Osejindu Mordi is a graduate of political science from the Delta State University, Abraka. After searching for the unavailable job for about two years, he decided to venture into selling of tokunbo tyres from the little money he raised from friends and relatives. He leant the craft from his volcaniser friend, whom he said is a big player in that trade. Today, he said, in this interview with ISIOMA MADIKE that he has every reason to thank God for taking such a decision.
It appears the tokunbo dealers are enjoying a boom presently. How true is that?
Great! In fact we are counting our blessings now. People have suddenly turned to us for patronage. Although customs and police are constantly on our neck, we have always find a way to settle them.
Why are they after the tokunbo sellers?
They said the tyres are contraband (prohibited from coming into the country). Unfortunately, that is what Nigerians use now. Before it used to be for only transporters but currently everyone seems to be in love with tokunbo tyres.
Is that why you said you are counting your blessing now?
Yes! Let me tell you something, President Muhammadu Buhari government, is a blessing to some of us. But for his administration, many would still be deceiving themselves about new tyres.
Are you by that insinuating that the tokunbo tyres are better than the new ones?
Everybody knows that presently. The so-called new ones you see everywhere, are they not from China? Can you compare them with the ones produced from Britain, America or Germany? The truth is they produce the tokunbo brands for the civilised markets and the so-called new ones for Africa, where anything goes. So, those that are wise patronise us, and get value for their money. Do you know that the cost of one new tyre can buy more than four needed in a car?
What about durability?
They are very durable; in fact they last longer than the new ones. Ask those that use tokunbo tyres, they will testify to that. I’m not saying this because I want customers, that is the truth and everyone knows it. Accidents are caused by carelessness and not necessarily by the type of tyre one is using. You can fix a new tyre now and it goes off the next day. It could also happen like that with tokunbo ones.
But are you aware that tyres expire?
The expiry dates on tyres are just camouflage; it doesn’t work. You could see those that are supposed to have expired and still use them for more than two years. So, what are we talking about? It is only for those who want to be deceived. Look, the big men also come for tokunbos now. They send their drivers and we know them.
What is the average price for a tokunbo tyre?
It depends on the car and the grade. But the commonest ones are the grades for transporters. Many of them ask for the lower grade, which range from N1, 500 to N2, 000, depending on the bargaining power of the buyer. Better grades could go for as high as N70, 000 for the big SUV cars. But we also have others between N3, 500 and N6, 500. Sometime it goes up to between N13, 000 and N15, 000. It depends really; there is no fixed price. Like I said earlier it depends on who is buying and the grade the buyer wants.
There is this believe that the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Consumer Protection Council (CPC), usually raid marketers of this type of tyre looking for tokunbo brands. How do you manage to evade them?
My brother, we are in Nigeria. They occasionally do that but we settle them when they come. What you see of them is just razzmatazz; we know how we deal with them. If they are serious, why couldn’t they go after the importers? Don’t they bring them in from the ports? Are the customs and others in the ports sleeping? You will be shocked to see that those officials also use tokunbo tyres.
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