Interview Politics

[ICYMI] How I grew to become bodily challenged on my birthday – Tai Solarin varsity scholar

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Abiola Fetuga, a bodily challenged scholar at Tai Solarin University, Ogun State speaks with TEMITOPE ADETUNJI in regards to the pivotal second on the age of 24 when his bodily capabilities modified

At what age did the incident leading to your bodily incapacity happen?

My title is Abiola Fetuga. I’m from Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State.

I’m an Afrobeat artist. I used to be 24 years outdated then, and I turned 32 this yr. The incident occurred in 2016, on my birthday, which was May 8, 2016. I went to highschool that morning, and as I used to be about to depart, I found that my legs had been shaking, and I couldn’t stroll very properly. I believed it was simply regular malaria signs. I struggled to take a motorbike dwelling. When I obtained dwelling, I realised I couldn’t even get down from the bike. I struggled to get inside and I met my stepmother, who instructed I take a tonic, which I did. I rested that night, however waking up on May ninth, I couldn’t do something anymore. I couldn’t even arise from the mattress. It was as if my legs had been stiff.

What stage had been you in class when the incident occurred?

I used to be within the 200 stage then. We had simply completed the 200-level second-semester examination and had been about to renew the 300 stage.

Which college?

Tai Solarin University of Education, Ogun State.

Did you search medical intervention?

Yes, I did. I used to be rushed to the state hospital in Ijebu-Ode. It was on a weekend, so that they stated we should always wait till Monday. On Monday, the physician got here to my room, and after inspecting me, he advised me that I used to be high quality medically and that nothing was incorrect with me. So medically, they may not decide what was incorrect. I couldn’t use my legs to stroll anymore.

Did the physician say the rest?

They stated I used to be medically high quality. They couldn’t diagnose something. We had been suggested to hunt religious assist, which we did. The herbalists, pastors, and clerics all did their factor, however I nonetheless couldn’t use my legs.

What actions had been initiated following the religious session?

From that May, I stayed at dwelling, mendacity on the mattress for 4 to 5 months with out transferring my physique in any respect. I couldn’t eat or drink. The solely factor functioning in my physique was my ears, which meant every time folks I knew or had talked to earlier than came over me, I’d recognise them by way of their voices. I used to be partially blind and couldn’t see anybody as a result of my eyes had been closed on a regular basis.

How a few years have you ever been battling this now?

Since May 2016, in order that’s 9 years now, and I’ve been utilizing a wheelchair ever since.

What about your dad and mom?

My dad and mom tried their greatest. My mum got here that morning of the incident and took me to the hospital. She and my dad weren’t collectively, however she got here round.

 Do you may have siblings?

Yes, I do. I’m the primary baby. I’ve eight siblings from my dad and two from my mum.

What challenges have you ever encountered because the incident occurred?

It was very tough in the beginning, and even now, it’s nonetheless tough. But I see it as easier now. When it occurred, I hardly went out as a result of I didn’t need anyone to see me utilizing the wheelchair. One Friday afternoon, my brothers and associates who had been taking good care of me in my space determined that I need to come exterior. That was the primary day I noticed the solar since May that yr. Since then, they suggested me to go to the physiotherapy part twice every week. With the wheelchair, I began going exterior as a result of the church I used to be staying in was not removed from the hospital. We would simply stroll right down to the hospital. I often cried as a result of someday I encountered one thing I believed would by no means occur to me in my life.

What was it?

Someone thought that I used to be one of many avenue beggars and approached me with a N20 observe. I couldn’t say something however burst into tears. My buddy, who was with me, inspired me. He advised me  that every part could be high quality.

What occurred subsequent?

When I obtained dwelling, I defined to my mum. She went exterior, got here again with a barber, and requested the barber to provide me a pleasant haircut, stating that I ought to look completely different from the beggars. The barber did his job, and since then, my mum began getting me designer garments and good garments. She stated that after I exit, folks would see that I’m completely different from beggars and respect me. What my mum did boosted my confidence.

Are you continue to in class?

Yes, I’m again to highschool now. I’m at the moment in my remaining yr. Around 2019, I made a decision to return to complete my programme. The college authority stated that since none of my household or associates got here to request a depart of absence, I must pay for 5 – 6 years of classes that I didn’t attend. I made a decision that as an alternative of losing cash on these classes, I may begin afresh. So, I sat for JAMB, handed, and began over again from the 100 stage.

During these intervals you didn’t present up in school, what occurred?

There was no means I may go to highschool when the incident occurred. it was tough.

What course are you learning?

Related News

I’m learning Library and Information Science and I’m in my remaining yr.

Are you in a relationship?

It has been tough, with ups and downs. I used to be in a relationship earlier than the incident, however because of my situation, it ended. She left and not using a hint. During this wheelchair journey, I’ve had greater than two relationships. I’ve had a two-day relationship earlier than and a one-week relationship, so I simply felt no one wished to be with any person like me.

Do you may have something you do for a residing?

I do analysis and assignments for college students.

So, are you the one answerable for sponsoring your schooling?

Yes, I’m.

What type of assist have you ever obtained from your loved ones?

If I’m sponsoring myself to highschool, it’s as a result of I’ve causes. I’ve a ardour for schooling. In 2017, I advised everybody I wished to return to highschool. By 2019-2020, I realised that my household was not able to assist me. They stated enterprise was meant for me, however they weren’t able to do something about it. So, I made a decision to go to highschool. At first, I took a mortgage for my schooling, processed my admission, and used the remainder of the cash to begin a POS enterprise. After class, I’m going to my POS stand. I used to be utilizing an umbrella. That’s how I’ve been juggling that enterprise with my education.

When did you begin that POS enterprise?

It was in 2020. It was throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.

You additionally talked about that you’re an Afrobeat artist. How lengthy have you ever been an artist?

Since 2018, although I’ve not been constant as a result of music may be very costly. I’ve a ardour for leisure, and I consider I can do properly in it. I’ve a lot of my songs on Audiomack.

Based in your experiences, what prevalent misconceptions do folks maintain concerning folks residing with bodily disabilities?

This is one purpose I made a decision to return to highschool. People ought to see us as succesful people. Even with my situation, I wash garments, sweep, cook dinner, and do many issues. People shouldn’t see us as completely different from them as a result of, even with our incapacity, there are such a lot of talents.

Do you may have function fashions who encourage you?

Yinka Ayefele is my function mannequin. I admired him a lot, even earlier than I began utilizing a wheelchair. I used to really feel that somebody in his situation may nonetheless do nice issues.

What are your future aspirations?

If God is prepared, if I’ve the assist and funds, I’ll go totally into music. I additionally need to proceed with my Master’s diploma.

What can different folks with disabilities study from you?

They ought to study not to surrender. I’ve heard issues like, “People like you end up on the streets begging for help.” I don’t beg folks, and I don’t want to. My legs are holding me again, not my palms. If I can do some legit enterprise, why not? I’ve ventured into the dry-cleaning enterprise earlier than. Basically, no legit enterprise that may fetch me cash is past me. Just be your self, have a powerful thoughts, and you are able to do it. If you dream of one thing, attempt to obtain it. If you fail, strive once more. I’ve failed many occasions, nevertheless it doesn’t cease me.

Is there a memorable expertise that you simply wish to share?

I can always remember the day I began this wheelchair journey. I awakened within the morning, walked out of the home, and crawled again inside within the night. It is a reminiscence I’ll always remember.

Is there one thing somebody has stated to you that damage you deeply?

In 2021, certainly one of my brothers in church had a marriage. I attended as one of many groomsmen. After the ceremony, I went exterior for recent air. A woman was passing by, and her handkerchief fell. I known as her consideration, saying, “Sister, sister.” She rotated, gave me a humorous look, and stated, “Even you want to toast me?” I used to be shocked. A lady beside me advised her that I used to be attempting to name her consideration to her handkerchief. My associates nearly fought her for embarrassing me. Before then, I had a mindset that I’d get married, however since that incident, I’ve doubted if I’ll ever have somebody of my very own.

How have you ever been dealing with these challenges?

If I had been at all times alone, I’m not positive I’d be alive right now. Having associates round me has helped me immensely.

What are you grateful for?

I’m grateful for my household and associates, not less than they’ve been capable of assist me in the way in which they will. They have at all times supported me and helped me by way of robust occasions. My mum has been particularly superb, doing small issues to spice up my confidence, like ensuring I look good. My associates have inspired me to exit and keep social, which has made an enormous distinction in my life. I’m additionally grateful for the prospect to proceed my schooling.

Even although I needed to begin over, having the ability to go to highschool and work in direction of my diploma in Library and Information Science means so much to me. Education offers me hope and a purpose to work in direction of. It reveals that my incapacity doesn’t cease me from studying and attaining. Another factor I’m grateful for is my love for music. As an Afrobeat artist, music helps me categorical myself and join with others. Even although making music may be costly and tough, it brings me a variety of pleasure and success. Lastly, I’m grateful for the power and resilience I’ve gained from residing with a incapacity. This journey has taught me to be affected person and to maintain attempting, it doesn’t matter what. It has additionally made me extra understanding and compassionate in direction of others who’ve their challenges. These experiences have made me stronger and extra decided, and for that, I’m very grateful.



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