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Ibrahim Adekunle: Uneducated, Inventor of Nigeria's 1st Limousine Tricycle

26 year-old Ibrahim Adekunle never went to Secondary School - attending a University is not one of his plans. 

After dropping out of Primary school due to financial constraints, he trained as a Blacksmith and Welder. 

But his knack for reconstructing and remodelling transport vehicles has ensured that despite his little formal education, his name is known across the world for good.

Some weeks ago, his “Limousine Tricycle” was one of the five selected inventions on the BBC’s coverage of the Maker Faire Africa, an exhibition for inventors which took place in Lagos. 

The picture of a regular tricycle popularly called Keke Marwa, but stretched to contain more seats than usual earned the admiration of many but also raised a lot of questions.
A Nigerian Tricycle has Caused a Hype  

What is your educational background?: I did not even go to school at all. I went to school small, but I left school when I was in Primary Four. 

My parents told me there was no money again to take me to school, so my father took me somewhere to learn Blacksmith and Welder work. I did that for six years before I got my own place at Opebi Under Bridge here.

What kind of services do you offer to your customers here: I’m doing my handiwork – radiator, shaft and welding work. There was a day I was just thinking about what I can do to make people happy. So I bought a motorbike and I started changing it this way and that way. 

I changed it to my own taste and put more seats so that it looked like a car. After that, I was still thinking of what I can do to make people happy that is why I went to buy a Marwa (tricycle). 

I first thought of doing it like a Double Decker and putting more seats on top but since Marwa has only three tyres, I thought it wasn’t strong and it would fall down so I decided to use it to do Limousine that is why I call it “Limousine Tricycle”.

How much did it cost you to build the Limousine Tricycle?: I bought the Marwa fairly used from someone at N180,000. When I bought it, I cut it into two and bought a lot of parts from the market to construct this. All the parts I bought cost about N150,000.

From the time you bought the Tricycle, how long did it take you to convert it into this?: Because I didn’t have enough money, I did it small small. If I see N2,000 today, I’d work on it. If I see another money tomorrow, I’d go and buy more parts. It took me almost six months.

But right now, if I have all the money I need and I want to do it for someone, I can finish it within two days. Adding up all you’ve spent on the Tricycle, it’s over N300,000. Have you made up to the amount you invested on it?

You were part of the exhibitors at the recently concluded ‘Maker Fair Africa’. Tell me about your experience at the exhibition and what you gained from it?: I met a lot of people there. They promised me that they will call me. A lot of people who saw the picture of the Limousine on the internet called me and asked me what the Lagos State Government did for me and I said nothing.

Aside from the Limousine Tricycle and the motorbike which you had to dismantle, do you have any other similar inventions?: There is one tricycle that Fashola brought out that has a steering wheel like a car. I remodelled that one and I call it Entertainment Jeep. But I haven’t finished working on it.

Do you have any training or experience with the mechanical aspects of a vehicle?: No, but if my Marwa or Okada has any fault, I repair it myself. I don’t have any money to pay a Mechanic so if anything is wrong with it, I will loose it and fix it by myself. - Online Sources 

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