Meet Engr. Thadeus Maduka, A Bicycle Assembler And Repairer Who Has Done So Since 48yrs.

Onwordi Ngozi Fortune

Engr. Thadeus Maduka was born in Isu Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria. Isu is a local government area in Imo State of Nigeria. Its headquarters are in the town of Umundugba. Other communities are Amandugba, Ekwe, Uburu Ekwe, Isunjaba, Amurie Omanze, Ebenator Ekwe and Oboro Amurie. The name comes from the Isu people, a subgroup of the Igbo people.

Two communities in Isu Local Government Area Uburu Ekwe and Oboro Amurie are migrants from Ubulu-Uku Kingdom but it is not clear if that relationship between Ubulu-Uku and Isu informed Thadeus's decision to sojourn to Ubulu-Uku.

In 1965, when he set out to acquire skills as 'Bicycle Repairer' little did he know that the skill will take him to a distant land where his will forever remain immortalized.

After completing his apprenticeship in 1970, the young and adventurous Thadeus explained that he resolved to travel outside his hometown.

By the time I finished my apprenticeship, there was not much bicycles around to repair. I cannot even say owning a bicycle was like owning a car because nowadays many people have cars. Let us say, it is like owning a private jet.

In 1971, Thadeus travelled down to Ubulu-Uku, in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State.
As at that time, Ubulu-Uku was host to the two most prominent secondary schools in Bendel State. The schools St. Anthonys Model College Ubulu-Uku and Anglican Grammar School Ubulu-Uku which were a bit distant from the town had a few students of rich parents who owned sports bicycles.
Also, although there existed a handful of car owners, bicycle owners who were more in number also shared thesame honoured status as the elites. Investment Met Opportunity for the IMO born bicycle repairer.

It was not totally easy for Thadeus to earn the reputation he currently holds as the undisputed best bicycle repairer in that region.
Firstly, he met other established indigenous professionals in the community one of whom was Nwaokolo Nwa Ijeh but the native will later relinquish the profession due to old age.

As fate would have it, as Ubulu-Uku Oil Palm Company (OPC) flourished more indigenes were employed and more employment came in the education sector.
Between 1975-1995, Ubulu-Uku was unofficially the Capital of what would later be called Delta State.
The community already has every feature of a City including a fairly stable electricity, two giant secondary schools, a flourishing agricultural industry, a fairly stable Market and traditional system, portable water supply, tarred roads with good drainage system, a night club, a cinema house and what could qualify as a 5 star hotel then.

However, the most important part for Thadeus is that bicycles were soon replaced by Motor cycles such as CD195, Met, Suzuki, Bentley, etc...
Then, more people acquired bicycles for transportation to their farmland which is often over 1hr. walk from home.

From around the early 90s till this present day, Engr. Thadeus Maduka remains the best and most trusted bicycle repairer in Ubulu-Uku. He can assemble any type of bicycle from beginning. So, he travels to Nnewi to get bicycle parts which he also deals on.
Although, his customers are now mainly farmers, the septuagenarian still practices his profession.

According to him, over 500 apprentices have acquired this skill from him over the past 48yrs.
He is also regarded as one of the most successful craftsman in Ubulu-Uku where he now lives in his own house built by his son.
Engr. Thadeus is a father of many successful children who live in different cities where they associate with fellow Ubulu-Uku people as Ubulumen.

Engr. Thadeus feels the era of Skills Acquisition is fading away as there is presently no apprentice in his Shop.
He is therefore encouraging young people to acquire a skill that will sustain them even in old age.

Although, Engr. Thadeus is not an Ubuluman but has written his name is gold.

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