If you are familiar with Nigeria you know that Nigeria is not the best place for people with disabilities, but Ibrahim is not letting that limit him, read his inspiring story below:
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. 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.
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.
Please check out Ibrahim’s blog (here)