THE manufacturing, assemblage, building of vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles sound alien to many, but Ibrahim Sumaila, a 38-year-old Ghanaian engineer, has translated his childhood dream into reality.
Despite being born into a poor family with little education, Ibrahim did not allow the setback to deter him from pursuing his life ambition. He has defeated impediments and is building bicycles and motorbikes propelled by two-stroke engines that use oil mixed with gasoline or petrol. He also uses discarded scrap metals in molding the bikes.
He told Xinhua at his make-shift workshop at a suburb of Tema city, that he had to go through struggles by working as a laborer in 2010 after his secondary education for almost eight years to raise funds to acquire a welding machine for his work since there was no one to support him financially.
“I grew up as an artist, did painting and all stuff before I learned the bicycle mechanic. I worked as a laborer just to get some money for my welding machine. I tried to open my shop around 2018 to repair bicycles and later got to know that more of my customers were shifting from bicycles to motorbikes. So, I decided to motorize a bicycle so that I will still maintain my customers,” he told Xinhua.
After almost three years of establishing his shop, Ibrahim has been able to combine talent and passion to mold and build motorized bicycles, motorbikes that are used by both able-bodied and people with disabilities within the Ashaiman municipality and its environs.
The motorbike he manufactures, according to him, are of high-quality standards and expressed the hope of using it to create job opportunities, among others.
“For my motorbike, I look at the nature of our road and the comfort. My dream is to turn this thing into a company, something big, bigger than this, that can even create employment,” he said.
Despite the efforts to be a top-notch engineer in Ghana, he is inundated with several challenges including inadequate and modern tools for his operations, limited space as well as access to scraps.
He urged Africans to believe in their fellows with talents in all fields and support them.
“I would like to tell everybody especially my people here in Ghana and Africa as a whole that we should respect talent. I think we should help people with talent and the country will go far,” Ibrahim said.
Paul Larweh Godzi, a tailor by profession and also a school proprietor who has been riding a motorbike produced by Ibrahim for two years now recounts how it has facilitated his mobility.
“Initially mobility for me was very difficult. I had to depend on people to get what I want but with this one, I just sit on it, get to where I want to go, and do whatever I want to do,” said Godzi.
Godzi appealed to the government and corporate organizations to support Ibrahim to produce more bikes for people with disabilities across the country.
“There are a lot of persons with a disability like me who could have done more to cater for themselves and their families but because they cannot go far, it’s becoming difficult for them and so what this man is doing for us persons with disabilities are a lot and so I want the government or any corporate organizations to help,” he added.
In Ghana, there are no known motorbike manufacturers as all are imported for both commercial and private use. Ibrahim said he hoped more local innovators could spring up to change the narrative in the near future.