Why I became a commercial driver – 52-year-old mother of 5


A 52-year-old Lagos-based commercial bus driver, Mrs Ariyeke Atakan, has charged housewives to embrace business to complement family needs and reduce financial burdens on their husbands.

Atakan gave the charge in an interview with the Newsmen in Lagos on Thursday.

She said that although the driving business could be challenging, more women were embracing it.

“The primary constraint to being a commercial driver for the female gender is the stereotyping.

“If we can overlook the stereotype aspect, it is a source of regular income.

“I was once a trader, but I picked interest in the transport business after my investment went down the drain.

“As a trader, I do sell goods on credit, but my customers always default in paying back.

“This negatively affected my business and I realised that I needed to support my husband to meet up with family needs.

“We had to pay children’s school fees and I also need to assistance to my husband in a little way.

“But all these stopped because the business crumbled,’’ she told Newsmen.

On her decision to take to commercial transportation, Atakan, a mother of five children, who plies Ikotun – Igando route, said she was forced to learn how to drive after which she took a bus on a weekly installment payment from a car dealer.

The lady driver said that after four years in the business, she was able to offset her debt and the bus she drove eventually became hers.

“I thank God the bus is finally mine.

“Since I started the transportation business four years ago, God has been so wonderful.

“I am able to meet up with my immediate needs and discover that I am making profits without running at a loss any longer.’’

She narrated how her husband initially was against her becoming a commercial bus driver, wondering how a housewife would want to engage in the transportation business.

Atakan said that she pleaded with him, with the help of her brothers-in-law, and promised that “if I started the job and it doesn’t pay off, I will stop’’.

With his terms of the agreement, she said she always stop work and return home latest by 4.00 p.m. to take care of her home and attend to children after school.

The female driver advised other women, wanting to reap the fruits of their labour, to work hard and explore alternative sources of income to enable them to be useful to their family.

“I urge all mothers to come out to work so that they can take good care of their family.

“Looking at the economic situation in the country, both husband and wife must work together to meet up with the family challenges,’’ she said.

She also appealed to government at all levels to empower women, saying “there are many women with a lot of business ideas looking for opportunities to tap, but who lacked the much-needed empowerment.

“If there are more women in this business, it would have been an avenue to form an association or cooperative society, through which the government can help us,’’ she said.