It was an emotional and heart-rending day, penultimate Monday, when a physically-challenged corps member serving in the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Mohammed Obansa Jimoh, donated gift items to the inmates of the Rehabilitation and Vocational Training Centre for People Living with Disability located at Kuchiko, Bwari, managed by the Federal Capital Territory Social Development Secretariat. The items donated included wheelchairs, crutches, and food items.
Jimoh, a graduate of accountancy, Federal Polytechnic, Nasarawa, in Nasarawa state, did not mince words when he described what he did as the thing that makes him happy.
He said, "There is ability in disability. It is wrong to describe anybody as disabled. Yes one can say physically challenged, but not disabled. Disability is a thing of the mind. I want to use my little efforts to affect the psyche of those who are physically challenged, and to let them know that the sky is their limit if only they think positively and explore their potentialities."
He took time off during the presentation to encourage all and sundry to play their parts in the eradication of polio "because polio is the greatest cause of disability."
At the event, the zonal inspector of the National Youth Service Corps, FCT chapter, Pastor Sunday Adedini, commended the donor for his large heart.
He said, "He has shown that everybody is equal. It is all about believing in oneself. This singular act poses a challenge for everybody, both the rich and the poor. Many people out there have the wherewithal but they would not give. But with this feat by Mohammed, it is time for us to have a moment of introspection and be ready to make the society better than we met it."
The principal of the rehabilitation centre, Comrade Bala Tsoho Musa, also physically challenged, advised physically challenged students of the centre not to look down on themselves but to have confidence in themselves.
He said, "One-time president of the United States of America, Sir Theodore Roosevelt, was physically challenged but was able to outwit all obstacles to become America's number one citizen at a time.
"Another shocking breakthrough which the world is yet to celebrate as it concerns the physically challenged is that the brightest astro-physicist in the world today, Christopher Hawkins, is a cripple. This is an eye opener. See yourself as a champion and you become one. What Jimoh did today is great, and I hope he will inspire us to rise to the challenge of making Nigeria greater."
Mrs. Oyem Ggbambose, assistant director, ICT, NYSC, FCT, who represented the NYSC, FCT coordinator, Mr. Frank Ekpunobi, thanked Mohammed Jimoh for his gesture. She advised the students, who are mainly polio victims, to 'shine their eyes' and shun begging.
"Embrace and demonstrate the lessons you have learnt from skills acquisition programmes of this school. Jimoh should be a role model for us. If you put your skills into practice, you will be surprised that you will propel Nigeria's technological advancement which she has been yearning for since independence. I must thank the director of programmes, Nigerian Television Authority, Alhaji Umar Mahmud, and Hon. Eseme Eyiboh for their unflinching support to Jimoh, which forms part of what we are reaping today," she said.
The headboy of the school, Mr. Samuel Job, asked the federal government to brace for the challenge of eradicating polio in Nigeria. He said it is a pity that it is only in Nigeria and Pakistan that polio cases are still reported globally.
It was also a harvest of donation at Fuka village, a hamlet situated about 42 kilometres from Kwali area council headquarters in the FCT. The road to Fuka is winding and in a very poor state. The inhabitants are basically peasant farmers. They are comprised of Gbagyi, Bassa, Gwari and Fulani. Not minding their multi-ethnic background, the inhabitants live peacefully. Nonetheless, they are denied of federal presence in terms of infrastructure.
Meanwhile, another corps member, Dr Okeke Eweni Kanayo Radcliff, recently donated a clinic to the inhabitants to boost their health condition. Dr. Radcliff, a medical graduate of the University of Nigeria, Enugu campus, is doing his national youth service in Kwali.
He said, "Fate brought me to a nearby village called Fugbe where I went with my friend on their health exercise trip. On getting there, we found out that the village had no health facility. Since that episode, I have been wondering how the inhabitants, especially pregnant women in the village, have access to health facilities. I am naturally in love with serving humanity. As such, I prayed to God to provide me with resources to enable me to contribute my quota to the upkeep of the inhabitants. Today, the dream has come through. To God be the glory."
The clinic which was donated to the villagers is made up of five-bedrooms, with a consulting room, delivery room, emergency room, waiting room and a dispensary. It was gathered that the project took six months to complete, all funded by the corps member.
The village head of Achara, Alhaji (Dr.) Salihu Useni Achara, a retired executive secretary of the FCT Muslim Pilgrims' Welfare Board, who was elated with the gesture of Dr Okeke, described the donation as one too many.
According to him, "I have written a letter to the FCT NYSC to recommend him for a national award. Even if the authorities of the corps do not reward him for this unquantifiable magnanimity of his, I want you to take solace in the fact that the Almighty Allah will reward him abundantly for this giant stride."
The NYSC FCT coordinator, Mr Frank Ekpunobi, represented by the assistant director, Corps Inspection and Monitoring, Mrs Mary Akuso, challenged corps members to make the community development aspect of the service a tool to affect their communities of primary assignment.
He said, "You should endeavour to contribute your quotas to the community for history purposes and posterity. I urge the beneficiaries to make the best use of this clinic."
The Assistant Director, Corps Projects, Mrs Grace Ugo Erege, pleaded with the community not to patronise quacks anymore and to endeavour to send the children to school.
"Avoid patronizing quacks. I also urge you to endevour to send your children to school to enable them to contribute their quotas to mankind. What we have come to celebrate today is a product of somebody whose parents have trained. Today we are all beneficiaries of this effort," she said.
The Chairman, Kwali Area Council, Joseph Shazin, represented by his supervisory councillor for works, Danjuma Dauda, expressed joy for the gesture of Dr Okeke. He praised the zeal and vigour with which he pursued the project in spite of all odds against him. The area council chairman promised to put the clinic into very good use, furnish it and ensure its adequate security.
He offered the donor an automatic employment as soon as he finishes his national assignment. He appealed to the authorities of the NYSC to consider him for a national award.
The Minister of State, FCT, represented by her special adviser on area council, Alhaji Ibrahim Amin Ibrahim, thanked various agencies that assisted the donor in the realization of his dream.
The traditional village heads of all the neighbouring villages and some councillors from Kwali area council were among the people who graced the occasion.