Mohammed Aminu, 40-year-old indigene of Bauchi State has made a name for himself in the state with boots he produces for military and paramilitary personnel. Aminu who is popularly known as Duna is so gifted in what he does that he gets contracts from both establishments and individuals
When our correspondent visited his shop in Wunti Market in Bauchi metropolis, several customers besieged him-those who came for repairs and those who want new boots- were seen waiting for him to attend to them, and some, giving him the specifications they want.
The father of eight is a secondary school certificate holder and started boots production 22 years ago in Aba, Abia State when he was 18. He learned under apprenticeship for four years in Aba before relocating to Bauchi to set up his first shop.
“For as long as I can remember, shoes have always fascinated me. When I graduated from secondary School, I had the opportunity to travel to Aba to learn shoe making, that was in 1995. I traveled to Aba and for four years, I worked as an apprentice until I perfected my skills then I came back to Bauchi to set up my first shop.
“Setting up the first shop was not easy I had no capital and there was no one to help me. That, however, did not deter me and with hard work, dedication, and diligence, I was able to pay for this shop and the rest is now history.
“Presently I own seven shops and have been able to train several youths to be self-reliant,” Duna said.
Duna further revealed that nothing is difficult for him to handle in the area of shoe making and bags, revealing that irrespective of how simple or difficult any design is, he will deliver.
He however, lamented that his major challenge was capital, noting that it has been a major setback for his thriving business. “One of my major challenges is capital. If I can get capital even if it is loan, I will produce more very fast. But I am handicapped because there is no money. Right now I have the order for the production of 100 boots, I will be able to achieve faster if I have the money.
The prices for Duna’s boots are within reach. “My prices are affordable, I charge from N1500 to N2000 depending on the caliber of the people ordering. I also produce for all these boys who are helping in the mosques, cadets, boy scouts, and boys brigade. They don’t have the money. Most times I produce the boots for free or with just small amount for the boys to help them with their work. I work very fast too because it takes about three days to complete and I try to keep to deadlines because a satisfied customer will always come back.”
One of Duna’s customers Hajiya Hauwa commended his works saying he is very good at what he does. “I have known him for over 20 years and if you want a good job, you should come to him but he has enormity of work, but you are sure to be happy.”
Another client Haliru Anas also appreciated his work.
Indeed relying on government for employment has become a thing of the past for several northern youths. Some northern youths have taken it upon themselves to struggle daily on their own to make ends meet, having come to the realisation that there can be no better one to rely than on self.
Some northern youths are gifted and only need just a little honing of their skills to actualise their dreams. For others, it takes training and much more practice before perfection can be realised. In the nooks and crannies of the North, one finds citizens both young and old engage in private business to cater for their needs and the needs of their families.
Even before the present administration came up with the message of people getting to look inwards with a view to encouraging locally produced goods and services, some northern youths have demonstrated their ingenuity by producing some items for local consumption.
Some of the ongoing jingles on the ‘Change Begins With Me’ campaign of the federal government on the airwaves persuade Nigerians to produce and patronize locally-made goods.