Monday, September 17, 2007


The wheel fell off our car as we were driving near our house on Sunday. As you can see from the pic, the bolt that secures the hub of the wheel to the car pinged off. There are three bolts that do this - the other two must have fallen off before. The mechanic that we had been using had been working on something that had gone wrong with the steering a few days before. In many parts of the world, he would be a worried man, with a claim of criminal negligence filed against him. In Nigeria, there is nothing we can do. If we'd been going at speed, or at a junction, we might have died. So many fatal accidents in Nigeria involve wheels falling off like this. With no licensing system, dodgy mechanics continue to be the norm.

The only silver lining in this story was that we have now found a trust-worthy mechanic - he spent the whole day repairing the car yesterday. As for our former mechanic - one day he'll do this and someone will die - and nothing will come of it.


ofadagairl,  12:52 pm  

Sad but so true.. between the mechanics, electricians and Ac repair people - the life of the average person in Nigeria is put at risk everyday!. thank God you were going slowly. As for the new mechanic - good luck.. but as you know - they all start off well to impress and when they've got your custom they start being slapdash and you are back where you started!

Opium,  2:02 pm  

I think it's also a question of mindset, we as a nation place more emphasis on professional careers over skills based careers. The result is that there is no curriculum based/comprehensive training(something akin to the City & Guilds)and equivalent qualifications given to mechanics, plumbers, carpenters, painters etc.

Anonymous,  3:01 pm  

This is very annoying. One of the problems we face is that the mechanic, and perhaps some people who hear the story, will view it as an isolated incident. If you now tell them it's systemic, that it is somehow connected to the current slapdash mindset of Nigeria, you'll be accused of all kinds of things. And, as you say, one day, someone will die, and there'll be no further comment. Anyway, I'm glad you're safe.

Anonymous,  9:15 am  

Actually, people are already dying as a result of mechnical negligence. so where are the defenders of Nigeria now? If this happened anywhere else in the world something will definitely happen. but not in nigeria.

Anonymous,  12:33 pm  

Umm... why not hire a lawyer and file a claim in a magistrate court? At the very least (he will probably not be able to pay the damages) his reputation will be tarnished.

anonymaus,  2:05 pm  

1) It is good that both of you survived unscathed.

2) The bad thing, is that the mechanic's attitude & professionalism is not atypical amongst the populace. With such a large number of unhelpful and useless people, the top 20 economies of the world can relax as Nigeria will not be joining them anytime soon, instead it will remain amongst the poorest 20 nations of the world for some time to come.

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