- Iyeyemi Adeniran, a 26-year-old Oyo state indigene has defied gender bias and has gone into tanker driving, a profession that seems to be exclusively reserved for men
- Not only that, she has the support of her parents and has revealed that she is succeeding in the profession which is meant for the strong-hearted
- Several people have noticed Iyeyemi’s peculiarity and she has since become sort of a celebrity after she went viral on the internet
It is not every day that one comes across a female tanker driver in Nigeria. In fact, they are so few that anytime one is sighted, she becomes an instant celebrity.
Recently, photos of a female tanker driver named Iyeyemi were splashed on Twitter and she instantly became a sensation. Iyeyemi says she is no longer scared of doing her job. Photo credit: Iyeyemi Adeyemi and @bjyomyom.
How it all started: An indigene of Ibadan, Oyo state, Iyeyemi actually set out to become a hairdresser right from her secondary school days as learned the craft of making ladies beautiful. However, it appears she was not satisfied with that, so she decided to pursue higher tasks. Iyeyemi said that she started driving tankers on February 19, 2018, at the age of 22.
Before then, she was a Keke driver, but a day came when she saw a female tanker driver and she was blown off. From then on, her mind was made up. She said: “I SHOULD SAY I HAVE PASSION FOR IT. I HAVE A PASSION FOR DRIVING. BEFORE NOW, I WAS A KEKE DRIVER. I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT DRIVING. BUT I SAW A LADY DRIVING TRUCK, A LADY DOING A MAN’S WORK. I WAS LIKE WOW, I CAN ALSO DO THIS SINCE I HAVE A PASSION FOR DRIVING.
“I LEARNED HOW TO MAKE HAIR WHEN I WAS IN SECONDARY. I KNOW HOW TO MAKE HAIR PERFECTLY, BUT I JUST SAID I SHOULD STEP UP MY GAME.”
How is Iyeyemi coping with the difficult job?
Of course, driving a fuel tanker is not a child’s play, especially in Nigeria where there are multiple risks. What with the insecurity and bad roads across the country, the abundance of touts and ‘egunje’-seeking security personnel, and other man-made bottlenecks that make it hard to be a driver.
Also, tanker driving involves long haulage, and many times, drivers rarely get to their destinations in record time. It involves night and day journies. So, it won’t be out of place if Iyeyemi is sometimes afraid when driving. Is she ever afraid? Her answer gave her off as honest:
“I USED TO BE AFRAID, ESPECIALLY WHEN I STARTED LEARNING THIS WORK. I WON’T LIE. AT NIGHT I FEEL SCARED. BUT, NOW I HAVE BEEN IN THE GAME FOR OVER 4 YEARS NOW, I’M NO LONGER SCARED. EVEN THOUGH I SEE TOUT, I’M NEVER SCARED. EVEN IF THEY BEAT ME, THEY CANNOT KILL ME. SO, I’M NOT SCARED OF THOSE THINGS AGAINOne peculiar thing about articulated truck drivers is that they sleep wherever the night catches them. It comes with the profession since they are mostly on the road. Iyeyemi is not completely different. She admits passing the night in her truck on the road many times.
“I USED TO SLEEP ON THE ROAD ANYTIME. MAYBE IF I’M GOING TO DISCHARGE (A PETROLEUM PRODUCT), IF I GET TO THE STATION LATE, I WILL NEED TO SLEEP THERE TILL DAY BREAK.”
Male advance is part of the things she deals with. Men like ladies doing male work. They tend to look at such ladies as a prize to be possessed at all costs. Iyeyemi confirmed this when she said that she has many men wanting to date her.
She said: “WHEN PEOPLE SEE ME, THEY BE LIKE ‘WOW, A LADY DRIVING TRUCK.’ THEY WANT TO COLLECT MY NUMBER AND ASK IF WE CAN BE FRIENDS. EVEN SOMEONE THAT IS NOT EVEN UP TO MY AGE. THEY BE LIKE ‘CAN I DATE YOU’? I HAVE MANY PEOPLE APPROACHING ME, WANTING TO DATE ME.”
Iyeyemi’s future plans
Does Iyeyemi, an SSCE holder want to continue driving the truck till old age or does she have future plans? She said she plans to still go to school.
She averred: “I WISH TO FURTHER MY EDUCATION, EVEN IF IT IS PART-TIME. BUT I HAVE A TIGHT SCHEDULE, I DON’T HAVE TIME NOW. BUT I STILL WISH TO FURTHER MY EDUCATION.”
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