Ibitoye… Young Nigerian graduate builds own car
He bears same first name with the renowned scientist, Faraday. Although he is not yet a national hero, many who know him believe his recent creation will birth him national honours and international celebrations.
His name is Ibitoye Olajide Michael. Right from his childhood, Michael was skillful with mechanical gadgets and toys. As he advanced in age, his skills made him dream big.
In 2017, he started constructing a car. He had vowed during his childhood that he would create his own personal car by himself, and for himself. This stance was not shocking to his aunty Abimbola Oluwayomi Christianah.
“He started on this thing even from childhood. Anytime we bought a toy gun or anything for him, he would break it, out of curiosity, and try to put the broken parts together again. That was when I noticed that this boy is going to be somebody in life,” Michael’s aunty recalls.
Michael hails from Ekiti and studied Botany at the Olabisi Onabanjo University. Although he wanted to study mechanical engineering, he was twice denied admission. So, he settled for botany, but never allowed that failure to deter him from working on his dreams. He started working on his dream car during his undergraduate days. He saved parts of the little money he got from home.
‘’In 2017, I started saving money. I got some iron rods, which I started welding together; but I was not good at it. So, I had to learn the act and arts, during which course I went partially blind for four days, as a result of the welding sparks that hurt my naked eyes. On the fifth day, after my recovery, I discovered that there was nothing I couldn’t weld,’’ Michael opens up on the genesis of his innovation.
The prodigy never rested, but spur himself to much work by saving most of the allowances he got from his National Youth Service Corps (a compulsory one-year programme for all Nigerian graduates below age 31). Upon completion of his service in 2018, Michael kept saving and working on his project, which he put on the road on October 19, 2020.
‘’My car can go anywhere; though I don’t take it for long traveling because I’m yet to make its windshield’’, Michael boasts.
The rationale behind his decision can be understood. He once was blind, but now he sees; to go blind again—as a result of refusal to protect one’s eyes—may not make him sing another tune of Amazing Grace!
Michael’s car has been sighted on different highways in Ibadan, where many residents cheers him on, while driving. The car is a rear-wheel drive, very similar to a BMW model, though the engine of Michael’s car is located at the back, unlike BMW’s. The car runs on a1.6 Volkswagen engine.
Michael’s dream is to bring together and train other skillful young Nigerians who share the same dreams with him. He calls on Nigerians to support him so that he can complete the construction of his car. He also seeks scholarship to study mechanical engineering, his dream course, which he believes will better enhance his skills.