I made sure the smile on my face remained, clouding the pains I go through. I kept smiling at the challenges. You too can keep smiling at your various challenges in life - change your intent. Accept your differences. Embrace your uniqueness. Do not be defined or restricted by your disability. For in disability there is ability.
My name is Ibrahim Omotosho - I am a paraplegic that has survived the harsh living condition of growing up in a developing country. I decided to tell my story to inspire everyone and anyone going through one form of challenges or the other. I grew up in the Police Barracks alongside my four siblings and our parents. I could walk for a year and 7 months. December 18, 1984 I had a short siesta, I cried from sleep to discover I could no longer stand, walk or run anymore. I had to go through sessions and sessions of physiotherapy. The sessions got my neck and hands functioning again. Then I was able to make use of the armpit crutches and leg braces (calipers). I would play football with my siblings as well as with my neighbors and other boys and girls in the hood. I played "4-post" almost every weekday at my secondary school. I didn't for once feel intimidated by no one - I was very courageous. Funny thing is, I would last the whole of the breaktime without conceding a goal. A good friend, Dr. Irawo Adamolekun, of blessed memory would call me "Dr. Octopus" simply because I would play along with my two held armpit crutches as as well as my two legs thereby occupying the whole of the goalpost. Guess what the goalposts are - the table/desk of our class. I was blessed with a loving family.
No Preferential Treatment
My mother (God bless her soul) trained me like the rest of my siblings - no preferential treatment. This gave me the tenacity to face the numerous challenges. I was somewhat funny and very playful. But, I was a very smart boy. I attended a physically challenged primary school which gave me the right foundation. I attended a 'normal' secondary school which gave me the much needed confidence to soar as a young kid. My university days were the most challenging - I had to let go of my crutches and fully embrace the use of the wheelchair due to the terrain and for easy movement. I got my first car in 2013 and I learnt how to drive in just 4 days. Albeit I can only drive a car with automatic transmission. Permit me to talk about just two of my ordeals: the first is my encounter with one of the university lecturers. I would begin with one of my favorite quotes from Johnny Depp; "One day the people who didn't believe in you will tell everyone how they met you." I decided to go observe my Jummah Salat at the University mosque. Lo and behold! I saw one of my 'funny' lecturer. I remember his mean and hurtful words to me back then in the university: "the university system does not have facilities for people like you". There and then I was checked in at the school clinic and placed on drips. The date is 9th of February 2009. To God be the glory I wowed everyone that saw me at the mosque's perimeter. 2. I had difficulty with relationships because some believe I could not impregnate a woman or father a child. The societal misunderstanding.
I Will Succeed in Life
Having lived a more-difficult or complex life, which I try and make huge efforts not to reveal it to people around me, I came up to be built with this 'tough skin' of "I will succeed in life". I converted my complex living to a life of success (I am still a working success though). I was very determined and would never give up on having a decent living despite being living in a developing country with being physically challenged. I always tell myself "I would never give up". The more challenges I had, the more determined I became towards achieving that goal. I changed the intent people had about me which was, pity et al into a man of inspiration everyone admires and would tell tales of him to others. I made sure the smile on my face remained, clouding the pains I go through. I kept smiling at the challenges. You too can keep smiling at your various challenges in life - change your intent. Accept your differences. Embrace your uniqueness. Do not be defined or restricted by your disability. For in disability there is ability. Lest I forget, I am blessed with a cute son. Thank you very much.
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