of the Toyota Motors locations?
Lekki (in Lagos State, Nigeria).
NATA News: What does being a Warrantee Officer entails?
Analyzing and replacement of bad (spare) parts on brand new vehicles for customers that purchased new vehicles from Mandilas Motors as (being) Toyota Dealers.
NATA News: So, it entailed that you study spare parts and how to place some of the parts at appropriate spaces in vehicles?
Yes. And also snap the parts, explain in detail what causes the damage and the amount involved.
NATA News: Okay. What was the experience like?
It was really awesome experience, because it made me fell in love with mechanical issues.
NATA News: And do I believe that knowing the costs of spare parts then and the charges to replace such motivated you to going into vehicle repair?
Not just that, but been able to solve problems for customers and making them happy after the repairs.
NATA News: Really? So, where did you properly learn the rudiments of vehicle repair?
I learnt part (of it) from the Mechanics in Santalan Motors, then when I opened Floritech, I leant on the job, carrying out diagnosis and repairs on my own; before going to AutoMedics for the certificate (course).
NATA News: Really, without anybody teaching you formally how to diagnose vehicles for faults?
I bought the Scanner immediately I opened the workshop; and the man I bought it from in Lagos introduced someone to me in Warri that put me through for one week on how to use the scanner.
NATA News: Commendable move! What were your intentions in opening your own auto repair workshop?
And also the Mechatronics Engineers we had in Warri, whenever I called them for a job, they would only come to work, but would asked me to look at them; so that I wouldn’t call them again.
NATA News: Oh, too considerate of them.
My main intention is providing solutions to customers’ problems. I also have passion for the job; doing what men are doing.
NATA News: Oh!!! So, which year did you establish your own workshop?
1st July, 2014.
NATA News: You told me on the phone that you established 2 years before going fully into auto repair as a technician. What was in your mind all along before you put all into the profession?
I don’t understand.
NATA News: To make more money than you took as salaries?
No! No, like I said, I developed passion for the job, doing what men are doing.
NATA News: That’s commendable.
NATA News: So, how many months did you spend undergoing training at AutoMedics?
NATA News: Which year was that?
Early last year, 2018.
NATA News: Which aspect of Auto Repairs do you specialise on?
Mechatronics, diagnosis, mechanical.
NATA News: You can carry out proper repairs of cars like removing parts, engines and the like and solely replacing them with new functional ones?
NATA News: That’s lovely! And what?
I have trained a lot of boys.
NATA News: Oh, I was going to ask you of that. How many boys have you trained? And how many girls too?
Eighteen boys, Two girls.
NATA News: Ohhhhhh!!! Waoooooo!!!!!! Bless you real good!
NATA News: But why more boys than girls?
The girls are afraid of the job.
NATA News: Really? Afraid in what sense?
That the job is hard and (that it) is (meant) for men (only).
NATA News: Hey yah! Are the ladies not seeing you as a role model?
Hey, Warri ladies are looking for easy job(s) like fashion (design) and make-up.
NATA News: Is that not a minus for them when most ladies in the world are exploiting and exploring new frontiers to compete with men and make significant points?
That’s (in) Lagos (and) not (in) Warri.
NATA News: Nah wah oooo!!! What do you want to be remembered for in this profession?
I want to be remembered for imparting knowledge in others and making difference in the Automobile Industry.
NATA News: Marvelous!!!
I am still trying to get ladies to come into it.
NATA News: Good!!!
NATA News: One or two of the Lady Mechanics are having Foundations to partner with government to train ladies. Do you foresee yourself going this direction too?
Yes sir, that’s what am also targeting.
NATA News: All these your hustles, I want to believe that it all were done when you were yet not married?
No! I was married with three boys.
NATA News: Really? And what was the reaction of your hubby leaving a paid job into the unknown?
Though we were separated for years, I was just alone with the children.
NATA News: Hey yah! May be you were able to capitalise on that to achieve your aims and goals?
Yes sir, because no one will decide for me.
NATA News: So, when did you get married in the first instance?
And also I believe (it) is the will of God.
NATA News: Hallelujah to Jehovah!
NATA News: Now that you are back together, what are his reactions? Re-connecting back to see a new you?
We are not back (together), I got married to another person this year, March.
NATA News: That’s unfortunate! Or, do I say it’s fortunately? Okay jare!
(Shown a photo taken from her Facebook Page) This is on your new wedding day?
NATA News: Congratulations!
NATA News: I thought you were taking a Chieftaincy title there before?
Thank you sir!
NATA News: It’s my utmost pleasure!
(Shown another picture taken from her Facebook Page) The new life?
NATA News: (Still shown another Picture) And the team?
NATA News: God bless them for you!!!!
NATA News: In the next few months we should be coming over to you for another naming ceremony rice and chicken?
NATA News: Haaaa!!! Have you closed the register?
NATA News: Haaaa!!!! I’m afraid the new guy won’t want to listen to that oooo? Don’t you love more children especially girls?
He understands, because he (too) has children before.
NATA News: Okay.
I have one adopted daughter.
NATA News: Oh, that’s good. And I think you will want any of your children to go into automotive industry?
Yes. Two of them; one boy and girl.
NATA News: The adopted daughter too loves the business of vehicle repairs?
NATA News: That’s lovely. What do the others aspire to be in future?
Professional Teacher and Lawyer.
NATA News: Those are commendable professions. I wish them the best of luck in their intended chosen careers.
Thanks so much!
NATA News: My pleasure please.
NATA News: (Shown yet another picture taken from her Facebook Page) What’s happening here?
School children came for excursion (in my workshop).
NATA News: How frequent do they come to your workshop for such reasons?
Once in a term.
NATA News: Okay. Don’t you feel that these children will develop interest in the industry and form the bedrock of Nigeria’s future automotive engineers?
Yes sir! Yes sir, because of their passion.
NATA News: Right! I think they don’t have passion yet, but that the teachers are inculcating this in them?
I also go there (their school) for skill acquisition lecture. I have the opportunity to speak with them.
NATA News: Greater you!
Thanks so much!
NATA News: Can I have the names of schools that brought these children on excursion to your workshop?
Divine Eagles Technical College, Udu, Udu Local Government Council, Delta State, Nigeria.
NATA News: It’s been wonderful chatting with you since. You really made my day.
Thank you very much sir. It’s also my pleasure.